BN.com Gift Guide

Spanning the World: The Crazy Universe of Big-Time Sports, All-Star Egos, and Hall of Fame Bloopers

( 4 )

Overview

Go Spanning the World with Len Berman in this wildly entertaining, insightful, and often hilarious book that takes sports fans behind the scenes and inside locker rooms

One of the most popular television sports personalities - known for his "Spanning the World" segments on NBC's Today show - Len Berman delivers his unique view of the world of sports, from the bizarre to the historic, all with his characteristic wit.

Over the years sports and ...

See more details below
This is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

Go Spanning the World with Len Berman in this wildly entertaining, insightful, and often hilarious book that takes sports fans behind the scenes and inside locker rooms

One of the most popular television sports personalities - known for his "Spanning the World" segments on NBC's Today show - Len Berman delivers his unique view of the world of sports, from the bizarre to the historic, all with his characteristic wit.

Over the years sports and sports reporting have changed, but Spanning the World puts it all in perspective in this irreverent take on the heroes and iconic moments.

Berman guides us through the world he knows like no one else, from intimate recollections of his heroes to postgame celebrations, exhibiting the most hilarious and shocking moments from the whole cast of characters from the last decades in sports: John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali, Larry Bird, Derek Jeter, and many more. He also addresses the more serious issues facing sports today, including steroids, overpaid stars, athletes and violence, and the place of sports in society.

A must read for every sports fan, Spanning the World is an irresistible blend of humor, history, and contemporary commentary on the state of sports from the ultimate fan who has seen it all.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061158476
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005

Meet the Author

Len Berman

Len Berman is the weekday sports anchor at WNBC New York, and the host of the popular "Spanning the World" segments on NBC's Today show. He has won six local Emmy Awards and has been voted New York Sportscaster of the Year five times by his peers in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Who Is This Guy? 1
2 In the Beginning 9
3 And Nobody Got Hurt 17
4 Spanning the World of Baseball 29
5 My Hero! 33
6 Going, Going 43
7 No Cheering in the Press Box 59
8 Spanning the World of Baseball Fans 69
9 Spring Has Sprung 73
10 Yan-kees Suck! 83
11 On Edge 101
12 Spanning the World of Football 111
13 Shriekers and Streakers 115
14 The Magic of Television 125
15 Juice and Jayson 147
16 Spanning the World of Basketball 157
17 Mr. Olympian 161
18 You Shoulda Seen It! 175
19 Telling It Like It Is 187
20 Spanning the World of Individual Sports 205
21 Marathon Man 209
22 No Interviews, No Autographs 223
23 We Interrupt This Broadcast 235
24 Spanning the Rest of the World 245
25 Cast of Characters 247
26 Critical Condition 269
27 Commish for a Day 285
Acknowledgments 299
Index 301
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Spanning the World
The Crazy Universe of Big-Time Sports, All-Star Egos, and Hall of Fame Bloopers

Chapter One

Who Is This Guy?

If you're a New Yorker, or if you've spent a good bit of time in New York, you probably know me from my nineteen years as the lead sportscaster on Channel 4, the local NBC affiliate. You may also know me from some of my national sports broadcasts, including the Olympics, college basketball games, and heavyweight prizefights. Or you may know me from the hundreds of pre- and postgame shows I've done for the Super Bowl, the World Series, and other major sporting events over the years. But if you're like most of the viewers who recognize me, it's because of "Spanning the World," my sports bloopers program that has aired in New York since 1987 and has garnered me invitations to appear on the latenight shows of David Letterman and Conan O'Brien as well as a monthly spot on NBC's morning program, the Today show.

People come up to me all the time and ask, "Hey, aren't you the guy who does the goofy highlights?" Some résumé, huh?

I don't mind the recognition, but I wonder if airing footage of an outfielder running smack through the center-field fence is really going to be my legacy. I mean, I actually have done a couple of other things in my forty years of broadcasting. In addition to working Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Olympics for NBC, I've called TV play-by-play for the Boston Celtics, the Big East Conference, HBO Sports, and for three heavyweight championship fights, including the 1991 bout between George Foreman and Evander Holyfield. I also created Sports Fantasy, a television program that gave viewers the chance to compete against Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer, Chris Evert, Wayne Gretzky, and other all-time greats. And I've done a ton of newscasts and broadcasts from most of the major sporting events. All this has given me entrée to just about anybody who's anybody in the world of sports -- including Willie Mays Aikens.

You may not remember Aikens, but in the early 1980s he was one of baseball's most feared sluggers. A cocaine addiction was his downfall. He was out of baseball in 1985 (although he continued to play down in Mexico, hitting .454 with 46 home runs and 154 RBIs one season). I interviewed him in 1983 for the NBC baseball Game of the Week at a prison in Texas. He had the distinction of being the first active major-league baseball player to be sent to jail. He was sent to the slammer for ninety days after pleading guilty to attempting to buy cocaine. (In 1994, he was sentenced to over twenty years for selling drugs to an undercover officer.) It was quite a comedown for the first player to have two multihomer games in a single World Series, a feat he accomplished with Kansas City in 1980. Aikens agreed to speak to me from prison and to discuss his personal demons. He admitted to me that he once played a major-league game while high on coke. It wasn't the kind of interview that would be recycled in one of those "Baseball Fever" or "I Love This Game" commercials. So what's the point of this digression? Well, USA Today used to ask athletes to list their five favorites in various categories: their five favorite movies or fast-food items, for instance. In 1984, the paper asked Willie Mays Aikens to name his five favorite sportscasters. I came in fifth. So perhaps that will be my epitaph. "Len Berman: Willie Mays Aikens's fifth-favorite sportscaster."

• • •

As a nightly sportscaster, at times I think I'm doing sports for the sports impaired. News executives say that the overall percentage of viewers who are sports fans is small. And let's face it: more and more of those fans are getting their scores and highlights from the Internet and ESPN or some other cable sports channel. Luckily my wife, Jill, is here to remind me who's out there watching. She has told me -- her loving husband who has made a life out of sports -- that football is dumb. Why? Because "all they do is jump on each other and then measure." It's a good line actually, and pretty accurate, too.

The weather forecasters have it made. Everyone wants to hear what they have to say, and no one ever blames them when they're wrong. And these guys are often wrong. The long-range forecast? All the Doppler technology in the world, and you still may be better off playing with your Ouija board. I once had a six A.M. tee time. The eleven o'clock news had started after midnight due to a late NBA game. The weatherman had said it would be sunny in the morning and instead it was raining. The five-day forecast? He couldn't even get the five-hour forecast right!

The television execs also tell me that when 11:25 comes along, those who forget to change the channel after the weather are probably just biding their time until Jay Leno comes on. Before everyone had a remote control, the local NBC stations had a huge late-news advantage. People didn't want to have to get out of bed to change the channel, so if they wanted to watch Johnny Carson, they set their TV to NBC earlier in the evening.

This affects the way I handle my sportscast. My goal is to report sports for those who care about the games, and to make sports understandable and enjoyable for those who are just waiting for Leno. I'm not sure that either category of viewer realizes that I might say, "Jason Giambi was placed on the disabled list," rather than "Jason Giambi was placed on the DL." I don't like to use sports shorthand because I realize that plenty of viewers out there don't know a DL from a DH (designated hitter -- the position Giambi is best suited for) ...

Spanning the World
The Crazy Universe of Big-Time Sports, All-Star Egos, and Hall of Fame Bloopers
. Copyright © by Len Berman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)