I personally never liked the Sports Reporters, and I’d regularly get mad at the TV on Sunday mornings when it came on. It wasn’t the format, but I just couldn’t stand Mike Lupica. Even at the age of ten I would watch the intro with Dick Schapp and as soon as Lupica spoke, I would change the channel to cartoons or something. Obviously I’m in the minority though because the show’s popularity has kept it on the air, as of this Sunday, for twenty years. The show has a litany of popular guests including Howard Cosell, David Halberstam, Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Jim Nantz and Lesley Visser, and was really the first Sports panel show of its kind.
Here’s a clip of the first show that ESPN released with news of the anniversary, and take notice of a young Gary Thorne (the first host), Jackie MacMullen and Ralph Wiley. It’s a little bit choppy but still viewable (it also helps to let it load all the way before first)….
While the show wasn’t always my favorite, it certainly has had it’s moments. One I remember vividly was the airing following 9/11, which actually turned out to be Dick Schapp’s last show. All four panelists (Lupica, Schapp, William C. Rhoden and Bob Ryan) expressed their feelings gracefully, and Schapp’s account of his frustration, and the pain of not being able to do anything, still sticks in my mind.
Happy Birthday Sports Reporters.