Connecting with people can be a challenge in today’s world of technology and statistics. It’s not without certain benefits, and none of us will ever forget what we were collectively able to accomplish during the pandemic because of it. Personally, I was able to continue building my speaking business despite sweeping lockdowns and social distancing requirements. Then (and even still today), my podcast was produced virtually, opening up unbelievable guest potential, and the opportunity for them to join from the comfort of wherever in the world they may be.
But with so much focus on facts, the rich details that make stories worth listening to can also be lost. And no matter how accurate or impressive the statistics themselves are, they lack a human element. I’ve said before that I consider myself to be a storyteller first and foremost. And as one, it’s my job to share the details in a way that metrics alone simply cannot. It’s what connecting with people is all about, and is the thread unites us. There was much to be said about it when an icon of the airwaves joined me, virtually of course, on a recent episode of Rounding the Bases.
She’s the trailblazing pioneer with a Boston accent who built a home – and a legacy – in the Bronx. She walked away from the bright lights of Broadway to make a different kind of mark for herself in the male-dominated world of sports. Now nearly four decades later and against most odds, she’s changed baseball’s broadcast game for women and men everywhere.
Her name is Suzyn Waldman, the National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee and legendary Yankee’s color commentator who overcame sexism, discrimination and critique sometimes with grace, but always with grit. In doing so, she succeeded when many thought she wouldn’t, and became a stalwart of the game as deeply woven into pinstripe lore as the hard-hitting legends who came before her.
SINGLE: Heart of the Game
Suzyn Waldman holds no batting records and boasts no championships. But she has witnessed plenty of them, as well as bench-clearing fights, bitter rivalries and so many of the other moments that make baseball America’s pastime. And even though she never was a ballplayer, she captivates audiences just the same, using the stories of all the ballplayers she has watched.
Sharing them is what makes connecting with people so natural for her. What’s more is that she does it in a way no one else can. Susan asked me, “Why do we want a team to win?” The plays are important and so are the stats. But years from now, people won’t remember that they played a pretty good game and won 4 to 2. “It’s the people. The human beings,” she said. “That’s what people remember. That’s what’s important.”
It echoes a different discussion that I had with my friend and fellow broadcaster Jason Benetti, voice of the Chicago White Sox. We talked about the challenges of connecting with people during the pandemic when interviews were conducted virtually in a group. He said to me, “We all became the same. We all became 30 people doing play by play in largely the same way. And in a world that needs colors and hues and shading we had none of that. We were all stick figures.” You can read about his interview here.
DOUBLE: From Broadway to Baseball
Growing up in Boston, Suzyn never dreamt of breaking baseball’s glass ceiling. Thanks to her grandfather’s season tickets, she was a regular at Fenway Park from the time she was three. But even though she loved the game, working under stadium lights never crossed her mind because there simply were no females doing it. Instead, her sights were firmly set on a different kind of lights. “I was always going to do Broadway,” she shared. “That was it.” The triple threat chased her dream all the way to New York, where she succeeded in making a career on the stage.
Throughout the 70s, she was also a regular at Yankee games, but this time around, she was singing the National Anthem. There were no hopes of exposure or being on television. She only wanted to sing and go to the game. So when Broadway song and dance styles began to change, she decided to do the same. Not by confirming to the new normal, but by transitioning to a new kind of work. “I never became a star. I never became what I wanted to be,” Suzyn told me. “And the only other things I knew were sports.” Once again she chased her dream, but this time, it was to a history making place in the Yankee Stadium media box.
TRIPLE: Gender (In)Equality
Major League Baseball saw its first female announcer when Suzyn Waldman showed up in 1992. But this time it wasn’t to sing, it was to work. For those who are counting, it’s been thirty years since that groundbreaking day. Yet still, Suzyn is the only woman in the League who does or has called play-by-play on a full-time basis. “It’s changed, but it hasn’t changed enough,” she said.
