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the voice of the yankees

The Seven Types of John Sterling Home-Run Calls

Last night, Andruw Jones hit his first home run as a Yankee, giving radio announcer John Sterling the opportunity to unveil another new home-run catchphrase: "Andruw Jones makes his bones!" Each Yankee, of course, gets a personalized catchphrase from Sterling, but these home-run calls can range from simple rhymes to elaborate productions involving Broadway lyrics and sometimes even actual singing. (In a few cases, Sterling has changed a player's call, while some lucky players — like Mark Teixeira — get two catchphrases.) Here, now, the seven types of John Sterling home-run calls.

1. RHYMES
Sterling tends to rely on rhyming when presented with a boring name that he can't really work with: Russell Martin, Andruw Jones, etc. Having said that, Brett Gardner — whose last name is an actual word — deserves better, don't you think?
Examples:
• "Russell has muscle!" (Russell Martin)
• "Robbie Cano, don'cha know?" (Robinson Cano)
• "Gardy goes yardy!" (Brett Gardner)
• "A thrilla, by Godzilla!" (Hideki Matsui)
• "Andruw Jones makes his bones!" (Andruw Jones)

2. PLAYS ON PLAYER'S NAME OR NICKNAME
A more creative call, sometimes — as in the case of Mark Teixeira or Melky Cabrera — involving just a fragment of a player's name.
Examples:
• "You're on the mark, Teixeira!" (Mark Teixeira)
• "He sends a Tex-message ..." (Mark Teixeira)
• "Jolly old St. Nick!" (Nick Swisher AND Nick Johnson)
• "It's a Johnny rocket!" (Johnny Damon)
• "Positively Damonic!" (Johnny Damon)
• "The Melkman delivers!" (Melky Cabrera)
• "An A-bomb from A-Rod!" (Alex Rodriguez)

3. ALLITERATION
Used, presumably, when a decent rhyme can't be found.
Examples:
• "Jorgie juiced one!" (Jorge Posada)
• "Bernie goes boom!" (Bernie Williams)
• "A Damon dinger!" (Johnny Damon)

4. FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Not necessarily used only for players born outside of the United States.
Examples:
• "El comedulce, Bobby Abreu is as sweet as candy!" (Bobby Abreu; see also "Plays on a Player's Name or Nickname")
• "El capitan!" (Derek Jeter)
• "The sayonara kid does it again!" (Hideki Matsui)

5. CULTURAL REFERENCES
This is where Sterling truly shines, particularly when he can incorporate his love for Broadway into a call, as in the case of Curtis Granderson or Lance Berkman.
Examples:
• "Oh Curtis, you're something sort of Grandish!" (Curtis Granderson, in reference to a lyric from the musical Finian's Rainbow)
• "The Grandy-man can!" (Curtis Granderson, in reference to the song "The Candyman Can"; note: Sterling actually sings the lyric)
• "Austin powers a home run!" (Austin Kearns, a reference to the Austin Powers movies)
• "Sir Lancelot rides to the rescue! C'est lui! C'est lui!" (Lance Berkman, in reference to a song from the musical Camelot, but with tweaked lyrics; see also "Foreign Languages")
• "Hinske with your best shot!" (Erik Hinske, in reference to the Pat Benatar song, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," as suggested by readers of the LoHud Yankees Blog)
• "Bern, baby, bern!" (Bernie Williams, in reference to lyrics from the song "Disco Inferno"; see also "Alliteration")

6. REFERENCES TO BABE RUTH'S NICKNAME
A bit of a stretch; used if a player's name includes the long "e" sound found in "Bambino," as in "Giambi" or "Tino."
Examples:
• "The Giambino" (Jason Giambi)
• "The Bam-Tino" (Tino Martinez)

7. MADE-UP WORDS
Example:
• "Swishalicious" (Nick Swisher)
We have no idea what "Swishalicious" means.

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images