‘It is high, it is far,’ Yankees Spanish announcer rescues John Sterling
If you listen to my New Jersey 101.5 show, you've heard me play Rickie Ricardo's "No señor!" call of a missed Cody Parkey field goal during the Eagles-Bears playoff game many times during "Trevia" and "Jersey's Opening Lines."
Rickie also broadcasts the Yankees games in Spanish as well.
Last Wednesday night while most of New Jersey was being put underwater by the fallout from Hurricane Ida, Rickie, said "Si señor!" when the call came to rescue John Sterling, the legendary voice of the Yankees, who was stranded in Edgewater.
I spoke with Rickie, also a Union City native, a colleague from Philadelphia and good friend.
Listen to the podcast here.
The story begins with John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, and Rickie broadcasting the Yankees game in Los Angeles from Yankee Stadium. John leaves early but Rickie does the post-game show in Spanish, which keeps him there an extra half hour.
"It's coming down in buckets," Rickie told me.
Michael Kay, who broadcasts the Yankees games on television, warned John to be careful driving. Rickie was trying to find ways to get to the George Washington Bridge.
"As I'm on Broadway trying to get to the bridge, I get the call from Suzyn Waldman [Sterlings partner in the broadcast booth]. She asks, 'where are you?' I explain to her my issues trying to get to the GW Bridge and she says 'John is stuck in rising floodwaters on River Road in Edgewater.'"
"Now she doesn't live in Jersey so she's describing whatever John told her," Rickie continued. "Now I know because I take River Road. I take the same route that John takes to get home."
Rickie told Suzyn to call John and let him know that as soon as he gets over the bridge he will call him and "see if I can help him out."
Once on the bridge, Rickie called John and tried to find him, but it was so dark that all Sterling could tell him was that he was in front of a Chinese restaurant. Of course, there are many of those.
Rickie continued on.
"We finally decide that he's in front of a bagel shop that we both go to. It's right there on the corner where the Edgewater Marina is, where Rt. 5 and River road convene, which was flooded. On a spring shower, that gets flooded. So you can imagine how it must have been with the kind of rain Ida was leaving behind."
"I told John, 'I know where you're at. I more or less know what you're driving, as I approach I will start flashing my lights and you make some kind of a signal so I can distinguish which car is yours.' When I got down there must have been 20-25 cars laid out in all different directions because that particular intersection must have had five feet of water. It was incredible."
"So as I approach, I see his car. I get as close as I can to his car, about 4 or 5 walking steps. The problem is there's a truck behind me and John starts to open his door and that truck drove through the wave pool and created a tsunami toward John's car. I said, 'John don't open the door, don't open the door!"
Rickie then rolled his pant legs to his knees and got John out of his Cadillac and into his Jeep Patriot.
Rickie said, "that was the easy part."
"The adventure started once John was in my car and we had no idea how we were going to get the last quarter of a mile to his building."
They spent an hour navigating through floodwaters in all of those streets in all of those towns Cliffside Park, Fairview, and finally ended up on Gorge Road, which is the old River Road that is a hillside and all the boulders and rocks that are on that hill came down on that road.
Rickie finally got John home and then the next adventure began as he then had to get himself home to West New York.
I asked Rickie if Sterling described the water as, "It is high, it is far," to which Rickie replied, "let me tell you. The one thing I was hoping he would never have to say is 'I'm gone.'
Thanks to Rickie, he wasn't.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.