Venerable Yankees radio announcer John Sterling is just like the rest of us right now. He’s home, he misses sports and he’s doing what he can to protect his health.
“Like the rest of the population,” Sterling said on Monday morning by phone, “I’m trying to stay away from the virus.”
Sterling, believed to be 81 years old, returned to his Edgewater, New Jersey, home on Friday after Major League Baseball postponed the start of the baseball season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sterling has called Yankees games since 1989, so he’s not used to being in the metropolitan area this time of year. Usually he's in Florida getting his voice in line for the season. And he’s certainly not used to having no sports to watch on television.
So he knows how sports fans must feel right now. He's one of them.
“Let me tell you, in my bedroom I have two big screens against the wall and generally, I might watch one of my movies or mysteries with the sound on one set and then I always have sports on the other set with the sound turned down,” Sterling said. “Well, now I have no sports to put on. Nothing.”
Sterling said he plans to get through this forced downtime by reading, watching movies and listening to music. He doesn’t like that he can’t go out to dinner, but he added that he understands the rationale behind the new limitations on social gatherings.
He hopes everyone follows suit.
“To simplify it, you’re only in trouble if you come in contact with someone who has the virus,” he said. “But the question is, the problem is, how do you know who has the virus?”
So, like everyone else, Sterling waits for the day when baseball will return, and he can be behind the microphone again showing off his new home run calls.
“My message would be wait, relax and be well, and hopefully this thing will quiet down," he said.