The Sporting Life: 2018 in Review
This is the sporting life on ESPN radio and the ESPN app. Now, the voice you're hearing is not that of Jeremy chef is that of Troy Farkas. I'm more of the co producers of sporting life along with Dan's ex chessy, you're the better with oh, we affectionately know him as Danzi around these parties, the true mastermind behind the sporting life somewhat effect. Jeremy Chiappa joining me we are in studio in Bristol, Connecticut. Jeremy thanks for joining us today. Troy, thank you for having me on high show. You're welcome. And Jeremy before we dive into the year that was twenty eight teen. That's where we're gonna talk about today the sporting life had a great year in two thousand eighteen but when I wanna start off with his so I got ESPN in August of twenty seventeen. Okay. And I started working on the show almost immediately and twenty eight teams my first full year, and you already had Danzi hounding you all the time. Then they threw me into the fold for some reason. Right. And then you had to deal with both of us hounding you twenty four seven texting. E-mailing falling at all our day. Are you gonna keep us around twenty nineteen? Well, of course, it's not my call. You know, if it were my call we'd have to have some discussions, but since especially in radio, I mean, the supplies as well in television. But especially in radio, nobody really cares. What I think it's it's kind of a moot point. I think I think you know, maybe they kinda care little incidentally. But you guys have done a great job. It's not easy book and everybody every week for the show making the show as as good as it can be. And I know that I am a very difficult talent to work got a high maintenance reputation, and you guys have certainly ruled with the punches one of my favorite moments from twenty teen. Jeremy was as you said, it is difficult to book guests, you know, it's. Secret that this is not a live show on Sunday mornings. We prerecord all of us. You know, it used to be live in the old debt. Did back back in the goal born. I think we actually I started doing this show you're born in what ninety seven ninety five. All right. So you were you had been born. But you weren't you weren't yet even in like cog nursery school. Yet. It was live back then I had to get up on. I think it was Sunday mornings and do the show did it with my dad for a number of years, then they cancelled it then they brought it back. We're about to celebrate our tenth anniversary back on the air. In fact, this September. So I hope you guys are already formulated. So we have big plans for Germany. We have big swimming. So Jeremy I want to as we look back in two thousand eighteen I kind of want to start off with where we ended twenty teen. And that was with one of the biggest accomplishments of of your journalistic career, which was forty to one hundred thirty the newest thirty for thirty came out in the beginning December, and we actually aired a special radio version of it on the sporting life. That was our last up soda of the year me, and Dan's you, had a blast working on it. And we had to cut it down and do some rewriting, and it was a bunch of fun, and you know, as someone who loves boxing. I know this was a passion project for you. That's what you said. Now that you've actually had a few weeks to let that sink in. That all the endless promotion is over unless the storytelling now that you and Ben house or no longer cooped up in a room. Ben Houser, your co-producer, barely speak to each other. Now they've had the time to look back on. I'm going to ask us most Jeremy Schaap way because this is always the first question. What thoughts are uppermost in your mind when he looked back on that experience? You know, it was a lot of fun. It was a story as you said Troy that I wanted to tell for longtime. I love the Buster Douglas story. I love what he had Chievo in Tokyo on February eleventh nineteen ninety I feel I'm getting rolling again. You know, the way that I had to talk about it so often as we were promoting it. And look I I mean, we talked about this on the show we had been Hauser my co-director on. We had my shallows who is our producer and editor. And they were the guys in the room every day putting it together. Together, we kind of, you know, big picture knew what we wanted it to be. And one of the great pleasures of it was any kind of project you work on. You know, there's certain hopes you have for it at the beginning of the process, and whether you're writing a book or you're doing a documentary or you're doing a long form piece, whatever it may be you have sort of hopes for what you want to achieve and what you want it to look like in sound like in feel like the impact is going to have on on the viewer listener. And this was one of those rare occasions where I really felt like it was everything that I wanted to be. It was the was the story that I hope that we would be able to