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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Sports
3:44 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success

Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals is adamant about recording his team's deflections. It seems to be paying off: The Cardinals have been doing well during the NCAA tournament.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:08 pm

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.

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.

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Sports
4:38 am
Fri March 22, 2013

March Madness Report From Lexington, Kentucky

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

Transcript

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: And I'm Mike Pesca in Lexington, Kentucky where Marquette, Louisville, Butler and Colorado State all advanced. That was the big story for sure, but there was something else that had all the players talking. Other than the memories of a lifetime and the chance to keep living their dreams and all that, there was - as Jamil Wilson pointed out to this Marquette teammate Vander Blue - this amazing room they just walked by in the hallway.

JAMIL WILSON: It was, like, nuts. And me and Vander were, like, yo, we gotta see the locker room.

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Sports
5:01 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Major League Soccer Finally On Solid Footing, But Hasn't Reached Big Time

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Major League Soccer season starts tomorrow. Superstar David Beckham is gone and there aren't any new teams to get excited about this year. But the MLS is on solid footing, and as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, the league has big ambitions.

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Sports
5:38 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 For 2nd Time

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:10 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday, only his second career victory. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: It was his second win at Daytona.] And he made it past Danica Patrick, the first woman to ever win the pole position with the fastest qualifying time. She finished eighth. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the race.

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Around the Nation
4:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Inside Brooklyn's New Barclays Center

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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Sports
5:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Lights Out For 49ers, Ravens Are Super Bowl Champs

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:09 pm

The Baltimore Ravens are the new Super Bowl champions. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34 to 31 Sunday night in New Orleans. The game threatened to be overshadowed by a momentum changing 34 minute power outage.

NPR Story
6:09 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ravens Are Super Bowl Underdogs, But Are Stats On Their Side?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Sports
3:17 am
Thu January 31, 2013

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws before the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 20.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

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.

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.

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Sports
3:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Patriots, 49ers To Meet In February's Super Bowl

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 10:01 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The match up for Super Bowl is set. In two weeks, the San Francisco 49ers, winners of the NFC championship, will play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were big underdogs in their game, yesterday, against the defending AFC champions, the New England Patriots. Same teams as last season, but this time a different result. The Ravens beat the home team 28 to 13.

NPR's Mike Pesca was at the game in Foxborough, Massachusetts and filed this report.

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Business
5:37 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Who Is The Real Victims Of The NHL Lockout?

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 5:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

So what's the economic effect of missing almost half the season? NPR's Mike Pesca finds, not as bad as you might think.

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. Maybe it's pizza in Pittsburgh.

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Around the Nation
5:39 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Sandy Didn't Sack High School Football Team

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Law
4:41 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Judge Rules Poker Is A Game Of Luck, Not Skill

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Is poker a game of luck or skill? As a legal matter, courts have largely tried to avoid answering that question. That is, until now. A federal judge in Brooklyn has overturned the conviction of a man who operated a back room poker game.

And, as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, the ruling could have far-reaching consequences.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Poker is a game of skill. Poker is a game of skill. That's what professional poker player Sammy Farha must have been saying in this hand against Chris Moneymaker.

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Sports
4:29 pm
Sun August 12, 2012

Hard Lessons At the Olympics, Like The Metric System

Turkey's Nevin Yanit (from left) United States' Kellie Wells and Russia's Tatyana Dektyareva compete in a women's 100-meter hurdles semifinal. Exactly how many yards is that?
Anja Niedringhaus AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 4:59 pm

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.

U.S. judo competitor Kyle Vashkulat competes at 100 kg, which he knows means he weighs 220 lbs. But does he know height?

"We were in a sauna, and the guy's telling us the height of the boxers, and he's like, 'Yeah, this guy's like, 1.7 meters' — and we're like, 'How tall is that?'" Vashkulat says, laughing.

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The Torch
11:16 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Boxing Maths and Aftermaths: Why Similar Scores Are A Mean System

Shiming Zou of China is declared the winner over Paddy Barnes of Ireland during their men's light flyweight boxing semifinal in London. The match was scored a 15-15 tie; Zou won on the number of punches landed.
Scott Heavey Getty Images

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. Barnes accepted the decision, but the result might confuse anyone who isn't familiar with boxing's scoring system.

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The Torch
12:04 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

The Olympic Art Of Shushing: Who Decides When Fans Can Be Noisy?

Fans make some noise as they watch Olympic women's beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade in London. There seems to be little consistency in which sports require quiet from spectators.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 2:25 pm

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.

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. So not only is gunfire ringing in their ears, crowds often become noisy, depending on the results.

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