The Sports Show That Has (Almost) VIRTUALLY NOTHING To Do With Sports! (And Why It’s So Epic)
I’m a Miami guy who loves sports (especially basketball and football.) To stay updated with my favorite players and teams, I watch SportsCenter whenever I can and games on TV. It’s gonna be a little bit harder to watch my favorite teams these days because I moved 3000 miles and crossed 3 time zones. Nevertheless, there’s one podcast that makes me feel closer to my hometown, keeps me up to date with all my sports needs, and it has something that no other sports show or podcast has…
Of course there are local sports shows and sports radio stations around the country that pander to certain audiences, demographics, sports fans, etc. But these particular “sportscasters” go monumental steps further by taking countless idiotic steps backwards in the name of their profession and I love them for it. I’m talking about “The Dan LeBatard Show!” The show is hosted by Dan LeBatard, John “Stugotz” Weiner (known on the show as “Stugotz”) and an amalgamation of co-hosts depending on the day or time of year such as Bomani Jones, Mike Ryan, Roy Bellamy, Stan Van Gundy, John Amechi, and Dan’s father “Papi” to name a few. Dan LeBatard started his radio show ten years ago and has been a symbol and dare-I-say a pulse for the cultural representation of the sportsfans and people of Miami.
The show runs for (now 4 hours) from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST after their show went national thanks to ESPN at the end of September of this year. Like most sports shows, listeners can call/text/tweet in their opinions and insight (or lack thereof) but a majority of the time those who do call in do so for the sole purpose of mocking the hosts, questioning their professionalism, and voice their outrage over not enough sports being discussed on the show. (Stugotz can’t say “anonymity.”)
But here’s the thing…
The Dan LeBatard Show does discuss sports, but many times from a perspective away from the court/field. To me it makes perfect sense because how long can you spend talking about how many touchdowns Peyton Manning has or how bad The Jacksonville Jaguars are? I think the people who do the show are utterly fascinated with the human condition and those individuals in professional sports who embrace it, mock it, or try to escape it.
One of my favorite segments on the show (which doesn’t happen enough) is Roy’s Top 10. This segment consists of a top 10 list of some of the most random topics around that is sports-related or mentions sports figures in them. There is actually an album on iTunes of a collection of the best top 10 lists and it’s always a great thing to listen to when you’re by yourself on long car rides. Here’s a sample:
When it comes to guests on the show, they seem to always go in blind and will crash and burn with their listeners often without apologizing for it. Nevertheless LeBatard and Stugotz do a tremendous job bringing on the most colorful guests in sports (and more often than you would think, guests that have nothing to do with sports.) The most frequent of these non sport-related guests is a zookeeper. That’s right, a zookeeper!
Ron Magill is a zookeeper from Zoo Miami who comes on the show about once a week to share his amazing stories of his countless interactions with wild animals. Whenever he’s on the show, calls are flooded in as local listeners ask questions about how to get rid of hornet nests in their backyard or which animal has the longest staying power.
Another one of my favorite guests on the show is John Amaechi. Amaechi, like myself, is also a huge comic book geek and he even responded to a few tweets I sent him about a month ago regarding some of my posts about comics on my site. Every time Amaechi is on Dan’s show, I make sure to listen to every syllable of what that man has to say. Dan himself says that Amaechi is one of the smartest people he’s ever met in or out of sports and I believe he’s one of-if not the most insightful person I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Just watch this tidbit:
Note: This clip is from Dan’s TV show “Highly Questionable” on ESPN 2.
I would love to be a guest on “The Dan LeBatard Show” as well. I got great stories of my own.
Like in all genres of news, there are always the inevitable controversies and tragedies. And when those topics do come up in the spotlight such as whether or not student athletes should be paid especially when their very existence fills the stands and makes the school money, or when a retired ex football player or wrestler kills himself (arguably due to the result of multiple concussions from their playing days) LeBatard and his crew also step in offering insight, poise, and of course tremendous respect for those we lost.
So I don’t end this post on a sad note, let me reiterate that Dan LeBatard is the embodiment and poster man-child of Miami sports. His listeners/haters encompass the city of Miami culturally. And of course there’s this: