John Sterling’s outlandish home run call for Giancarlo Stanton didn’t receive a warm response from fans on Opening Day. But the Yankees’ witty and eccentric radio voice isn’t taking suggestions.
The call has been made twice, and it’s not going away.
“I’m very happy about the interest in it, and I don’t mind if people don’t like it,” Sterling said on WFAN Radio Friday. “Like most people, I have very strong likes and dislikes myself.”
On the second pitch of Stanton’s first at-bat in pinstripes against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon, Sterling was forced to unleash the call to the audience, as the Yankees’ slugger crushed a two-run shot to the right-center field seats at Rogers Centre.
“Giancarlo, non si puo stoparlo!” was the Italian phrase Sterling exclaimed. Although Stanton isn’t Italian, the phrase loosely translates to, “You can’t be stopped!”
“After [the Yankees] got Giancarlo, obviously people were asking me, ‘Well, what’s the home run call going to be?’” Sterling said. “I called up Berlitz [Academy of Foreign Languages], and I said to their Italian master, a gal named Linda. And I said, ‘I would like an Italian phrase for Giancarlo that rhymes with Giancarlo.’
“It took Linda a few days, and she came back with, ‘non si puo stoparlo.’ And I thought, ‘Gee, that’s great.’”
According to the New York Daily News, Sterling’s girlfriend, who happens to be Italian, offered her own phrase for a Stanton homer. Sterling used that one for Stanton’s second Opening Day blast, which landed in the second deck seats in center field.
“It’s so different — and let’s face it, I’m so different — that I thought, ‘Hey, this sounds okay,” Sterling said. “I broke it out. I didn’t expect Stanton to hit a home run in his first at-bat as a Yankee. But that’s really great theater, isn’t it?”
Sterling, who turns 80 this July, hasn’t missed a Yankees radio broadcast in nearly three decades.