Charley Steiner calls alleged rift with John Sterling 'hooey'

Plenty has been written and surmised about the on-air relationship between Charley Steiner and John Sterling. The two were paired on the Yankees' radio network from 2002 to 2004. But Steiner recently told the "New York Accent" podcast that narratives of acrimony between the former partners aren't true.

"Look, John's 85 years old. He's withstood the test of time," Steiner explained. "We've had similar careers -- he's just 10 years ahead of me. And the stuff that was written was pretty much a bunch of hooey."

Some outlets have reported Sterling didn't like Steiner's style in the broadcast booth. But the Dodgers' current radio voice believes stories are exaggerated.

"We were two play-by-play guys. So there were times where it didn't quite fit," Steiner admitted. "But, there were also times when we were quite good. And our relationship now -- all these years and miles later -- is exceptionally good. I've talked to John quite often."

Steiner has called games in Los Angeles since 2005, and when the two clubs meet, there's still a bond between him and Sterling. "When the Yankees were out here last month, he didn't make the trip," Steiner said. "But what I do find is, there are more people who aren't involved in our relationship who make a big deal about it.

"I don't consider it to be that big of a deal -- and I don't know that John does either. Look, I've been doing this now, what, 56 years? John has been doing it 66 years? Neither of us has had a real job and we're not about to start now. It's all part of the journey."

Steiner spent time as the voice of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, and the NFL's Jets on radio in the mid-1980s before more than a decade at ESPN. He eventually became ESPN Radio's voice of Sunday Night Baseball, and the story of how he landed in the Yankees' booth is a wild one.

"About a week or two before 9/11, I'm doing a Yankee game on a Sunday night and I'm sitting in Brian Cashman's office, and in walks George [Steinbrenner] -- unbeknownst to me -- standing behind me," Steiner said. "And then he starts rubbing my shoulders. And I've known George, prior to New York when I was working in Cleveland. So I've known him for a while and I go, 'You know, I did local radio in New York for 10 years. And he said, 'I know.'"

The YES Network launched the following year in 2002, moving Michael Kay to the Yankees' television booth. "He says to Cashman, 'I need to see you.' So, I get up and walk out," Steiner said. "So, an hour goes by, and I go back to the booth, and in walks Cash. He says, 'Well, the bad news is I told George you might be interested in coming here and then he cursed me out and said my focus is to build a baseball team and not a broadcast. The good news is I think he wants to hire you.'"

Steiner grew up on Long Island, in Malverne, New York, as a huge fan of Vin Scully and the Brooklyn Dodgers. His goal as a child was to call their games. And, many years and careers later, he wound up doing exactly that. The rest of his storybook journey in the booth can be heard everywhere you get your podcasts, and on YouTube.

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