Last Updated on September 15, 2023 at 8:38 am by Sara Molnick
In their place, Justin Shackil, aged 36, and Emmanuel Berbari, who just turned 24, will step in to cover the game at PNC Park. This will be the first instance since 1989 that neither Sterling nor Waldman will be providing commentary for a Yankees game. John Sterling began his Yankees broadcasting career in 1989, while Suzyn Waldman joined the booth in 2005. Shackil is serving as Sterling’s official backup for the current season, while Berbari has been involved in pre and post-game coverage for the Yankees.
Excitement over new faces in Yankees booth
Sterling, aged 85, has been cutting back on road games this season. However, if the Yankees were still in contention, he likely would have traveled to PNC Park. Waldman, aged 77, is taking time off for Rosh Hashanah, which begins Friday evening.
Both Sterling and Waldman are scheduled to return next week and are expected to be back for the next season as well.
This weekend is noteworthy because it marks the first occasion since 1989, a decade before Berbari was born, that neither Sterling nor Waldman will be providing commentary for a Yankees game. Sterling began his tenure with the Yankees in 1989, while Waldman joined him in 2005.
“Excited would be understatement,” Berbari admitted. “It means everything to me. My passion for broadcasting began listening to and watching Yankee games. When I realized I had just as much interest in how the game was called as the game itself, I knew it’s exactly what I wanted to do.”
Youth revolution in Yankees booth
Shackil, in his first season as Sterling’s official backup, has gained recognition for his detailed and straightforward play-by-play commentary. Berbari, following Sweeny Murti’s departure from FAN, has been involved in the Yankees’ pre-and post-game coverage.
About a decade ago, after his freshman year of high school, Berbari started honing his craft at a sportscasting camp at Chaminade High School, led by former Post sportswriter Pat Reichart, who has served as a mentor to Berbari. The young radio host graduated from Fordham in 2021, and this weekend, he will be in the commentator’s seat for the Yankees’ games.
Berbari expressed his excitement about the opportunity, noting that “excited” would be an understatement. He explained that his passion for broadcasting began by listening to and watching Yankee games. When he recognized that he had just as much interest in how the game was called as the game itself, he knew that broadcasting was exactly what he wanted to pursue.
Berbari expressed his deep appreciation for the opportunity to fill in for Sterling and Waldman, describing it as an “incredible privilege.” He lauded both Sterling and Waldman as outstanding mentors who have had a significant impact on his career. Shackil, who is 36 years old, also plays a mentoring role for Berbari. It’s worth noting that Berbari, at 24, is considerably younger than Shackil, who graduated from Fordham in 2009 when Berbari was just 10 years old.
Shackil mentioned that Emmanuel had been sending him his play-by-play work for critiques since he was a college freshman. Shackil emphasized that he had never witnessed another young broadcaster who could seamlessly incorporate constructive criticism into his work as swiftly as Emmanuel. He commended Emmanuel for his persistent, ambitious drive, and intelligence, which had always been evident.
Berbari added that sharing the booth with him makes the experience even cooler.
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