Get ready for the final hard network out.
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will make its last appearance on ESPN Radio on Jan. 4. Pour one out for originality and creativity at the Worldwide Leader. The good news: the show is expected to continue in some form, be it podcasts or possibly satellite radio. The bad news: ESPN will become more self-serious and homogenized.
We eagerly look forward to the next evolution of Le Batard’s Marching Band to Nowhere (Thank you, Dan!).
Here are some things that ESPN listeners will miss the most.
“Animal doctor” Ron Magill
Ron Magill is not a doctor. He’s a wildlife expert and spokesman for Zoo Miami. According to Le Batard, when his show went from local to national, one of the biggest fights he had with the ESPN suits was over the Magill segment. They didn’t understand why Le Batard insisted that an “animal doctor” be on a sports network. The suits clearly didn’t get the show. Magill’s appearances are consistently fascinating, with him answering questions on everything from household pets to rare species. One of the best parts of the segment is having Magill react to videos like this one:
The Tim Kurkjian segment
Tim Kurkjian is on several ESPN platforms. But no one gets more out of Kurkjian than Le Batard. Thanks in part to Le Batard’s exceptional interviewing skills, Kurkjian talks about baseball and a lot more. Enjoy the great anecdotes that showcase Kurkjian’s obsessive nature, like when he ruminates after someone asks him an obscure trivia question at a party. Le Batard also delights in having his callers seek out Kurkjian for life advice and etiquette tips. And Kurkjian acts as a sounding board for The Looks Like Game (more on that later). Will ESPN allow Kurkjian to appear on the Le Batard Show in the future? If not, that’s a huge loss.
Greg Cote Tuesdays
No guest is funnier, intentionally, and unintentionally. The longtime Miami Herald columnist elicits all sorts of reactions from Le Batard (joy, annoyance, surprise, and exasperation). That makes for great radio, often at the expense of the host. Like that time when “Scoops” Cote revealed – without permission – Le Batard’s engagement. Come for Cote’s struggles with radio as his voice often gets cut off by the hard network out. Stay for his Back in My Day segments as he rages against advances in coffee, telecommunications, and cartoons. With Cote, you never know…
The Useless Sound Montage
Billy Gil deserves hazard pay for doing this. Or maybe lifetime Marlins season tickets. Every Monday during football season, the baseball-loving Guillermo must sift through hours of NFL postgame press conferences to assemble a two-to-three-minute montage of soundbites. Football coaches and players are notorious for saying little that’s substantive. It’s chock full of clichés, nonsense, and is utterly useless. Hence the name of the montage. At least this way, the gibberish sounds entertaining. To borrow a favorite phrase from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Billy Gil makes a big “splash” with his editing skills.
Admittedly, the rants might be retired. Le Batard didn’t do one when the Heat made a run to the 2020 NBA Finals. Hopefully the next incarnation of the Le Batard Show will bring them back (Give it to us again!). They were fun in part because Le Batard seems analytic and dispassionate. So it’s enjoyable when he sounds like a combination of a pro wrestler and carnival barker, mocking other teams, fan bases, and cities. This one aimed at the Indiana Pacers was hilarious. “You have cities named French Lick and South Bend. We have strip clubs that offer the French lick and the south bend!”
Weekend Observations with Stugotz
Every now and then you need someone with the guts to tell you how it is. Ladies and gentlemen, may we present Jon Weiner, aka Stugotz. He’s the yin to Le Batard’s yang. When he’s not attending a lacrosse-mitzvah, he’s firing off hot takes and ranking Rocky movies or quarterbacks. Get more incredible insights from Stugotz with his weekend observations. It’s not all jokes either. Stugotz was among the first to expose Elon Musk for not quite being the all-knowing genius we once thought him to be. Take a bow, Stugotz. Hell of an accomplishment. Speaking of hell… Art Briles.
The Dirty Demon of Debate
First Take, Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, Undisputed, etc. There are way too many “debate” shows. Most make you want to gouge your eyeballs out with a rusty spoon. Le Batard and his crew found a hilarious way to poke fun at all of this.
The Dirty Demon of Debate emerges from hell whenever Le Batard and Stugotz veer too close to tired sports arguments (LeBron vs. Jordan! Are the Raiders for real?). The Dirty Demon relishes inane shouting matches. But occasionally the Demon must face his archnemesis, the Cowardly Angel of Nuance, who oddly offers more banal niceties than nuance. Also, ever notice that Dirty Demon of Debate sounds like Satan from South Park?
The Looks Like Game
One of the best ways the Le Batard Show involves its audience is The Looks Like Game. Listeners submit suggestions of what people in sports look like. The best ones are announced every year in the March Sadness tournament.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Jay Cutler looks like the guy trying to break into a house on an alarm company commercial.
- Trey Wingo sounds like a three-count chicken wing appetizer dish at a Mexican restaurant run by white people.
- Dallas Braden looks like the pro wrestler who tells you how pretty he is before losing in 10 seconds to David Ortiz.
- Jimmy Butler looks like the asparagus from VeggieTales.
- Ben McAdoo looks like the father who embarrasses his family by enunciating the J when ordering chicken fajitas.
- Rachel Nichols looks like the mom in the floor cleaner commercial who reacts to her kids spilling grape juice and her dog’s muddy paw prints with a loving headshake and wry smile.
- Sam Darnold looks like a Lego policeman.
- Pete Carroll looks like the tennis instructor who gets a little too friendly with your wife.
- Orel Hershiser looks like the father in the frame when you buy picture frames at Walmart.
- Jim Caldwell looks like the nervous armed car driver transporting his largest and last delivery, who’s suspicious that his new partner might be up to something. Jay Cutler is his new partner.