Are John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman nearing the end of their run as the voice of the Yankees?

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The Daily News reminds us that the Yankees contract with WCBS-AM expires at the end of the 2011 season, so with it so do the contracts of radio voiced John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Moreover, there has not been any serious negotiation between the Yankees and WCBS yet, and other stations are reportedly interested in getting into the Yankees’ broadcasting business.  If they do, it could mean the end of thhhhhhheeeeee line for Sterling and Waldman.

Thankfully I don’t have to listen to Sterling and Waldman very often, but I am interested in this for one angle: the Daily News says that a potential suitor for the Yankees games is the New York ESPN affiliate 1050 AM. Their signal is apparently far weaker than WCBS’s.  One would think that the Yankees wouldn’t be interested in a deal that would lead to fewer viewers being able to hear the games, but if ESPN outbids WCBS, why wouldn’t they take the money? At that point the financial risk of lower ratings is on the station.  We saw this dynamic play out with the Cardinals recently who, a few years ago left high-powered KMOX for a richer deal on another station that, it turns out, reached far fewer ears.  The Cards have just rectified this by announcing a return to KMOX next year. The Tigers spent forever on WJR in Detroit — you could hear that signal all the way to North Carolina at night — but that ended years ago, and now you can’t follow them nearly as far outside of their local market as you used to be able to.

Who knows what will happen with the Yankees, but based on what I hear from folks about Sterling and Waldman, Yankees fans may not mind trading away a little broadcast range.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.