New York Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman isn’t one to back down on a promise. Especially when she’s held to it.

The WFAN broadcaster performed the national anthem before Friday night’s game between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, following through on a challenge pitcher Gerrit Cole made to her in 2011.

Nine years prior, when Cole visited Yankee Stadium as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Waldman introduced herself to the star right-hander and said “You’re gonna make a great Yankee when you get to be a free agent.”

According to the New York Daily News‘ Kristin Ackert, Cole had a witty response to Waldman’s prediction.

“If I do,” he said, “you have to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.”

“We’ll see,” chuckled Waldman.

Cole obviously got the last word in the matter. We’ll probably never know, but maybe he even insisted on Waldman singing the anthem as part of signing his nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees.

Waldman performed the anthem from the Yankee Stadium broadcast booth due to COVID-19 restrictions. MLB’s protocols restricted her from being on the field.

Nine years prior, when Cole visited Yankee Stadium as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Waldman introduced herself to the star right-hander and said “You’re gonna make a great Yankee when you get to be a free agent.”

According to the New York Daily News‘ Kristin Ackert, Cole had a witty response to Waldman’s prediction.

“If I do,” he said, “you have to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.”

“We’ll see,” chuckled Waldman.

Nearly 10 years later, there she was with microphone in hand during pregame ceremonies at the Yankees’ 2020 home opener. Friday night was the first time Waldman had performed the anthem at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in 2009.

Cole made sure to hold her to his challenge. After his introductory press conference following his signing a rich free-agent contract with the Yankees, Cole appeared on WFAN with Sweeny Murti and Waldman, reminding her, “Don’t you forget you promised me.”

It was on. Maybe Cole knew that the Yankees’ radio analyst had also performed the national anthem several times previously. For instance, before Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

More likely, the pitcher knew of Waldman’s past as a Broadway actress and singer. Prior to become a sports broadcaster in the late 1980s, Waldman was a theatre performer. She’s perhaps best known for her portrayal of Dulcinea in a revival of Man of La Mancha.

As many fans likely know, Cole grew up rooting for the Yankees despite growing up in Southern California. Though the hometown Angels and Dodgers reportedly pursued him, and the Astros attempted to re-sign him, the Yankees didn’t blow the opportunity to add an ace to their starting rotation.

But Friday night’s anthem performance also provided another chance to remind fans of Waldman’s pioneering sports broadcasting career. She’s the third woman to serve as a game analyst, following Betty Caywood and Mary Shane. And she’s the second woman to call play-by-play on baseball broadcasts, following Gayle Gardner.

Waldman is currently in her 10th season providing color commentary with John Sterling on WFAN’s Yankees radio broadcasts.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and Asheville's Mountain XPress. He's written for Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.