S1: The following podcast contains explicit language. Hide your children.
S2: Hi, I’m Josh Levine at Slate’s national editor and the author of The Queen. This is Hang Up and Listen for the week of May 11th, 2020. On this week’s show, we’re going to do our regular check in with the bold documentary The Last Dance, which covered Michael Jordan’s foray into baseball and Jordan’s legendary Gerke itude. We’ll also talk to Dan strongly about the life of an American baseball player in South Korea, where sports are actually going on right now. And writer Morgan Campbell will be here to help us assess the return of the ultimate fighting championship, where Joe Rogan insisted on shaking everyone’s hand.
S1: I’m in Washington, D.C.. So is Stefan Fatsis. He’s the author of the book Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic. Hello, Stefan. Hey, Josh. And also with us, Slate staff writer, host of Slow Burn Season three to see you, Heidi, where Joel Anderson. Joe. Welcome to the family, Zach Evans. Zach, heavens being a top running back recruit following. And is that the Joel Anderson running back room in Fort Worth? Is there a plaque?
S3: I haven’t donated quite enough money for that yet. But if people subscribe to this podcast, maybe there might be a chance someday that we could make that happen.
S1: Ladin’s and Tomlinson’s donations slightly hurt, but only only for now.
S4: About midway through Episode eight of The Last Dance, Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s personal trainer, offers up an anecdote. The 1995 season has just ended. That’s the one in which Jordan quit baseball announced I’m back and returned it to the Bulls. Sixty five games into the regular season. Chicago has just lost to Orlando and a young Shaq and Penny in the conference semifinals after every season. Tim Grover tells us Jordan would take a break and call him when he was ready to start training again. But not this time.
S5: The night they lost Orlando. So, Michael, you know about to get out of here. Let me know when you let me see. I’ll see you tomorrow. Michael had an obligation to himself, the fans, his teammates, the organization, his family, everybody. He said if you’re going to sit down and take three hours out of your day. Watch me on TV. I have an obligation. To give you my best.
S6: To give you my best all the time, this is the kind of quote that would get axed by a good editor 100 times out of 100. It’s from a totally biased source and employee kissing his boss’s ass. And the insight it allegedly offers doesn’t withstand the barest scrutiny. Jordan had played very little basketball that year, so it made sense that he would want to start training sooner than normal. And he certainly wasn’t doing that for the organization or the fans. He was doing it because he was embarrassed on the court to anyone with even a barely functioning bullshit meter. That quote would send the arrow screaming into the red zone. Sunday’s installments of the last dance made routine work of Jordan’s baseball hiatus and focused on his return to the Bulls. Those 95 playoffs and the start of the playoffs and the climactic 1998 season, there was once again some cool behind the scenes footage and great stories and soundbites from players not named Michael Jordan and plenty of oh shit. I totally forgot about La Bradford Smith moments, but I rolled my eyes more in these two episodes than in the first six combined. They confirmed what for me is becoming a theme of the last dance. Michael Jordan is only interesting when he’s playing basketball. And in this series, he’s not always playing basketball. Josh, the truth is, I’m starting to really dislike Michael Jordan and I am also getting really bored of Michael Jordan. And I also feel genuinely sad for Michael Jordan. And I don’t think that was the filmmakers goal to make me feel this way. But 80 percent of the way through this series, that’s where I am. What about you?
S7: Your commitment to hating is just a thrill sight to behold. I marvel at it more and more every week. The fact that Jordan isn’t likeable in this series are off the court doesn’t mean that he’s not interesting. I think even if you think that this is to head geographical, if you think that the documentary isn’t well-made. I would not say that the Michael Jordan that we see here is not interesting or that his self presentation is that interesting. I actually find it fascinating the way that he talks about himself, the way that others talk about him, the way that he is presented. I will say that I admire your choice of clip there, because my viewing partner, when watching last night, you said, are you guys going to talk about all the weird places that people cry in a documentary like Tim Grover is crying because Michael Jordan wanted to exercise more agile.
S3: You know, and I like the end. I couldn’t help but think at the end of Episode seven that they were recording a Nike commercial or something because it didn’t make any sense for Michael Jordan to cry in that moment where he says the debate in that moment was whether or not Michael Jordan was a nice guy. And clearly, he doesn’t give a shit if he’s a nice guy like it. He thinks that his path to greatness is the only one there is. And he is misty eyed because some people disagree with that. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, I’d like I I can’t get over the fact that Michael Jordan tried to tell us a whole bunch of people that he doesn’t know anything about, that we never once shit in our lives because we refuse to scream at our colleagues and coworkers. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
S8: Yeah, there was no kind of reflection from him or anyone else on the possibility that you can win in basketball or any other realm without being an asshole. It was basically we presented with a binary choice.
S7: Stefan, you know, if you wanted Michael Jordan to not call Scott Barela Ho, then they wouldn’t have won that championship. It’s like it’s very it’s very simple. The fact that he was repeatedly calling Scott Barela Ho also made me wonder, is he using a lot more offensive slurs and language in parts of that fabled 1998 footage that we have not seen? Or did he just call? Everyone has. That is an unanswered question. Did he call him a bitch to at some point he might have also called him a bitch? Certainly possible.
S1: But anyway, Stefan, there is no questioning from anybody about can you win and be nice or at least not be this much of a jerk?
S4: No. And, you know, we’ll get into some of the anecdotes that are related here that purportedly support the idea that Jordan is so driven by his competitive fire that to win that anything went. But the problem I’m having maybe is really one of filmmaking. I mean, we get it already. The problem isn’t that Jordan is an asshole. We knew that Jordan was an asshole. The problem isn’t that that Jordan has banal thoughts. We knew that Jordan has banal thoughts and has no sort of larger core interest in the world around him. The problem is that every fucking last example and every last banal thought. Have made it into this documentary. And after eight episodes, while it is interesting and it is entertaining and in the absence of anything but Dan Strelley, who we’re gonna talk to pitching in the Korean Baseball League, it is something that people are galvanized to watch. But to me, it’s getting tedious.
S3: Yeah. And I think one of the frustrating things, because we watch, you know, these we watch these episodes, you know, along with everybody else on social media at the same time. So you can sort of see, you know, people respond in real time. And one of the frustrating things about Michael Jordan in these last two episodes is that we know that he’s an asshole and he doesn’t seem like a particularly happy or fulfilled post. Right. A well rounded person. But people still fall for this shit, like they think that this is the only way that you can be successful in your chosen path. And that’s kind of, I think, one of the problems here. Like a larger societal problem. It’s not just that Michael Jordan thinks that you have to be an asshole to win. B.J. Armstrong says, was he a nice guy? He couldn’t have been nice, like. Okay, fine. Like, that’s basketball. But there are so many other middle managers and people in both, you know, in jobs that think that you have to be mean and have to belittle your co-workers or your surrogates or your subordinates. That that that’s the only way to be an effective manager. And I just I saw people, you know, buying into that shit last night. And I was like, oh, man, really seriously, like you guys took from this, that this is the way to do it.
S1: I love the kind of roll call of increasingly ridiculous slights that Jordan claimed that inspired him to greatness in the playoffs. There was B.J. Armstrong, his best one time.
S7: And so then obviously, I think we had to then we had to beat the Hornets. I wasn’t going to let that stand. Then there was direct call. Carl didn’t say hi to me at dinner. So then I was motivated to beat the Sonics in the 96 finals. It seems like he believes this stuff. It would have been, I think, better if the filmmakers pointed out how ridiculous this stuff was.
S1: But as Clyde Drexler, I’m like increasingly surprised in retrospect that he actually said that Clyde Drexler was a threat before going on to destroy him in game one of that final series, because other than that, he just like talks and such kind of, you know, belittling terms about everyone from B.J. Armstrong to Gary Payton.
S3: I mean, he’s so disparaging of Gary Payton. And we have data, like he said, the glove, the glove. I didn’t have any problems with the glove. Michael, you shot thirty seven percent in the three games. Did Gary Payton guarded you in the final on the final three games of the 1996 finals? Like Gary Peyton did give you some trouble, but it would have been nice to for Gary Payton in that moment to have had the last word. Oh, for somebody to correct the record there. But they let Michael Jordan just say, I had no problem with the defensive player of the year. Fine. Jordan is laughing at an iPad. Just laughing.
S9: No, it’s not it’s not just that he’s laughing and mocking Gary Payton and saying, I had no problem with the glove. It’s what he said after that. I had a lot of other things on my mind.
S1: And then we cut to was the insinuation that he lost those games on purpose so he could win the championship on Father’s Day.
S4: I didn’t take that. But the insinuation to me was that he was so thinking about playing on Father’s Day a week later that he just, you know, the most competitive fucking athlete on the planet. And as we’ve heard ad infinitum in this documentary, just couldn’t focus because he was thinking about his late father and having to play on Father’s Day. And that was the motivation, really. Come on, man. I mean, to me, this is like the portrayal. This goes back to what we talked about last week about how the the inclusion of the gambling allegations and Jordan’s gambling history is in there so that Jordan can have the last word. And clearly, as we’ve also discussed and everyone has discussed, this is a Michael Jordan production in some way. He had the ability to not talk about certain things. There are clearly things in there that are not discussed, including his family. And yet all of this is in there. And all you can take away is that this is like the most uncharitable, miserable, grievance filled, unfriendly dude. And 20 years later, 25 years later, it feels empty to me. It feels like he didn’t enjoy any of it except in the moment. And he certainly doesn’t enjoy it now. So what are we left with? A bunch of people who either suck up to Michael Jordan or roll their eyes about Michael Jordan. But ultimately, it doesn’t feel like Michael Jordan has no actual friends who liked being around him and sharing those moments beyond what happened on the court.
S8: Are you trying to say, Stefan? The real championships are the friends we met on.
S10: I am and clearly I take that back because his best friend and the Kyran was his driver has paid in play.
S1: Yes. Yeah.
