I can’t remember the year, and frankly, it’s not important enough to this article for me to research it, but it was a while back. I was at Yankee Stadium for my first game of the season and it was time for “Yankee Fan Trivia” up on the big screen in center field. I looked up, saw an unfamiliar face engaging the fans, and immediately asked myself, “what happened to Ryan Ruocco?”
I know I go to a lot of games, but who the hell remembers the first and last name of the guy that gives away lifetime supplies of Poland Spring water to fans answering trivia? I did. A lot of people did. And for a good reason.
Ryan Ruocco has quickly made a name for himself in the broadcast booth after breaking in with the Brooklyn Nets in 2011. A little more than 4 years ago, in June of 2015, Ruocco called his first Yankees’ game in a series against the Houston Astros, where his enthusiasm and charisma would carry him to what some would call the biggest honor of his career, filling in for the voice of the New York Yankees, John Sterling. After covering the Subway Series on television last night, former Yankees’ pitcher, Phil Hughes, showed Ruocco a little love, tweeting, “Ryan Ruocco should be calling MLB games full time somewhere” – I agree Phil, I agree.
Today will mark the first time, since the start of the 1989 season, that Yankees’ fans enjoying the game on the radio won’t hear the iconic voice of John Sterling. After a trip across the pond to call the London Series, Sterling felt it was time to “break the streak” and refuel the tank, missing his first Yankee game in 30 years. Ryan Ruocco will join Suzyn Waldman in the booth to fill the shoes of a man who has called over 4,800 consecutive regular season games.
When I asked Ruocco what this day meant to him, he replied, “It’s a ridiculous honor to pinch-hit for John this weekend. He is a LEGEND who I, myself, grew up listening to and admiring. His streak of consecutive games is absolutely mind-blowing, and he’s obviously earned himself a little rest. I’m happy to step in & give him a breather so that he’s back ready to do his thing after the All-Star break. It’ll be a special experience to work with Suzyn and call Yankee baseball on the radio.”
As sad as I am that Sterling will be missing the first games of his career, I’m extremely excited for Ruocco to showcase his talents to the fans who listen in. My only question, how will Suzyn open the game?
“And as [insert player name here] steps up to the plate, stepping up to the microphone is…”
Follow Chris on twitter: @ChrisJr_NYYST
Follow NYY Sports Talk on twitter: @NYYSportsTalk
Subsribe to the NYYST Podcast