tell and to to extract from it, the the emotion, and the feeling everything that I knew. Was there? But that's different from putting it all together. And presenting it in some coherence and compelling way. I'm really glad that we aired that on this show because boxing, as you know is not one of the traditional sports. It's not one that he has PIN covers as much as it does other sports specially on ESPN radio. And that's something that I really take great pride. And for our show is that we kinda celebrate those sports that often go unnoticed by by our airwaves, you know, just this year in two thousand eighteen we talked about the world chess championships. Yes, we did. We talked about baseball and the dead ball era. Yep. We World Series specific about competitive eating Bellavia my favorites. That's one of the few sports. We talk about that. I could actually complete partaking. I could Jeremy I could I do some damn as our instant Instagram audience knows you are a prolific chef nowadays. I try I try, you know, and I've looked they're always going to be some hits. They're going to be some MRs. But yes on Instagram. I try to show off. You know what I'm working on the smoker? What I'm working on terms of roasts? Sometimes there's even some baking in the process, although got a lot of work to do in that regard. I enjoy cooking and joy cooking. And that could be a component for the show in twenty nine t we haven't really thought about having great chefs on the radio talking about sports, we've had one great chef on the show over the years. Dan. I don't think Dan was on the show yet. This was about five or six years ago. We did a segment with Daniel Hume who some people consider. Now, the best chef in the world. He runs eleven Madison park in New York, which has been rated the number one restaurant the world, and he was a professional athlete in Switzerland. And we had a segment with them a few years ago bringing back Dan, I think we have to do that twenty nineteen. Let's Mark it down. So as you said that is like a big component of this show where we talk about those sports like competitive eating that going noticed. Why is it so important for show? Hours to do that. To celebrate those that go on celebrates. I, you know, I mean, I could tell you Troy that it's because it gets ignored by, you know, most of the other shows on the network that these topics that aren't addressed by the mainstream sports media the extent that we do and that this is a kind of corrective for all that. But it's really just because we like talking about it. I mean, you know, I mean, that's one of the great things about the show from my perspective. Is it we get a chance to talk to the people that we like to talk to we get a chance to talk about the things that interest us and the show has not been how should I put it is not been focused grouped to death or life worth anything else? Really? I mean, you know, sometimes people will ask me. Oh, I'd really like to be on your radio show. What do I have to do to get on the show to promote something or talking about something? I say ask I I'm not sure that we don't have barriers. Ever said note, anybody so you know, if you really interested on appearing on this morning, if you ask I'd say, there's a high likelihood a very good chance that you'll be on the show. I like to think that I've heard the Dan lebatardshow described as counter, cultural, I like to think that the sporting life could be described in that way. Because now this is an twenty nineteen I'm working on on Super Bowl. We don't have shown SuperBowl Sunday but on Saturday so on Super Bowl weekend. I'm working on not booking talk about the Super Bowl. What about the puppy bowl? Oh, that would be great. That's a great idea. I am a big fan of the people. I haven't watched it in a number of years because usually I'm traveling during the Super Bowl. But when I have watched I well, obviously now it's a cultural phenomenon, but it would be great to talk puppy bowl. I mean, and it's it's something that I do have some experience watching which differentiates it from an. NFL stuff. It's no kitten ball, Dante's cat guy. He's the cat guy is their cattle kitten. You're like the Robert de Niro character. I'm not sure if. Getting getting we'll stick to the just a poor man's derivative. You know, that's that's that's totally riveted and unoriginal. I mean once you have a puppy bowl to stop puppy bowl. That's how I feel. I love the puppy bowl. I did too. I did too. And Jeremy another big thing that we didn't twenty teen was and this is just a big component of the show always been twentieth. Since I noticed was you love having on the people that really mean something to you. We've had Nancy Lieberman on Jerry Kramer on. Andrea Kremer on Chris Clarry people that you have worked with in the past Joe drape that one was especially exciting for me because he was talking about horse racing during justifies run