The disproportionate number of women in baseball doesn’t indicate a lack of interest. The minor leagues have several women doing color commentary. The the Big Leagues also have a handful of very talented women, but not a single one is a fixture like Suzyn. “I still see women put into boxes,” she told me. She then continued, “And as long as they stay in their little boxes, they’re absolutely fine.” Unfortunately, inside of the proverbial box is not an acceptable place for women, in baseball or otherwise. And when it comes to gender equality, there’s still a long way to go.
“The goal is not to get there. The goal is to get there, make an impact, keep growing and be allowed to grow,” she explained. Given the opportunity, there are plenty of women who just want to be a part of the game they love, and connect with other people who do too.
HOME RUN: For Love of The Game
Suzyn grew up in the 1950s when society and tradition determined that men were best suited to call baseball play-by-play. It just wasn’t something women did. But since taking her seat in the box, three generations of girls have grown up to pursue careers of their own. Some maybe even in sports broadcasting. And she is finally recognizing the role she played in shaping them.
“It wasn’t until I was middle aged that I found out I wasn’t supposed to be doing this,” she told me. Throughout her career, there were people who didn’t like her or who didn’t like women in baseball. And though they tried, Suzyn decided early on that no matter what, she would not allow herself to be pushed out. A decision that has served as a constant reminder to baseball-loving girls everywhere that there is a place for them in the great game of baseball.
Learn More About Connecting With People From Joel
Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.
Joel Goldberg 0:00
Welcome into Rounding the Bases, the podcast about culture and leadership with a baseball twist presented by Community America Credit Union: Believe in Unbelievable. I always say it’s the podcast about culture and leadership with a baseball twist today more of a baseball twist and for good reason because my guest has been living in the baseball world for a very long, successful career. A quick shout out to my friends at Chief of Staff Kansas City, they are placing people locally and across the nation, making connections that matter ChiefofStaffkc.com But I want to get to my guest here right now who is busy with the grind of a baseball season and it really is a grind. So I’m joined today by an icon on the airwaves but someone that I just think is one of the nicest people that I know when we crisscross the country and get a chance to see the Yankees. She’s the trailblazing pioneer with a Boston accent at times who built a home and a legacy in the Bronx. She walked away from the bright lights of Broadway to make a different type of mark for herself in the male dominated world of sports. Now nearly four decades later, and against a lot of odds, she’s changed baseball’s broadcast game for women and men everywhere. Her name, if you don’t know is Suzyn Waldman, the National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee and legendary Yankees broadcaster who has overcome sexism, discrimination, and critique sometimes with grace, always with grit. In doing so she succeeded when many thought she wouldn’t and became a stalwart of the game as deeply woven into the lore of Yankee pinstripes as the hard hitting legends who came before her. And will come afterwards. It’s a a way for me to welcome into the podcast, someone that I really believe is friends with just about everybody in the baseball world, because I watch, she knows truly everyone. And as we’re talking right now, Suzyn Waldman is with the Yankees in Seattle. By the time this runs, she’ll be wherever else the Yankees are at. Suzyn, how are you?
Suzyn Waldman 1:57
I’m great. I’m listening to that. I want to get a recording of that intro and I want to play it for people anytime I get another blast from some critics anywhere.
Joel Goldberg 2:08
Well, you know, they’re always critics. And you have, well maybe not always been able to silence them. You can only do what you can do. But I just, you know, I’ve watched when we play over the years, it’s my 15th season with the Royals, just how you connect with everyone and have this unbelievable energy that to me goes beyond baseball, but truly a love of the game and storytelling and people. I think the game has always been about people. I mean, if you look at the Yankees legends, the stories that are told it was about people that’s still in this day and age of technology and sabermetrics and stats. That’s still the common thread, isn’t it, Suzyn, telling the stories about people? We’re still interested in that, aren’t we?
