MINNEAPOLIS — In five decades of broadcasting regular-season baseball, John Sterling had a nearly unbreakable 162-game habit.

And now the New York Yankees’ legendary play-by-play voice is on the way down.

“I am in perfect health. I’m tired of going on the road,’ Sterling told The Record and NorthJersey.com by phone Monday afternoon, before boarding the Yankees’ charter for Minnesota.

“A lot” by choice, Sterling says he will skip about 30 away games for the Yankees this season, starting with the Toronto/Tampa Bay trip later this month.

Sterling, 83, will continue to make trips to Boston, Baltimore and of course Citi Field for Subway Series games against the New York Mets.

And with the Yankees rolling with the game’s best record, Sterling plans to make it to every postseason show.

Legendary Yankees broadcaster John Sterling

In a recent conversation, Sterling said that Audacy New York Market President Chris Oliviero told him, “I want you ready for the big games at the end of the year.”

On Monday, the New York Post was first to report that Sterling would cut its 2022 mailing schedule.

Sterling didn’t miss a game for 38 straight years, including play-by-play for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves before joining the Yankees’ broadcast team in 1989.

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On the idea of ​​taking some time off during the season, Sterling said he spoke with Mets broadcasters Howie Rose and Gary Cohen, his former radio partner Michael Kay and other prominent voices in the league. baseball major.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully was one of those voices. Scully continued to primarily broadcast Los Angeles Dodgers home games until age 88, retiring after the 2016 season.

“Anyway, I felt it was just about time,” Sterling said. “These days it’s a smart thing to do.”

Announcer John Sterling, former NY Yankee manager Joe Torre and second baseman Willie Randolph before a ceremony at TD Bank Ballpark to announce the Yankees the Somerset Patriots as their new Double-A affiliate in Bridgewater, NJ on 10 November 2020.

Sterling referenced this week’s trip to Minnesota, with a getaway game starting at 8:40 p.m. New York time, with the team likely to return home around 4 a.m.

“And I’m not going to sleep right away when I get home,” said Sterling, who will be in the cabin again for a Friday night game at Yankee Stadium.

These wee hours arrivals are the worst. But Sterling also misses the old travel standards that have disappeared, like having a daily newspaper delivered to your hotel room door.

“And I love newspapers,” Sterling said. “I love having my coffee and juice and reading the papers.”

So, instead of being at Tropicana Field or the Rogers Center, Sterling will be watching these games with interest at his Edgewater home.

Rickie Ricardo and Ryan Ruocco are among broadcasters who could replace Sterling on the road, alongside Sterling’s longtime broadcast partner Suzyn Waldman.

During the first third of the season, Sterling is having an “incredible” time streaming games, especially this recent string of perfect plays and unsuccessful offers by Yankees starters.

“This team could be very special,” Sterling said. “And not all the guys are knocking yet. But their pitch was so good. But, yeah, I love everything about it.

“Games are the easiest thing to do. But everything else is difficult.”

Pete Caldera is the author of Yankees beats for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please sign up today and download our app.

E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @pcaldera