Friday, January 24, 2014

Sterling's Spring Training Starts Now

Pitchers and catchers don't report until February 14, but I can imagine that at this very moment John Sterling is in his home, sitting in front of the fireplace in a navy blue pinstripe suit, Chivas Regal in one hand, DVR remote in the other. He faces his 50" flat screen TV and watches highlights of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Brian Roberts, Carlos Beltran, abd Kelly Johnson hitting home runs. Occassionally a tear rolls down his cheek as he realizes he'll no longer say, "Robbie Cano, don'tcha know!".

He jumps around, setting his sights on one particular image and brainstorms new home run calls. "What words rhyme with the names? Are there any old Broadway references/ Is it something I can sing? Have I used it before? I got caught last year doing that. I can't let it happen again."

Just then Jacoby Ellsbury, clad in a Boston Red Sox uniform, hits a pitch into the Fenway Park bullpen.

"It is high, it is far, it is gone..Ohhh Ellsbury Fields Forever!" Hmmm..maybe. He pauses the recording, puts down the remote and scribbles the possible call on a pad of paper.  Remote back in hand, he skips back to the beginning and watches Ellsbury's home run again.

"Jaco-by hit that to, no maybe not. Jaco-by using the force like Obi-Wan-Kenobi. Instant classic!!!"

Brian McCann, wearing his long time Atlanta Braves uniform, steps to the plate on the plasma.

"Oh, Brian..making the pitcher cryin'.....Oh, Brian lost that baseball like we lost a Mayan...hmmm, too obscure?"

"McCann just gained a fan! That would have to be after another call. Wait! Guys and Dolls."
"Can do Can do, McCann says his bat can do" He pauses the television and quickly grabs his cellphone to call Suzyn Waldman. He begins to sing his modified Broadway tune. Soon he and Suzyn are singing together, then break into "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat".

Sterling hangs up the phone. A satisfied look on his face, with a "McCann Can Dance still in his bag of tricks, he refills his glass and pops on video of Roberts. The light bulb immediately goes off - Mr. Roberts, Hank Fonda...a Broadway and movie classic, but not a musical. Damn it, so close. "Sterling loses, Sterling loses."

Undeterred, the modern voice of the Yankees watches Carlos Beltran appear on screen. "That's it, I'll go back to Roberts. Too many Brians. "Burn Baby, no, no..sorry Bernie.  Carlos puts the belt in Beltran...hmmm, maybe. It is high, it is far, it is gone! Carlos "Danger" Beltran. No, no that could cause more problems. And Beltran ra-an, he ran so far away-ay-ay, he touched home plate today. Ah, those Flock of Seagulls. What an '80s band. Suzyn will never get that one though. This is tough. I have to think about it more."

On to Johnson. "When he goes back to back, I can use back to back and a belly to Kelly! Yes, it's gold! But what about when he hits one alone. Kelly, he hit that one to Carnaegie Deli. Okay, I can save that for tape measure shots, but what's the sure thing? KJ made the ball yell May Day. That's it. Pure genius! The right blend of cornball and obscurity.  I've got to pack up and get down to Tampa early to try these out."

No matter who plays on the Yankees this year, you can bet that John Sterling will be well prepared with a pocket full of home run calls. Let's just hope he has plenty of them to call for the Bronx Bombers.

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