YES Network Fails Yankees Fans and John Sterling

The Yankees' own network snubbed John Sterling during his farewell news conference.
Longtime Yankees announcer John Sterling is honored during a press conference.
Longtime Yankees announcer John Sterling is honored during a press conference. / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

1. Saturday morning I was running around doing some of the typical weekend nonsense. I had extra pep in my step and was in high gear the entire time because I wanted to get home in time to watch John Sterling's news conference before John Sterling Day at Yankee Stadium.

The legendary New York Yankees radio broadcaster announced last week that he was retiring, effective immediately. The team then announced that they would have a day to honor Sterling on Saturday and that he would address his decision to retire with the media before the ceremony.

So I raced home and was able to flip on the YES Network, which had been promoting full coverage of John Sterling Day over the past few days, at 11:30 a.m. to watch the 85-year-old New York icon speak at his news conference.

There was only one problem. The YES Network was showing Bob Lorenz, John Flaherty and Dave Valle (who I had no idea was even part of the YES Network since, for some unknown reason, YES employs about 8 billion analysts for Yankees coverage).

I thought maybe the news conference was starting late because those things happen. But the studio crew wasn't giving any updates. So I told my Alexa to play WFAN, the radio home of the Yankees.

BAM! The news conference was going on and Sterling was taking and answering questions.

Meanwhile, as that was going on, the YES Network had the studio crew breaking down the Yankees' game against the Rays from the night before.

Just an amazingly bad decision and awful piece of programming.

Sterling's retirement was HUGE news in New York all week. This was the first time he was meeting with the media since making the announcement and the Yankees network decided not to show the news conference.

He was the team's radio voice for 36 years and the YES Network somehow thought people wanted a breakdown of a meaningless regular-season game.

YES would later show snippets of the news conference, but it was too little, too late. It needed to be shown live and in its entirety.

Not airing it was an awful decision. It was a slap in the face to Yankees fans. And it was a disservice to Sterling.

On a total side note, I saw a lot of people rip the Yankees because they gave Sterling an 83-inch TV as a retirement gift during his ceremony. I'm giving the Yankees a pass here. Sterling had told me and others last week that his plan in retirement was to watch every Yankees and Mets game, every game on ESPN, Turner and MLB Network and every NHL and NBA playoff game. So there's nothing wrong with the Yankees gifting him a big television.

2. What a disastrous weekend for the NBA. Eight playoff games and five were completely noncompetitive. The home team won all eight games, Only two games were decided by single digits. The first round really should be best of five.

  • Magic-Cavaliers (83-97): Unwatchable
  • Timberwolves-Suns (95-120): Unwatchable
  • 76ers-Knicks (104-111): Good game
  • Lakers-Nuggets (103-114): OK game
  • Heat-Celtics (94-114): Unwatchable
  • Clippers-Mavericks (97-109): Unwatchable
  • Bucks-Pacers (94-109): Unwatchable
  • Pelicans-Thunder (92-94): Good game

3. After a 35-point effort in which he led the Bucks to a blowout win against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, Milwaukee star Damian Lillard explained that it was good to be back in the playoffs and that he wan't up for another experience at Coachella.

“Last two years not being in the playoffs, it sucked," Lillard said in his postgame news conference. "Early vacations. Last year, I went to Coachella. I ain’t ever been able to go to Coachella playing in the playoffs every year. So just having that long summer, it was like, man, I was over that.”

4. For those of you who miss having Good Morning Football around every morning after the show was put on hiatus, a version of the show will be brought back later this week for the NFL Draft and will air Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

5. Jerry Seinfeld expressed his love for the Mets television booth of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling in a new interview with GQ.

GQ: Here we are in baseball season. My question for you, as a fellow Mets fan, is how do fans of other teams live with announcing teams so inferior to Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez?

Seinfeld: I have no idea. I couldn’t watch it. They spoil you for everybody else. There are some others that I like, but nothing beats Gary, Keith, and Ron. And it really is Gary. He brings it on another level.

GQ: Here’s a thought experiment: What if you had to choose between winning the World Series but losing Gary, Keith, and Ron? I’m glad that nobody has given me that power to decide. Because I’m with them 130 nights a year; it would be only one night that we won the Series.

Seinfeld: That is fantastic. But what you forget is how every other day you’re not going to feel good, depending on whether they won or lost the night before. Somebody asked me the other night: Would I trade my comedy career for playing 10 years on the Mets and we win the World Series and I go to the Hall of Fame. And I said no, because 10 years is still too short. The thing about Gary, Keith, and Ron is, there are few people in life that seem happy doing what they’re doing. These guys go to the park every day and they’re happy to be there. And I think that adds an undercurrent of relief. It’s a relief to be around people who are happy doing what they’re doing. Maybe that’s another reason people go to see comedians. I’m not trying to be anything else. When I walked into a comedy club the very first time, I was probably 18, that was the first time as a human on earth that I felt like, Oh, I’m home.

6. In case you missed it, we released two SI Media Podcasts last week.

On Friday, a new episode with ESPN's Malika Andrews dropped.

Earlier in the week, we had the first extensive interview with WWE's Cody Rhodes after he won the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania.

You can listen to each podcast by clicking into the tweets above. You can also listen on Apple and Spotify.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Old-school NBA playoff intros, voiced by the great Marv Albert, were the absolute best.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on X, Instagram and TikTok


Published
Jimmy Traina

JIMMY TRAINA

Jimmy Traina is a media writer and podcast host for Sports Illustrated. A 20-year veteran, he’s been covering the media industry for seven years and writes a weekly column at SI, Traina Thoughts. Jimmy has hosted the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast since 2018, a show known for interviews with some of the most important and powerful people in sports media. He also was the creator and writer for SI’s Hot Clicks feature from 2007 to 2013.