Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Guys Have All the Fun - Inside The World Of ESPN: Average Golfer Book Review

I'm know I'm a little late to the party, since most reviews of the "New" ESPN book came out in late May. Think of this as the 2nd wave, pre-paperback review. Although at a hefty 748 pages, this baby won't slide comfortably into a back pocket even without the hard cover.

My age demographic pegs me as being hugely sports aware at the dawn of ESPN in 1978 and my reader's demos tell me the same about you. This book chronicles the growth of the sports media monstrosity from it's germination as an idea born from Bill Rasmussen and his son Scott in 1978 until present day. The elder Rasmussen had been the communications manager for the Hartford Whalers, so after being fired by them, anything was a step up, even a then ridiculous idea for a dedicated sports network originating in the Bristol, CT megaplex.

The book is laid out in a series of interview snippets with all the main players through the saga, including all of your favorites, Berman, Kornheiser, Tirico, Patrick, Roberts, Gammons, and the insufferably obnoxious, but legendarily clever Olbermann. Authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales manage to pull most of the huge volume of material together in a decipherable fashion and the provided "between quotes" commentary enlightens, fills in, and connects the dialogue. I found the book's only minor negative to be that it bogs down in spots, especially when multiple quotes on the same topics are listed. Some of the "inside baseball" references to the financing and structural makeup of the behemoth that is ESPN can be sleep inducing, but tolerable in a book that leaves virtually no stone unturned in the dissection of such a large animal. All in all a worthy read, a book you'll take a break from due to  sheer weight, but pick back up quickly to resume where you left off.

Since it's essentially a book of quotes, I won't repeat them here and deprive you the opportunity to find the gems within the 748 pages. Be assured though, the lowdown is covered on the hot topics including Limbaugh on Donovan McNabb, Kornheiser's round peg, square hole fit on MNF, Erin Andrew's stalker woes, and Olbermann's serial leaving and returning schtick. Not much is out of bounds here and that lends the book credibility. Not in tell-all style necessarily as much as truth serum. An Average Golfer highly recommended.

Available at Amazon    Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN

* Review copy provided to Average Golfer by the publisher.

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1 comment:

  1. Rich Eisen, Dan Patrick and Charley Steiner were the best. Once they started laughing on air they couldn't stop.