Suzyn Waldman 2:49
Well, I hope we are because that’s what I do. I mean, I know that I’m not a player. And I know that what I bring to the table is the stories and you know, when people want to hear those, if we lose the stories, all we have is computer games out there. And you have to remember why do we care for people? Why do we want a team to win? How many people do you know that can tell you the stories of, of Whitey Herzog and the, and the World Series, and the, and the stories with the Yankee Kansas City Games, and the fight on the field and all of that? That’s what people remember, 40 years ago. That’s what’s important. And if it’s just , yeah, they won 4 to 2 And it was a pretty good game. No that, that isn’t what keeps it going. It’s the people, the the rivalries, the human beings.
Joel Goldberg 3:38
That just gives me so much. I mean, I know how much that you prepare, and you work at this. But we can all any one of us can, can look up the stats. I mean, I’ll often times I mean, you’ve had this probably a million times as well, you have you know, a friend or someone you meet, they said my son knows every single stat. While I was like that as a kid too. But it typically those kids, my son, his friends, they all admitted, they may know more of those stats than me, that’s fine. I know how to look them up, I’ll get what I need. It’s finding the stories. I was just talking to one of our players downstairs, as you and I are recording this. I’m at the ballpark, you’re out west. And you’ll be there later tonight. And I just started talking to a young second baseman that just made his debut for us a couple of weeks ago. And just just picking his brain on how he’s doing, what what the adjustments have been like, if it’s feeling more normal. And suddenly it turns into him telling me that he journals every single day as a way of jotting his thoughts down and learning from them. And then and then moving on to the next day. And I thought you can’t see that in the stat right. I mean that, for me at least and you’ve been doing this longer. That’s the joy of going and talking to these players and the trainers and everybody every day is that you never know what you’re going to uncover the stories of it.
Suzyn Waldman 4:50
Well, there’s that’s a perfect example and I’ll give you a couple more but my my whole feeling is that what I try and do is give the fans something that they can Not get from reading the paper, they cannot get from watching it on TV, they can only get it because I have had an impact with these players. Here’s a perfect example. When we were in St. Louis, which we just we just finished now, Matt Carpenter had about the most emotional return I’ve ever seen in my life. And that was you could see it on television, what they didn’t know when what I brought out on postgame last night, because he broke his foot and is probably out for the season. And it was just, it’s devastating. But what people didn’t know was that his mother and father were there, that his wife and his sister and his two kids were there, that the St. Louis Cardinals gave his little daughter flowers, and it makes it more human. I had a talk with his dad in the hallway, and talking to him about how proud he must be of his son. Those kinds of things are important to me, because people are not going to remember that Matt Carpenter broke his foot in five years, but they will remember if they heard the story of me talking about his little daughter holding flowers. And what this must do to the family, the greatest return a guy who worked his tail off to get back to the major leagues, and two months before the season is over, takes a foul ball off his foot. And he’s probably done for the season. Those things you remember, the things that go to your heart, and go to your emotions, the fact that he isn’t going to be here is one thing. But when you put it in the context of his family, everybody can relate to that.
Joel Goldberg 6:34
There’s no doubt about it. And it, it’s the emotion of everything. It has nothing to do with balls and strikes. Although we know the amount of work these guys put in and that’s all I think that’s the privilege of all this, at least for me is, is being able to bring to light what you said people don’t know and that we’re the lucky ones that get to see it every single day. In your case, you’re seeing it on the biggest stage in New York Yankee Stadium. But I love the journey because as it’s been chronicled many, many times that that you came from a totally different background. You’ve been doing it obviously a long time. But from Broadway to the big leagues, I know it’s not quite that simple. What were the dreams when you were growing up as a young girl?
