The NY Daily News reports Waldman had been impressed with Cole way back when the Yankees drafted him in the first round in 2008. Listening to him talk on a conference call, Waldman told Yankees executives she thought he was eloquent, smart and interesting. She was looking forward to meeting him. While it didn’t work out that time — with Cole spurning the Yankees and their reported $4 million signing bonus to play college baseball for UCLA — Waldman remembered her first impression. She got to meet Cole a few years later after he had been drafted by the Pirates and was in his first big league spring training.
“You’re gonna make a great Yankee when you get to be a free agent,” Waldman said she told the young right hander.
Cole was not shy either. He’d done his homework and shot back: “If I do, you have to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.”
After the Yankees signed him and Cole made his first appearance at the Stadium, he made it known he was not letting her off the hook.
Tonight's National Anthem was performed by Suzyn Waldman. Suzyn was the very first voice ever heard on WFAN radio. She has been a beat reporter, TV analyst, play by play broadcaster, and is the first and only woman ever to have a full-time analyst job with a Major League team. pic.twitter.com/9IEmHzzv6D— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 31, 2020
Waldman, a former Broadway actress renowned for her singing voice, has sung the national anthem many times before, including many times before Yankees home games. But this one was special. Not only was it keeping a long-held promise to the Yankees’ new ace, but it turns out that Waldman had never sung the national anthem in the new Yankee Stadium.