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How Likely Are John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman to Return Next Year?

Say what you want about John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, but this much is undoubtedly true: Everyone's got an opinion on them, one way or the other. Most of those people, however, won't have a say in whether they return to the booth next year, after their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2011 season. And in the News today, Bob Raissman — talk about someone who has opinions on the duo — writes that whether they return might depend on which station has the rights to broadcast the Yankees next year. (That contract is up at the end of the season, too.) And so Raissman writes that if WCBS retains Yankees games, he expects the duo to stay. If the local ESPN Radio affiliate springs for the rights, a "well-embedded 1050 mole" tells him that the station would consider keeping Sterling but would probably replace Waldman. And he also writes that there's speculation that WRXP — currently a rock station that plays Pearl Jam roughly every two hours, like any good radio station should — will change formats to a mix of news, talk, and sports, and that the Yankees rights would get them "instant recognition." And if that happens, "The familiar sound of Sterling and Waldman would be a plus in a new format launch." The constant, in all of these scenarios, is that Sterling, at least, could keep his play-by-play job no matter who has the team's rights. Which isn't a surprise: Sterling said last year that George Steinbrenner once told him that he'll "be the broadcaster here forever." [NYDN]

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Photo: Jimi Celeste/patrickmcmullan.com; Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images