Suzyn Waldman 7:16
Oh, all they, all they were of being on Broadway and singing and acting and, and dancing. And that was it. I did have my own season ticket or I thought it was my own season ticket. As I grew older, I realized my grandfather had them in another way. But I had my own season ticket or so I thought from the age of three at Fenway Park, you never thought about doing this for a living because there was nothing for females. I was always gonna go to Broadway. My, my problem was that the music was changing as I and I worked a lot, I never became a star. I never became what I wanted to be. But I worked constantly. And as the music was changing, and I wasn’t changing with it, I figured I’d better find something else to do. And I didn’t want to be somebody’s mother for the rest of my life on on stage or to be the queen of revivals. And the only other things I knew were sports, I was always around it. And as a matter of fact, the I always sang the national anthem in the 70s anyplace we were. It wasn’t because I realized we’re gonna get on television. I just wanted to go to the ballgame wherever I was. And that was the way to do it for free. And back then Joel, nobody realized it was a way to have people listen to you. Everybody now wants to get on television. I didn’t care. I just wanted to go to the ballgame. And I started meeting people. I was always around baseball. My one of my best friends in the world was the late Ken Coleman, who was the broadcaster for the Red Sox for forever. And I knew those people. I’ve known them since the 60s, I, that 67 team. We all knew each other because I sat down there and it was it was just a natural all this seems like a good idea at the time. Ken Coleman actually was the man who introduced me to the man who was putting together WFAM said you got to meet this woman. She knows more about sports than anyone I know. I gotta tell you though, I made a tape, didn’t know what I was doing, put it on his desk, got the job. And I was supposed to do updates. I had no idea what those words but I learned really quickly in the first day. I heard one of the owners of WFAM say get that smart aleck bleep off my air and afternoon drive the one with the Boston accent get her off. And Jim Lampley was the host that day. It was the first day and I looked up and he said just keep going. And that’s what I did. From that second on though Joel it became something else because I realized and I was already 39 When I got that job. So I my whole life. I was middle aged when I realized that nobody wanted women around in sports. And then it became No no, no, you’re not going to tell me what to do. Listen, I made it through 20 years of theater that I I could do anything if I did that, by the way. sports broadcasting makes theater look like nursery school.
Joel Goldberg 10:01
You know, I was going to ask you that and, and I’ll bring it up in this way because and I know nothing about the theater world, I do have a theater child, I’m amazed at 17 years old that she can get onstage and do what she does singing, and she’s more singer than dancer more performer. But she never gets nervous with that kind of stuff. Of course, I never get nervous getting on television, either. It just it feels natural. I couldn’t get on stage. But I know there’s some similarities and differences. And I was thinking about this because a few years back, we have a diehard Royals fan that is on the show Chicago Fire, which is recorded in Chicago when it comes to every game. Or sometimes he gets there the eighth or ninth inning because they were recording late. I’m like, dude, just go back to your place and go to bed. But no he’s got to come there and just see one inning of his team. It’s a really cool thing. And so he took me on set with him one day, and he kept telling all these actors, they do it in one take, they do it live. They don’t do all this stuff. And they were all shocked by that. And I thought, like, that’s just what we do. It’s not that difficult. I mean, I get it, we have one take usually, and they’re trying to do it a million times and get it right now I know that’s a little bit different than theater. But what is totally different than theater. Right? But, and I don’t even know how theater people do the same thing every single night over and over again, sometimes twice in a day. I don’t get that at all. But what makes broadcasting either more difficult or unique versus theater?
