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
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research
“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 billion for the Jay Fund.”
Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.
This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.
“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”
Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job
“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.
“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel“ during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.
“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.
Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’
“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.
“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”
“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”
When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.
“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.
The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.
Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”
Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”
Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.