John Sterling has not missed calling a Yankees game on radio in 30 years, but the streak is in severe jeopardy because of a happy occasion: The scheduled graduation of his triplets from a Rockland County high school on June 26.
The Yankees play the Blue Jays that afternoon and the ceremony is in early evening, but if the logistics prove unworkable, Sterling plans to skip the game without hesitation.
“There’s no issue,” he said before Sunday’s game against the Orioles. “There’s no other priority. I’m going to my kids’ graduation . . . I think I’ve earned it.”
Sterling said he was not yet sure of the specifics of that day’s schedule, but he long has been aware of a potential conflict.
He was prepared to miss a game in 2016, but his older daughter’s high school graduation fell on an off day during a homestand. (She now is a student at Syracuse University.)
Rickie Ricardo, who does Spanish-language Yankees radio play-by-play, is slated to fill in for Sterling alongside Suzyn Waldman if needed.
Sterling, 80, has called Yankees games since 1989. Late that season he missed two games to attend the funeral of his sister, but he has not missed one since.
“No one would question my missing [the graduation], so I don’t even think about it,” he said. “I’m going.”
Sterling, who is known for his trademark home runs calls, unveiled one for Troy Tulowitzki on Saturday, saying, “Tulo-hitzki, the Man of Troy!”
“One day it hit me: I wonder what I’ll say?” Sterling said. “’Tulo-hitzki!’ I like it. You’ll probably see that in one of the newspapers [as a headline] when he hits a big home run during the year.
“And then I said, ‘Man of Troy!’ YES [Network] has a producer named Troy Benjamin, and I always call him ‘The Man of Troy.’ ”