Suzyn Waldman 11:29
It doesn’t. And I’ll answer all those questions you’re gonna ask you just said right now, the reason it never gets old. And the reason you can do eight shows a week is because you are a different person every single day. And it doesn’t matter that you’re saying the same lines, you have a different audience, you have different feedback, maybe the guy that you’re talking to, had a fight with his wife. So you have to react to that. It’s it’s the world you get up every day. And it’s never the same, or it shouldn’t be the same. And all it is is in your mind. And so it never gets boring, because every audience is different. Every performance is absolutely different. I did for example, Man of La Manch off and on for 12 years, it was never the same. Different people, different shows different. It’s very, very similar to a baseball game, except you don’t know the ending. Here’s the thing that I think about theater and why maybe I can talk to athletes differently. We are both performers. And I know what it is to fail in front of 1000s. And when I sang the national anthem in the in World Series, millions of people you know what that is? They they’re doing the same thing I used to say to Wade Boggs. What asked me this. And I said, the same thing that puts a bat in Wade Boggs his hand is the same thing that makes Suzyn Waldman stand in the middle of a field and sing the national anthem. And there are millions of people listening, it’s the same person, different stage. And by the way, when I first started in this business, I would make sure that I would sing the national anthem with folks in front of the Knicks and in front of the Yankees, every single year. So they would know that I was, quote, unquote, one of them, it changes everything. And it really does. And the other thing is that when I asked a question, I’m not accusatory, I want to know, and that’s what you do. So well, you’re not, you never get an answer. Well, what would you do and the heck with you, because you’re asking a question. And that is because you are a performer, you might not know it, but you’re a performer, even though what you’re doing, and that’s what makes it special. I can ask, for example, Aaron Judge, why to swing at that. And he’ll tell me, if a guy asks it, he might get a dirty look and say, Why? What would you have done? And I’ve seen it in generation after generation after generation now, since I’ve been here. And it’s that they recognize a performer and not just someone who’s trying to critique their work. And it’s a very different mindset. And isn’t that what we’re trying to bring to the people when you get on? You’re telling stories, that story you just talked about, that the second baseman, you have just made a whole generation of Royals fans understand this guy and what he’s gone through, and they’ll never look at him the same ever again. And that’s really important to me.
Joel Goldberg 14:27
Yeah, yeah. Well, first off, I appreciate you saying that, because I always get goosebumps when I stumble into a story like that, because I wasn’t expecting it. I was hoping for something. And and I think you get those stories when you build relationships, and when they trust you more, and so they’ll let their guard down so to speak, because you they know you’re not out there to burn them. You’re out there to just tell their story, which most people through a headline or sports radio aren’t going to do. That’s just the nature of it. And I just don’t think enough people I don’t think it’s a difficult I just don’t think people make it a priority. And so when you do make it a priority, it gives you it gives you that advantage, I guess. And then to me, that’s what gets me going every single day to be able to do those. But I mean for you, I think about this a lot. Like I came here to Kansas City in 2008. I wasn’t replacing any one they’d never had a pregame show before, they didn’t really have a sideline reporter. I didn’t have to upset anyone. Ryan LeFevre did when he came here. He was replacing a legend in the booth. And, you know, and Frank White, and that was difficult. And that, you know, Rex Hudler had to come and replace Frank White, and that was impossible. And so they had to earn it. No one ever, you know, look people either like me or don’t like me, that’s fine. We’re in a subjective business. But for you, you had to battle all of it. And I guess to some extent, still do. But how much has that changed over the years? I know people call you a pioneer. And you are. But now I see. You know, one of your good friends. Meredith Brockovich, she, she’s out there crushing it every single day, and she’s so good at what she does. You’re not the only one anymore? How much has the world changed?
Suzyn Waldman 16:05
It’s changed. I’ll preface that with what I’m gonna say. It hasn’t changed enough. And right now, I’m still the only one full time in the booth. Still, it’s been a long time. My first television game was ’99. Before, my first radio game, and it was a Mets-Houston game was 1992. That’s a long time. I know a Melanie Newman does innings in the Baltimore booth, but not every day. And now she’s doing the apple games, which is tremendous. But it’s been a long time, Joel, just just for me, I’m still the same person there. And there’s nobody else and what and one of the reasons I hang on, is that I see where it’s going. And what I see happening now is that when I walk out the door, there’s going to be a player replacing me. And that’s fine. It’s okay. I understand that. That’s where that they’re going. But I still see women put into boxes. And Meredith is fabulous. And they’re women all over the league that are fabulous. But I see them in little boxes. And as long as they stay in their little box they’re absolutely fine. But when is Meredith gonna get the chance to do play by play? When are when is Trisha Winokur going to get to do these kinds of things in Tampa? Where are these people? And where are the people that are going to allow them to do it because we’re still in a male dominated world? And I get the feeling remember last year there was this all woman broadcast MLB one, no woman I’ve ever met, came into this business saying, I want my own. I want all women. No, we want to be part of the game that we love. And everybody did it. And they congratulated themselves. And where are these women? Where are they? Today? That’s, you know, it’s not just getting there. I mean, the the goal is not to get there. The goal is to get there, make an impact, and keep growing and be allowed to grow. And I don’t see that happening.
