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
4:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Olympic Runners Find Unique Was To Raise Funds

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 6:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Anyone who watches NASCAR knows the cars out on the track are plastered with ads. Golfers almost all wear their sponsorships, but not U.S. Olympians.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports that some runners are now chafing at the long-standing rules blocking them from raising sponsorship money.

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Sports
4:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Wildcats Roll To 8th NCAA Title, Coach Calipari's 1st

Anthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats puts up a shot over Jeff Withey of the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Division I men's basketball final Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 2:01 pm

The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 Monday night in New Orleans, claiming their eighth NCAA men's basketball title and head coach John Calipari's first.

The Jayhawks trailed by 14 at halftime, and just 5 points separated the teams with about a minute left in the game. But Kansas couldn't get any closer to beating Kentucky, a team stacked with young talent that had dominated the whole tournament.

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Sports
7:09 am
Sun April 1, 2012

Kentucky To Face Kansas In NCAA Title Game

Kansas' Thomas Robinson (0) fights for a rebound with Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (1) during the second half of an NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball tournament game Saturday in New Orleans.
Chris Steppig AP

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:33 pm

The national championship game in men's college basketball is set. The Jayhawks beat Ohio State in a close one and Kentucky got past Louisville.

At the nine-minutes-to-go mark in games one through four of Kentucky's romp through the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats have had leads of 13, 11, 18 and 30 points. So it was significant that the Louisville Cardinals actually found themselves tied with Kentucky at that nine-minute juncture.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Defending Kentucky's Coach Calipari: Not A Tough Assignment

Kentucky coach John Calipari has been criticized as being more of a recruiter than a coach. But that doesn't mean his approach to the game is easy.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 3:04 pm

The critique of University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is that he does what it takes to get his players, and they do what they want from there. Sure, this thinking goes, he's yelling at them from the sidelines whenever one — specifically Terrence Jones — puts up a 3-point shot from a step behind the arc. But he's not much of a coach.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sun March 25, 2012

On To The Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State Win

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 4:04 pm

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

In NCAA men's basketball, the Louisville Cardinals and Ohio State Buckeyes have qualified for the Final Four. Later today, two more teams will join them after Kentucky plays Baylor and Kansas faces North Carolina. With so much basketball peppered with reversals and upsets, it's hard to deny the madness of March. But, as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, most coaches try desperately to keep it at bay.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Kentucky's 'Not Allowed To Lose' NCAA Tournament

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And coming up, we'll talk about the scandal rocking the NFL. But first, in the NCAA last night: North Carolina needed overtime to put away Ohio. Kansas defeated NC State. Baylor beat Xavier. And Kentucky toppled Indiana 102 to 90. And with that win, the powerhouse Wildcats moved into the elite 8 of the tournament. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.

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Sports
4:00 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Mostly Majors In Men's Sweet Sixteen

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 9:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We are sorry to report that Lehigh is out of the NCAA tournament. They lost in the second round after a huge upset of Duke in the first. Murray State is gone, too.

But as the tournament gets down to 16 teams, one of those teams is Ohio University. Traditionally not one of the powerhouse teams we talk about year in, year out. In fact, it's been more than four decades - 48 years to be precise - since the school has made it this far in the tournament.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports on the team's quest.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

A Basketball Wrap-Up, In Verse

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 10:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, BYLINE: Every school invited to the NCAA basketball tournament has had a chance to play. So we thought we'd bring you details of every game. Well, maybe not details, but at least a mention from NPR's Mike Pesca. And what he lacks in specifics, he makes up for in rhyme.

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Sports
6:30 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Iowa State Defeats UConn; VCU Beats Wichita St.

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 1:08 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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Sports
4:00 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Giants Tower Over Patriots As Super Bowl Champs

The New York Giants came back with a last-minute score to beat the New England Patriots 21-17 Sunday night for New York's fourth Super Bowl title. It was a rematch of the 2008 NFL championship, when Eli Manning led New York past New England to ruin the Patriots' bid for a perfect season.