S8: Jawan, interesting kind of contrast. And these episodes was the way in which the film, but also the balls players talked about Scottie Pippen refusing to go into the game in 1994, the year that Jordan wasn’t on the team. Pippen was mad that Phil Jackson drew up a play for Tony Kyouko to play that worked, incidentally, and was insubordinate and just sat on the bench, refused to go in after what you know, we hear that after the game, Bill Cartwright said in tears in the locker room that Scottie had let everyone down. Scottie is like strangely defiant here and saying, you know, I screwed up, but I would do it the same way again, which is which was weird. But the way that all of that is portrayed as if you know and obviously it’s not a great thing to do for your team or for for yourself, but the way that it’s portrayed as this kind of unforgivable sin in sports and everything that Jordan does is forgivable because of winning like that.
S1: That was telling to me at all.
S3: I think that’s what Jordan thought. And you can see that carried out in the way that they presented that. Right. And it’s funny because it happens in the midst of a montage where we see that it’s not necessary to be an asshole, to be great. You know where Michael Jordan stepped away to play baseball? The bulls are still very good. And Michael Jordan’s absence, they went 55 games and finished in third place in the Eastern Conference in advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Scottie Pippen showed in modeled another way of leadership and even says he’s like, hey, I think the guys are happy because nobody was yelling into them the whole time. But Scottie makes this one mistake in his career, which is I mean, I guess we can quibble about whether or not it’s understandable or not. But given the history he had with Tony Q. coach and management and feeling like he was being, you know, sort of overlooked in a moment that normally would have gone to Michael. It sort of makes sense, right. But it felt like that was a way for Michael Jordan to be like, hey, Scottie is not who you think he was. I was the real leader on this team. I’m the guy that got them over the hump. This is how you have to be a champion. I would’ve never quit on you in quite that way, even though Michael Jordan did quit on his team. But what by retiring, you know, now and that’s it.
S6: That’s exactly how this was framed. I mean, look, it’s not defensible what Scottie Pippen did. He made a mistake. It’s a huge mistake. It was more than a huge mistake. It is not something you would expect of a leader of any professional sports team. He threw a fuckin hissy fit and stopped playing in the critical moment of a playoff game against like he did arrive, rival of the time.
S7: Are that a huge mistake? I love it, Stefan. Keep it.
S10: Keep upping the ante. And it wasn’t the biggest mistake anyone’s ever made athletically.
S9: It was a terrible thing that he did. But was it not forgivable? I mean, Jordan’s reaction that is used in the documentary is I don’t know if Pippen ever lives this down. I mean, thanks for the support, man. Like, I’m coming back to be your teammate. Great. But everything, as you said that Jordan ever did, that was wrong. We are we are forced to come to terms with and forgive.
S3: How sensitive is Michael Jordan, by the way? I mean, did that ever occur to you guys? Like, first? I mean, one of the scariest things in the documentary is Michael Jordan saying I took that personally. And additionally, I mean, basically what he was admitting, which is sort of remarkable, if you think about it, for a guy who’s, you know, seen as this indomitable force, the media was really difficult with me. I was dealing with the, you know, the pressure and struggle of being a celebrity. So I’d take some time off. And that’s that’s he’s thinking about that before his father was murdered, by the way. So I don’t want to diminish the impact that on his life, but that is something that was occurring to him before then. So I don’t want to give him the chance to say, hey, look, that’s you know, what sealed my decision. That’s not that’s not it at all.
S8: So you referenced Jordan’s father’s murder, which gets covered in this set of episodes. And, you know, it takes up a substantial amount of time in the film. But, you know, Jordan, it obviously had an enormous effect on on his life and all sorts of different ways. But we see him kind of control does. He’s talking about it. The first championship they went after James Jordan’s murder in nineteen ninety six after the baseball hiatus, and then that him coming back to the balls. You see Jordan after the game and just heaving total uncontrolled sobs in a way that, you know, we’ve never seen him before or her. And, you know, it felt. I like the treatment of it was a little bit surfies, see, both from him and the filmmakers. And you know, Stefan talking about how Jordan is an interesting when he’s not playing basketball. I mean, I don’t want to say like, oh, the murder of his father is interesting, but it’s like a very dramatic thing to have happen to him and to his family. And I was interested to hear how he spoke about it and how it was described. And, yeah, it felt a little thin to me.
S11: And not to be cruel, but there’s a lot of talk in this film by Jordan and others about what an amazing father James Jordan was to him and what a huge influence James Jordan was to him. But I would be curious to know how that affected Michael Jordan’s adult life. You know, not just that he lost his father and his friend, but he has children. Did that, you know, did the way his father raised him. In fact, how he felt about being a father, the way that the kind of relationship he had with his father, adult as an adult, in fact, how the kind of relationship he wanted. He wants to have with his kids when they get older. And none of that goes addressed here. And it just feels like a big hole in the documentary for people who know more of the the Jordan’s family backstory. And that’s not to say that he’s obligated to talk about his relationship with his ex-wife or with his children. But in the context of the importance of his relationship with his father, it certainly seems relevant.
S3: Yeah. And I mean, we just end up with him retiring and playing baseball. We get no sense of the man he was or how this affected him in between. Like, we just get hints of it. Right. And that’s where we need a Jordan or his children or Larry or even more of his mom would have been useful to talk about the impact that had on because, you know, they talk about how, you know, Michael Jordan’s father is murdered and Michael Jordan immediately says, well, I’m an optimistic person or I’m a positive person. So I started looking for the positive, which is a really trite way to discuss something that tragic. Right. And I’m not saying that it’s not true. But you would have thought that there’d be a little bit more. I mean, we see him later. He is. You say, Josh, heaving on the ground after the NBA finals. So I just would have liked to have just heard a little bit more about that. There was one other point in the documentary where they say that Michael Jordan’s father talked to him in ninth grade after he’d been suspended three times that year in ninth grade. What the hell did he get suspended for? What were the conversations about? Like, they just, you know, breeze, right pipe. You just get suspended for no reason. In ninth grade or like there’s something else going on and they never delved into it. I think I was just sort of, you know, one of the problems that we’ve had with the documentary throughout that you don’t get to see or investigate much more about Michael Jordan’s interior life. You just asked. I still feel kind of cold towards him, you know? I mean.
S8: Yeah. And they do get into the baseball interregnum, although, like, no, none of his teammates are interviewed, which I thought was kind of interesting. Terry Francona, the manager, is a talking head, but they get into the Sports Illustrated cover story by Steve Wolff that had the cover line bag at my call. And he’s never talked us to Sports Illustrated since then, which is an example of Jordan’s legendary kind of need to control the narrative around himself and control the way that access gets doled out. And so it’s kind of hard to avoid thinking when you hear people in the dock saying he could have made the majors after hitting two oh two. It’s like, well, would he have agreed to a documentary that belittled his baseball career? Given what we know about his history with us, why would he have consented to have somebody on camera being like and this guy kind of sucked? And, you know, we didn’t like having him around. I mean, maybe nobody would have said that. But it’s just the nature of this project kind of makes you wonder. And with the baseball thing, I don’t I don’t think actually mocking him for it is appropriate. I don’t mean to suggest that it is impressive for a dude who’s never who hasn’t played baseball in 15 years, did above 200 and double A.. Like, is it like the most amazing thing that’s ever happened in the history of sports? Not really. But I don’t think it’s worth mocking him over. But it’s just you don’t know when you’re watching this, whether you’re getting unexpurgated, like real opinions from, you know, that the full gamut of folks or if you’re just getting a picture of, you know, what Michael Jordan would want you to know and want you to hear.
S12: Yeah. I had three thoughts there, one is that, you know, we heard from Francona talking about how amazing it is that he battled two or two in your right. You know, it’s pretty impressive. But again, it didn’t mean that he was going to become a major league player to as he wouldn’t become a major league player, though, because you know that the ball that the White Sox would call his ass up in September just to fill the stadium. And because they should have called Michael Jordan up in September had there not been a strike in 1995. Jerry Reinsdorf says that with fifteen hundred at bats, he would have made the majors. I mean, come on, we have no idea whether that’s true. It takes it takes minor league baseball players, thousands of at bats in some cases to to come close to to sniffing the big leagues. And the last part that really is annoying is that the implication, really the notion that we’re left with about Jordan’s playing career is that he ended his baseball career because of a strike, because he was unwilling to cross the picket line and become a replacement player. And there’s no evidence given to support that. I mean, I think it’s highly unlikely that that the best basketball player in the world who benefited from a strong union or a strong ish union would have crossed the picket line in another sport. But, you know, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not like Michael Jordan was some sort of social activist or labor rights fighter. He’s no curt flood here.
S1: All right. Final thoughts here. Number one, Stefan, you’ve got to be nice. Next week, it’s the last week. OK. So let’s say, you know, just to keep it to yourself, OK? You you know, you guys are kind of ruining the show for me because I feel like it’s like Homeland, which is the show that I know is bad, but I enjoy watching.
S7: Why can’t you just let me enjoy my bad show?
S3: No, I actually I think it’s fine. I think I’m glad that it’s on. I just can’t catch on. I’m glad that it’s on. I just kind of I mean, I’m already not a Michael Jordan fan and he’s not doing a lot to to me. And maybe that’s maybe that was the plan all along. Maybe this is he enjoys this. He wants us to. We didn’t win anything. And he’s pointing it out. And I’m just having to live with the idea, the reality of the fact that I’ll never be Michael Jordan or win or like him.
S13: And then again, to go back to the thing we want, I want to end with some nice things. But before I get to the nice things, let’s not forget that this is the image that Michael Jordan wants us to take away, that these are choices he’s making. This is a controlled by a autobiographical documentary for the large part. Yeah.
S12: The filmmakers have some journalistic latitude. But as we’ve discussed, Jordan has control here.
S10: And like this is what he wants us to take away about him is just weird to me. Like I’m a miserable fuck and I’m proud of it. You know, our friend Gene Demby tweeted last night, there’s no winning with this dude, a lachrymose Petie King.
