Episode Seventy-Three - Castle (Pay) Walls

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The podcast returns after a medically-related hiatus to a jam-packed sports calendar. To help discuss it, we are very honored to have on the show Stephen Brunt from Sportsnet and the Fan 590 in Toronto.

First, we discuss Stephen's return to co-host Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, the genesis of his return, sharing the co-host chair with former pod guest Richard Deitsch and more. That segues into a discussion about sports journalism in 2018, the pay model of things like The Athletic and Second Captains, sportswriters moving to TV and and radio, the late, lamented National Sports Daily and what demographics will pay for content, sports or otherwise. 

Then, we talk about a variety of sports topics, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Maple Leafs struggles vs the Bruins, playoff predictions, the CONCACAF Champions League final between Toronto FC and Chivas de Guadalajara, the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal, the recent HBO documentary on Andre the Giant, the passing of Bruno Sammartino and more. 

You can hear Stephen on Prime Time Sports (when he is the co-host) 5-7 PM weekdays on the Fan 590 and read him on Sportsnet.ca. You can also get his books on Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Muhammad Ali and more at Amazon and the other usual places they are sold. 

Episode Seventy-One - Rock Me Salieri

Pep and Jose, the prequel

Pep and Jose, the prequel

The podcast returns before the holiday season kicks in discussing the world of futbol and more with Ken Early (@kenearlys) from the Irish Times and the Second Captains podcast (@secondcaptains). 

We start with how Ireland is dealing with their elimination from the World Cup and what the future holds for coaches Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. That segues into a discussion about why they and the Irish national team have such a poor relationship in recent years with Everton.

Then, it's onto a chat about the Champions League, which resumed with Match Day Five when this episode debuted. From there, we talk about two of Ken's favorite subjects: Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.  We examine the relationship between the two in Spain and now in the Premier League. To which historical rivals does Ken compare the two managers? And just how of The Special One's wrestling heel persona is a work?

Lastly, we talk about the Second Captains World Service podcast network, their move to becoming a paid subscription model earlier this year and the decision for Ken to a political podcast as one of their shows and the whole "stick to sports" opinion held by a segment of the sports fans around the world.

Note: The political chat starts around 34:30 and includes a number of current events.  If that's not your cup of tea, please feel free to give that section a pass. No offense taken.

You can join the Second Captains World Service at Patreon.  For US subscribers, it's (at current exchange rates) $5.35 a month for at least six podcasts a week. 

Episode Seventy - Here Come De Judge

Will the Cubs be able to defend their World Series crown? 

Will the Cubs be able to defend their World Series crown? 

Just in time for playoff baseball,, we welcome back to the podcast the Managing Editor of Awful Announcing Joe Lucia (@joe_TOC).  We start with the news of the day, the resignation of Atlanta GM John Coppolella and which managed might get the pink slip this offseason.  We then give our picks for the American and National League Cy Young and MVP awards.  Then, it's a series-by-by-series breakdown of each round of the playoffs, culminating with who we each think will win the World Series. 

After that, it's some quick Premier League chat. As a Manchester City supporter, Joe is flying high at the moment, with his team top of the table when the podcast was recorded. Conversely, my Everton is under-performing and plenty of folks calling for the manager's head. We also give our thoughts on who may or may not end up in the relegation dogfight. 

Episode Sixty-Seven - Campeones, Campeones

Hot balls. The UEFA Champions League draw happened this week in Monaco.

Hot balls. The UEFA Champions League draw happened this week in Monaco.

With all sorts of news going on in the futbol word, we welcome ESPNFC journalist Gabriele Marcotti (@marcotti) to the show. We start with an analysis of the draws for the Champions League and Europa League, held this week in Monaco.  Which groups look the toughest and what are the prospects for the Premier League teams.  Then, we discuss the flurry of transfer activity this summer, including news just today that Ousmane Dembele is headed to Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe could be on the verge of joining Neymar at Paris St-Germain. That leads to a talk about PSG and Financial Fair Play, something Gab has written about over the last couple weeks.  We end the futbol talk with a look at Week Three in the Premier League, including the match at Stanford Bridge between Chelsea and Everton.

The rest of the show, we talk about how Gab became an ECW hardcore regular in the mid to late 1990s while a student at Penn.  What was his first trip to ECW Arena like? What angles does he remember seeing at the shows? Does he still keep up with the business in 2017?

We really want to thank Gab for his time, as the pod was recorded after he flew back this afternoon to London from Monaco. You can read Gab's work at ESPNFC.com, The Times (of London) [paywall] and you can hear him as the host of The Game podcast every Monday during the futbol season, on Soundcloud, iTunes, or most listening platforms.

Episode Sixty-Six - Islands in the Stream

NBC's excellent EPL studio cast: host Rebecca Lowe, and analysts Kyle Martino, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. 

NBC's excellent EPL studio cast: host Rebecca Lowe, and analysts Kyle Martino, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. 