Joe on many times. Yes. Well, what does it mean to you that we get to have those kinds of people? You know, it's it's great. I mean, it really is. In our daily lives when we get busy. And we've got so much going on whatever it is that I'm the busiest guy in the world. Whether it's not like, you're hard guy tracked down, you know, what I mean? I mean, you know, you don't get to catch up with people. Who mean something important you as often as you'd like to and here on the show? I get to interview them, and that's a way of catching up, whether it is, you know, the people you just mentioned, or it's, you know, colleagues like Tom Rinaldi or or Chris Connelly or, you know, whoever we happen to have on the show. It's fun. You know, I grew up in this business. I'm forty nine years old now my whole life. I've been exposed this business. I've been around, athletes and sports, reporters and sports broadcasters. And so, you know, it's fun for me to have a chance to talk to people. I've known for a long time that I've worked with many of them are friends of my father's I this shows mentioned earlier with my father for some time, and he's been gone for longtime. He died seventeen years ago. So tonight's way to connect to with my childhood and with people I've had these long standing relationships with. We do have so many guests on through Shami throughout the year. It's fifty two weeks sporting like never stops. Jeremy? That's right. And I don't think I took any shows off this year. No, you did not. However, no what I do want to say is to our audience. Just a pew back. Colonel little bit. It can be tough to get everyone on the same page in terms of scheduling. Whereas we have to track down the guests. We have tracked down, Jeremy which is a task ask. Jeremy there was one time. There are several times this year where Dan and I were feeling good about the schedule. You know? We'll we'll have the schedule on a Monday, and okay, I'm feeling good. All right. This is gonna go smoothly will send you the schedule. And you'd be like x y and z don't work og-. Let's do Thursday. Here's my our time that we have that happened a few times. And there's also another time where it was on Monday. We're all set for the week. Can't do interviews this week. I'm in Santa Arini. Yes. And that Dan, and I totally clueless e really knowing. A heads up a little bit would work twenty nineteen. I'm going to rededicate myself to keeping you guys abreast of my schedule. I know that I can be lacking in that regard. If in very few others, and I'm going to make I'm going to going to make you a promise. Now, Troy that I will try to how do you can't you guys get access to my like, Microsoft, scheduling know, your schedule half, the that's true. So that's my that's that's not my fault necessarily. But you know, it works out eventually sometimes we have to adjust concert that not knowing your own schedule is not your fault, not my fault because things happen. Suddenly, that's the point. I am in the news business. And sometimes there's news sometimes, you know, in a moment's notice. There's a sports emergency. I gotta go covers sports emerge. I can't think about I can't remember the last time that happened. But it's a possible. Ability. It's something that could conceivably theoretically somewhat plausibly. Okay. So so I have a scenario for you say, you've you've got no this is gonna be a grilling. You got your brisket, dry rubbed it. Yes. It's it's ready in the smoker. You know, it's going in for eight hours, you're about five hours, and then you have one of these alleged sports emergencies. Right. How do you handle the situation? Well, that's a very good question. And if it's already in the smoker, it's been there for five hours yet three hours to go. I mean, the green egg is pretty much self contained. You can you can let it go. I mean, you know, if it's a kind of sports emergency that can be dealt with the matter of two or three hours that I'm not that concerned because the green egg this is not commercially. From those guys anything like that the green egg really does have incredible temperature maintenance capabilities. It maintains a steady temperature. So I wouldn't be that worried. I think. There's a high likelihood there's very good likelihood that the meat will turn out at a bowl. But, but it's something you have to consider, you know, I think Dan Patrick has a partnership with traeger. They do they do smokers too. But I'm a big green egg. Good to now. It's I am also a big advocate of the smoker as well. So you've been formed me that coriander is the key Korean is just a great, spike. It's a great spice. Sometimes it's underutilized and I was trying to make homemade pastrami last week at his of coriander paprika, pepper salt. And really the rub was terrific. I mean, you almost can't go wrong with coriander and a recommended for a lot of things in again. I don't have any. We will ask these questions