Sports
8:00 am
Sun February 5, 2012

On Defense, Neither Super Bowl Team Wins

In football, defense wins championships, or so the saying goes. That hasn't been true recently. In fact, both teams in Sunday's Super Bowl, the Giants and the Patriots, featured less-than-stout defenses through the season. NPR's Mike Pesca has some possible reasons why.

Sports
6:11 am
Sun February 5, 2012

Why Do Laymen Love The Giants? It's All Psychology

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning warms up before the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers last month in the City by the Bay. Oddsmakers have their money on Manning and his Giants to once again prevail over the Patriots on Sunday. But is that prediction based more on psychology than facts?
Julie Jacobson AP

The Super Bowl: an annualized marketing event-cum-gambling extravaganza. That they have to play a football game to justify the ads, gambling and Ines Sainz's career is still in the official rule book somewhere, but that rule book is now sponsored by the Gatorade G2 series. Why does Gatorade have more series than Telemundo?

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat February 4, 2012

Does Eli Manning Belong Among The Elite?

Tom Brady will lead the New England Patriots into Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis on Sunday. He´s already won the Super Bowl three times before. Standing in the way of yet another Patriot victory are Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Manning has been superb this season, but is he elite?

Sports
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

The Physics Of A Football Player's Performance

The New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs is a 6'4", 270 pound running back. And with that kind of size, you think he'd be able to run right through would-be tacklers, especially when he only needs to pick up a few yards. But he often can't — Jacobs's stats are below average in those situations. A couple NFL greats and a physics professor have the answer.

Sports
2:23 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

An Epic (And Mythic) 2011 NBA Preview

These guys aren't playing basketball this season. But they were photographed in the Caucasus region, some time between 1870 and 1886.
Library of Congress

The NBA season opens Christmas Day, and every sports writer worth his tinseled tropes has made a reference to basketball fans being able to unwrap a slate of games under the tree.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Tebow Mania: Why The Quarterback Is So Popular

Fans show their support of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Every so often, an NFL player transcends the game. Think William "Refrigerator" Perry or Bo Jackson.

Tim Tebow, the quarterback who'll lead the Denver Broncos against the powerful New England Patriots on Sunday, has become a household name, thanks to his improbable come-from-behind victories combined with his prominent expressions of faith.

How does he do it? The Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders and Vikings would like to know.

Time For A Comeback

Tebow is a proper noun. Tebow is a verb meaning to genuflect.

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Sports
11:55 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Larry Kelley: The Life Of The First Heisman Winner

On Saturday, college football's best player will be awarded the Heisman Trophy in New York. This year's front-runners attend Baylor University, Stanford University and University of Alabama; but 75 years ago, the Heisman winner was a Yale man. In 1936, at a time when the Ivy League was a hotbed of football talent, Yale end Larry Kelley was the first to win a Heisman Trophy.

Sports
4:00 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Communication Issues For Cardinals In Game 5 Loss

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 6:50 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: In Texas last night, game five of the World Series went to the home team. The Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals four to two, and now they could close out the series as play moves back to St. Louis. The Rangers came up with big hits, and they were also the beneficiaries of an unusual communication breakdown on the part of the Cardinals. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the game, and has this report.

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Sports
4:00 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Keys To Rangers' Game 4 Win: 1 Swing, 112 Pitches

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: The Texas Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals four to nothing in Arlington, Texas last night. The win evens the series at two games apiece. The keys to the Rangers' victory were a single swing to the bat on offense and 112 pitches from their starter, Derek Holland. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the ballpark and filed this report.

MIKE PESCA: Mike Napoli - Napoli. It's fun to say. Napoli.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Napoli. Napoli. Napoli. Napoli.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sun October 23, 2011

Cardinals Take Game 3 With A Bang

Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals gave a performance for the record books Saturday night in Game 3 of the World Series. They beat the Texas Rangers 16 to 7. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.

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