Yankees Fans Wonder Why John Sterling Made The Call To Hang It Up Now

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Baseball fans, particularly die-hard Yankees fans, were stunned to hear the news Monday that long-time radio announcer John Sterling had decided to retire, effective immediately. Sterling, who came up with custom-made home run calls for each player on the roster and punctuated every victory with, “Yankees win! THEEEEEEEEEE… Yankees win!”, had been the team’s radio voice since 1989. However, his roots in New York sports stretch back even farther, as he was one of the voices of the Islanders and Nets in the 1970s.

Health concerns were initially cited by many as the reason the 85-year-old Sterling made the seemingly spontaneous decision, but according to New York Newsday Yankees beat writer Erik Boland, who addressed the announcement on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program, the root cause may actually be as simple as the daily grind of a life on the road.

“I can tell you, physically, you do feel the travel, and I’m 50 years old,” Boland related to Berman and Riedel. “Take the Yankees’ first trip of the regular season, that John was on. They flew to Tampa to do the last spring training game of the year, and then go to Houston, which is the Central time zone, then flew from there to Arizona, the western time zone, and then came back on the red eye on Thursday and was back at the ballpark early Friday morning for the home opener. That’s three time zones in the week-and-a-half period, and trust me, you feel something like that.”

The fans will clearly miss Sterling, but Boland says the players will also miss him in their own way. “On the team bus [Aaron] Judge told us yesterday, amongst themselves as players, when there would be a new player that would come into the organization, they would try to guess what Sterling would come up with for that particular player’s first home run. I have to imagine that’s a fairly unique thing, that a radio broadcaster’s home run call is a topic of conversation amongst players on the team bus.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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