Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling.

Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling. Credit: Jim McIsaac

John Sterling rarely ventures outside the Northeast for road trips these days, but the Yankees' radio announcer plans to make a big exception later this month.

Sterling is scheduled to call the Yankees’ first two series, in distant Houston and Arizona, Newsday has learned.

“Did you think that John Sterling was going to miss Opening Day?” Chris Oliviero, market president for Audacy’s New York stations, including WFAN, said with a smile.

He will not, but after that Sterling, 85, will focus on home games and short road trips, with Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari filling in opposite Suzyn Waldman for longer ones.

Sterling still loves doing games, but he no longer loves travel, and part of the idea is to extend his career by limiting arduous trips.

Howie Rose, 70, the Mets’ lead radio announcer, has adopted a similar strategy at WCBS-AM — another Audacy property overseen by Oliviero — limiting himself to 101 games this season, only 20 on the road.

Rose had surgery and treatment for bladder cancer in 2021.

“In deference to the difficulties inherent in traveling now, and my desire to keep going for at least the near term,” Rose told Newsday last week, “everybody's been just great in pretty much letting me plot my own schedule out.”

Said Oliviero: “If this is a way that Howie Rose and John Sterling will continue longer in their positions, almost like a pitch-count analogy, I'm all in favor of that.”

There were rumblings last decade that WFAN might be ready to move on from Sterling and Waldman, 77, but the pair seems to have outlasted many of its critics and become more of an institution than ever.

Oliviero said Sterling’s “pipes sound spectacular” after all these decades. He is not interested in making a change in the booth until he has to.

“I want them to do games for as long as possible,” he said of Sterling and Waldman. “They both know how I feel about them, personally and professionally. I'm glad that that (critical) noise has been tamped down.

“If I've helped play any role in tamping that down the last four years, I'm happy about that, because I'm not looking for them to slow down. But we all recognize reality, and at some point, my phone's going to ring and it's going to be John and he's going to be like, ‘No mas; I'm done.’ ”

Before that day, Oliviero wishes for another big moment for Sterling. “I hope John gets another World Series,” he said. “That’s what I would like.”

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