S14: And when you compare him to the sort of joy and love for the sport that we’ve gotten from other NBA stars more recently, that’s a really big contrast. But the things I want to leave with my two favorite parts of these shows. Well, one is like you look back to those fucking scores in the 90s. Holy shit. Seventy six. Seventy one. Man, that basketball satullo.
S1: That was your positive thing you wanted to end. Well, yeah.
S14: 90S basketball. No, but the other positive thing, which is also not really a positive thing, is I guess I’m full of shit too. I had the footage of the games that Jordan played, the scrimmages in Los Angeles in the summer of nineteen ninety five when he was so determined to get back to the NBA that he spent seven hours a day filming Space Jam all summer. And they built him a court at the studio a lot. And Jordan persuaded all these NBA stars to fly out and scrimmage with him.
S10: I thought was still the footage is great, but what the fuck was Patrick Ewing thinking? I’m going to go play with Michael Jordan and help him get better so he can come back and kick my ass. That seem just so weird to me. But it also clearly reflected the influence that Jordan had over his peers.
S8: All right, let’s end it there. We’re going to have more time to discuss the last dance in our extra segment so you can save some hate for it for later. Stefan.
S14: Maybe I’ll say love her later.
S8: So our next segment about baseball and Korea will be me and Stefan and Dan Strelley. And then I will be sitting out our third segment about UFC. So wanted to let you guys know that. So you’re not disoriented during our next two segments. Andrei.
S15: As we’re recording this on Monday morning, reports are that Major League Baseball officials will soon meet to discuss a proposal to get baseball up and running in the U.S. According to Ken Rosenthal of the athletic, possible parameters include a regular season of roughly 80 games starting in early July with a regionalised schedule and teams that can’t use their home stadiums relocated to other parts of the country. Well, that all seems incredibly tenuous. There is real live actual human baseball being played on this planet right now in South Korea. The Korea baseball organization opened last week with no fans in the stands. Cheerleaders wearing masks and for the baseball deprived and the U.S. English language broadcasts on ESPN five 30 a.m. Eastern Tuesday through Friday, 4:00 AM Saturdays, 1:00 a.m. on Sundays. The Latty Giants at five now are on top of the Kabia standings. They’ve been led so far by 31 year old American dance Tré Lee, who came over to Korea this year after spending parts of eight seasons in the majors. Strelley threw seven innings of shutout ball to beat the SCCA y vernes on Sunday. He joins us now from Korea. Hey, Dan. Hello. You told the athletics, Trent Rosecrans, that you played for the Marlins. So you’ve seen some pretty empty stadiums in your day, but playing in front of absolutely no fans. Must be a different experience. What was it like to throw such an amazing game on Sunday and just get absolutely no feedback from the stands?
S16: Yeah, no, I definitely wasn’t the first time, you know, playing midweek games. And a lot of places, Cincinnati, Oakland, Baltimore, Miami, you’re not playing in front of a bunch people on a Tuesday. It was day off, but nothing compares to having literally nobody like when we joked around and talked about, like, how to play in front of a.. Stadium in the major leagues. We’re talking there’s still five to ten thousand people there. But that was kind of our joke. It felt empty compared to the size of the place. And seeing an actual empty stadium worth twenty plus thousand empty seats is a little little odd, to say the least. I’ve been doing this for 11 years now and there’s definitely a first. And fortunately over here, we’re a little different situation. And and we’re hoping rumors are that we might be having some people in the stands within the next few weeks to months. And they won’t be full stadiums, but they’ll be allowing certain percentages in hopefully if everything around here continues to turn the right direction.
S12: Obviously, Dan, you signed with Lotty before the pandemic broke and and you honored your commitment and went over there and I guess January or February. Can you describe the transition for us and any apprehensions you had about going over and once you were there about staying there?
S16: When I signed the day. There wasn’t any there wasn’t anything going on. It wasn’t really a thing when I left to go to Australia for spring training. It was still only really in China like this whole. And then the can really, I guess, launched yet, if you will. But my wife and I talked about it and, you know, we understood that it could spread and that if things did get kind of crazy, that when I say good bye to her at the end of January, her and our son like that might be the last time I get to see them till October, November when I get home. So that was that was a tough realization. But we as athletes. Yeah, we play for entertaining. We play for all this. We play for our families. We play for the providing for our families like any other any other working man or woman. We’re just out here trying to make a living and trying to provide. And given the situation that I didn’t pitch well last year, it’s just plain and simple. And so when I was pitch well enough, after I got sent down from Baltimore to get a job over here and, you know, it’s it was it was an easy decision when one job offers 10 times more than the other to come over here. And so I just took it for what it was worth. And yeah, I think given the current situation, given the current climate of what’s going on in baseball specifically, that I have definitely made the right decisions for myself and for my family.
S15: Yeah. Korea has an amazing baseball culture, and I would guess that you’ve seen part of it and other parts of it, like the fan culture.
S8: You haven’t really gotten to see that much. What are some of the things that you’ve been surprised by or just interested by, like, you know, having played only in America up till now?
S16: I saw a lot of videos when I was saying over here, I saw a lot of different clips of what the fans were like, how crazy they were, how like these cheerleaders, what that meant was more of like literally a group of people leading cheers non-stop for nine straight innings of baseball, literally nonstop. And part of that experience, part of that rowdiness, that craziness is kind of part of experience as a kid or do. And, you know, right now, I guess you could say, like being deprived of that. But at the same time, like, that’s OK. I’m just happy playing baseball at this point. We had a never ending three months spring training, so I’m just I’m just happy to be playing and happy that I’m in a place that was doing things well enough to let everything get rolling here with baseball. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not missing playing in front of people like. That’s easy. But I’m looking forward to hopefully this year getting a chance to play in front of fans.
S11: Here are the Giants, one of the teams that are putting up the the rows of fake fans in the stands.
S16: I don’t believe so. I don’t believe I saw any. We have interesting perspective, though, from our dugout at home. We can’t see much. We’re kind of we’re kind of buried and we can see the field. Now, as you can see from the dugout, I can see that kind of like right center field, like I don’t think just sitting on the regular bench part. I can’t even see really like the right fielder. You kind of have to get up on the rail to be able to see out there. But I don’t see fake a fake fans out there. We have some drummers and our head cheerleader announces everybody as they walk up to bat. I think that’s what he’s saying. And then they have like a cheer and a fight song for everybody. And they just constantly play the whole game as if fans were in the stands, even though they’re not.
S6: Why do you get to pick your own fight song? You have to, like, go off of, like a Korean playlist.
S16: There is no there’s no fight song. Like they know what it is like. Beats, they. They make up their own. I think I’m not really quite sure how it’s done. I don’t know the process of that. But the they all involve that. The guy’s name somehow and they get the whole crowd chanting their names as they come up to the plate like it’s kind of a cool, cool thing, like it happens in the major leagues every now and then, but not to this extent, if you will. We’re like the whole place is like chanting Hitler’s name as they approach the plate.
S1: So you mentioned not having the strongest year last year. Traditionally, when guys go over to Korea, Japan, it’s sort of like you’re a bit off the radar for American baseball fans. And then maybe you come back like, oh, I guess that guy was in Korea or Japan. I missed that guy. But I imagine you didn’t foresee being at the center of the baseball universe when you went over to Korea. Do you have a sense of, you know, folks back home watching you following these games more than they would otherwise?
S16: Yeah, I. I genuinely thought that. And I even talked to an agent about this just the other day and my wife as well. I genuinely thought that that was going to come over here and just keep my head down and get to work. And, you know, I prove to the numbers through to the Scouts, prove to those the powers that be in Major League Baseball that I had not lost it. I just had a terrible two months, essentially.
S1: I mean, the only people watching would be your family and like Major League scouts, potentially.
S16: Correct. But now that’s just different. And that’s that. But that’s not at all like the perspective, I thought, coming into the game. And when I signed here, this was not even close to on the radar. So like all of this happening as being an absolute to kind of change your plans and, you know, I’m like having like a budget my time to do interviews, like literally having to, like, tell people like, hey, I got time next week and I can tell you, like, hey, I like you know, because I’m like, I can’t spend every moment away from the field doing it. I’ll be at I’m bored because I’m here by myself. We’re family. I still don’t spend all day everyday doing it. I mean, I’m approaching two hours of this today so far, and that’s OK. That gets a day off. I spend enough time watching TV and doing that. So I was able to go to the field and work out and kind of have a normal day, just about a game, and then was able to bust out some interviews today. But again, like it is, it is not was not foreseen at all. But I feel at the same time that it’s kind of almost like a duty of mine that, you know, to answer the call when people have questions about different things because there’s like curiosity of what’s going on over here. And, you know, I didn’t really I’ve never pushed you chose anybody to like call me and ask you to do these things. I just try hard not to say no when people do.
S6: Well, it’s kind of crazy, actually. I mean, you like George was saying, you end up going overseas. Most players do. And you wind up either being sort of a local favorite or you get some attention in the local media area, become a fan favorite of the team. But the idea that you’re sort of getting more media attention after leaving the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies, that Major League Baseball to go play in Korea is kind of astounding. I mean, you’re just opened up a piece on ESPN. They’re doing like a daily roundup of what’s going on in the CBO. And you’re right in there. Dan Strelley, one of the most recognizable names to American fans, had one of the best outings of week one, throwing seven shut out innings with 11 strikeouts, no walks and three hits.
S4: So this is here sort of getting more attention than you would if you were, you know, on the back end of of of a starting rotation. And then I’ll be right now.
