We can count on Suzyn Waldman saying something ridiculous in every WCBS radio broadcast. She can mimic Michael Kay and say something like, "Only Derek Jeter could make that play," or she can say things are are pure Yankee wingnuttery.
Sunday May 6th brought us a classic Waldman moment:
"ROGER CLEMENS IS IN GEORGE'S BOX AND ROGER CLEMENS IS COMIN' BACK. OH MY GOOD--GOODNESS GRACIOUS! OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS--OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN, ROGER CLEMENS STANDING RIGHT IN GEORGE STEINBRENNER'S BOX ANNOUNCING HE IS BACK! ROGER CLEMENS IS A NEW YORK YANKEE! AND THERE WE GO JOHN, YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHO'S GOING TO TAKE THAT SPOT IN THE ROTATION. YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE YANKEE DUGOUT! BIG GRIN ON JORGE POSADA'S FACE! ANDY PETITTE KNEW, BIG-SIZE ROGER CLEMENS IS NOW A YANKEE! ATTENTION FANS! HE IS HERE, AND NOW WE DON'T HAVE TO DISCUSS WHO TAKES THAT PLACE IN THE ROTATION."
Nope. No need to debate anything. Might as well put up the 2007 World Series championship banner now. Mission accomplished.
I will write more and more about this (and I hope others guest blog here as well on the topic - we need a mock transcript of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman posted here for shits and giggles). But I will vent a little now.
Suzyn Waldman is part of the Yankee propaganda machine, which is the most shameless in all of North American sports (and if I have time to compile coverage of the India cricket team and maybe some South American football teams, it might prove to be the most shameless in the world). Waldman had the distinguished honor of being the on-field reporter for YES for several years, and she is currently the color commentator alongside John Sterling in the WCBS booth. The Sox have their own revenue-generating sports TV network, NESN. But as far as I know, it is not in-sync with their radio partner, WEEI. And while the Sox network is certainly friendly to the team, I have never heard a NESN commentator or anchor speak about the Red Sox as arrogant dominators of the league, or belittle or insult opponents or their fans. The New York Times Company, owners of the Times and the Boston Globe, do not participate in propaganda, even though the Globe does partner a bit with the Sox network.
The YES TV network (which Jim Caple calls Yank-Jazeera) and WCBS radio are totally in-sync. They share the same talking points, demonize opponents the same way, and spin Yankee bad news into good news. In some of their station IDs, both YES and WCBS repeat the Yankee mantra, "The New York Yankees...the most successful franchise in the history of sports." They painted Pedro Martinez as a hoodlum for hitting Derek Jeter on the hand in 2003, but recently suggested that a Yankee pitcher should hit David Ortiz (which would not make the Yankee a thug). They talk about how much classier the Yankee Fans are compared to Red Sox fans, but turned a blind eye to the night that storm troopers in riot gear had to be deployed along the foul lines in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, in the most fitting and yet unprecedented ending to a Yankee home playoff game ever.
They stay on-message and drive the Yankee narrative for the fans. People who have seen or heard Yankee broadcasts know the narrative: The Yankees are the greatest team ever. Their opponents are all inferior. The Red Sox, in particular, are a sorry team. Red Sox fans are depressed, and enjoy being depressed. Opponents should roll-over like the Washington Generals. Sometimes, the Yankee broadcasters throw a hissy fit if the reality on the field strays from the script. It's going to be interesting if the Yankees fall into a quiet era like they did between 1984 and 1994.
When it comes to wingnut moments, Waldman really took the cake in September 2004. The Devil Rays miscalculated their escape from hurricane-hit Florida, and the Yankees shamelessly demanded a forfeit in order to stay ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. Waldman used a unique rationale for the Yankees' request: they had already showered and dressed for the game, only to later find out that Tampa was still in-flight. Oh, the humanity! Those showers must have hurt really bad, like there were needles or acid coming out of the shower heads or something.
And then there was this past Sunday. Waldman got really excited. Well, didn't we all? Colin Cowherd of ESPN radio reviews the moment and puts it into an interesting context. I think he nailed it:
The eighteen or so opponents left on the Yankee schedule should be warned: Forfeit all your games against the Yankees...or else. It would be the patriotic thing to do. Forfeit, or the terrorists win!