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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Sports
1:12 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

NFL's Replacement Referees Baffle Fans

As the lockout of NFL officials over a labor dispute continues, the replacement refs have been roundly criticized for an increase in bad calls and a general loss of control on the field. NPR's Mike Pesca explains the issues with replacement refs and the ongoing dispute with the regular officials.

Sports
3:36 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

NFL Starts Regular Season Without Its Regular Refs

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:56 pm

The NFL starts its regular season tonight with replacement referees. A labor dispute has sidelined the regular refs. Some players and fans say the game is suffering.

Sports
4:10 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Lance Armstrong Banned For Life, Stripped Of Medals

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 6:47 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To athletes young and old, Lance Armstrong has been an icon and an inspiration, even more so to cancer survivors, their families and anyone who wore a yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet. So what becomes of Armstrong's legacy now that his titles are gone and he's been labeled a doper?

Here's NPR's Mike Pesca with some reaction.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: The year is 2000, and the Tour de France has just reached a critical stage in Provence. Breaking away from the pack, in effect breaking the pack, is Lance Armstrong.

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Sports
3:29 pm
Sun August 12, 2012

Hard Lessons At the Olympics, Like The Metric System

Turkey's Nevin Yanit (from left) United States' Kellie Wells and Russia's Tatyana Dektyareva compete in a women's 100-meter hurdles semifinal. Exactly how many yards is that?
Anja Niedringhaus AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 3:59 pm

Olympic winners like gold medalist Claressa Shields have said the games were a learning experience, but what were they learning? Hard work? Sure. Sportsmanship? Maybe. The metric system? Certainly not.

U.S. judo competitor Kyle Vashkulat competes at 100 kg, which he knows means he weighs 220 lbs. But does he know height?

"We were in a sauna, and the guy's telling us the height of the boxers, and he's like, 'Yeah, this guy's like, 1.7 meters' — and we're like, 'How tall is that?'" Vashkulat says, laughing.

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The Torch
10:16 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Boxing Maths and Aftermaths: Why Similar Scores Are A Mean System

Shiming Zou of China is declared the winner over Paddy Barnes of Ireland during their men's light flyweight boxing semifinal in London. The match was scored a 15-15 tie; Zou won on the number of punches landed.
Scott Heavey Getty Images

Four years ago, Irish boxer Paddy Barnes lost to China's Zou Shiming by a score of 15-0 in Beijing. Today in London, Barnes fought his way back into their match to tie Zou at 15-15 — but he still lost. Barnes accepted the decision, but the result might confuse anyone who isn't familiar with boxing's scoring system.

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Sports
3:45 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Usain Bolt Sprints Into Olympic History

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 5:28 am

Jamaican Usain Bolt cemented his place as one of the greatest sprinters in history, when he won the 200 meter final Thursday. Bolt is the first Olympian to win both the 100 meter and 200 meter races two Olympics in a row.

Sports
4:28 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Tiny Island Nation Finds Olympic Pride In Weightlifter

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 10:02 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Olympics are winding down, and for some nations, they're already over. Among them, the small Pacific island nation of Nauru. With roughly 9,300 people, it is the least populous country competing in these games. NPR's Mike Pesca says for the Nauruvians that's a point of pride.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Nauru is small. How small? Remember this song?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMALL TOWN")

JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP: (Singing) But I've seen it all in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town.

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The Torch
11:04 am
Wed August 8, 2012

The Olympic Art Of Shushing: Who Decides When Fans Can Be Noisy?

Fans make some noise as they watch Olympic women's beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade in London. There seems to be little consistency in which sports require quiet from spectators.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:25 pm

There seems to be a vague logic that dictates which Olympic sports are conducted against a backdrop of noise, and which operate in a cone of silence.

For the most part, the more a sport depends on a fine motor skill, the quieter the spectators are meant to be. Shooters squeeze triggers before mostly hushed crowds. But in many shooting disciplines, the competitors line up in a group and can shoot at any point during their time allotment. So not only is gunfire ringing in their ears, crowds often become noisy, depending on the results.

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Sports
4:00 am
Tue August 7, 2012

India's Olympic Effort Faulted

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:39 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, as we cover the Olympics, some of you have asked for spoiler alerts, but for this next report that is probably not necessary. NPR's Mike Pesca is taking us inside the world of India's men's field hockey team. We're not too worried about spoilers. Not just because most Americans don't care much about field hockey, but because the Indian squad has done a pretty good job itself of spoiling things. As Mike reports, the team's record tracks with the overall state of the Indian Olympic effort.

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Sports
3:47 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

U.S. Shooter Matt Emmons Takes Rifle Bronze

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 5:44 pm

American shooter Matt Emmons was on Time Magazine's list of chokers after suffering some mental lapses in the last Olympics. On Monday, he competed in the finals in his best discipline and took the bronze medal.

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