In between all the catchphrases and corny jokes, John Sterling was a musical theater fanatic. | Bob Karp/Staff Photographer/ USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome back to Talkin’ Gaysball, when all you got is one thin dime and that’s still higher than the Oakland A’s payroll.

To be honest, a little of Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling usually went a long way with me.

Sterling, who abruptly retired this week after calling Yankees games for 36 years, blustered his way into team legend status and was an indelible part of the soundtrack to their 1996-2000 dynasty.

His play-by-play combined over-the-top bombast with dozens of groaner-laden home run calls that became NYC catchphrases. I’m pretty sure turning Gleyber Torres into “Like a good Gleyber, Torres is there” should be cause enough to erect a broadcasting wing at The Hague.

If Vin Scully was baseball’s poet laureate, Sterling was its book of dad jokes.

For all of that, though, there was one aspect to his career that was justifiably worth celebrating, especially for LGBTQ hardball fans. Sterling was baseball’s closest conduit to Broadway.

As part of his on-air style, Sterling embraced the persona of a larger-than-life New York bon vivant. This included indulging in his considerable passion for show tunes, sometimes even interrupting his play-by-play to break into song.

In the middle of all of his pinstripe worship, every so often it would suddenly feel like a baseball broadcast was spontaneously being composed by Cole Porter. To say the least, that made Sterling different from every other announcer in sports, this time in a good way.

Sterling’s broadcast partner Suzyn Waldman has an extensive musical theater background, starring in shows like “Man of La Mancha” and “No, No, Nanette.”
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

He didn’t even care if he was going over the heads of most of his listeners. Sterling’s Broadway references could be deep cuts and his self confidence helped land them. Consider this representative sample of nods to the Great White Way (culled from Bronx Baseball’s Ultimate List of Sterling home run calls).

Curtis Granderson: “Oh Curtis…you’re something sort of grandish!”

Greg Bird: “Bye Bye Birdie!”

Harrison Bader: “Ohhhhh, I’m just wild about Harry!” (Bonus points for a Judy Garland banger!)

Juan Soto: “He…’S Juanderful…marvelous…

Anybody who can make a George Gershwin reference work during a sports broadcast in 2024 is doing something right. That Sterling made a Gershwin reference work for a fanbase that starts up audible “f— you” chants at umpires is a miracle worthy of the third act of “Damn Yankees.”

But my favorite example of Sterling’s love for Broadway paying dividends occurred when Lance Berkman briefly played for the Yankees in 2010. After he homered, Sterling bellowed out, “Sir Lancelot rides to the rescue! C’est lui! C’est lui!”

It was just a coincidence but still: An anti-LGBTQ bigot got serenaded with a showtune from “Camelot.”

For that moment alone, I tip my cap and say: So long, John Sterling. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Good night.

In San Diego, it’s already June

Over the past few years, the Padres have gotten the jump on the rest of MLB by holding their Pride Night in mid-April.

I fully support this since I believe Pride should be celebrated throughout the year. But I’ve always felt a bit sheepish when I put together the Outsports Pride Guide and have had to inform San Diego fans, “Hey, the Padres are hosting this really fun promotion…six weeks ago.”

Well, now that I’ve got this platform, I have space to tell you that the Padres are holding Out at the Park this Friday, April 19, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

There will be a pregame happy hour in Petco Park’s Gallagher Square just above center field and Friar Faithful who purchase a special ticket package can take home a rainbow Pride cap with a classic throwback insignia. Since most Padres fans have already stocked up on brown, why not add a hat that features literally every other color?

Of course, if the team really wanted to move Pride merch, for one night only they should change their name to the San Diego Zaddies.

Scissor Me, Daddy Ángel

As Brian Bell reported, AEW Trios Champion Anthony Bowens hoped to play in a San Fernando Valley Baseball League game on Sunday before rain scuttled those plans. Bowens is a legit baseball fan and routinely shows off his love for the Giants on social media.

In his career a pro wrestler, he’s also well experienced with officials who somehow completely miss one gargantuan human hitting another over the head with a steel chair. So when he throws shade at a certain umpire’s judgment.

The man speaks from a position of authority. 

MLB Thirst Trap of the Week

One of the biggest stories of this week was that Pirates great Andrew McCutchen hit his 300th career home run. It was a significant milestone for one of the most talented and fun players of the past 15 years.

As someone who’s watched a lot of McCutchen over that span, it also felt like that might have been the only one of those 300 he didn’t hit against Cubs pitching.

Since he accomplished the feat in Philadelphia, it was a good reminder that when he played for the Phillies in 2020, McCutchen gave us a baseball card for the ages.

You can be forgiven for wondering if MLB had signed a licensing deal with Tom of Finland.