John Sterling and Michael Kay might have been the best broadcasting duo to ever speak to baseball fans.
During yesterday's Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos football game, I clicked to the YES network. Once again it was Oct. 21, 2000. Once again, the New York Yankees were facing the New York Mets in the first game of the most important World Series the Yankees ever played.
Sterling and Kay mentioned that poor Mets' base running had cost them dearly.
Mike Piazza had led off the top of the fourth inning with a single off Andy Pettitte, who promptly picked him off first. Both Sterling and Kay agreed that Piazza had been careless.
Then they explained that with Todd Zeile at the plate, Mets' manager Bobby Valentine might have put on the hit-and-run with the slow-footed Zeile at the plate. They weren't finished.
After Piazza had been picked off, Zeile hit a little roller into foul territory that bounced fair by about two feet. Zeile didn't run.
The Yankees' broadcasters agreed that such lackadaisical play is unacceptable. They were professional with respect to their criticism. They didn't merely "rip."
Sterling and Kay didn't attempt to hog the microphone. Each allowed the other to speak, they didn't always agree with other, but they treated each other with respect and as equals.
Sterling never lost track of what was happening on the field in the fifth inning when they were taking about what occurred an inning earlier.
Sterling and Kay were almost prescient when Zeile, batting with two outs and Timo Perez on first, hit an 0-2 Pettitte delivery off the top of the left field fence. Neither Zeile nor Perez ran hard. On a great relay from Derek Jeter behind third to Jorge Posada, Perez was out at the plate.
Following the 2001 season, Sterling moved to radio exclusively while Kay became the primary television broadcaster. It has been to the detriment of both.
Sterling is a baseball historian. He has the ability to integrate today's players and events with those of the past.
A few years ago, Sterling recalled how Joe Torre, during the late 1960s, had stated that he wasn't especially fond of flying. Sterling chuckled as he noted how much contact Torre had with planes since then.
One item about Kay stands out.
He was talking about Yankees' pitchers who had spent many years in the minors. Kay came across the name of John Gabler, who spent 1949-59 in the Yankees' farm system before being brought up during the middle of the 1959 season.
To his credit, Kay admitted that he had never heard of Gabler. There is nothing wrong with that, especially with the plethora of sources available.
Sterling has probably heard of Gabler. There is a good chance that he even saw Gabler pitch.
Kay mentioned that he didn't know Gabler. If Sterling had been in Kay's position, what would he have done?
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