Mike Pesca http://wesa.fm en 5 Points To Help Simplify Sunday's Super Bowl http://wesa.fm/post/5-points-help-simplify-sundays-super-bowl The chatter, hype and jargon in the weeks leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII is more impenetrable than the Seahawk's secondary.<p>Perhaps you've heard the Seattle Seahawks have a running back who enters "Beast Mode." Maybe you've heard that the Denver Broncos' counter to Beast Mode is a defensive lineman <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/from--beast-mode--to--pot-roast--to--pig---a-primer-on-super-bowl-nicknames-011914808.html">nicknamed</a> "Pot Roast."<p>Vociferously debating Beast Mode versus Pot Roast is no longer the exclusive domain of a <a href="http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Su Sun, 02 Feb 2014 10:30:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 23753 at http://wesa.fm 5 Points To Help Simplify Sunday's Super Bowl Cold Super Bowl Could Lead To More Turnovers http://wesa.fm/post/super-bowl-sunday Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>This Sunday's Super Bowl features the number one defense, the Seattle Seahawks, against the number one offense, the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. That is a surprisingly rare matchup, number one defense against number one offense. It's only happened a few times in all the Super Bowls to date. But of course that means there is a defense and an offense in the game that are not number one. NPR's Mike Pesca looks at what having greatness in one phase of the game does to the rest of the team.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: This year the Denver defense was OK. Thu, 30 Jan 2014 09:48:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 23600 at http://wesa.fm Two Long-Time Braves And A Slugger Go To The Hall Of Fame http://wesa.fm/post/two-long-time-braves-and-slugger-go-hall-fame Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were Atlanta Braves teammates, Cy Young Award winners and, as of this afternoon, they are the newest members of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. Also making the hall was the slugger known as the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas.<p>But some of the game's most notable players were kept out again this year by the baseball writers, the taint of performance-enhancing drugs still overshadowing their careers. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 23:53:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22558 at http://wesa.fm NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings http://wesa.fm/post/nfl-thursday-matchup-2-losing-teams-will-still-get-ratings Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 10:03:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 20793 at http://wesa.fm An Inside Look That Strips The Face Paint Off The NFL http://wesa.fm/post/inside-look-strips-face-paint-nfl Nicholas Dawidoff's <em>Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football</em> may be the best book I've ever read about football. It is certainly the most detailed account of the players inside the helmets and the coaches obscured from an enthralled public by large, laminated playsheets.<p>Like a brilliant coach, Dawidoff's approach relies on smart tactics and skillful execution. First of all, he outworked the competition, living with the New York Jets all year. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 21:38:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 20308 at http://wesa.fm An Inside Look That Strips The Face Paint Off The NFL Reversed Call Gives Sox Opening To Win World Series Game One http://wesa.fm/post/reversed-call-gives-sox-opening-win-world-series-game-one Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The St. Louis Cardinals hope to come back against the Boston Red Sox in game two of the World Series tonight. In game one, well, just about nothing went right with the Cardinals. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us. He's covering these games from Boston. Hey there, Mike.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hi.<p>CORNISH: So, in the first inning, there was this big mistaken call by the umpire at second base and then a reversal of that call. What happened?<p>PESCA: David Ortiz grounds to second, second baseman flips it to the shortstop. So that should have started a double play. Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:23:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 18703 at http://wesa.fm Red Sox Take One-Game Lead In World Series http://wesa.fm/post/red-sox-take-one-game-lead-world-series Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>The Boston Red Sox have taken a one game to none lead over St. Louis in the World Series, beating the Cardinals eight to one last night at Fenway Park. The evening started off badly for the visitors and didn't improve from there. NPR's Mike Pesca was there and has this report.