Papi Le Batard's return.

Since the debut of ESPN’s Highly Questionable (originally Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable) in 2011, much of the attention around the show hasn’t been on Le Batard himself, but his co-host and father, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard. In November, though, Papi stepped away from the show, with Dan Le Batard saying on air “He is just 76 years old. He’s been working, punching the clock for 50 straight years and he doesn’t feel like working that hard right now, so he’ll come in when he wants to.” Well, “when he wants to” was apparently Friday. The Highly Questionable Twitter account first sent out a release echoing Michael Jordan’s famous “I’m back” fax:

And they started the show with quite the intro for Papi indeed:

Le Batard then followed that up with an introduction, saying “Papi is back, maybe a one-day only engagement, we never know with him, he comes and goes as he pleases.”

That clip also includes Le Batard announcing that he won’t make a Super Bowl pick, saying “I simply refuse to do prediction television.” And he adds “I’m sorry to disappoint you, my father. It’s a great burden. I’ve been doing it all my life, it’s my personal crucifix.” Not long after that, co-host Mina Kimes made fun of Le Batard for his conscientious objector position:

By contrast, Papi actually gave a pick (the 49ers):

Papi also pulled one of his famous phone pranks on Kimes later in the show:

And the show ended with the hosts discussing a kid’s cockroach obsession (as seen on TLC UK), with Papi saying Le Batard has a taco obsession, and with Le Batard saying “Welcome back, old man. Everybody was very happy to see you. We don’t know when he’ll be back again, though; he makes his own hours!” Kimes gave Papi a hug during this as well:

Then, in a post-end clip, Papi delivered a deadpan “Don’t touch me again!” to Kimes:

Papi’s presence definitely helps elevate Highly Questionable, and makes it even more of a fun and weird romp. We’ll see if this appearance leads to him returning more regularly.

[Highly Questionable on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.