Five years ago today -- May 21, 2004 -- I made my "Around the Horn" debut. I sat in Tony Kornheiser's chair on the PTI set in DC. It was cold. It was harrowing. And it was so satisfying.
That first show, in particular, remains one of the best memories of my life. Five years later, I am indebted to folks like Bill Wolff, Aaron Solomon, Tony Reali and the ATH production crew for having me on.
Apparently, when you're on-air "talent," you are by nature supposed to be kind of a douchebag. Or a prima donna. Or at least an ingrate, for losing sight of the fact that you get to do something (get PAID to do something) that 95 percent of sports fans would kill for the chance to try.
I don't mind revealing I was -- still am -- merely grateful for the opportunity. (I might also add that the show's ratings went up -- and the median age of the panelists went way down -- when I appeared. j/k...)
I ended up appearing on the show a few more times that summer and fall, and I would like to think that I brought a younger -- and a new media -- sensibility to the show.
Besides the whole "What am I/what is HE doing THERE?" vibe, I think the most notable thing about my presence was the on-air hazing. (Yes, yes, Woody: I *am* a "high-talker." Proudly.
Most of all, I sincerely enjoyed the experience, even if most of my best witty banter came mumbling to myself on the train rides from DC back to New York, long after they would have been useful for the show.
But, wow, was it fun.
UPDATE: Tony Reali tweeted his big memory of my first appearance was that Woody called me "Topo Gigio," a reference that was not only absurdly dated but lost on... well, everyone (my parents got it, actually). When you look up Topo Gigio on Wikipedia, however, you realize how brilliant Woody truly is. That was basically me!
PS: I really need to edit that show down and put it up on YouTube. That is: If I could stand watching myself.