S16: And then, you know, that literally goes very well, said the like. Even some of the places I’ve played, I’ve been a lot of my time. Most of my career has been in small markets, you know, very. Time, like very little time, like a month as a Chicago cub. I’ll be it. I was there for a years, mostly in the minor leagues in 2015 with the Astros. That’s a large market. But I only spent three or so weeks on the actual Astros. And so I spent a lot of time in Miami, like not not a major market. Right. Not a big market. Cincinnati not one of the biggest markets. They spent time in Oakland, not a big market. So I guess getting on ESPN as a guys play, I think that the first day, as ESPN interviews I’ve done have been over here. The first the last time I pitched on ESPN was against the Astros in 2017. So, like, just these kind of things, like, you know, that was kind of like unexpected. And I’ll tell you one thing, though, that’s really cool to see from this perspective is all this is to see how excited my my teammates here they are, how excited they are that they’re being shown in America. These guys know so much about American baseball. These guys know so much about and respect Major League Baseball. And for them to know that Major League Baseball is watching them. Is it absolutely. Just blows their mind and away. And these guys are so excited and so proud of what they do over here that they’re so excited that people in America are, albeit a captive audience, forced to take forced to watch it a little bit, if you will, or if you don’t choose, you get the choice to watch it. But it’s all you get for free lives. Changing daily sports right now, it seems like. And so these guys are so proud to be be shown there. And that’s been really cool, the experience from my end of things over here.
S1: And it’s three foreigners per roster limit.
S16: Yeah. Yeah, we have we’re kind of lucky. We have eight foreigners here, three players. But then we have a good handful of coaches over here. So we’re feeling kind of blessed in that regard as well, where I have enough people around me from my neck of the woods, if you will, that I feel a little more comfortable on a day in, day out basis over here.
S1: Do you have writing your Korean captions on Instagram?
S16: It’s been a combination early on with some gym and now it’s been my translator because I’m with him all the time and it just was easier that way. It was it was pointed out to me early on that a lot of my new followers would not speak English as a first language and not about idea to just have both on there. And, you know, I try I don’t do everything in both. There’s a lot of things I do in both, but I don’t do everything in both. But anything anything related to the Giants or the Caillaux or anything with baseball, I try to make sure to have the fans over here and try to show them some love and try to show them a little a little bit of their own language. They don’t have to figure out how to translate what I’m trying to say.
S1: And what’s your relationship with your Korean teammates today? Look up to you as somebody who’s played in the majors and obviously they have a lot to teach you.
S16: Given that you’ve not been in this league and you don’t know the country well, that’s not really a good conversation piece that you, like, go around and like I would have. We all just short to work hard. And, you know, I hope that I earn their respect by what they see here. I hope they earn their respect by what they see as my work ethic. You know, when the game is not being televised, all the stuff in the weight room in between starts to take a lot of pride in my preparation and that kind of thing.
S12: What’s the adjustment been like for you? Stylistically, how is the baseball different?
S16: The baseball itself is literally different. It is slightly it’s there’s they don’t run them down at all. And they’re like when you get like sweat and rosin, that’s like they’re like slightly tacky and it’s amazing. Like you like they figured out what they needed to preach. Baseball’s good. So that just like they said, it’s not sticky. It’s just like you have like you have to like you have control of it. It’s like you’re holding a marble at that point. So that was in and of itself, slight adjustment, change. The game itself will never stop learning how to get hitters out, never stop trying to be a student at a game that way. But just the way these guys approaches, I would say it’s slightly different. And, you know, I can’t really put my my finger on it yet. I would just say that I got I got pretty fortunate that I had all my pitches working the other day. Baseball is easier on those days. Baseball is really fun to be a pitcher on those days. It’s really just the days when you don’t have all your stuff going that you you figure out what you’re made of. And so those are the days that hopefully I get a couple more outings against some of these guys before I need to be able to pin that down on how to get each guy out and figure out their tendencies. But it’s a lot different in terms of scouting video and all that kind of stuff available to us over here. So what Maud’s kind of learn on the fly and try to make adjustments as you go throughout games and throughout it, that’s if you have to.
S13: And the difference being that, are you getting a different kind of pre scouting rundown or is it just that these are completely unfamiliar baseball players to you? You have no history with them and you’re learning with every guy that comes to the plate a little bit both.
S16: Like, if I were in America, I could just walk into. Room at any major legal ballots and open up one of Backes true media, any one of these systems I use an outside source of codify that to deal with scouting report stuff that uses heat maps and is individualized just for me and over it codify. They’re able to turn that into the CBO as well for me. So instead of just being NLB data and Welby’s hitters and pitchers that they’re able to work with and figure out what kind of goes into the pot to make these heat maps, he was able to actually get the data over here in Korea and make the same thing. So I feel very comfortable with the way I approach the game, given that I’ve been using this for years. And it’s something that has been very trusted for me and trusted by quite a few Major League Baseball players, honestly. And so they were able to make the adjustment. A lot of this pride is given to the fact that there is no baseball going on in America right now. And that extra time to to kind of switch the system over, if you will, to run and operate off.
S8: A KVOA system is spitting aloud in Korean baseball, like in the dugout or on the field?
S16: Technically, no, but it still happens. I mean, it’s just kind of one of those things. They also said no high fives. But when you’re just kind of in the moment, obviously not the moment, you’re not thinking like, oh, I got to spit. But it just kind of happens like it’s baseball. I think what they’re really hoping for is that guys, like, can make an effort to not do it. But if it happens, they just try not to kind of think. But the high fives, same kind of thing when you’re excited you guys just had a go at home run or walk off home run like I’m sorry, the high fives are probably going to happen. Lot people wear gloves. You try to wear batting gloves. A lot of the staff where they’re required to wear masks and gloves when they’re not when they’re out on the field and so on and so forth with work, basically. But the players were not required to. There’s an they’re trying to let us be free. You know, the guy was he gave us a lot of guidelines, but they’re trying to let us be free within those guidelines and not just kind of nit pick it every single every single time we kind of mess up.
S12: Are you being tested either with temperature or an actual cover test?
S16: Just our temperature. I’ve never had to go over test. We got to Korea before that was required for entry. Right now, it’s actually required. One of my teammates had to go back to America for a few days. And so when he came back, he had to do a code test and is now actually on day four of his 14 day quarantine. And so, you know, it’s like everywhere else is taken very seriously. But we get our territory taken every day. I go to the baseball field. We started our season on the road. And when we got on the bus, my team took our temperature. And then when we got off the bus, their team, essentially their security at the stadium took our temperature. And then we signed a piece of paper that I assume, if you will, because I don’t speak the language. It was I was told they said, like, you write down your name, your birth date, and like you’re just saying that you haven’t had this list, that list list of symptoms in the last 24 hours. You’re basically saying, like, I have a clean bill of health and it’s on me if I don’t, because I’m telling you I do. So a lot of a lot of trust goes into what we’re doing. A lot of trust goes into everybody doing their part so that we can all play the game.
S8: Or, you know, I read that if there’s a positive test within the league, the plan is to shut things down for three weeks. Is that your understanding?
S16: I haven’t read all the guidelines, but that was kind of the same thing I heard where it was like, you know, there are certain steps in mind or there’s certain protocols in place that if if X, Y or Z happens and we shut down for a certain period of time. And so that’s kind of the gist that I got from that, too, as well, was that it would be a couple weeks or or a certain team or certain players. But honestly, I was hoping only about to find out what the actual protocol is, to be quite honest. And I try not to look in and find out all the all the the protocols, if you will, and what happens if because then I find myself kind of worried and stressing about that. I know that stressing can dampen your immune system and so on and so forth. So I just I try not to go down that rabbit hole of all the what if protocols over here.
S8: So it just seems like we’re really far away from being in this situation, the urine and Korea in terms of having the pandemic at the level of control that it is there. I mean, it seems to me like sports there kind of a reward for having things under control, that once the pandemic is managed to a certain degree, once tests are available for whoever you know wants it in that population, then we can have the entertainment.
S1: We can have folks like you out there like doing what you do. Is that kind of the way you look at it as well? I mean, it just it just seems like we’re so far away and that and the US from getting there.
S16: Yeah. I mean, you say reward. I think of it as like hope for things going back to normal, if you will. Baseball season was delayed six, I think six weeks, obviously in America. It’s been delayed six weeks already with kind of no end in sight. And it’s a much smaller place over here like you’d be. It’s really. Hard to compare the two, it’s just so different, there’s so fewer people, the size of the place is so much different. But even just like culturally, like I’ve been told that, like, if you if you had a cold, that you would stay home. And if you had to leave your house, you would wear a mask like not because of it, but because of that’s how you would do things here. And so just kind of culturally, like they handle all sorts of things differently than us. Right. And this is just another one of the things that is being done different. But. Because of the way that they’ve handled things. Yeah, we get to have sports over here, and it’s not just baseball. Baseball is the biggest sport. But I’ve heard they’re gonna be a star of soccer. And I think they were trying to salvage what is left to salvage other basketball season that they have over here. So, like, they’re trying to go full force and get even though no fans, but still trying to go full force and get their their leagues up and running over here.
S12: Well, the one thing they can’t stop in the Korean baseball organization is a flip’s, clearly.
S10: Do your teammates practice bad flips? Are you into the bad flip?
S16: I hadn’t brought this up so many times. And I tell them all the time that they have some weak backflips, like we’ve had some balls here pretty far. And like this kind of like ice at the bat down. I’m like, you guys are like part of that experience to me coming over here was a good season, backflips like and not just against us. Like, I want to see some of us like flipping on. And one of our guys is infamous, if you will. I will say famous in America for this clip of him hitting this ball and then it not being a homerun. But the bat went pretty far. And he gets the first base and just like puts his hands on his head just like like. So in all that, this ball is caught at the wall or actually even over the Caldwells collagen on the warning jab like mid morning track. And so, like, he’s famous for that and he has my favorite bathrobe on our team. But it’s not like this brand, like big backflip. But I have a feeling part of that, too, is energy from the fans where these guys like they feed off that they think of it as part of the entertainment. They literally told me, like, it’s not it’s not about the pitcher. It’s about a show for the fans. And that’s what it is for them. And I doing their league man that I didn’t join MLB and demonstrate his way of doing things like I’m joined in the Cape Yo and the way that they do things. So I think it’d be improper of me to show up here and demand like, hey guys, no more bats looking. That makes me angry. Like I just need to, like, accept it and kind of just embrace it and be part of it.
S10: They should be doing it. We need more backflipping in MLB. You should be. You should bring it home with you.