Joel Goldberg 18:06
How I know the answer to this, but I didn’t live it. How brutal were the worst of times, and I think this would be true anywhere. But in New York, it’s just different. I think it’s different in a Boston, it’s different in the biggest cities, but certainly in New York and certainly for the Yankees. I mean, that’s what people can love the Yankees, hate the Yankees, whatever it is, that’s the pinnacle. So what were the worst of times like, and who helped you through them? So I know you had a lot of players that had your back over the years big names that had to have meant the world to you?
Suzyn Waldman 18:38
Well, they did. I think the worst of times was my having my own police detail in 1988 because someone was literally trying to kill me. That was, that was pretty awful. And I’m still scared, scared to go into crowds. And I still wonder where that guy is. And that was the whole year. That was an entire year. And it was, I was never alone. I never know who was with me. But I was never alone. From the time I hit the players parking lot till the time I left and if I got to the players parking lot and my car was started that means they got another bomb threat. And John Stearns used to start my car. And so that was the 89. He was the he was the bullpen coach for the Yankees that year. Every now and then I’ll meet the detective that’ll say Miss Waldman, I just want you to know I was one of your guys back then. And they all look like you know hippies or guys you never know. I never know who’s with me. They will wonderful stories. I got a lot of kindness and a lot of unkindness and not a lot in between. There is a story that is a chapter in the children’s book that when I was verbally attacked by George Bell in the Toronto locker room in 1987. And he said that he wouldn’t, you know, talk to me and wouldn’t talk to anybody until I was out of the room. And all of a sudden as I’m walking out trying not to cry. I hear this voice And I turned around and it was Jesse Barfield who was the right fielder on Toronto. And he said, I went three for four today, don’t you want to talk to me? And I turned around and he and his wife Marla, and I’ve been friends now for 35 years. And there’s a chapter in a children’s book about that, because he didn’t know me. And George Bell evidently didn’t talk to him for a long time after that, but that was an I’ve had some bad ones. Dave Winfield, I mean, the in the Yankee clubhouse. That’s not a problem. I walked in there and there was Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield and, and Ron Guidry, and Dave Righetti, no one’s going to bother me in that place they were. And then and then like people, and most of the most of the guys that I’ve dealt with have said to other people, come on, just grow up. She’s just trying to do her job. You know what Joel, the players, though, it gets very public. And I had, and Kansas City was not great back then either. But there are a lot of people that thinks that it was it’s women in the players. It’s not, it’s your own people. I sat in the press box in 1987 at Yankee Stadium, and nobody’s talked to me for a solid year. My own the radio, people thought I was taking a job away from a real reporter, meaning male, the beat writers realized that, oh, my goodness, she’s got a microphone, that means she can break a story at two in the morning, and we can’t. So there was that besides the the woman thing, it was never them. It was it was never the players, it was always your colleagues, people at my radio station, and to this day, they do it, they take things that I say and cut them up. So I look like an idiot, and put them on the air. It’s, it’s just, it’s just cruel, if you’re a female trying to do something that that they don’t want you to do. And I don’t think that’s changed a lot. But it’s the players gets more dramatic, but that isn’t it. It’s the people handing out the assignments. It’s the people who hire you or don’t hire you. And it’s your own colleagues who really don’t want you to succeed.
Joel Goldberg 22:05
Yet I want you and everyone talks to you, everybody opens up to maybe not everybody, that’s what I see. And I see it with all the teams too. I mean, sometimes I, you know, I want you to come over to our site. And I’m like, who doesn’t Suzyn know, oh, my goodness. But that gets back to the relationships. And, you know, it’s like, I’m, it’s not like, I know you that well, but I always feel like I know you really well, because you’re always so warm and open. And I see with that with everybody. So that’s a gift, I think. Were you ever beyond that awful year that you talked about? Like I see you as just a really tough woman that doesn’t put up with any crap from anyone. But I know it’s not that easy to so What’s kept you going all these years?
