Brendan Burke has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed John Sterling, The Post has learned.
Sterling is not going anywhere quite yet, but the plan for succession has begun and is expected to be further instituted this offseason, according to sources.
The 84-year-old Sterling, who has been an “Iron Man” throughout his career, has cut down on the amount of games he calls in the second half of this season as he increasingly disdains traveling.
He has been the Yankee play-by-player for more than three decades, which included a streak of 5,058 consecutive game broadcasts that ended in July of 2019.
While no formal plan is in place, Sterling could potentially do just the home games and some road games going forward, though, Sterling may not be fully on board just yet.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Sterling again confirmed that he doesn’t like traveling anymore, but said he feels good and plans to continue calling a lot of games, even raising the possibility that he will return to a full 162-game slate.
“I’m really happy and I will do as many games as I want to,” Sterling told The Post. “I have to see the schedule.”
While Sterling will have a say, the beginning of a transition to Burke could happen in earnest next year. Burke could have a dual role, like Howie Rose once did. Rose used to do both the Islanders and Mets. Burke succeeded Rose as the TV play-by-player of the Islanders. Burke also does the NHL nationally for Turner Sports. There has yet to be any full contract discussions between FAN and Burke.
The decision on the future of the booth has further come into focus as the Yankees and FAN announced an extension of their contract on Thursday.
The terms were not disclosed, but sources say it would extend into the 2030s. FAN was paying the Yankees between $15 and $20 million per season on the last deal.
The decision to remain with the FAN shows the strength and reach of the station. It also demonstrates the Yankees’ belief in the medium for the long term as opposed to trying some sort of streaming route.
Burke was not the only option FAN considered. Ryan Ruocco was someone who was high on the list, but he may have too much ESPN and YES TV responsibilities to make it viable. FAN has liked the fill-in work of Justin Shackil and Rickie Ricardo, but Burke is in the on-deck circle.
As for Suzyn Waldman, 75 and just named a member of the Radio Hall of Fame, her role of as the radio analyst is not expected to change. She has worked well with all the fill-ins this year, including Burke.
If a more robust schedule fits and Burke is eventually the voice of the Yankees, it would mean Burke has gone full circle.
As a kid, Brendan was around the Yankees all the time as his father, Don, now a copy editor (but not a source) at The Post, was a Yankee beat writer for the Star-Ledger. When Brendan was nine years old, he had a picture sitting between Sterling and Michael Kay, then the radio team.
Now, at 38, he could be the one following Sterling in one of the most legendary spots in sports radio.
Clicker Book Club
With the Subway Series this week, Papa Clicker has a baseball book review for you. Mark Feinsand’s “The Franchise: New York Yankees, A Curated History of the Bronx Bombers” is on the docket. Feinsand, according to my dad, Papa Clicker, provides an interesting history of the franchise by relating stories about the team, and he has divided the book into various sections – “The Architects,” “The Legends,” “The Captains,” “The Game-Winners,” “The Acquisitions” and “The Rivalries.” Readers will enjoy reliving many great moments in Yankee history. Papa Clicker gives it 4.3 clickers out of 5.