Mike Pesca http://kcur.org en 5 Points To Help Simplify Sunday's Super Bowl http://kcur.org/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 50639 at http://kcur.org 5 Points To Help Simplify Sunday's Super Bowl Cold Super Bowl Could Lead To More Turnovers http://kcur.org/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 09:36:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 50494 at http://kcur.org Two Long-Time Braves And A Slugger Go To The Hall Of Fame http://kcur.org/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 49495 at http://kcur.org NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings http://kcur.org/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 09:50:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 47784 at http://kcur.org An Inside Look That Strips The Face Paint Off The NFL http://kcur.org/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 22:14:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 47316 at http://kcur.org An Inside Look That Strips The Face Paint Off The NFL Reversed Call Gives Sox Opening To Win World Series Game One http://kcur.org/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 45760 at http://kcur.org Red Sox Take One-Game Lead In World Series http://kcur.org/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 45718 at http://kcur.org What To Watch For In The World Series http://kcur.org/post/what-watch-world-series Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>For the first time since 1999, the two teams with the best record in baseball will meet in the World Series. The Boston Red Sox host the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park tonight.<p>Enough said, let's bring in NPR's Mike Pesca. Hey, Mike.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hi.<p>GREENE: You're going to be at the game.<p>PESCA: Yes.<p>GREENE: So we have the two teams with the two best records. That has to tell us something about his World Series. Wed, 23 Oct 2013 09:19:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 45650 at http://kcur.org 'Fetch Clay, Make Man': Ali, Fetchit And The 'Anchor Punch' http://kcur.org/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 21:22:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 45091 at http://kcur.org 'Fetch Clay, Make Man': Ali, Fetchit And The 'Anchor Punch' Yankees Say Goodbye To Rivera And His Cut Fastball http://kcur.org/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 44407 at http://kcur.org Qatar's Heat May Force World Cup Schedule Changes http://kcur.org/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 10:25:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 44167 at http://kcur.org What To Make Of Tiger Woods' Major-less Year http://kcur.org/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 42507 at http://kcur.org What To Make Of Tiger Woods' Major-less Year Miami Heat Force Game 7 In NBA Finals http://kcur.org/post/miami-heat-force-game-7-nba-finals Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>It sure looked like the NBA season was coming to an end last night. World champions San Antonio Spurs - no, not so fast. The Miami Heat were not ready to give in. After a thrilling, improbable comeback, the Heat are still alive, pushing their NBA final series with the Spurs to the brink; a decisive Game 7 tomorrow.<p>Last night, the Heat were down by five points with just over 20 seconds remaining. They came back, forced overtime - and won. Final score: 103-to-100. Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:12:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 38779 at http://kcur.org Wrestlers Grapple To Save Sport From Olympic Chopping Block http://kcur.org/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 36843 at http://kcur.org Not Even Instant Replay Could Prevent These Bad Calls http://kcur.org/post/not-even-instant-replay-could-prevent-these-bad-calls Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Major League Baseball has admitted that umpires have made some big mistakes in the last few days. On Wednesday, umpires ruled even after looking at television replays that Adam Rosales of the Oakland A's hit a double. The ball clearly left the park with the game on the line. And last night in Houston, umps botched a fairly simple rule about pitchers. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now to second-guess the men in black. And, Mike, everyone makes mistakes, right, even umpires. Fri, 10 May 2013 21:45:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 36557 at http://kcur.org Adding Security Along Marathons Would Be Herculean Task http://kcur.org/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 08:44:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 35223 at http://kcur.org Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat http://kcur.org/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 34679 at http://kcur.org Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat Why College Basketball So Celebrates The Semifinalists http://kcur.org/post/why-college-basketball-celebrates-final-4-teams Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tomorrow. Louisville plays Wichita State and Syracuse faces Michigan. On the women's side, it's Louisville again. They're playing California. Notre Dame is playing Connecticut. These quartets of teams, of course, are known as the Final Four, and this stage in the tournament is a resume booster for teams and coaches. Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:40:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 34616 at http://kcur.org Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success http://kcur.org/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 34200 at http://kcur.org Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success Super Bowl Cheat Sheet: Key Phrases To Keep You In The Game http://kcur.org/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 31369 at http://kcur.org Super Bowl Cheat Sheet: Key Phrases To Keep You In The Game Ravens Are Super Bowl Underdogs, But Are Stats On Their Side? http://kcur.org/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 11:09:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 31272 at http://kcur.org How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick? http://kcur.org/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 31211 at http://kcur.org How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick? Who Is The Real Victims Of The NHL Lockout? http://kcur.org/post/who-real-victims-nhl-lockout Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>The lockout is over and the much delayed National Hockey League's season is now set to begin on Saturday. The regular season will run 48 games instead of the usual 82.