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: They call it the fall classic before anyone even has a chance to judge the quality of play. Last night the Cardinals put in a performance that was classically inept. Little Leaguers the world over are schooled in avoiding the incident that befell St. Thu, 24 Oct 2013 09:10:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 18659 at http://wesa.fm 'Fetch Clay, Make Man': Ali, Fetchit And The 'Anchor Punch' http://wesa.fm/post/fetch-clay-make-man-ali-fetchit-and-anchor-punch ---<p>Muhammad Ali's first title defense, a first-round TKO of Sonny Liston in 1965, <a href="http://life.time.com/icons/muhammad-ali-sonny-liston-and-the-phantom-punch-title-bout-1965/#1" target="_blank">propelled Ali to the status of icon</a>. In Ali's training camp before the fight was an icon from an earlier era: Lincoln Perry. He was the first African-American movie star, who went by the stage name Stepin Fetchi. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 21:56:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 18025 at http://wesa.fm 'Fetch Clay, Make Man': Ali, Fetchit And The 'Anchor Punch' Yankees Say Goodbye To Rivera And His Cut Fastball http://wesa.fm/post/yankees-say-goodbye-rivera-and-his-cut-fastball Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>OK, the baseball post-season is not quite settled. The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays will fight for the final playoff spot in a game tonight. The post-season of the New York Yankees is settled: There is not one. The Yankees failed to make it into the playoffs for only the second time in the last 19 years. And that means one of the most successful careers in baseball history has ended. Mariano Rivera has officially pitched his last game. Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:34:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 17346 at http://wesa.fm Qatar's Heat May Force World Cup Schedule Changes http://wesa.fm/post/qatars-heat-may-force-world-cup-schedule-changes Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>The global governing body of soccer, or football as the rest of the world calls it, has a big decision to make next week. Some in that group, known as FIFA, are rethinking their plan to hold the 2022 World Cup in the desert nation of Qatar in the middle of summer.<p>NPR's Mike Pesca reports on what he calls the Confluence of Football and Fahrenheit.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: At 99 miles in length and 55 miles in width, the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar is sometimes spoken of in English media as being half the size of Wales. Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:05:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 17113 at http://wesa.fm What To Make Of Tiger Woods' Major-less Year http://wesa.fm/post/what-make-tiger-woods-major-less-year By the standard of normal golfing mortals, Tiger Woods has had an incredible summer. He's won multiple tournaments and millions of dollars in prize money. What he didn't do was win any of golf's four major championships, and that has led some to write off Woods' 2013 as a failure.<p>He's had the most top 10 finishes on the PGA tour this year, but for him, that's not the measure of success. Woods has won more money on the tour than any of his peers, but for him, money isn't the measure. Woods has won five tournaments this year; the next closest competitor has only two wins. Fri, 23 Aug 2013 21:49:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 15378 at http://wesa.fm What To Make Of Tiger Woods' Major-less Year Miami Wins Back-To-Back NBA Championships, James MVP http://wesa.fm/post/miami-wins-back-back-nba-championships-james-mvp Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And I'm Renee Montagne.<p>By now, you might have heard, for the second straight year the Miami Heat are NBA champions.<p>INSKEEP: They defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-to-88 in Game 7 in Miami. Fri, 21 Jun 2013 10:11:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 11850 at http://wesa.fm Blackhawks Beat Wings, Will Meet Kings In NHL Conference Final http://wesa.fm/post/blackhawks-beat-wings-will-meet-kings-nhl-conference-final Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>As nail-biting hockey fans know well, there has been a lot of drama in this year's playoffs. Last night in the NHL, no different. The Chicago Blackhawks advanced to the semifinals with a thrilling Game 7 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings.<p>Chicago had the best regular season record in the NHL this year. Thu, 30 May 2013 10:06:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 10460 at http://wesa.fm Sports: Rallying For Wrestling http://wesa.fm/post/sports-rallying-wrestling Transcript <p>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: <p>You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. And it's time for sports.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)<p>MARTIN: NPR's Mike Pesca is on the line from New York. Good morning, Mike.<p>MIKE PESCA: Hey.<p>MARTIN: There's a little wrestling news to talk about this morning. There was this big landmark wrestling match last week between Iran and the U.S. that took place in Grand Central Station, right?