Suzyn Waldman 22:50
Well, I’m always driven. I’ve been driven since I was a child. You know, I always say that I’m a combination of my grandfather, who told me I was a princess. And there was nothing I couldn’t do. And my mother who said now that’s wonderful, dear, you could do that better. So there’s another there’s two things that me I’m very driven. And it’s and I’m always looking forward, what can I do better? And I think Joel, you know, it’s, it’s not everybody said, Well, why didn’t you quit? Well, what would I do? When Howard, I support myself, and I really, really thought I was doing something important. I really did. And every time I see a little girl who’s not a little girl anymore, and tells me columnist, or someone that’s on the radio, or there’s five or six young women now that are down in the minor leagues, and almost all of them have said to me, you know, I, I when I was a little girl, I was riding in the car with my parents, and they were listening to a Yankee game. And there you were, so I never thought I couldn’t do this, because I was there. And I gotta tell you this one story, because in 94, when I was I was the first woman ever to do a national television game. And I you know how you sit in a room and you’re you go from one city to the next, and they just changed cameras. I was on about 50 of them. And I wish I could remember who the ex Philadelphia eagle was. But he said to me, Susan, I’ve listened to you here since WFAN went on the air. I don’t like you. I don’t like women in sports. I don’t think you’re very good. But I was watching the game with my eight year old daughter. And I realized this is something she’s never going to know that she can’t do. Because there you were. And I wish I could remember who it was. But it was someone in Philadelphia who played for the Eagles. And say, I think about that a lot. Because now there’s three generations of these young women. I mean, this was 1994. So this is a long time ago. I wonder where this young girl is now. And that’s important. And when I meet young women who have come into the the arena of TV and even if they’re behind the camera or stage managing or doing graphics for and that was unheard of Woman join graphics for a major league baseball team. I mean, that was absolutely unheard of. And it’s all of them say, you know, when I was little, my mom had me listen to you, or I saw you here. And so it’s a mindset. I mean, I never somebody said, Did you always want to do this? And I said, Do what? I mean I grew up in, like in the 50s. I mean, there were no women doing this. You never thought about it. I went to games. You know, I never knew I wasn’t supposed to know sports. My mother knew sports. My answer was sports. No, Cardinal Cushing in Boston used to bring the nonuse on ladies day, Wednesday afternoon. They knew baseball, they sat there with a little scorecards. So I never knew until I was middle age that I wasn’t supposed to know this, so I wasn’t gonna leave. They weren’t gonna push me out.
Joel Goldberg 25:45
I love it. And that’s a good thing. I’m gonna wrap it up with a few quick final questions I ask all my guests, a lot of them are in the business world. My three baseball themed questions and these could be anything that could be quick, it doesn’t matter. But for you professionally, whether it’s a call, a moment of revelation, what’s the biggest home run that you have hit in your career?
Suzyn Waldman 26:10
I think well, two things. One, the first time anyone ever took me seriously was in 1989, when I was in the upper deck of Candlestick Park, during the earthquake, earthquake and my phone did not go out. And I everybody talks about how it went. And they I know they do the Al Michaels call with the the static and all that I sat there for an hour. And I was talking about everything that was going on, and then got a ride back to where we were all staying in San Francisco, hitchhiked out to the Nimitz the next morning with my world series pass and, and did cityside stuff until the games came back. And that was the first time any writer ever took me seriously. So that one and the biggest home run was when I negotiated the GA and Yogi Berra reunion at and that was my present to George and my president to the New York Yankees because I am nowhere without George Steinbrenner because he is the one that said said to me in the eighties Waldman, I’m going to make a statement about women in sports one of these days you’re at and I hope you can take it and I didn’t know what he meant then but I do now. But those are my two
Joel Goldberg 27:26
Those are great. The peacemaker in the world of George Steinbrenner and I know that you have that great relationship with him. How about just a swing and a miss something that that that didn’t work?