S16: Yeah. Well, the other thing, too, is like it’s totally cool for me to, like, fist pump and point at people when I strike them out over, like, that’s wow, that’s OK. And guys do it like it’s completely just part of it over here. And so some of the things you could say that, you know, have been touchy subjects in Major League Baseball in terms of that, like, you know, they’re just different over here. And different doesn’t mean better. Different doesn’t mean worse. It just means it’s different.
S1: So hopefully when you give up a homerun and some did back flips on you, you’ll be like, wow, this is a great cultural experience. I really enjoyed it.
S16: I gave it up one on opening day. And it didn’t just I guess I got the guy that just sets the bat down. You got the one guy he’s like they’re like like 20 year olds seen in this league. And he should have had to hit a ball or warning Jack in the first and then like in the sixth eye on the hanging, can’t hang a fastball is the fastball over the middle of the plate. And he didn’t miss this one, but he did almost hit a ball out of the stadium yesterday. I saw that on TV and the highlights and he just just kind of like casually tosses it back to the side. And I don’t know if that’s because he’s 20 or what. But I’m waiting for I’m waiting to see some some big that floats up here soon.
S1: All right, Dan, straightly throwing the gauntlet down later. Giants the best team in the CBO right now. Dan, thank you for joining us and good luck for the rest of the season.
S17: Appreciate it, guys. Ticker.
S8: All right, I wanted to let you know that in this week’s bonus segment for Slate plus members, meaning everyone who’s listening right now. We are going to be yakking about the last dance, as indicated earlier, this time with the help of a Merida’s hang up panelist, Mike Pesca. You wanna hear Mike’s thoughts and our thoughts about Mike’s thoughts, then please stick around for that.
S3: So if UFC President Dana White was looking for a way to add even more danger to mixed martial arts, holding a series of five summit, a global pandemic would be pretty hard to top. UFC 249 was originally scheduled to be held in New York on April 18th before the coronavirus crisis shut down sports across the country. White came up with a plan to hold the event on tribal land in California before state officials. Disney and ESPN teamed up to shut it down. That’s because everyone was understandably concerned about the dangerous of a virus spread through person to person contact. And that’s how a month later than planned. Why did the UFC ended up in an empty arena in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday night? UFC 249 was ultimately an 11 bout fight card held just a day after one of the scheduled fights was called off because one of the fighters tested positive for Corona virus. That positive tests led to the fighter Renaldo Sousa, making it to the weigh in Friday, which raised even more concerns of the UFC, had little regard for the safety of its fighters and staff. But the show still went on. And the main event? Justin Gaith defeated Tony Ferguson by fifth round Te Caillaux. So for this segment, we’re going to bring in former Toronto Star writer and former Northwestern University defensive back Morgan Campbell, who covered UFC 249 for The New York Times, presumably from home. So, Morgan, do you think Dana White thinks Saturday was a triumph for the UFC?
S18: Absolutely. Mainly because one to whites way of thinking in from the standpoint of an organizer, the positive test isn’t a problem. Like to Whiteway thinking. White said this a few times. The positive test is proof that the system works. Right. Because the point of having all the testing is to catch people who are positive and then take them out of the street, take now of the environment and let everyone else go to work. It’s not necessary at the point of it isn’t necessarily to prescreen people before they come to town. You hope that they’re not sick before they come to town, but if they are sick, you can deal with that situation. So what Dana White had was a whole bunch of really exciting fights and near Monopoly on sports fans attention. And even to the extent that this global pandemic is looming over this thing, his safety measures and not just his entire organization, safety net, other measures in the state commission, safety measures caught the person who had this virus and took them out of action.
S11: Except it wasn’t it wasn’t just him, though. It was two people on his team. And he clearly could have been spreading before anyone knew that he had tested positive. So I don’t know. White’s arguments don’t seem super credible to me. And it seems far more credible that what happened here is what you alluded to, that they have a monopoly on fans viewing and they are under financial pressure, like every other sport and every other business in America and in most of the world. And they have found a way to take advantage of it.
S18: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of ways this does feel like the UFC wants to become like taking off your shoes at the airport like we didn’t have taking off your shoes at the airport before 9/11. After 9/11, we have it. And now it’s just something people do. And so before the global pandemic, the UFC was there was on the fringes of the mainstream, certainly wrestling with this deal with ESPN. But right now, they get to be the thing that everyone cares about, that we care about Korean baseball. But when whenever North American pro sports come back in any type of meaningful way wrong and forget about Korean baseball.
S3: Dana White’s trying to get it to the point where we don’t forget about the UFC, where it’s fair to say that if he didn’t have this, if he didn’t stage this card on Saturday, we’re probably not talking about it like only UFC. Only UFC fans are probably talking about this card. If he didn’t have it all to himself. Right.
S18: Like he had to do this in that way, what in terms of a fight between Justin Casey and Tony Ferguson?
S3: Yeah, right. Like I mean, is that the sort of like, you know, fight that would crossover into Narnia? Men may fight, you know, fans?
S18: No, I mean, the entire organization has a lot more crossover appeal now that they have partnered with ESPN. And so ESPN, even on even under normal circumstances, can push these UFC highlights and UCSC storylines. It’s a sports center and present UFC the same way presents the NFL, MLB, whatever. But yeah, I don’t know how many, like everyday sports fans, you know, people that really follow the major team sports. It can also kind of audit the UFC. I don’t know how many of them in the Justin Gacy was right.
S6: I didn’t you know, I’m not I, I don’t follow UFC closely. And that was news to me. And I watch the highlights because, I mean, we’re going to talk about it, but also because they were on the other advantage that Dana White and UFC have here, and they’re their corporate owner endeavor, is that UFC fighters have very little leverage. Contractually, these guys only get paid and women only get paid when they fight. They typically fight when Dana White tells them to fight it. And even though in the run up to this, White said. If anyone was uncomfortable because of the pandemic fighting, they wouldn’t have to. But there’s a lot of pressure there for these athletes to do what UFC tells them to do, right?
S18: Yeah, absolutely. And something that gets lost isn’t a function of the pandemic. It’s a function of the way the UFC is deciding do business over the last year. Like you talked to the Apsey fighter, 2010, 2011. You watch those fights. People were free to make their own apparel deals. And then one of the things they did and you would watch his old fights, he would stand in your corner and get introduced and then your cornerman behind you. They’d hang on the cage and they would drape like a banner behind you. And it was festooned with sponsor logos. But they don’t have any right. The UFC, they said, well, we control all the sponsorships. This is our show. And so any sponsor logos, you see are going to be on the canvas on the surface of the octagon, but they’re gonna be partnerships that we negotiated. So now fighters, you know, it’s one thing for a fighter to show up and say, no one’s saying, okay, I’m gonna get 12000 to show up. Now, the 12000 if I win, plus any of the other bonuses. But they would supplement that income and a lot of times make more money from the fight just by virtue of all these sponsorships base. Often the fighters went out and negotiated themselves with their personal managers. But now this whole stream of revenue is gone because the UFC said, we control all the fighters on paper are making the same amount of money, but in real life or making a lot less money. So when it comes to a situation like this. Yeah. These guys or women are in a position to say, well, my shoe deal money is carry me through, because the only shoe deal you can make in the UFC isn’t Reebok because he blackspot is the company. So in that sense, everyone has Reebok deal in the same way.
S3: Joel, when I was sitting on the bench in Northwestern, I had a Reebok suit because that’s how, you know, our programs are back to you as a Reebok had program back then, too. So that’s how, you know, we will bet you were bad.
S18: But that’s your point. A fighter that wants to get paid, you know, they don’t have as many passive streams of income as they used to have because UFC is taking so much control over the sponsorship environment you mentioned.
S3: I thought I saw something to the fact that Dana White said any fighter that had concerns about it was able to talk about it. But I think that was reporting that showed that the fighters were prohibited from saying anything if they had any real concerns about the testing protocols. Who’s right here? Who did any fighters come about it?
S18: Well, one of the things Dana White wound up saying, like to clarify it, was that what they meant was like, you can’t you can’t get out in public and say something is not true about the testing and the safety protocols that they set up. So the example Dana White gave at the state news conference, if you get out here and say they never tested me, well, then you’re in trouble. You got to lose a bunch of money because we are testing everyone every day. And one of the things I noticed, like in the lead up to the fight, the virtual media day, was that like every single fighter made sure not every single fighter, but it felt like every single fighter made sure to mention that they had been testing a lot of thought about the length of the swab. They got shoved up their nose and about six six inch swab just to make sure that Dana Whitening in the UFC management knew that they were actually speaking in public and letting the public know that, yes, they were being tested. Yes, they were being protected by the UFC and by the state commission. The flip side of that is that Dominic Cruz was very, very effusively in his praise of how well the fighters were being treated this time around. Right. Because this time around, everyone got like a personal workout room and we’ve got a personal sauna. And he said the medical staff were very attentive and treating these guys like kings. And he said it should be like this for every fight you singing. It’s not like this for every fight. And you don’t get to do this well for every fight. But at the same time, you can’t dominate. Cruz’s disparaging the UFC. He’s just he’s telling the truth. He said this for every fight. But if you can read between the lines, you understand the fighters aren’t treated this well in this attentively in every single event.
S11: The main card here with Ferguson and Gate was a bloody mess. I mean, there was a lot of blood in the octagon during this fight. And this is a time when people are concerned about bodily fluids being breathed on and what not. I mean, MMO fans, I assume, are willing to tolerate the dissonance here. Is it going to be more difficult going forward for White to rationalize what he is staging? I mean, he’s going to continue to have to.
S14: And he’s found a willing partner in Florida, obviously, because they scuttled the two more cards next this week. But is he going to be it’s going to be difficult, do you think, for for for UFC to branch out to other locations or do you think there’s just sort of laying the groundwork for the way? That other sports are going to try to come back and UFC is just the sort of logical guinea pig here.