about dryer ups to the chefs that we have on twenty nineteen. Yes, I hope so we should do chef segment. I think definitely well there is an appetite so to speak out there for more, sports and food talk. And I don't think there's anybody on this network with all due respect better. Qualified to do it damn aren't that down? We're doing that twenty nineteen. Jeremy, I, you know, we both love working with you everyone. Here loves working into you. We don't even ego anymore. So we are here to just beat you down. Oh, no. This is the last last beating down I want to do here. So we did another really cool thing this year. We did a get to know ESPN audio series that lasted seventy five percent of the year. I know it feels like forever ago four years, but we had on every week day ESPN radio host and a few weekend hosts and several of our big ticket podcast hosts and one of those hosts we had on was Katie Nolan, and this was one of the funniest moments of the play. They're really quick reaction. I don't think that's an acceptable response king and host of the of the sports podcast. So her pockets is called sports and the question, Mark. So you try to match your inflection. I try horribly. Wrong. I don't think so those perfect. I I want to give you a chance to redeem yourself for twenty nineteen. So you do not embarrass yourself with Katie words, the sports podcast is that how say those a little better. Well, it kind of caught me by surprise probably look in my notes, I didn't notice until that very second. When it came out of my mouth that you needed to come up at the end of sports because there was a question, Mark. But if I had had an opportunity to prepare properly the interview, I would have known that. I should have said the sports podcast does a little better. I'll take on. What would be give me an example of what would be perfect. I don't want better. I want Katie Nolan hosted the sports, but cast that wasn't a question. Mark. It all sports, you gotta raise up the inflection to do it again sports. No. They're not. Sound like a question that you sound like sports. Perfect it. It's a question. Mark question. Mark demands sports. I come from. I'm Ron burgundy come from journalistic family. Jeremy my dinner table conversations growing up. We're Spence around grammar. I understand HAMAs questions that I have a full understanding of the question, Mark. But do you have understanding if the inflection and the emphasis that a question more demands in the spoken word because that's the discussion. We're having to differ. I think I'm right point. Always right. Oh that Bruce our all right, Dan. I don't need that. Jeremy? So another thing that I really love about this show is that I noticed this in twenty seventeen I got here is that the show will often reflect what is going on in the sports world, of course. But also in a broader context in society. So when I first got here there was a lot of. Of division within America. And there still is of course, but allied vision, especially at that time, you had LeBron James and Steph curry trading barbs in the media and social media with the president, and there's also the whole anthem protests and a lot of things going on. And we covered that extensively on the show and in twenty eighteen during the anthem Troy come on what I say is that anthem protests. Oh, sorry. I didn't know what the the correct ESPN way to say it was but in twenty years. But they weren't protesting the anthem therefore, it's not an anthem protest. And again, the language is kind of plastic there can be taken to mean several different things, Dan, thanks for chiming in. Thanks, dan. In twenty eighteen. There was a there was another movement that that was huge. And that was the metoo movement that no, right? The end of twenty seventeen over to twenty eighteen and that was something that we covered a lot extensively on the show throughout the year. We had Brenda trace yawn to talk about her story of of abuse in nineteen ninety eight as when she was at Oregon state, we covered extensively Larry Nassar scandal. We ran an outstanding e sixty OT L piece on the show. We spoke to just a few weeks ago to producers for Michigan radio about their NPR podcast series called believed which detailed about how NASA was able to get away with what he did for so long, and why was it so important for our show the sporting life to address these issues, these these very important issues, which often go unnoticed on our normal radio shows people astray away from it. Whereas we won't take a lot of pride in that. And I know you to why was important for us to allow those people on to talk about these issues. Well, that's what our shows about. Right. I mean, you know, ESPN radio. As you said for the most part deals with the games on the field. Now, we have great talk show host dealing with all kinds of issues, and and they do address serious issues. This is one of those shows where it's not