Long before Jessica Mendoza became the first woman to work as an MLB game analyst on ESPN, Suzyn Waldman, bringing new meaning to the word “determination,” was setting an example for any young woman with the long-shot dream of becoming a baseball broadcaster.
Running this obstacle course populated by mega egos, back-stabbers, scoundrels, liars, and slobs has always proved to be the ultimate test of gender equity. Waldman proved to be tougher than the rest. Just ask Chris (Mad Dog) Russo, whose ass she nearly kicked many moons ago in the old Yankee Stadium.
Get it? For Waldman, it took a lot more than knowledge, communication skills, love of the game and an unbreakable confidence in her ability to talk baseball as well as anyone else behind a major league microphone.
We are not suggesting Mendoza’s road was easy. Yet, by the time Tuesday night rolled around, when she became the first woman to call a MLB playoff game on ESPN, many of the potholes on her path had already been filled by Waldman and other women pioneers of the sports microphone.
Mendoza’s rapid rise put this all into clear focus. Not only did it bring back memories of Ma Pinstripe’s trip from WFAN to YES, to the old Baseball Network, to her 11 seasons working with John (Pa Pinstripe) Sterling in the Yankees Radio Network booth, but what an incredible, anxiety filled journey that was.
For that alone, Waldman is deserving of the Ford C. Frick Award, which would put her in the broadcast wing of baseball’s Hall of Fame. If being a pioneer isn’t enough we have more evidence to submit.
Along with Sterling, who handles every inning of play-by-play, she created a unique chemistry (yes, it is cockeyed and comical at times), making each and every broadcast entertaining. Her insight on the Yankees is impeccable. No one in this city has covered them on a daily basis longer.
Yes, she has routinely gone over the top with emotion and pom-poms, like when Roger Clemens, from George Steinbrenner’s private box, announced his comeback in 2007. That’s just part of the package.
It’s different. Not a typical Seamhead broadcast.
The flip side, which often gets ignored because of this personality-driven approach, is how caustic her criticism can be. Like after the Yankees were eliminated by the Astros Tuesday night. On YES, Joe Girardi was talking about the effort the Yankees had given all season long, adding there were plenty of banged-up guys sitting in the Bombers clubhouse.
On the radio postgame show, Waldman was not buying Girardi’s line. “We heard a lot about injuries in there (the Yankee clubhouse), but it happens to all these teams,” Waldman said with more than a touch of disgust. “I don’t want to hear it.”
Any chance Yankees fans were feeling the same way?
Chances are (cue Sterling tribute to Johnny Mathis) they were. And it’s likely Waldman went to sleep angry.
See, after all these years, and with those hills climbed a distant memory, Suzyn Waldman still cares.
Jessica Mendoza should thank her.
Credit to the NY Daily News who originally published this article
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”