With some sports media news in the headlines, we are pleased to be joined again by Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) from Sports Illustrated.  We recorded on Operning Day for the English Premier League, so we chat about NBC's near-universal popular coverage as well as their paid app and whether people will purchase.  That seques into a discussion of The Athletic, the paid content sports writing site, their successes so far and would their model work in a city like New York. We talk about ESPN and how necessary they are for a fan whose favorite sports are undercovered (like hockey and soccer). We also discuss where ESPN fits in with Disney's new streaming strategy. We end with some brief wrestling chat, what Richard is enjoying with the current WWE product and being able to wrestling from around the world online. 

We are working lining up some guests to discuss the Premier League and the other European leagues starting up, but were not able to get them in time for today's podcast. Hopefully, they will be on the next episode. Thanks for listening. 

Episode Forty Nine - Holy Cow

How about that kid in the sombrero?

How about that kid in the sombrero?

Egyptian-based journalist and Chicago native Ashraf Khalil (@ashrafkhalil) joins the show to talk Cubbies and the world of popular culture. First, we talk about what it was like to experience the Cubs World Series win while halfway around the world. We also discuss how Cubs fans will be viewed now that they are no longer "lovable losers." Then, we talk about watching American sports abroad, sports podcasts include those by Dan LeBatard and Tony Kornheiser, watching or not watching the NFL in 2016 and more.  Then, we talk pro wrestling, WWE getting mainstream coverage, watching the network vs youtube,  American wrestling versus lucha watching habits and reminiscing about old school grappling. Next, we talk current comics, what Ash is reading (Chew, Sex Criminals, Revival) and what he should check out next (Vision, Lazarus, Southern Bastards, The Black Monday Murders, Casanova, The Goddamned).  We end with a look at how the Presidential Election is seen in the Middle East and Red vs Blue dynamics across the country.

Note: We apologize for the podcast hiatus. Health issues of the ENT variety made doing a show problematic. Hopefully, things will be back to a more regular schedule soon. We tried to edit out any extraneous coughing and other issues, but some may have slipped through. Thank you for your patience. 

Episode Forty-Three - Girls and Boys

You're my girl, Bleu. Blue Monday: The Kids are Alright  (C) 2106 Chynna Clugston Flores.

You're my girl, Bleu. Blue Monday: The Kids are Alright  (C) 2106 Chynna Clugston Flores.

With Blue Monday finally back in print, we are thrilled to have Chynna Clugston Flores (@chynnasyndrome) on the podcast to talk about the series being reprinted at Image with colors by Jordie Bellaire (@whoajordie), the timetable for reprints and  new material, the return of Scooter Girl, writing the Gotham Academy/Lumberjanes cross-over book, working on DC kids books including the Mad Mod issue of Teen Titans Go, MTV Classics, use of music in Blue Monday, the cyclical nature of fads and culture, silent movies and more. 

Following that, we have a short list of podcast recommendations, including Monday Night Braw (@mondaynightbraw), Between the Sheets and Exile on Badstreet by Kris Zellner (@kriszellner) and David Bixenspan @davidbix), european football podcasts from the Guardian, the Times (of London), Second Captains (@secondcaptains) from the Irish Times,The Men in Blazers (@meninblazers), Talksport's European Football Show, the Jonah Keri Podcast (@jonahkeri) and the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by RIchard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) 

Episode Forty-Two - Hitto-ō

ichiro1.jpg

It's a celebration of Ichiro's 3000th hit, tempered by the passing on the day of recording of longtime ESPN anchor John Saunders. On the podcast today are Joe Lucia (@Joe_TOC) from Awful Announcing and The Comeback and former ESPN producer Gus Ramsey (@GusRamsey)'

Joe talks about John Saunders (1:29), Ichiro's 3000 hits and his amazing MLB season (5:07), the rash of retiring players this week (15:33), the August 1 trade deadline (21:26), the Aaron Sanchez soap opera in Toronto (22:42), rooting for bad teams (26:46), NBC's Rio Olympics coverage (33:08) and televising internationl futbol in the US (37:45).

Gus discusses John Saunders (48:34), Ichiro (53:00), retiring players (58:10), the Dan and Kieth years on Sportscenter (1:01:06), Sports Night and other depictions of newsrooms in TV and Film (1:05:29), working on the WWE Network's Edge and Christian Show (1:12:24), the state of current WWE (1:26:50), his new Talent Coach service for broadcasters (1:31:31) and the new Madden and other video games (1:39:15).

Episode Thirty-Two - Fantastic Foxes

That's not Old Hickory. From the Lazarus Source book. (C) 2016 Greg Rucks & Michael Lark.

That's not Old Hickory. From the Lazarus Source book. (C) 2016 Greg Rucks & Michael Lark.