Suzyn Waldman 27:39
I come from the I come from the school of I can always do something better so I think unless it rivals the earthquake or Georgian Yogi that it’s always kind of a C plus swing and a miss. I think the reason I left my talk show was probably a miss I let I had attempted to spot and I said I can’t do this anymore because like she had spared the drive from my house during rush hour into queens. So I left it worked out fine because then I went to the yesterday at work and that read but that was my talk show I think was was a thing I probably should not have done
Joel Goldberg 28:17
Okay, and the last one is small ball. You know we don’t hit as many home runs here as they do at Yankee Stadium for multiple reasons. So small ball to me is important. Not in the baseball world the bunch the sacrifices but the little things and maybe it maybe it’s as simple as the people the relationships. What doesn’t show up in the broadcasts are in the box for what is small ball to you. What are the little things that add up to the big results?
Suzyn Waldman 28:42
The little things is that I try and talk to almost everybody every day, not necessarily about the game, not necessarily about in sometimes with the new brand of player because everyone is so fearful of the media. Sometimes it takes a really long time to just if you go over to them without the microphone. How you doing? I think I think I read it. You had a daughter, I’ll say to somebody, how old is she? Where does she like to do? Strike that way? I’ve told that to people coming in to to this business, try and talk to everybody and I’ll give you example why we had a pitcher years and years ago named league Guberman big tall left hander. And what I find is that the relievers on teams, nobody ever talks to the relievers, unless they screw up. And he blew a game and it was a big game. It was against the Red Sox. And Dallas Breen was yelling at him and it was awful. And I went and did the the writers went over to him and he looked up and he said, I’m only talking to Suzyn, she’s the only one that cares about me. Anyway, she’s the only one who even knows who I am. And I just stood there and I smiled and gave that sort of get out of here grin for the rest of them because this was a long time ago. And so I found it’s very important and that you know what you’re When you say I know everybody, I don’t know everybody, but I know people who do know everybody. And I gotta I gotta tell you one thing. Do you know what I am excited about going to Boston. About that I am going to see my favorite royal of all time, Eric Hosmer, who was the greatest person ever to talk to I have not seen him since he went to San Diego. And but it’s relationships. As soon as I heard he’s going to Boston. Oh, my God, I looked to see where they were. And when we’re going on Friday. Those are the kinds of things and but as here’s a little trick for somebody who’s walking in to a clubhouse, after two days, everyone in that clubhouse will know who you are. Because if they don’t know you, personally, someone will have told them about you.
Joel Goldberg 30:49
Yep, you’re speaking my language. You’re giving me validation that that having done this a little while now that I’m doing things, I hope the right way. I completely agree with you on Hosmer. We looked when he was traded, and it said, Oh my gosh, first it was, wait, we’re finally going to have you come back here. And now he’s not going to be in San Diego. So he’s not coming at the end of August, and Washington. They’re not here. Wait a minute, he just got traded to Boston. Where are they starting? Oh, here and it was unbelievable. And it was emotional. time hanging out with his mom and his dad. And it just like that’s what it’s all about. So I totally get it. Thanks for doing this. And congratulations on the Hall of Fame, the Radio Hall of Fame and it is so well deserved. And I could do this all day long. But you got to get in and prepare for I gotta get him to prepare for. But I’m just grateful for the time and for the stories and the perspective and hope we can do it again sometime.
Suzyn Waldman 31:43
Anytime, Joel, thanks very much. I’ll say I’ll say hi to Hosmer on Friday. I’m so excited.
Joel Goldberg 31:48
I hear he’s gonna take he’s gonna tell me he’s sick of me. He’s gonna be that next month. His wife’s gonna have the baby in Boston, probably right around one where they’re at Fenway? Hopefully not. So I could see him again. He’s gonna be like Goldberg. I’m sick of him. I just spent the last few days with him, but I know that you’ll enjoy that one. Thanks, Suzyn. I’ll talk to you soon.
Suzyn Waldman 32:07
Okay, Joel. Thank you