S18: What’s ironic to me and what felt right to me like a month and a half ago was the UFC. If you talk to them. Fifteen, 14, 15 years ago, you know, mixed martial arts was not legal in every state, in every province in two to spread the sport and to build the brand. The people running the UFC made sure that they sought out like the most tightly regulated jurisdictions and made and sent lobbyists, had meetings with with with government officials, etc., and made sure that they got regulated under the most strict conditions and under the most strict state and provincial commissions to signal, you know, to the ESPN, to the world that this sport is legitimate. It’s not a it’s not a sideshow. Fast forward to 2020 when New York says no, New York State Athletic Commission says no, you cannot bring UFC to forty nine to Brooklyn in the middle of a pandemic. The UFC now starts scrambling to find a jurisdiction with lax enough rules to let this fight take place, which is for a court with forward idea of the private island came up first. And then there was Dubai. And then this is how stuff wound up. You know, this idea that they could take it to tribal land or like regular rules on what? Here’s the thing about safety is that you have 50 states, 10 provinces. We’re just talking about Canada in the US. And to a certain extent, there’s kind of a consistent standard on what’s safe and what’s not in terms of combat sport. But at the same time, there are regional rules and regional differences. Right. And how’s the commission is how competent the commission is? You know, Nevada is the gold standard because they have the most fights. Their point is like under normal circumstances, people get into the ring with all kinds of health problems. So the argument like the UFC would make making, they’re not necessarily wrong about this. Right. Is that right now, under these circumstances, the fighters you see competing have been more thoroughly screened than, you know, the fighters in some Friday night fights in a high school gym in West Virginia?
S3: Well, I mean, you’ve participated, covered all sorts of sports events. This is one of the few that nobody was there. So if somebody that’s used to like watching sporting events with an audience there, how weird was it to see a fight, you know, in an empty arena like that in this sport?
S18: It’s not that unusual only because if you remember back to like 2005, the way the UFC put itself on this on the mainstream radar was with the original Ultimate Fighter reality series. And at the end of each week on that show, guys would fight in the environment, very similar. So if you saw Saturday night where they would be in the gym octagon setup referee and no one really in there except, you know, each team. And so that it kind of had that feel. So, you know, where we’re not really used to seeing, say, NFL game with no fans. You know, if you watch The Ultimate Fighter, you do get used to seeing MDMA fights with no fans. And if you’re not used to that, one of the thing, you know, a couple of things that would jump out to you are the fact that you can hear like every punch landing, you can hear the fighters breathing. You can hear the instructions from the corners. And then one of the things the fighters mentioned was that they could hear the commentators. And so then Greg Hardy. Yeah. Right. Yes.
S4: And Carla, as far as the passing as well.
S18: And so Daniel Cormier, a former two division champion in UFC, a really smart fight, guys, giving this advice, you know, in a regular fight. It would be hypothetical. Right. He’s talking to the audience. The fighters can’t hear it when Daniel Cormier says this fighter should do X, Y, Z. But it’s his flakes. It’s the fighters can hear it. And they are like they’re following Daniel Cormier’s advice in real time because he can, by default, coach them during the round in ways that their quarterback can’t.
S3: We’ll put a print here. So Morgan Campbell, who covered UFC 249 for The New York Times, thanks so much for coming on and joining us today.
S17: Anytime, guys.
S8: Now it is time for after balls, I have returned for after balls. We talk to Dan Straley a bit ago. He is on the Luti Giants and I have learned few facts. But our new favorite Korean baseball team. I’d like to share many just one fact that I’d like to share. According to the Web site, Do Not Dynamic Buzan and I quote, One unique chant you may encounter during a Giants game is a toura which roughly translates to give a kid the ball because Buzan Sunnites believe that adults should give any foul and homerun ball to children. So as opposed to people anywhere else in the world, you guys who believe in stealing balls from children. The good people of Busan, South Korea, believe so strongly in giving children baseballs that they even have a chance for it. They’re champing at hurrah for Europe. What is your Adira?
S3: My chuda. So because the last dances unabashedly a piece of Michael Jordan propaganda. And I’m a frustrated Houston Rockets fan. I recently started looking for moments to chip away at the legend of MJ. And lo and behold, I found a moment that even has some resonance from my family on the day after Mother’s Day. So as you can gather from the documentary, Michael Jordan obviously didn’t do a lot of losing in basketball. And this was especially true in college at North Carolina in nineteen eighty four in what turned out to be Jordan’s final season of college basketball. His North Carolina Tar Heels opened the season 21, you know, and ranked number one in the country. We’re into February by this point in which should be the meat of the HCC schedule and a month ahead of the NCAA tournament. North Carolina was coming off a 13 point win at Virginia to move to 21 to no and 19 No. One, the league. But for some reason, USC had a non conference game scheduled against Arkansas and not even on campus in Fayetteville. The game took place in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a city that a few years later was proclaimed the worst in America by Rand McNally. It’s here that I should mention that Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is also a place it’s very personal to me. It’s where my grandparents moved from western Monroe, Louisiana, in the early 1960s. And it’s where my mother met my father at the local college, then called Arkansas AM and in according to then Arkansas Razorback forward Charles Ballantine, then North Carolina head coach Dean Smith didn’t want to play against Arkansas in the old on campus Barnhill Arena or in Little Rock Spartan Coliseum. North Carolina wanted a neutral court if it wasn’t a knock over team, said the Pine Bluff Convention Center executive director. It wasn’t neutral, but it wasn’t a home court. So let’s go to February 12th. Nineteen eighty four. Arkansas is a very good team and program in its own right. The Razorbacks were eighteen and four and in second place in the old Southwest conference, having literally played a game against SMU the night before in Dallas, they had a seven foot center. Joe Klein as everybody remember, Joe Klein, the great Joe Klein, star guard, Alvin Robertson and Ford, Darryl Ballantine. These were no flyover country pushovers. This was a very good team. So Michael Jordan in the Tar Heels come into town that you and your team also had. Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, senior forward Matt Doherty that’s so dirty and dirty and a freshman point guard named Kenny Smith. It’s possible that this is one of the very best teams in college basketball history. The game was broadcast on NBC, which was a big deal back in the day because this was not an era where all the games were shown on TV at home.
S19: And they’re upset that North Carolina, number one in the nation, was wire up because even in college basketball, broadcasters couldn’t help themselves.
S3: They pitched the game as a showdown between Dean Smith and Eddie Sutton. It’s a testament to the time that Arkansas now claims it didn’t do anything special to prepare for Michael Jordan, who was then averaging nearly 20 points a game when. Fifty five percent shooting Darrell Ballantine, the Arkansas forward, told Arkansas News in 2014 that there was no scheme to stop Michael Jordan. It was more of a teen thing. Our goal was to contain Perkins and Darby. We were already overmatched. Our goal was to keep it a half court game. Keep it within 55 and 60 points. And so the Razorbacks did in fact, they did much better than that. Arkansas led throughout and even opened up a 46 to 36 lead early in the second half. But, of course, Jordan and USC. Fought back and even took a 64 63 lead with twenty nine seconds left in the game. Usually the late game heroics were reserved for Jordan, but not this time on the field team right here.
S20: So far to his. I can find out by about 50 seconds back on the flight deck.
S3: So Dick Enberg. Now, McGuire did do a great job of explaining what happened there, which was Ballantine hitting a short jumper with four seconds left to give Arkansas the lead and get this on the final possession. It was Michael Jordan who took the final shot for the Tar Heels. Sophomore guard Steve Hale did. And he missed the Razorbacks held on clinching the victory and giving USC its first loss of the season. Joe Klein finished with a twenty ten. Michael Jordan had twenty one points, one rebound, one assist in four turnovers. This was as close to an undefeated season as Dean Smith would ever have. And it ended right there in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where dreams go to die. I couldn’t be prouder of that little town that I hated to visit as a kid. If I’d known Michael Jordan had had such a bad time there in the first place, I probably would have appreciated Pine Bluff much sooner.
S1: That’s excellent. Good job. Pine Bluff. Stefan, what’s your idea?
S14: If you’ve been playing along with Josh is recent trivia segments on the show and you’re of a certain age or you watched the classic Sports Network or ESPN Classic or any of the other of the family of ESPN channels, which covers just about everyone, except apparently Josh, then you might have recognized the true forebear of this format. It’s the 1970s television quiz show Sports Challenge. Sports Challenge was hosted by a voice we just heard in Joel’s after ball, Dick Edberg. It pitted two teams of three athletes or coaches, usually from the same team, though not necessarily from the same time period. Most of the show was basic trivia, and Berg would show a clip, read a little context, ask a question. The teams would buzz in with an answer. But the final round is what’s relevant here. It was called bonus biography and it was just as Josh has been writing it, Emberg asked a series of questions about a sports figure until somebody chimed in. The only difference is that there was a lot of silhouette of the subject on screen. The mystery guest was the centerpiece of the show. Here’s an introduction from a nineteen seventy one episode.
S21: This famous sports figure, an all time great in his sport, will be the subject of the bonus biography round this week. Far Helen. Themselves, the most valuable player ever in the NBA player, coach Bill Russell.
S14: Russell was joined that day by his old coach, Red Auerbach, and teammate John Havlicek. Their opponents were the Washington senators manager Ted Williams and players Danny McClain and Frank Howard. It was a dogfight and it came down to bonus biography, a great game, I believe the first time we’ve ever had a sports challenge tie going into the mystery guest.
S22: The Boston Celtics, the champions aiding the challengers, the Washington senators, 80. And now it’s time for our bonus biography. OK, Johnny, go.
S21: This world champion was born in Lexington, Alabama, but he grew up in Detroit, where he first began off the Boston. Salix where there. Oh, no, Joe.
S14: That was Bill Russell getting the answer in just four seconds. And I should note that Russell was resplendent in a black shirt with collars the size of pizza slices and a red and yellow vast that looked like it was painted by William de Kooning. The clothes are a real highlight of sports challenge and Burg’s wardrobe included white shoes. And one amazing lime green and black plaid jacket. So after the answer, the bonus biography subject would emerge from backstage and do a little Q&A with Emberg Emberg. Ask Joe Louis, who the toughest man he ever faced was. And Lewis replied, Uncle Sam, which was pretty funny. Here’s another bonus biography segment from 1972. The teams are Carl Erskine, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers against West Park, or Frank Robinson and Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
S23: Family Fight on Sports Challenge. The Dodgers against the Dodgers.