<p>So what's the economic effect of missing almost half the season? NPR's Mike Pesca finds, not as bad as you might think.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: We've all seen the reports during the lockout, the empty bar near the arena should be brimming with Bruins backers or a Washington Avalanche acolytes. Or maybe it's not a bar. Wed, 16 Jan 2013 10:37:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 30471 at http://kcur.org Sandy Didn't Sack High School Football Team http://kcur.org/post/superstorm-sandy-didnt-sack-high-school-football-team Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>When Sandy brought high winds and a massive storm surge, the city of Long Beach on Long Island was among the hardest hit. The loss of the city's high school locker and equipment rooms may not have been the most tragic event, though it did make it unlikely that the school's football team would finish its season. But this weekend, the Long Beach Marines did manage to field a team. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.<p>MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: The sign welcoming visitors to Long beach used to say civitas ad mare: the city by the sea. Mon, 12 Nov 2012 10:39:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 27444 at http://kcur.org Hard Lessons At the Olympics, Like The Metric System http://kcur.org/post/hard-lessons-olympics-metric-system Olympic winners like gold medalist Claressa Shields have said the games were a learning experience, but what were they learning? Hard work? Sure. Sportsmanship? Maybe. The metric system? Certainly not.<p>U.S. judo competitor Kyle Vashkulat competes at 100 kg, which he knows means he weighs 220 lbs. Sun, 12 Aug 2012 20:29:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22691 at http://kcur.org Hard Lessons At the Olympics, Like The Metric System Boxing Maths and Aftermaths: Why Similar Scores Are A Mean System http://kcur.org/post/boxing-maths-and-aftermaths-why-similar-scores-are-mean-system Four years ago, Irish boxer Paddy Barnes lost to China's Zou Shiming by a score of 15-0 in Beijing. Today in London, Barnes fought his way back into their match to tie Zou at 15-15 — but he still lost. Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:07:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22560 at http://kcur.org Boxing Maths and Aftermaths: Why Similar Scores Are A Mean System The Olympic Art Of Shushing: Who Decides When Fans Can Be Noisy? http://kcur.org/post/olympic-art-shushing-who-decides-when-fans-can-be-noisy There seems to be a vague logic that dictates which Olympic sports are conducted against a backdrop of noise, and which operate in a cone of silence.<p>For the most part, the more a sport depends on a fine motor skill, the quieter the spectators are meant to be. Shooters squeeze triggers before mostly hushed crowds. But in many shooting disciplines, the competitors line up in a group and can shoot at any point during their time allotment. Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:04:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22422 at http://kcur.org The Olympic Art Of Shushing: Who Decides When Fans Can Be Noisy? India's Olympic Effort Faulted http://kcur.org/post/indias-olympic-effort-faulted Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>Now, as we cover the Olympics, some of you have asked for spoiler alerts, but for this next report that is probably not necessary. NPR's Mike Pesca is taking us inside the world of India's men's field hockey team. We're not too worried about spoilers. Not just because most Americans don't care much about field hockey, but because the Indian squad has done a pretty good job itself of spoiling things. Tue, 07 Aug 2012 09:00:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22317 at http://kcur.org Britain's Wiggins Starts A Row By Arguing For Bike Helmets http://kcur.org/post/britains-wiggins-starts-row-arguing-bike-helmets On the same day cyclist Bradley Wiggins became Great Britain's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetorch/2012/08/02/157781890/wiggin-out-bradley-wiggins-drinks-to-his-gold-medal-and-the-mods-applaud" target="_blank">most-decorated Olympian</a>, Daniel Harris, a 28-year-old cycling enthusiast, was killed when he was struck by a bus at an intersection outside Olympic Park.<p>Wiggins, who also this summer won the Tour De France and had a starring role in the Olympic opening ceremony, commented upon Harris' death and said something that would have, to many in the United States, been seen as occup Sun, 05 Aug 2012 13:19:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22213 at http://kcur.org Britain's Wiggins Starts A Row By Arguing For Bike Helmets Women's Sabre Teams: No Medal For You http://kcur.org/post/womens-sabre-teams-no-medal-you It's hard to find a discipline that Team USA has dominated more than the women's sabre. The team is anchored by two-time medalist Mariel Zagunis. And before Zagunis was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetorch/2012/08/01/157730574/u-s-flag-bearer-zagunis-fails-to-medal-in-sabre">upset in the bronze medal match</a> Wednesday, five of the six medals that had been awarded since 2004 went to Americans.<p>So, it would seem that the women's saber team event would be a natural opportunity for the USA to pick up another medal in London. Thu, 02 Aug 2012 18:20:00 +0000 Mike Pesca 22046 at http://kcur.org Women's Sabre Teams: No Medal For You