1:19 - the return of Greg Rucka (@ruckawriter). First up, comics chat, including the new Gotham Central omnibus (co-written with Ed Brubaker) (@brubaker), the Lazarus HC (co-created by Michael Lark (@michaellark66) and Lazarus source book, the Black Magick TPB (co-created by Nicola Scott (@nicolascottart), returning to Wonder Woman with Scott and Liam Sharp (@liamrsharp) and doing Star Wars books and comics. (20:36) Then futbol talk recorded during the Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid Champions League semi-final. We talk Leicester City winning the Premier League, improper winners, Champions and Europa League predictions, the Portland Timbers and other MLS news and more.

Episode Eighteen - The Author Theory 1

Hopeless Savages Break (C) 2015 Jen Van Meter

Hopeless Savages Break (C) 2015 Jen Van Meter

1:20 - Comics writer Jen Van Meter (@hopelessjen) discusses her @Onipress graphic novel Hopeless Savages Break. We talks about working with artists Meredith McClaren (@inquitousFish) and Christine Norrie (@christinenorrie) on the new book, past volumes of the series drawn by Norrie, Chynna Clugston Flores (@chynnasyndrome) and Bryan Lee O'Malley (@radiomaru), future stories, (9:56) her @ValiantComics series drawn by Roberto de la Torre The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage and (14:00) writing the Injustice Gang back in 2006 in JSA Classified. (17:00) We also talk about the MLS championship won last week by the Portland Timbers & the crazy plays in the match, (24:45) the Timbers being featured in Greg Rucka's (@ruckawriter) Stumptown and (28:10) life as a comics pro living in Portland.

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30:55 - Yahoo Sports hockey editor of the Puck Daddy blog and the co-host of Marek vs Wyshynski podcast Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) discusses his new book Take Your Eye Off the Puck, its origin and contents, including chapters on fancy stats and cutting edge technology. (43:09) We also talk the current NHL Season, the hot start by Dallas, the slow start by Pittsburgh and Anaheim and Detroit post-Mike Babcock. Then we talk nerd culture, featuring (47:16) the just-finished season of Doctor Who, (57:19) binge TV watching and spoiler culture, (1:01:15) the resurrected MST3K and (1:07:15) new comics, including Saga, Batman and the new Marvel Star Wars books

Episode Fifteen - Heaven Knows Their Recipe

 (0:55) - Roger Bennett (@rogbennett) from the Men in Blazers (@meninblazers) talks about the upcoming Blazer Con this weekend in New York City, the line-up of futbol heavy hitters attending, a conference vs a convention, the implosion of Chelsea, the season so far for Everton, the late Howard Kendall and more,

(16:40) - Magazine contributor Matt D returns to look at the world of popular culture. We talk the season so far for Doctor Who, the Zygon Invasion [episode recorded before the Zygon Inverson aired], the greatness of Peter Capaldi and what could be in store for the season finale. We also talk new comics, including what's caught our eye from the "post-Secret Wars" Marvel books (New Avengers, Spider-Man, Iron Man,...), Greg Rucka (@ruckawriter) and Nicola Scott (@NIcolaScottArt) and the first issue of Black Magick from Image, Gail Simone's (@gailsimone) new Vertigo book and just what is Marvel's best book right now? Hint: It doesn't take place in the 616. Also some quick wrestling talk about what the WWE will do after Seth Rollins' injury forced his being stripped of the world title and what's going on in NXT.

Episode Nine - To Catch a Shadow

1:04 - Rob Viper (@RobViper) discusses his recent trip to Mexico to see Lucha Libre. We talk about AAA Triplemania, Rey Misterio vs Myzteziz, the upcoming CMLL Anniversary show, the finals of En Busca de un Idolo, Cara Lucha (@caralucha), Chilanga Mask, the great Black Terry Jr (@Blackterry), the long history between Odessa Steps Magazine, El Doctor Alquimia (@doctoralquimia)  and Highspots (@highspots), the fabulous Jeff Marek (@jeffmarek) [listen to episode 3], the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Maple Leafs, getting The Cubs Fan (@luchablog) to Mexico in September, the Luchaworld pod with Fredo Esparza (@therealfredo) and Vandal Drummond.

48:06 - Matt D discusses the Bayley phenomenon (@itsBayleyWWE) and appealing to a non-traditional wrestling demographic, NXT Takeover in Brooklyn this Saturday, the Ant-Man movie, Lazarus by Greg Rucka (@ruckawriter) [listen to episode 2] and MIchael Lark (@MichaelLark66), Weird World by Jason Aaron (@Jason Aaron) and Mike Del Mundo (@deadlymike) and more En Busca de un Idolo talk.

Episode Two - Conspiracy by Proxy

Episode Two of the podcast. 

Special Guest Star - Greg Rucka talks Women's World Cup, the FIFA scandal, Stumptown, Lazarus, Cyclops, Lady Sabre, writing in the Star Wars universe and the status of the Lazarus and Queen & Country media projects.

TKD discusses the 30 May Cara Lucha show, Rush, Hechicero, Volador Jr, Flamita, ordering lucha libre from Black Terry Jr,  the 2015 CMLL En Busca de un Idolo tournament, Barbero Cavenario and more.