about the game that was played last night or the game necessarily that's being played tomorrow for the most part of the we do talk about sports field. So the issues around sports the societal issues, the cultural issues, even the political issues when they intersect with the world of sports, it's our job to cover that stuff. And that's really I think our mandate here on the sporting life. You know, we talked to the authors of a lot of books. We talked to reporters who are doing important work in the space occupied by sports, and culture and societal trends. And those are those are tough conversations. That's you know, it's not it's not the kind of thing that is your typical fodder for sports talk radio, obviously. But. We have a different we have different mandate on the show. We have a different way of approaching things. And that's that's what we're gonna. We're going to keep doing. That's that's our job. I fully agree with you, Jeremy. And there's one more thing that I want. No, not look back in two thousand eighteen but look forward to twenty nine hundred something I've always wanted ask us so much about sporting life. But I heard you say few weeks ago to Ben Houser that people ask all the time why you like boxing so much, and it's not necessarily that you like the sport of boxing that you like, boxers you like the the stories because they all have these unique back stories, then that that got me thinking about, you know, my own fandom, and we kinda share similar view of phantom. Whereas we're not so concerned about final scores and statistics were more concerned about the moments in sports, and I know for me seeing justify when a triple crown because horseshoe I'm from upstate New York, which is a huge on horse racing. Stir took racetrack. That was awesome for me. And then I'm a big tennis fan as well seeing Raphael. Nadal win the French Open for the twelfth time in two thousand eighteen I think it was his twelfth and seeing him hold that trophy. And we've holding that trophy like it was his first time like those are the moments that get me. And you've admitted yourself that you're not as big into the games anymore as you want us to be. So I'm curious and in twenty nineteen what is it that will keep you coming back to to loving sports the same sports that you came to love as a child. I mean, sports sports. I enjoy them a lot of people enjoy them because of competition, and because of certain loyalties we have two teams and also because of just the the tremendous physical nature of sports and and watching athletes do mazing things athletically with their bodies with their skills. I mean, there's all of that. That. And it's also, you know, for me, it's it's always been a place where we could tell stories stories about athletes human interest stories societal stories. Social Justice stories stories that bring you to other parts of the world. And I mean, that's that's the great thing about sports reporting. When you're a sports reporter, you're really a people reporter, you are reporting on the human condition. You know, it's different from other kinds of reporting to large extent fear political reporter, you know, you're covering, you know, kind of balls and strikes politics lot of it and news, and and it's important. But you know, it's not about the lives in the motivations the same extent of the people that you're covering, you know, if you're a business reporter, you know, you're not delving into the lives of the CEO's, you know, in the same way or the workers or anything like that, you know in sports reporting. It's. It's always been this. We're telling stories about people telling stories about their struggles were talking and sports has often been at not it isn't always, of course, it's about a celebration of the human spirit, a celebration of the human capacity to to be your best to to ask the most out of yourself. And we have so many opportunities here. DSP n to tell stories that inspire that motivate that move that inform that enrage and in that whole world is kind of our wasters sports reporters, and what we get to do here in the sporting life. Those stories we tell the people we need we introduce our audience to. That's what makes it rewarding the show is very warrants work on Jeremy thank you for having me and Dan to work on it in two thousand eighteen I I don't allow anything. It is a pleasure to. To to work with you guys on a daily basis. I think we have a lot of same sensibilities about you know, what what the show is about what it should be about. We have fun. We could be serious and you guys do tremendous job, especially dealing with all my nonsense the allow us back in twenty nineteen. I said I don't allow anything. But I hope you're back. All right. That's German shop, he's hosting sporting life. I'm ROY Farkas one of the producers along with Dan's extra Ascii. Jeremy thanks for having joined us, Troy, thank you for having me on my show.