Yankees, Red Sox broadcasters talk rivalry
Castiglione, Sterling and Waldman preview 2018 season
NEW YORK -- The timeless rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees warmed the Hot Stove on Thursday evening, with two hours of baseball discussion between broadcasting legends Joe Castiglione, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, simulcast on WEEI in Boston and WFAN in New York.
The trio gathered in front of an audience at the RiverSpring Health facility in Riverdale, N.Y., less than five miles from Yankee Stadium, building anticipation for what should be a memorable season for both teams.
"These kinds of events are so exciting, because any time you want to talk Yankees and Red Sox, you're always going to get a crowd," Waldman said. "The great thing about Yankees and Red Sox fans is, they remember everything."
The program featured a call-in appearance by former Major League outfielder Johnny Damon, who won championships with both the Red Sox (2004) and the Yankees (2009). Damon revealed that he continues to wear both World Series rings proudly.
"I'm one of the only ones who can do it, so I might as well show them off," Damon said. "I played for many great teams, but the Red Sox and the Yankees, that was definitely the highlight of my career."
Boston took the American League East with 93 victories last year, while the Wild Card-winning Yankees finished one win from the World Series. In one exchange, the panel debated the strengths and weaknesses of the teams they cover, both of which will be piloted by new managers in 2018 -- Alex Cora for the Red Sox and Aaron Boone for the Yankees.
"This is the end of the big personality running everything," Sterling said. "There's no more Billy Martin, Ralph Houk, Leo Durocher, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. They're hiring people as middle management to work with upper management. They have to pay attention to the metrics, the analytics. It's very different."
Castiglione noted concerns about Boston's power, part of the reason that the Red Sox are reported to have serious interest in outfielder/designated hitter J.D. Martinez.
"The Red Sox will hit for average, they will score, they will run the bases," Castiglione said. "But they were last in home runs in the American League. That's most unusual. … You'd hate to break up that outfield [with Martinez]. It's the best defensive outfield I've ever seen."
Sterling championed the idea of adding another starting pitcher as insurance for the Yankees' staff, while Sterling and Waldman agreed that they hope to see top prospect Gleyber Torres receive a legitimate chance to win a starting infield job this spring.
"All you have to do is look at their roster to know that they have a terrific team," Sterling said. "Tremendous power and pretty good starting pitching, and I think the best bullpen in baseball. The combination of power and the bullpen, there isn't any reason that the Yankees shouldn't fight for first place this year."
Sterling added that he has decided on his home run call for Giancarlo Stanton, but is opting to save it until the regular season.
"I think people will find it unusual," Sterling said.
The next time that the Red Sox and Yankees go head-to-head, it will be on the playing field in Spring Training -- March 3 in Fort Myers, Fla., again on March 23 in Tampa, Fla., then 19 more times in the regular season when the games count for real.
"The world is a better place when there's a Yankees-Red Sox summer," Waldman said.