Skip Bayless used to be a respected columnist working in huge markets such as San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas. Somewhere along the line, he lost the respected tag. Skip was one of the first journalists to branch out to sports radio and television and helped paved the way for newspaper writers to become multi-media stars earning big bucks. I applaud him for that because some of the best sports radio hosts in the country like Angelo Cataldi at WIP in Philly, Dan Bickley at XTRA 910 in Phoenix , and Dan LeBetard of 790 the Ticket in Miami are or were sportswriters. Tony Kornheiser and Jason Whitlock also were tremendous sports radio hosts when they hosted their own shows.
What I don’t applaud Bayless for is I think a long time ago, he stopped believing what he was writing and saying and only cared about the “wow” or “shock” factor of what he was saying. And just like writers followed Bayless into other sports mediums, they also followed his lead of writing to get a reaction out of of people and make yourself the news instead of the story itself. He’s made a boatload of money doing that, but I find him reprehensible. I’m clearly not blanketing all columnists in this group., but there are plenty trying to become the next Skip Bayless. What a frightening thought!
On Tuesday morning Skip Bayless on ESPN First Take was talking about the behavior of the Mavericks fans from Monday night and compared it to the behavior of Philadelphia sports fans. 950 ESPN in Philadelphia host Mike Missanelli comments from the morning and was none too happy. He had Skip on his afternoon drive show and took Skip to the woodshed. I think Skip was expecting a fun interview, but Missanelli just yelled and berated Skip the whole time. The insults were flying on both sides throughout the interview. Missanelli’s comments and questions are in bold and Skip’s are italicized.
Missanelli was mad that Bayless still talks about the stereotype of Philly sports fans and wanted him to back it up with facts from the last ten years. The interview was bedlam. I’ll do my best to transcribe, but it won’t do it justice. You’ll just have to listen to the interview for yourself.
It’s real easy for journalists who live outside Philadelphia to throw these barbs when you really don’t have any information at all:
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. Did you say I have no information at all?
Yeah, I’m asking you for the information. I’m asking you to produce it. In the last ten years, what have you heard about this rude, crude dangerous behavior in the stands?
“Well, ok I’m going to have to go back to my 18 years of going to the Vet.”
(Missanelli interrupts) Oh, so let’s go back to the Vet. So we’re never going to live that down in Philadelphia because of nitwits like you who rip us and make it a modern day thing:
“Ok, if you’re going to insult me I’m going to hang up.”
Do you want to hang up or do you wan t to spar? I’m not like these lightweights you spar with on First Take. Let’s get into a little sparring here if you’ve got information.
“Ok, I’m gonna make my statement and then I’m going to hang up.”
Ahh, don’t hang up. don’t cry. Come on Skip. Don’t cry. Let’s have a debate.
After this, they start talking over one another so forgive me if my transcripts may be a bit off.
“I don’t insult anybody on First and Ten when I debate with them”
Yes you do, you do it all the time.
“You’re the lightweight. I don’t even know who you are. What’s your last name? Seriously, who am I talking to?
Google me, you’ll find out. Let’s have a legimitate argument about this.
“Say your name cause I don’t know your name.”
It doesn’t matter. I’m Mr. X as far as your concerned.
“No seriously, I’m serious, I don’t know who you are. Just say your name so I know who I’m talking to.”
My name is Mike Missanelli. Mike Missanelli. I was a journalist for for many years with the Philadelphia Inquirer when you were with Dallas so we don’t have to go over resumes right now. I’m just asking you a simple question.
“I’m giving you my simple answer. For 18 straight years I went to the Vet for at least one game a year and occasionally for two because of playoff games and I knew the women who ran the tour groups for Cowboy fans who went on the trips with the Cowboys. Of all the stadiums we went to which was, year after year, every stadium in the NFL, there was only one stadium where she had a rule that you cannot wear Cowboy garb – no hats, no jerseys, nothing to identify yourself as a Cowboy because it’s too dangerous. That’s the image that was set at the Vet for your city of Philadelphia and like it or not, it’s still out there because there was case after case, incident after incident to back it up…If you ask anybody outside the city of Philadelphia about whose city has the worst reputation for fans, it’s Philly. That’s the image that Philadelphia fans earned year after year…Year after year, I went there and I would look down in horror at the fights in the stands…I saw people fight, I saw them every year. I was scared to go there as a journalist because if they found out I was from Dallas, I was taking my life in my own hands.”
I’m sure you get the gist of the interview and it continues to get better after this. Missanelli keeps asking Skip to give evidence from the last ten years and Skip keeps talking in circles. Skip calls him a “shock jock” which is a bit ironic. I’m real curious to see if Missanelli faces any on-air suspension after this. I don’t think he should as he defended Philly and it made for entertaining radio, but ESPN is very protective of their personalitites and the station in Philadelphia is an ESPN affiliate.