Of Our Generation …. Leaving ESPN
What’s wrong with August 17th? I’ve gotta think this date is worse than any “Friday The 13th” in history. On August 17th …. Hurricane Camille destroyed the Gulf Coast (1969), Bill Clinton ‘fessed up to ruining a perfectly good “blue dress” (1998), and “Ethel” from “I Love Lucy” died (1979). Oh …. and it’s also the day I married my first wife (1990). Trust me …. it’s a bad day.
And, August 17th is about to worsen. Dan Patrick, the most distinguished personality at ESPN, and perhaps in sports-media will be leaving the network, after 18 years. In many ways, I feel like I’ve grown up with Patrick; just as other generations identify with Howard Cosell and Curt Gowdy. Yeah …. I actually hold Dan Patrick in that regard.
I think he’s been an innovator and master of bringing humor and candor to the sports presentation. He’s simply a funny, charismatic guy …. with a quick wit, and self-deprecating guise. Dan Patrick has gone beyond being a presenter of sports news and dialogue. He’s got “cred”…. and that means something.
At WNST, we give the listener the “home cooked” version of the sports menu. Whereas, Patrick gives us that nationwide account, or “franchise” feel. Both versions appeal to me, with my preference to always talk “Baltimore” over anything on the national stage. Anyone can present the “national” look …. but, you’ve gotta live in, and love a city to represent it, passionately.
That said, Dan Patrick has easily been the best messenger of everything “sports related,” on a national scale, over the last decade. I’ll never forget his partnership with Keith Olbermann, on the “Big Show,” or his programming with Rob Dibble and independently, on radio. Dan Patrick has always been an interesting listen …. and he’s cool – bottom line.
So, as a Dan Patrick fan, I’ll simply say “thanks.” He’s been a great role model and a pleasure to listen to and watch. I certainly hope he finds a challenge that will involve us …. the viewers and listeners. I’d like to think every sports radio personality carries around a little trace of “Dan Patrickisms” within their game. I certainly do.
Thanks, Dan …. now, my first marriage is no longer the low light of my August 17th memories. And, for the record, Tonya Harding will miss you, too …. even if she has made a “skeptical of her boxing career.”