Howard Herman: Yankees missing from local radio this season
It is spring. With it, comes the growing of grass, the washing of cars in your driveway and listening to baseball on the radio.
In Pittsfield and Berkshire County, however, the 2016 spring season means that the New York Yankees are not on local radio.
WBRK, 1340 on your AM dial, has been the broadcast home of the Yankees for three decades. This year, the Yankees are radio orphans.
"WBRK is not doing the Yankees because everything revolving around the Yankees like the stadium, ticket prices, media — a small market can't afford the Yankees prices and what they're asking for the rights fees," WBRK president Chip Hodgkins said.
"The rights fees are too high and it's a sad thing for us because we carried the Yankees for 31 years."
The New York Yankees radio network consists of 27 affiliates and the flagship station WFAN (660 AM) in New York. Sixteen of the affiliates are in New York state, while three are in Vermont. The Yankees have an affiliate in Honolulu and in Des Moines, Iowa.
"A lot of people who listened to the Yankees have called," Hodgkins said. "We've switched to some CBS Sports talk, and people seem to be happy with that because they talk about the games."
So, if you need your fix of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, AKA Ma and Pa Pinstripes, there are two places to get them. WFAN booms in here at night with it's 50,000 watts of power. The FAN is pretty easy to get in your car, but not as easy in your house. Or you can listen to WTMM, 104.5 FM, out of the Albany area. That station is a little more problematic to receive, depending on where in Berkshire County you are.
Or, you can get MLB.com Gameday Radio and listen to ever game on your smart phone or computer.
The WBEC family of radio stations, WBEC in Pittsfield, WNAW in North Adams and WSBS in Great Barrington, continue to broadcast the Red Sox.
Consider this a public service.
On Wednesday, Mount Greylock baseball coach Steve Messina won his 300th game at the Williamstown High School, and needed only one day to reach 301.
Messina is the second Berkshire County baseball coach in the last 12 months to reach that milestone. Kevin Stannard of Taconic earned his 300th win in a game at Hoosac Valley last season.
Milestone wins seem to come around in Berkshire County frequently, and Messina said it says something about the sport.
"I think it does," he told me. "I think the coaches we've had here in this county over the years in baseball has been a special group. It's been a great group of people, good coaches.
"We're resilient and we stand the test of time."
It's two Taconic guys joining the 300-win club. Both Stannard and Messina played baseball at Taconic. Messina went on to play at UMass.
"Yeah, I know," said Messina, when reminded that he's a big behind Stannard in the win column. "I'm older too, which he'll remind me of soon."
Congratulations to Dalton's Jim Duquette, whose national radio program "The Front Office" on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, was voted the best radio program in the country. The award was presented by Cynposis Media. The awards were presented Thursday morning in New York City
From the release: "Former MLB executives Jim Bowden, who served as GM for the Reds and Nationals, and Jim Duquette, who was an exec with the Mets and Orioles, team as co-hosts of "The Front Office" on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM
"With over 40 years of front office experience, numerous contacts in the game and knowledge of deal-making and player evaluation, the duo deliver an exceptional level of insight to listeners nationwide, and their interviews with decision makers from around baseball will often make news.
Duquette and Bowden beat out Jim Rome, Mike and Mike and Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo for the top honor.
Big props to Jimmy D.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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