S24: Brooklyn one hundred. Los Angeles six eight. The Game in the Balance. Time for our biography Around with the Clues. Here’s Johnny. This great athlete is truly an immortal in his sport. He was born on Lincoln’s birthday and like Lincoln, he wears a beard. His college team won 60 straight basketball games.
S21: Scott Frank Robinson, Bill Russell.
S10: Took Robinson 15 seconds to get the answer, but it was a totally unfair question, Russell walks out and Bird makes a height joke. Fellows like you give reporters like me Crick’s in the neck. And then he says this.
S24: Now, you’ve played our game as a panelist and played very well as a member of the Boston Celtics. And you knew the players on the team today. Did you think that Frank Robinson might be the guy who got you?
S12: Well, we played high school basketball together. You did? Yeah, he was first team, our second team.
S21: Ha, ha. That was true.
S14: And Curt Flood was a teammate of Frank Robinson’s on the baseball team at their high school. And I watched a ton of sports challenge when I was a kid and I watched a half dozen or so episodes last week, a 1972 show pitting Len Dawson, Willy Linnear and Otis Taylor of the Kansas City Chiefs against Larry Zanca, a very stoned looking and sounding Jim Kick and Paul Warfield of the Miami Dolphins. A 1978 Super Bowl rematch between the Dallas Cowboys represented by Randy White, Tony Dorsett and Cliff Harris, and the Denver Broncos Lyle Zito, Craig Martin and Haven Mozes and several shows during a Ken Jennings like run of greatness in 1976 by retired Yankees Mickey Mantle, Tony Kubek and Don Larson. Let’s do one more bonus biography. Feel free to chime in, guys, if you think you’d get this from one of those Yankees wins. They’re playing three San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks, Frankie Albert, John Brody and Jim Plunkett. So, Buzz. And if you have the answer. Here we go.
S23: Bonus biography. Third win in a row. They have ninety eight point forty Niners.
S22: Challenge them with 60. Time now for our bonus biography round. It’s worth 60 points. Ready teams. Here are the clues. This Hall of Famer was a tiger before he became a giant. He began as a pro on the East Coast, went prospecting. John Brody, your answer plays a must have it. Yes, I got Bobby Mercer. Bobby Mercer is an incorrect answer so we can continue on. He was a pro on the East Coast, went prospecting out west, but found fame in New York. Well, you’re going to hate yourself. Forty nine is when you find out who this is why a man of his talents took 12 years to achieve greatness as a quarterback, as a mystery. His nickname is the same as the bird. That’s America’s symbol. He’s not known by his first name, but his middle name is Abraham and he answers to his initials. Now it’s still late, the Yankees. Now he wants threw seven touchdown passes in one game in 1960. You know the answer. Why? Why a turtle is the correct answer. Jack.
S10: And the bald eagle. The forty Niners quarterbacks don’t get the 49ers quarterback because John Brody is too quick on the buzzer. And then once they realize who the answer is, Franky Alberts says Tittel can kind of hear that, but he can’t answer because of the wrong guess. It’s the Yankees turn. Albert puts his head in his hands. Brody whacks him.
S14: And then the 49ers are all past and Mickey Mantle laughs at them. The silhouette played a big role in this Bonas biography because Tiddle, the bald eagle was bald, but he wore a wig for the segment. A little sports challenge misdirection. Tittel came out in the wig looking a lot like Bobby Riggs merriment and sued. Forget horse.
S1: ESPN right now should be taping new episodes of Sports Challenge unless is Way title the first Cluett event. His first name is Yelverton Yelverton.
S11: Who would have guessed that was in there? Yeah, that was that was in the end, the answer, I think.
S3: Where’s he from? Is he from Louisiana playing at LSU? That’s that’s that’s all where his life started. That’s all that matters now. Correct.
S14: All that matters is that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback couldn’t get why Terrell as the answer to a sports challenge about his biography. Question. Josh, what’s your. A juror?
S1: All right, Stefan, thank you for that long extended sub tweet of me slash tribute to me. As I prefer to think of it. So last week we did one of these sports challenges. The answer to it was Derek Jeter, Jeter, Derek Jeter, number two. Now batting. So I thought this week, instead of getting me, we would have a special guest with a new trivia question. I asked Dick Thornburgh, but unfortunately, his dad recently deceased RHP And so we have the next best thing, the trivia maestro. Hang up. Listen, panelist emeritus Mike Pesca. Hello, Mike.
S25: Hello. How are you, Josh? And how are you, Stephan and Joel, who, like Abraham Lincoln, have beards.
S1: Thank you. We should note that due to continuity reasons, we could not reveal until now that Mike got way. Ted, all after one of the early clues. So you’ve proven your bona fides already.
S25: I signaled to you that I got it by spelling out the Y in the A’s with my body. Much like the village people taught us.
S1: All right. So just as a reminder to everyone, the clues here will have 10 clues. They’ll go from hardest to easiest, Mike, just for our purposes. Joel and Stefan and I will D.M. you on the Slack chat program. OK. When we think we might know the answer. Yes. And if one of us gets it right or wrong, you will not reveal the answer, but you will reveal if we status actually got it right or wrong. Yes. All right. We’re ready for you, Mike. OK, here we go.
S26: I do, we do we do it this way in the first person, right? Not a direct descendant of presidents John Quincy Adams and John Adams, one of those is irrelevant. If you include the other one. But anyway, I’m a direct descendant of John, Quintan and John. For 17 years, I was married to Olympic gold medalist Julianne McNamara.
S25: In my final year, I was allowed to catch a game which was the second longest span ever between appearances by a catcher. I am not Craig Biggio. In fact, I played for 12 different teams in my MLB career, along with Joe Rudie, Mike Cubbage, Ted Williams, Dan Ogola and others.
S26: I am one of 16 major leaguers to hit a homerun in my last official at bat. I was I was also the last person ever to hit a homerun off of Montreal Expos pitcher this morning like Destiny. This is an interesting person, more interesting than you knew. By the time I reveal it. OK. Now, this could blow me a little, but no clurman ality one. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four. This is the third. This is the third to last two. Maybe I’m hitting too hard. OK, here now we have a clip. I have to mutate in time because we’re gonna bleep out the name of the guy. It’s the. It’s my name is being bleeped out in this clip from the 1996 American League Division series.
S27: Got to the wall. The Yankees could have been stopped with runners at second and third. But when the ball got away on the front of the infield, Williams popped right back up and made a break for the plate. Well, you’re always taught to be aggressive, especially with two outs. But you’re right, sir. Hof makes a nice play here to keep this ball from getting into the corner because you would have been able to score. But he gets rid of it quickly. The throw comes back in the watch. Bernie dives into into third base.
S28: The ball bounces away. He sees it and gets up and scores. Now watch. You see, he tries to fake. He was trying to fake a throw to second base. And it got away from the.
S27: And you see the hustle and the hard slide there by Bernie Williams, Hoyle’s tried to block him off. But Williams momentum just carried him right over the plate. Here are the next two clips.
S25: I had to career pitching appearances for the 2002 Rockies and in my last season for the 2004 Mets. And here is the last clue. Along with Greg Zorn and Jeff Zimmerman, I was one of three players on the job. Joel has submitted an answer and he will soon find out. It is incorrect when I say, along with Greg Zorn and Jeff Zimmerman. I was one of three players on the 1999 Texas Rangers whose last name begins with zie. I would have gotten to them.
S26: OK, well, that was the last clue. My prime made it too hard. I’m sorry.
S2: This was an amazing catastrophe, Glover.
S1: Wow. So in case in case this wasn’t cleared are our listeners, Mike tried to bleep out the players name. So we heard that at least some of us heard the player’s name. But you are the listener will not have heard it. No. And so enjoy. Mike, you have just had an amazing effort. Just. Okay.
S25: Couple of things. What is it? Does this good game really only work if when you get to clues like three, two and one, it’s a household name or a household name like we’re all learning.
S7: I feel like we’re all learning as we go along.
S25: Yeah. Last name begins with Z. All right.
S1: I’m just gonna be an amazing editing challenge for for our producer, Melissa. It’ll be fun for the listeners at home. You know, I think we all we all learned a lot here.
S25: I was tailoring it to you because he’s he’s a Matt. He was a met for some time. And in the 1996 LDS were Bernie Williams is scoring he. There was that pivotal play. And so I thought Stefan might get it. And of course, Joel loves guys named Todd. Yeah.
S3: I mean, how could you say anything about Todd Helton? You know, that’s the thing about Todd Helton.
S10: What a great guy. Our next category on Sports Challenge. Great. Major League Baseball players named Todd.
S2: That is our show for today. Our producer is Melissa Karp. Landlessness, Pashas and subscribe or just reach out to Slate dot com slash hang up. You can e-mail us at Hang-Up at Slate dot com. If you’re still here, I’m guessing you might want even more hang up in our bonus segment this week. Mike Pesca joins us for his take. Flash takes on the last dance. The biggest flaw of the documentary, I would say, is that because it’s through the prism of Michael Jordan and because he’s not around to say anything, the treatment of Jerry Krauss is, I will just say, flat out cool for Joel Anderson and Stefan Fatsis. And Josh Levine remembers Olmo Baity. And thanks for listening.
S1: Now it is time for our bonus segment and Mike Pesca off of your commanding performance and not hang up and listen trivia. You’re back with us. Hello, Mike. Hello. All right. So as you will hear when you listen to the show, we discussed the last dance, as is our want and Steffans just level of hate and vitriol, just pure, unadulterated venom for the series and for Michael Jordan just went to a new level. So you have a couple options here. You can just give us some of your kind of some of your takes. Does things that you’ve watched from the first day upsets? Or you could just try to convince Stefan that actually this is an amazing series better than O.J. And then Michael Jordan is one of the more likable figures in American arts, letters and sports. Just go for it, whatever, whatever you desire.
