Sports

Can You Tell Which of These John Sterling Home Run Calls Are Real?

The New York Yankees' legendarily corny radio broadcaster loves to make up signature calls for Yankee home runs. So do we, so we made this quiz.
July 5, 2017, 9:38pm
Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a radio broadcasting team unlike any other in baseball, which is the sort of statement that is deceptively easy to read as a compliment. In some sense it is, although on a moment-to-moment or case-by-case basis; in the sense that "unlike any other" implies the setting of some sort of standard other broadcasts can't touch, it absolutely is not. The duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman is unlike other radio broadcasts in the sense that where one team might employ a wild card—a play-by-play man prone to curlicues or puns or narcolepsy, say, or a benignly sozzled ex-player given to MC Escher-esque digression—the Yankees employ two of the most relentlessly, intensely weird broadcasters in the sport, at the same time.

Sterling and Waldman don't exactly work well together, which is the result of Sterling's thermonuclear bombast and Waldman's singular overdetermined dottiness in about equal measure. It's hard to imagine that either one of them would work very well with anyone else, and as it happens they don't so much work together as in competitive parallel, with one elbowing in front of the other in progressively more baroque ways.

Waldman specializes in rococo Broadway-style upstage moves and Sterling does his thunderous best to apply his signature, usually through some pun-powered compound euphemism, to any moment large enough to contain it. You can spend a long and baffled day wondering why a professional radio announcer would respond to a Mark Teixeira home run as Sterling did, which was by making a long "aaaauuuuuggghh" sound before saying, "It's a TEIX MESSAGE." Or you can simply understand that Sterling is doing it because when he is making those sounds, no other voice can be heard.

But if it's simple to understand why Sterling does what Sterling does, the specific work of it deserves some study. His determination to have a Sterling Signature Home Run Call for every Yankees homer has led in some confounding directions. Here, for instance, is a website that lists the call Sterling devised for former Yankees backup Aaron Guiel and claims he said "That's Boesch, by gosh" when Brennan Boesch hit a homer.

On Wednesday, during the Yankees game against the Toronto Blue Jays, it led Sterling to bellow "Ji-Man is a he-man" after the recently called-up Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi homered in his Yankees debut. You are perhaps getting the idea.

And so you can guess the shape of this challenge. Below you will find ten authentic John Sterling Home Run Calls, per the Captain's Blog's John Sterling Project linked above, and ten that we've made up, with the player in question for each in parentheses. We wish you good luck, and would yell some goofy rhyming encouragement incorporating your name if we could. The answers are below.

When you really want a nickname. Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

1. "It's a Ben Francisco treat!" (Ben Francisco)
2. "When you wish upon a Starlin, your dreams Castro!" (Starlin Castro)
3. "Josh Phelps! Boy does he helps." (Josh Phelps)
4. "These are the leads! The Glenallen leads!" (Glenallen Hill)
5. "That Chase Headley, he produces so steadily!" (Chase Headley)
6. "The Melk Man delivers!" (Melky Cabrera)
7. "Nuney, to the moon-ie!" (Eduardo Nunez)
8. "Kevin Maas! What a hoss!" (Kevin Maas)
9. "Parm does harm! He CHRIStens the right field bleachers!" (Chris Parmelee)
10. "Karim of the crop!" (Karim Garcia)
11. "Sojo is so hot." (Luis Sojo)
12. "Sori, right number!" (Alfonso Soriano)
13. "Shane Spencer, the Home Run Dispenser!" (Shane Spencer)
14. "Why, he's a Yankee Doodle Randy!" (Randy Velarde)
15. "The Crosby Show is filmed in front of a live studio audience!" (Bubba Crosby)
16. "Brett Gardner hit it harder." (Brett Gardner)
17. "It's a Sierra Club! Preserving the lead for the Yankees!" (Ruben Sierra)
18. "Didi Gregorius, makes Yankees fans uproarious!" (Didi Gregorius)
19. "My fair Nady!" (Xavier Nady)
20. "Hinske with your best shot!" (Eric Hinske)

Answers are below this photo of Yankees legend Juan Uribe posing for a photo with fans.

When you're ready for the answers. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Real: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 20
Not Provably Real: 2, 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19