Ask anyone in sports, and they’ll likely tell you that as glad as they are to get an opportunity, they’re conflicted if and when it comes due to an injury or illness.
That, though, is how Rickie Ricardo, normally the play-by-play voice of the Yankees’ Spanish-language broadcasts on WADO, got his first English-language call of a ballgame, filling in for John Sterling during the two-game Yankees-Orioles series on Wednesday and Thursday as Sterling recovered from illness.
Easy as pie, he said, even though he was replacing a legend.
“This was my first English language baseball game, but I have to concentrate more doing Spanish broadcasts, because English in my first language,” Ricardo told NJ.com’s Randy Miller on Wednesday. “Nobody even knew that John was under the weather until about 5:30. I was sitting there reading the game notes and they said, ‘Switch sides, John’s sick.’”
Ricardo then made an appearance on Moose and Maggie on Thursday, and was asked how tough it was not only to replace Sterling, but to do so from a monitor in Yankee Stadium – an empty ballpark where the game was not being played.
“It’s tricky, but if there’s anyone who has the experience to do what we’re doing now, it’s me,” he laughed. “My first job was with the Marlins in 2005, but when I took over in Philly, and we only traveled to East Coast cities basically, I would do road games off a monitor in a dark Citizens Bank Park. And, I would do the postgame show in Spanish, and then do the call-in show in English, so sometimes, after a West Coast game, I’d be the last guy to leave – it’d be the security guard and at 3 a.m.!”
Of course, Ricardo also talked about the Yankees-Orioles opener, and specifically, he made a bold statement about DJ LeMahieu.
“This is one of the quiet free agent signings that may be the best bang for your buck of any free agent over the last few years,” Ricardo said. “He’s really flown under the radar, and maybe you can blame the fact that he was playing in Colorado, but he’s won a batting title and a Gold Glove – he’s a complete player and a consummate professional. It’s one of those signings that didn’t get the big headlines because it was late in the signing period, and wasn’t a mega-deal, but it has been maybe one of the best in a long time.”
Ricardo’s dream is to be the one replacing Sterling in the WFAN booth one day, and while he was hesitant to use his usual home run calls on Wednesday (noting that he basically does the same thing as Sterling, only in Spanish), but so far, he’s off to a good start.
“When that day comes (that Sterling retires), I’d love for the Yankees to consider me,” he had said Wednesday to Miller. “I was born here. Hopefully, I will show them that I can do the job. I think this was proof that I can do it.”
You can listen to Ricardo’s entire segment below, and, as always, you can check out more on-demand audio from Moose & Maggie, or tune in every day to the WFAN.com or Twitch.TV/WFAN livestreams of the show!