<p>PESCA: Grand Central, yeah. I was there. Sun, 19 May 2013 18:11:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 10125 at http://wesa.fm Wrestlers Grapple To Save Sport From Olympic Chopping Block http://wesa.fm/post/wrestlers-grapple-save-sport-olympic-chopping-block Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>How often do you find Iran, Russia and the United States united behind a single message? Well, representatives from all three countries were in New York City yesterday rallying support for the sport of wrestling, which could be excluded from the upcoming Olympic Games. It was quite a show of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Of course, there was time for some conflict among the wrestlers. Thu, 16 May 2013 08:24:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 9650 at http://wesa.fm Adding Security Along Marathons Would Be Herculean Task http://wesa.fm/post/marathons-are-soft-targets Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Now, the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon struck at a very special type of sporting event. Marathons have been called the most democratic of sports, with the fewest physical barriers between athlete and spectator.<p>NPR's Mike Pesca examines whether the attack could permanently damage that accessibility.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: You can play Pebble Beach, but the greens fees are $495, cart not included. Pinehurst is cheaper. Bethpage Black has a longer wait. Those are the golf courses where they hold events called the U.S. Open. Wed, 17 Apr 2013 08:35:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 7992 at http://wesa.fm Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat http://wesa.fm/post/always-zone-syracuse-hard-beat Any recreational league basketball team, any police athletic league squad and every group of 8-year-olds who wear the same uniform are, on the first or second day of practice, introduced to the <a href="http://www.ducksters.com/sports/basketball/team_defense.php">2-3 zone defense</a>.<p>The coach will say, "On defense, you two short guys stay near the foul line, and you three bigger kids, you go down near the basket. Sat, 06 Apr 2013 15:46:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 7407 at http://wesa.fm Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success http://wesa.fm/post/deflections-unofficial-stat-measures-success The Louisville Cardinals are among the teams dominating at this year's men's Division 1 NCAA basketball tournament, which resumes Thursday night. The team credits harassing, active defense for its wins.<p>But there's something else at work, too: deflections. The team puts a lot of stock in them, though deflections aren't an officially tracked statistic.<p>The way Mario Batali thinks about black truffles, the penchant Quentin Tarantino has for quoting Hong Kong martial arts films in his own movies — that's the way University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino talks about deflections. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:44:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 6914 at http://wesa.fm Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success Super Bowl Cheat Sheet: Key Phrases To Keep You In The Game http://wesa.fm/post/super-bowl-cheat-sheet-key-phrases-keep-you-game Sure, you can go to a Super Bowl party and be That Guy. The one who gleefully lectures the crowd on the merits of running the inverted veer out of the pistol in order to freeze the weak-side backer.<p>Or you could be That Other Guy, who nervously stabs tuna rolls into a football made of wasabi, and hopes no one asks which Harbaugh is which. Sun, 03 Feb 2013 10:28:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 389 at http://wesa.fm Super Bowl Cheat Sheet: Key Phrases To Keep You In The Game Ravens Are Super Bowl Underdogs, But Are Stats On Their Side? http://wesa.fm/post/ravens-are-super-bowl-underdogs-are-stats-their-side Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: The Ravens embrace the role of the underdog at the same time that they scoff at the very notion. Fri, 01 Feb 2013 11:28:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 298 at http://wesa.fm How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick? http://wesa.fm/post/how-do-you-solve-problem-colin-kaepernick There's always a question surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Years ago, people wondered whether the talented athlete would be good enough to start in college.<p>Then there was the question of what role he would play in the NFL. And after the 49ers took him, fans questioned whether he could throw enough to be more than a backup.<p>Now, the only question is: How do you stop Colin Kaepernick? The second-year quarterback out of Nevada is making just his 10th NFL start and is perhaps the most important player in the Super Bowl. Thu, 31 Jan 2013 08:17:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 220 at http://wesa.fm How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick?