Mike Pesca

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent  for NPR based in New York City.

Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.

In 1997, Pesca began his work in radio as a producer at WNYC. He worked on the NPR and WNYC program On The Media. Later he became the New York correspondent for NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day, a job that has brought him to the campaign trail, political conventions, hurricane zones and the Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. Pesca was the first NPR reporter to have his own podcast, a weekly look at gambling cleverly titled “On Gambling with Mike Pesca.”

Pesca, whose writing has appeared in Slate and The Washington Post, is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards for radio reporting and, in1993, was named Emory University Softball Official of the Year.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife Robin, sons Milo and Emmett and their dog Rumsfeld. A believer in full disclosure, Pesca rates his favorite teams as the Jets, Mets, St. Johns Red Storm and Knicks, teams he has covered fairly and without favor despite the fact that they have given him a combined one championship during his lifetime as a fully cognizant human.

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The Super Bowl was supposed to pit the best offense in pro football against the best defense. Turned out the dominant offense and defense were both on the same team. The final score was Seattle 43, Denver 8.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports on the game that was played between last night's commercials.

The chatter, hype and jargon in the weeks leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII is more impenetrable than the Seahawk's secondary.

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 nicknamed "Pot Roast."

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The extra point might just be the most unexciting play in football. After all, the post-touchdown, 1-point kick is successful 99.5 percent of the time — so successful that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently talked about eliminating it.

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The Super Bowl is set. The Seattle Seahawks will face the Denver Broncos. The Broncos handily dispatched the New England Patriots. Seattle, in an extremely close game, beat the San Francisco '49ers. NPR's Mike Pesca is here to give us some game day details. Good morning.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

MONTAGNE: Tell us about the Seahawks versus '49ers game. It came down to a rather amazing defensive play.

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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.

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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. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

Nicholas Dawidoff's Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football 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.

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And I'm Melissa Block in Washington. The most contentious conflict in the National Football League isn't on the field right now. It's among former teammates and it's playing out in the press. It involves offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and allegations that he was attacked and harassed, leading to his sudden departure from the Miami Dolphins.

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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.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hi.

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?

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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.

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Muhammad Ali's first title defense, a first-round TKO of Sonny Liston in 1965, propelled Ali to the status of icon. 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. The relationship between the two men is the subject of an off-Broadway play called Fetch Clay, Make Man.

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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. And with that exit, NPR's Mike Pesca has this remembrance of his signature pitch: the cut fastball.

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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.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports on what he calls the Confluence of Football and Fahrenheit.

The college football season got under way Thursday night. In one game, Presbyterian College lost to Wake Forest 31-7. That result was not a surprise. Presbyterian is the smallest football school in Division I. Every year, lower-level Division I schools make a lot of money losing to larger and richer schools.

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.

For years, ESPN has been the dominant name in sports broadcasting, not to mention the most profitable bundle of channels on cable television. But it will face its first serious challenge when Fox launches its 24-hour national sports network.

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Jason Dufner has won this year's PGA championship. The 36-year-old is known for, shall we say, his nonchalance, but he managed a double fist pump after clenching the victory. There are a few more tournaments left this year but this was the last major. And NPR's Mike Pesca is with us to talk about the year in golf. Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

GREENE: So let's start with this weekend's tournament. How did Jason Dufner pull this off?

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has played 19 seasons. That means he started his baseball career when the youngest players in this year's All-Star game were just toddlers. Rivera plans to retire at the end of this season.

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By now, you might have heard, for the second straight year the Miami Heat are NBA champions.

INSKEEP: They defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-to-88 in Game 7 in Miami. The Heat's LeBron James scored 37 points on his way to a second consecutive MVP award.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Mike Pesca was at the game and he has this report.

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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.

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. One of the people in the crowd was NPR's Mike Pesca.

The series is tied at one game a piece. The Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night 103-84. Last week, the Spurs beat the Heat in the opener.

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The Miami Heat were dominant last night as they beat the Indiana Pacers to win Game 7 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals. NPR's Mike Pesca reports that Miami's LeBron James led all scorers with 32 points and his team to another berth in the Finals.

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The women's pro basketball season is underway, and this year the WBNA features three former college stars. These standout players are being marketed as the Three To See. They are Elena Della Donne, Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins. NPR's Mike Pesca saw two of the three to see play each other last night. He has this report.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Skylar Diggins can still get the crowd to go wild.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)

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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. It took place at New York's Grand Central Terminal, that's why they called it the Rumble on the Rails.

Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.

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Sports caster Bob Wolff is said to be the only announcer to call a championship game in all four major sports. Wolff is rare among sportscasters, not just for his longevity, a record 74 years and counting, but also his commitment to posterity. He recorded many of his broadcasts and now he's donated this trove to the Library of Congress.

NPR's Mike Pesca talked to Wolff about his career and legacy.

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On a Tuesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is on a reporting trip this week in Venezuela. I'm David Greene in Washington.

The University of Louisville are the new champions of men's college basketball. They beat the University of Michigan Wolverines 82-to-76 last night in Atlanta. For the Cardinals, this victory was the finale to a post season that involved overcoming so many deficits.

Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.

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OK. People in Kentucky, don't call me a jinx, but there is the potential for some major celebrations in Louisville coming soon. Louisville is the school to beat in both the men's and women's college Division I basketball title games. The Lady Cardinals of Louisville will face Connecticut in the championship game Tuesday. We'll have more on that in a minute. First, it's Louisville against Michigan in tonight's men's final.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports from Atlanta, where some of the best seats don't always have the best view.

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 2-3 zone defense.

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. Put your hands up, and you're now playing the 2-3."

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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. NPR's Mike Pesca ponders the question of why college basketball, unique among major team sports, celebrates the semi finalists.

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