NFL Scoops From Heaven

Whether ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski is dropping #wojbombs, or Adam Schefter is piling NFL scoop after scoop into his Twitter timeline, there are certain reporters who seem to always be the first to know who signed where and for how much money. That is, until Sports Spectrum, a burgeoning Christian website, began to beat the ESPNs and other mainstream outlets at a game they’ve long since perfected. How? By allowing athletes to express their faith and religious beliefs.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Mar 23, 2018
Length: 7 minutes (1,906 words)

Deep Six: Jamele Hill and the Fight for the Future of ESPN

Bryan Curtis profiles Jamele Hill, the ESPN Sportscenter host under fire on Twitter, and from the White House, for calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist.

Source: The Ringer
Published: Sep 13, 2017
Length: 22 minutes (5,600 words)

The (Still) Awesome Life of Dick Vitale

It’s impossible to escape Dick Vitale, the original ESPN personality and longtime mensch of college basketball, but at age 77, and after watching countless friends retire from the broadcast booth, The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis tries to answer the question of what continues to push Vitale?

Source: The Ringer
Published: Apr 3, 2017
Length: 21 minutes (5,261 words)

Will Write for Food

In our post-Bourdain era of Yelp, Instagramability and celebrity chefs, it seems like everyone wants to be a food writer, but how did food writing become the new rock criticism? And is the genre suffering from too many cooks in the kitchen?

Source: The Ringer
Published: Mar 2, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,935 words)

The Glue

Inside the creative genius of one of Saturday Night Live‘s most important cast members, the late Phil Hartman.

Source: Grantland
Published: Aug 28, 2014
Length: 16 minutes (4,225 words)

The Steroid Hunt

A brief history of how reporters first covered performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, starting with the time Baseball Weekly writer Pete Williams hit the gym with Ken Caminiti:

His post-workout high set him off to report on creatine, the supplement Baseball Weekly would dub the game’s “new gunpowder.”

Baseball Weekly had a decent travel budget and Williams was able to interview lots of players. The list now reads like a suspect list of the steroid era. Mark McGwire. Jason Giambi. Mike Piazza. They wanted to talk to Williams. The word cheater was barely in circulation. In the age when few ballplayers took weight lifting seriously, the players thought of themselves as innovators. Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson, whose home run total jumped from 16 in ’95 to 50 in ’96, pulled out supplement after supplement to show Williams. There’s this, Anderson said. And this … McGwire declared Power Creatine “the best product on the market today.”

Source: Grantland
Published: Jan 16, 2014
Length: 25 minutes (6,273 words)

From Here to Paternity

A visit behind the scenes of Maury Povich’s long-running daytime talk show—and how he ended up the reigning king of televised paternity tests:

Listen to the familiar voice of Maury Povich:

This is Tiffany. In two months, Tiffany is marrying her fiancé, Cornelius. But the results of this lie detector test may stop that wedding dead in its tracks.

Cornelius is a rapper. But Tiffany fears he’s using his studio to lay down a lot more than just tracks. And get this: Tiffany has a very good witness — their neighbor, Candice.

Source: Grantland
Published: Nov 8, 2013
Length: 15 minutes (3,994 words)

Rocked: An Oral History of the 1989 World Series Earthquake

Former players, broadcasters, fans and city officials look back on the Giants-A’s series and the devastating 6.9 quake that rocked Candlestick Park and the Bay Area:

"McGwire: We thought the whole place was burning up like in 1906.

"George Thurlow, fan, upper deck: The mood of the crowd was jubilant and excited and Wow, that was cool until the first radio announcements began. The first one that I have written down was, ‘The Bay Bridge is down.’

"Dolich: They didn’t say a piece collapsed. It was, ‘The Bay Bridge collapsed.’ You can only think, Oh my god, this is a horror movie coming true.

Source: Grantland
Published: Oct 25, 2013
Length: 47 minutes (11,754 words)

Friday Night Tykes

In Texas, football is everything—even among 12-year-olds:

“‘Celdon is the best eleven-year-old football player in America,’ Ronnie Braxton, his trainer, told me. ‘In America.’ Celdon isn’t the first youth football player to inspire that kind of claim. But when he hit the pile, his powerful legs churning furiously as he wormed his way through the defenders, the assessment seemed indisputable. As the referees pulled everyone off the pile and found Celdon lying in the end zone, his teammates began hopping up and down, and one of the grandmas in the stands rang a cowbell, and the Hawks cheerleaders—yes, the Hawks have cheerleaders—shook their metallic red-and-black pompoms, and the sound system that Coach Engel had rigged up with two car batteries and an ice chest began pumping out triumphal music, and I abandoned journalistic objectivity to throw my arms in the air and cheer until my throat hurt. How does it feel to watch a running back from the best preteen football team in the most football-mad city in Texas exert his will? It’s so beast.”

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Jan 1, 2013
Length: 34 minutes (8,699 words)

George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits

The next phase of George Lucas’s career, the making (and studios’ rejection) of his new Tuskegee Airmen film Red Tails, and who’s really to blame for the “nuking the fridge” idea in the last Indiana Jones film:

“When I told Lucas that Spielberg had accepted the blame for nuking the fridge, he looked stunned. ‘It’s not true,’ he said. ‘He’s trying to protect me.’

“In fact, it was Spielberg who ‘didn’t believe’ the scene. In response to Spielberg’s fears, Lucas put together a whole nuking-the-fridge dossier. It was about six inches thick, he indicated with his hands. Lucas said that if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck when the fridge crashed to earth, and if he were able to get the door open, he could, in fact, survive. ‘The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,’ Lucas said.”

Published: Jan 17, 2012
Length: 19 minutes (4,934 words)