Eagles announcer saved 83-year-old colleague during floods originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Eagles fans know Rickie Ricardo for his fantastic Spanish calls of the Birds, but this week as historic rains and flooding hit the northeast, Ricardo traded in his broadcaster hat for the role of emergency rescuer.
Ricardo was leaving Yankee Stadium, where he also works as the Spanish broadcast voice of the Yanks, and trying to navigate his way home amid the remnants of Hurricane Ida when he received a call about a coworker in distress: 83-year-old Yankees broadcaster John Sterling.
So Ricardo jumped into action to make sure his friend and colleague would make it home okay.
Ricardo recounted the entire tale on WFAN's Moose & Maggie on Thursday:
"My phone rings, and it's [WFAN broadcaster Suzyn Waldman]. So Suzyn asks me, she says 'Where are you?' and I say, 'Well, I'm working my way across Upper Manhattan to get to the bridge to get over to Jersey.' She says, 'John is stuck on River Road in Edgewater.' Now I know - for years I've seen how bad it gets flooded on River Road in Edgewater. With the kind of rain we had last night, I can only imagine. So I said, 'Alright Susan, I'm on my way, I know where he lives. I'll figure out where he's at and see what I can do.'
"So I get over the bridge and call John, finally get through because the cell service was kind of spotty. By the tenth try John answers the phone, very calmly I say, 'John, it's Rickie. Where are you?' John is trying - in the dark, because the lights are out - trying to describe where he's at. 'Oh, I'm in front of this Chinese restaurant on the corner of this bagel shop.' He's in his car, and the water is rising. So in my mind's eye I'm trying to figure out where he is.
"I said, 'Alright John, stay with me here on the phone. I'm over the bridge, I'm coming down River Road.' I'm coming down slowly, because I don't want to get stuck. 'Hang in there buddy, I'm coming to get you.' So I finally get down to where he's at. There's a marina there in Edgewater and an intersection where there are at least 25 cars stranded, in all different directions. [...] I pull up and John's telling me, 'Is that you?' I'm like, 'Yeah, that's me. I'm flashing my lights, I'm now behind you. I'm as close as I can get.' His car now, his wheels are completely covered in water. Water in the cabin.
"I get as close as I can to him and say, 'John, let me help you out.' I rolled up my pant legs, I said, 'Make sure you take your registration with you,' John gets out, we wade our way through the water, I get him into my Jeep, we finally get John settled into my Jeep - remember he's kind of shellshocked and I don't blame him, he was stuck in his car - and then the adventure is to get the extra half-mile from where he was stranded to his apartment, it took us about an hour courtesy of directions from the Fort Lee, North Bergen, and Edgewater police departments. [...] It was a jigsaw puzzle, and I finally got John home, wet and about an hour and a half, close to two hours after the game ended."
That's nuts! And so, so awesome from Ricardo. Just totally impressive selflessness (not to mention really great navigation during a high-stress natural disaster) from a great guy.
Ricardo, for the record, gives credit to his Jeep:
Ricardo will be on the Spanish-language call on Sept. 12 when the Eagles open the season at 1 p.m. against the Falcons down in Atlanta.
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