S25: I think that this documentary clearly cements Michael Jordan’s place and ranking as basketball player first. Defacto producer of documentary secon baseball player third, basketball, GM fourth. That would be the order. Although if it was anything other than that, it would be odd. With Stefan’s being upset on the Ken Burns tip that no one should have that amount of sway over their own documentary.
S9: No, not really, because I think that the fact that Michael Jordan had a lot of sway over this is actually incredibly revealing. It’s more that I feel like it’s a lot of overkill and redundancy. But more than that, if you’re making a documentary about yourself, you might want to make yourself at least look human and blood.
S25: But compared to the baseline of what of a sociopath Michael Jordan is, maybe he did. Maybe this is the whitewashing. So here’s my take. I think and I judge this based on I watch it. I showed some to my kids and Michelle, my girlfriend and I, and she is not a big sports fan. But Joy is like Michael Jordan because how could you not? So you’d won three or four main elements from the documentary. And I think you get all of them. One, you every episode want to clip package of Michael Jordan being amazing. Check. You want some behind the scenes gossip from that era. And those bulls. Check. You want a little more analysis than you had before. Of the personalities and the real stories behind, you know, who leaked to Sam Smith or what Phil Jackson was really thinking about in the fourth thing that you want is like bizarre 90s technology and fashion. Late 80s, 90s. And that’s fantastic. It delivers on that. So I think it’s I think it’s very good. The biggest flaw of the documentary, I would say, is that. Because it’s through the prism of Michael Jordan and because he’s not around to say anything. The treatment of Jerry Krauss is, I will just say, flat out cruel. And I can understand again that it’s how Mike mostly how Michael Jordan saw crowds, but how Michael Jordan saw crowds is extremely unfair bullying. And it’s a miss if you’re going to do 10 hours. I think Jerry Krauss is the second most fascinating personality in that orbit. And I include Dennis Rodman. And the fact that they just leave out who Jerry Krauss was and what drove him, there could be another great documentary, not rehabilitating Jerry Krauss, but just bringing it to the public. So you see, oh, this wasn’t just some short, deformed troll who had a terrible decision about breaking up the bulls when they were at their peak. And by the way, I think that is indefensible. And, you know, looking back from today, we would say that Jerry Krauss’s decision to part ways with a coach who’s won him that many championships is stupid. But, you know, Jerry Krauss and I’ve started doing some research, the backstory of Jerry Krauss was that he was abused and picked on and not in a figurative way. This is from this from Rick Tallentire writing in Sports Illustrated, talking about where he went to high school. There’s Jerry Krass. Talking to him was very anti-Semitic. They burned out Jews. When I went to Taft High School, you know, the number of Jewish students was one every day. Krauss felt the contempt others had for him. They’d yell, you kike, you sini, you Jew bastard. And I had to fight. And I learned about prejudice. Every profile of him talks about him beating up, getting beaten up regularly in high school. And then he becomes a sports writer and works for a sports syndicate of sorts. And this is from the Chicago Reader. A lot of the sports writers and team owners never really warm too many way in their minds. He was forever the coffee fetching copy boy at the American, the dumpy kid with no athletic talent of his own and a passion for sports that almost seemed pitiful. He didn’t have hot hobbies or outside interests. He was a loner, by the way, those attributes tied to someone who maybe didn’t look like Jerry crested and didn’t have his particular style of interactions with people wouldn’t be a detriment behind his back. They laughed at his pensioned four loud ties and bulky suits. They made fun of his weight. His head, they said, was enormous. His jowls, fat. He had no chin. This is Bill Gleason, the Chicago sportswriter. Jerry had this reputation for being a guy who went out in public with gravy stains on his tie. Personally, I never saw any gravy stains, but some of the other guys claim they did. Of course, he was overweight. Jerry always had a problem with overeating. He should stop that because it’s not good for his health. But some of the other guys acted like it was a character flaw. These aren’t these aren’t anti-Semitic kids in a high school. These are fellow sportswriters and team executives. And Gleason says, I don’t care much about that. We Irish have the drink, the drink. And I guess the Jewish guys have the food at one time. Reinsdorf. What? Reinsdorf put a clause in Krauss’s contract offering him fifty thousand dollars for losing 50 pounds and keeping it off for a year. And Krauze wouldn’t do it. Why not? Here’s what he told Callendar. Maybe deep down in my heart, I wanted to prove you don’t have to be pretty to win. And Michael Jordan was a great athlete, but he’s also a beautiful looking man. And he lauded his physical talent over crowds at every opportunity. And there I counted six different instances in the documentary where he made fun of Krauss’s height or maybe Krauss’s weight. And this is exactly what Krauser, beginning its whole life crisis, a deserving member of the NBA Hall of Fame. You know, all he did was put together six championship winning teams. And I know that we’ve written this well. Anyone could have won with Jordan, but no one else did that with Jordan. And when Jordan tried to do it with himself, fit into it. And if you go to Krauss’s Wikipedia page, it lists they said, oh, yeah, there were some good picks like Michael Jordan and, you know, debt and trading for Dennis Rodman and scouting Tony Koot coach. And he’s a guy who put a draw.
S1: He didn’t pick Jordan those before he got there.
S25: OK. Right. There were some good picks like, you know, identifying Tony Q Coach and and and Scott and trading to the Sonics for Scottie Pippen. And early in his career, identifying Earl Monroe, which, by the way, Jordan discounts. Oh, he went second. What would he have gone without you, Jerry? First. You know, he was an unknown guy before his senior year. Earl the Pearl Monroe was an unknown known guy at Winston Salem College. And Jerry Krauss was one of two scouts who ever went there. Red Auerbach was the other one. Anyway, on his Wikipedia page, they list all these bad picks and the bad picks aren’t even that bad. They’re you know, Stacey King wasn’t great, but he’s a ball dominant forward guard on a team of. Michael Jordan, Will Perdue is listed as this bad pick. Or Will Perdue was was an effective center and backup during a string of championships. I don’t know. To me, the Jerry Krass treatment, I don’t want to Jerry Krauss documentary, but it’s really shaded. And one of the things we should consider with Michael Jordan is the bullying and the cruelty that wouldn’t go on today. There is an open question without the bullying would have been great. Maybe, maybe not. But I don’t know how the treatment of crowds and how Jordan treated Krauss is the refrain.
S3: I mean, there’s a lot to digest. John and Joel Anderson, your response? I don’t know. Because the does have there’s only one side, right? There’s a certain point bullying, you know, moves into something else. And, you know, you take this sort of brushing up against anti-Semitic tropes when you’re making fun of Jerry Kross, like you had to take that seriously. Right. The one thing that I do think about, though, with Jerry Krauss is that if Michael Jordan had not seen him as an antagonist in the Michael Jordan story, that maybe wouldn’t have been different. I don’t know, like with Jerry Kraus could have done to cultivate a better relationship with Michael Jordan. That is a today in today’s NBA. It’s known that NBA front offices and officials have to cultivate good relationships with NBA star players like that is a part of the thing. And for whatever reason, Jerry Krauss didn’t know that or that was a different era of the NBA. But because of that, he became the target for this abuse. And I just wonder if, you know, Jerry Krauss had somehow just, you know, said, hey, look, I’ve got to keep Michael Jordan happy. I’ve got to keep Phil Jackson happy. How do I do that? I should try to do that. That maybe this could have been different. And I do think that that is a flaw of his. And that’s not to blame. You know, Michael Jordan, anybody else for that? And that’s a that’s a fault of his own. But anything that happened after that, them abusing him and bullying him and talking, you know, repeatedly making fun of his height and his weight like that is Michael. That is something that Michael Jordan and them need to own. And obviously, he has it in the documentary because he thinks it’s OK. You know, I mean, Michael Jordan thinks, oh, well, you know, I just made I was made fun of this guy’s height and weight. He’s dead now. But whatever. Fuck it. You know, I mean, like, that’s still that’s a that’s a character flaw. But, you know, going back to it, I still think the jury Krauze could have maybe he was just a man of his time.
S25: But you wonder what would have happened if he had thought to cultivate these guys as allies or he had to serve his ultimate bar boss, who’s Jerry Reinsdorf, who authorized him and maybe mandated that he be the bad guy. And he enforced his contracts, which went into Jerry Reinsdorf pockets, not Jerry Kraut’s.
S3: That’s a very fair point. They Reinsdorf has kind of gotten off here. That he got he gets to be above the fray here.
S10: This is in my notes. It’s like there are two critical moments in the telling of this story that Jerry Reinsdorf plays a central role in. And he’s on camera saying he didn’t try to talk Michael Jordan out of retiring in 1993 and he didn’t try to talk Jerry Krauss out of firing Phil Jackson in nineteen ninety seven. And the question is why, like Reinsdorf just gets to skate here and have no culpability for the two things that altered the course of the Bulls franchise at that time?
S3: If only Jerry Reinsdorf was shorter and uglier Wellner, then there would be something to really go after. Dad. Right.
S25: Reinsdorf, Reinsdorf said, look, I told I told Pippen not to sign the contract once he did. I was going to enforce that. But, you know, I advised them not to. OK, so if we look at Jerry, if we look at Krauze and we say he is out of step with the front offices of today because he’s not player friendly, he’s all. So is ownership or Jerry Reinsdorf as the dictatorial owner who didn’t really care about the or at least didn’t project caring about the well, the benefit and the well-being of his players? That’s out of step. And so who’s in the middle? So whoever is the point in that fulcrum, Jerry Kraus, whoever was in the position executing the wants of Jerry Reinsdorf type owner, was going to have to be a lot more hardass than the front offices of today. And Bob was an unintentional triangle offense reference. And by the way, no front offices of today have generated six championships, have they?
S1: No. Not even the Joe like up light years ahead. Front office. Mike, I feel like we may have to do this again next week because there were just so many. It was just one.
S25: Take that your take two minute ratio warrants to take backup. Yeah, they’re all they’re all looking to get out. Thank you, Mike Pesca.
S1: Thank you. Slate plus members for your membership. We really appreciate it. We’ll be back with more next week.