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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5:05am

Thu May 16, 2013
Sports

Wrestlers Grapple To Save Sport From Olympic Chopping Block

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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5:23pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Sports

Not Even Instant Replay Could Prevent These Bad Calls

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 7:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Major League Baseball has admitted that umpires have made some big mistakes in the last few days. On Wednesday, umpires ruled even after looking at television replays that Adam Rosales of the Oakland A's hit a double. The ball clearly left the park with the game on the line. And last night in Houston, umps botched a fairly simple rule about pitchers. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now to second-guess the men in black. And, Mike, everyone makes mistakes, right, even umpires. Why are they getting picked on?

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5:11am

Tue May 7, 2013
Sports

Broadcast Sports Pioneer Bob Wolff Shares His Archive

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 11:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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5:02am

Tue April 9, 2013
Sports

Louisville Triumphs Over Michigan 82-76

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 9:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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4:58pm

Mon April 8, 2013
Sports

Leading Through Tragedy, Louisville's Hancock Kept Team Together

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:59 pm

Louisville player Luke Hancock isn't the most talented on the team, but his leadership played a key role keeping everyone focused after a devastating injury to teammate Kevin Ware. The Louisville Cardinals play the Michigan Wolverines in Monday night's NCAA men's college basketball finals.

6:39am

Mon April 8, 2013
Sports

Students Turn To Jumbotron To Watch Tourney In Georgia Dome

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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6:53am

Sat April 6, 2013
Sports

Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

Syracuse celebrates after the team's 55-39 win over Marquette, in Washington last Saturday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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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6:40am

Fri April 5, 2013
Sports

Why College Basketball So Celebrates The Semifinalists

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Sports

Personality Of Each Coach Reflected In NCAA Men's Basketball Teams

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

To achieve a deep run in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, players have to be skilled and well-trained but also well-motivated.

3:44am

Thu March 28, 2013
Sports

Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success

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

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

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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