FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

An Unsurpassable Sterling Record of Stamina!

I’ve always been fascinated by stamina. Lou Gehrig was my boyhood hero, and not just because of his batting average, clutch hitting, and dignified comportment. From 1925 to 1939 he played 2,130 ballgames in a row, not missing one, despite injuries and illnesses. (It was the record until eclipsed by the Baltimore Oriole’s formidable Cal Ripken in 1987).

Stamina by underdogs over great odds in various areas of lawful human endeavor is engrossing because of all the elements in its making. Focus, determination, resilience, skill, self-renewal, strategy and, at its best, reflective idealism.

Who isn’t fascinated by bee hives, ant colonies, birds and squirrels dutifully building nests, and the sheer alert stamina required of mammals raising their young during constant peril?

This background provides context for contemplating the end of radio’s John Sterling’s record announcing 5,060 straight New York Yankees baseball games without missing one. Since 1989, whether ill or injured, Sterling showed up every day in city after city to command the airwaves and perform his duties. He was undaunted by fatigue or repetition.

As an unreconstructed Yankee fan (from the days of Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle), I did not know about Sterling’s dedication. In between articles on contract negotiations, player trades injuries and modest misbehaviors, the New York Times finally reported this stunning streak of stamina.

It took a bout of exhaustion and his physician’s advice to convince Sterling to take some days off, sleep a lot, eat a little more to recover weight, and drink a gallon of water every day. “I’m just run down,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with me,” the 81 year old radio marathoner told the Times.

Sterling’s record could be more unbreakable than Joe DiMaggio’s still standing 56 game hitting streak.

For five years in the nineteen eighties, the amazing Sterling broadcast both the Atlanta Braves baseball games and the Atlanta Hawks basketball games.

For a game with so many tedious intervals between pitches and innings, Sterling and his co-anchor Suzyn Waldman, make baseball more interesting with their banter, humor, and player vignettes. Sterling has been a unique voice in baseball, calling home runs with rhyming ditties on the hitters’ names and, of course, his breathless game-ending call when “Theeeeeeeeeee Yankeeees Wiin.” For her part, Suzyn keeps tediously reporting the pitch counts and pitch speeds, over batting averages.

The Times wrote that Sterling was going to use his time-off to catch up with a pile of mail, too long ignored. I can resonate with that chore. Neither John nor Suzyn chose to respond to my letter in 2012 regarding the non-stop, irritating, in-play advertising that takes the spirit out of exciting plays. I expressed my sympathy for their having to read these blizzards of ads that interrupt their peak narrative. Such as “Judge’s homerun is brought to you by Kia,” or “this consultation at the mound brought to you” by some law firm. Yeah, sure.

There was no in-play commercial corrosion when their famous predecessor, Mel Allen, used to call the Yankee games on radio. Ballantine Ale, a major sponsor, was promoted only between innings.

In my letter to the heads of the Yankees and Major League Baseball, including former Yankee manager, Joe Torre, I included a detailed listing of these interruptive in-play ads for one whole ball game. Maddening. Why would advertisers want to turn off so many fans?

None of my letters were accorded a response, or even a courteous acknowledgement. (The Times did briefly write up this story).

The Yankee baseball corporation, a corporate welfare king by virtue of its stadium and other tax breaks has been, alas, both censorious and very sensitive to criticism. Recently, John and Suzyn interviewed New York Times sports reporter Bob Klapisch during a ball game. Klapisch is the author of the recently released book Inside the Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees. It seemed to be a friendly narrative.

All three were gushing about the genius of long-time Yankee manager Brian Cashman for his brilliant trades that have led to the Yankee’s first place standing in their Division, despite a dozen or more injuries to their starters. Unmentioned were the disastrous and very expensive trades over many years that turned out to be bad deals – getting over-the-hill stars, for instance, by trading away their talented young farm team players plus gobs of cash from Cashman.

For over a decade, Cashman wrecked the celebrated Yankee minor league farm teams that had brought forth the great players like Yogi Berra and Derek Jeter, who won more World Series than any other team. Year after year, under Cashman, the Yankees’ registered failure after failure, despite their superior cash hoard, due mostly to “bad deals” Brian. The one silver lining is that he has proven to both fans and major league baseball that the biggest treasury no longer gets the biggest victories. That was always the “knock” on the Yankees of yore from historic rivals like the Boston Red Sox, still smarting over the sale in 1920 of the great young pitcher – hitter, Babe Ruth to build the dreaded “Bronx Bombers.”

Friends often joke about my rooting for the New York Yankee imperialists– especially during the long period of corporate ownership by loud George Steinbrenner, a jolting, edgy personality whom Donald J. Trump must have studied carefully.

My response: there are some loyalties absorbed by four year old boys that never go away.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
Michael Hudson – Bonnie Faulkner
De-Dollarizing the American Financial Empire
Kathy Kelly
Remnants of War
B. Nimri Aziz
The Power of Our Human Voice: From Marconi to Woods Hole
Elliot Sperber
Christianity Demands a Corpse 
Weekend Edition
July 12, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement
T.J. Coles
“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule
Rob Urie
Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution
Gregory Elich
How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?
Jason Hirthler
The Journalists Do The Shouting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi
Andrew Levine
The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms
David Swanson
Earth Over the Brink
Ron Jacobs
Presidential Papers
Robert Hunziker
The Flawed Food Dependency
Dave Lindorff
Defeating the Trump Administration’s Racist, Republican-Rescuing Census Corruption
Martha Rosenberg
Pathologizing Kids, Pharma Style
Kathleen Wallace
Too Horrible to Understand, Too Horrible to Ignore
Ralph Nader
An Unsurpassable Sterling Record of Stamina!
Paul Tritschler
Restricted View: the British Legacy of Eugenics
John Feffer
Trump’s Bluster Diplomacy
Thomas Knapp
Did Jeffrey Epstein “Belong to Intelligence?”
Nicholas Buccola
Colin Kaepernick, Ted Cruz, Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of Patriotism
P. Sainath
It’s Raining Sand in Rayalaseema
Charles Davis
Donald Trump’s Fake Isolationism
Michael Lukas
Delisting Wolves and the Impending Wolf Slaughter
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Shaking Off Capitalism for Ecological Civilization
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail