The number one rule of interviewing ESPN’s Mike and Mike is not to ask them poorly worded questions.
I know this.
But I slipped up when Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic sat down with me at Kieran’s Irish Pub, the temporary Minneapolis locale for their national morning ESPN Radio show — airing locally from 5-9 a.m. on AM 1500 ESPN, and also on an ESPN cable channel — when they were here for the All-Star Game.
While that was an embarrassing instant, my stellar moment came when I asked a question so funny that Golic kind of giggled while repeating it. Listen for the question that mentions the word “cow” and hear Golic’s delightful response in my startribune.com/video.
Q: A guest living or dead you would love to have on the show?
Greeny: First of all, I think I’d rather have one living.
Golic: I would as well. Because we have to carry the dead.
Greeny: Generally speaking, I think dead would be tough. We’ve had some bad interviews, but I think very few would be as difficult as that.
Golic: We wouldn’t even get any kind of acknowledgment, that we were really doing an interview. That would hurt our feelings as well — couldn’t even get any kind of a look.
Greeny: The ultimate sports interviews are somewhat obvious, I would guess. Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, people like that. To take it out of sports and into an area more realistic, a guy I’d love to interview — Golic may not realize it, but he would, too — is John Irving the novelist, who is my idol and I think the greatest American novelist of the second half of the 20th century. And the reason you would like it is that he is also a member of the World Wrestling Hall of Fame. Was a wrestler and wrestling coach and one of the biggest supporters of wrestling in the United States, that we have, financially and in other ways. We could talk to him about wrestling, which he loves.
Golic: I would not want to talk to him, though. I would love to interview Thor, quite honestly, is where I would go. With the different realm that he’s in and to get here to Earth and how heavy is the hammer that he carries.
Q: And why is he the only one who can lift it?
Golic: Exactly right. And it always comes back to him like a boomerang. I mean, the questions are endless that you could talk about with Thor.
Greeny: You talk to Thor and I’ll talk to John Irving. And if that doesn’t pretty much sum up Mike and Mike for you, in a nutshell, I don’t know what possibly could.
Golic: And if we can’t get those two guys, then we’ll talk to a dead person.
Q: You can get anybody you want who’s alive, right? [I got away with that one!]
Golic: Pretty much.
Q: What color are Greeny’s eyes?
Greeny: I’m looking away.
Golic: I have never looked deep into his eyes at any point. I think they’re orange.
Greeny: Come on, be serious. You have no idea what color my eyes are? They’re green.
Golic: Brown They’re green. See, I knew that.
Greeny: Brown [is the color of Golic’s eyes]. In what can be described as a startling revelation, I noticed something and he didn’t. He has been sitting 2 feet away from me four hours a day every day for 14½ years and he doesn’t know what color my eyes are.
Golic: The thing is, I know the color of my dogs’ eyes. I love my dogs, way more than Greeny.
Q: Do you guys have insurance policies on each other — since your success is so connected to your great chemistry?
Golic: I would make more if he were not on the show. He owes everything to me. Quite honestly, I think he has a hit out on me.
Greeny: I think I am his insurance policy. The answer is no, but Lloyd’s of London — maybe we should call them.
Golic: I’ll bet I could get a good 10 bucks for you.
Greeny: What are we insuring, the golden voice? Not Marlene Dietrich’s legs, that we’re talking about. No, we don’t but it is something worth considering.
Golic: Yes, it is.
Q: What did you guys learn from hosting the in-stadium announcement of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby last year?
Golic: The seating.
Greeny: Last year, they put us in a location that would have been a perfect location, right behind third base, except that when they had all the [All-Stars who] weren’t participating in the derby, they were just there to watch. I couldn’t see.
Golic: What, we were going to say? Tell them to move? These are the All-Stars. We’re going to say, “Hey, Derek, get out of the way!” [Players] wouldn’t have cared. We couldn’t say anything, so we couldn’t see anything.
Greeny: Literally, I was just waiting for the crack of the bat and then trying to pick up the ball in the air. I couldn’t see. The number one rule of broadcasting a home run derby is location, location, location. Most of the players found it funny. Bartolo Colon is standing right here. I could not see over him. You cannot see around Bartolo Colon.
Golic: So they blocked us even more.
Q: I have a double fill-in-the-blank question. Kevin Love will no longer be a Timberwolf by __________ because he will then be on the roster of the ________________.
Greeny: He will no longer be a Timberwolf by what day is it today because he will be on the roster of the Cleveland Cavaliers. To me [Andrew] Wiggins for Love is the trade that absolutely has to happen. It makes all the sense in the world for both teams. I don’t seen any reason why it won’t happen.
Golic: I agree. I would think it would be in a week or two. He said he wouldn’t sign a long-term with the Cavs and then when LeBron went there, he said he was “intrigued” — why wouldn’t he be? — so I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to go there. It’s just a matter of what Cleveland will be willing to give up; will Andrew Wiggins be that guy and will Minnesota hold out for him?
Q: Did you both know LeBron was going back to Cleveland?
Golic: I thought it was between Miami and Cleveland. I think the roster there is a young, good roster. I thought he would sign a one-year deal, go back to Miami, try one more time with those guys [to win another NBA championship] and go through free agency again the following season.
Greeny: I didn’t at all think he would go back to Cleveland. I thought most of that was a smoke screen and that’s why late last week I tweeted: “I hope LeBron knows what he’s doing here.” He set it up to where if he had gone somewhere else, [it would have been] maybe not as ugly, but almost as ugly as it was four years ago. I am surprised, I remain surprised at the decision that he made. I admire him for it. So the direct answer to your question — did I know he was going back there?— absolutely not.
Q: Will Michael Sam be on a roster?
Golic: The seventh-round pick normally when you are a draft pick, even though it was the last round, you have a good shot to be on a roster, at least, for that year. The roster, the practice squad. I think he’s a good player to do that and after the year, we’ll see.
Greeny: I agree and I hope that he does well. I think it would be really good, frankly, for everyone. I hope he not only plays but exceeds expectations. What everyone says is [maybe he’s] a situational rusher, he’s a guy who could excel. Maybe all of a sudden he’s got seven, eight sacks, and he starts getting a lot more attention than expected.
Golic: Let’s just hope everything’s based on football.
Q: There have been gay guys in locker rooms forever?
Golic: As it turns out, I found out for one of the teams I played on there was an individual who was gay. It did not come out while we were playing. You are absolutely right. There are, I would dare say, more than a few players who are gay in professional sports. It’s up to them how they want to approach that.
Greeny: This is rapidly becoming what it should be, a nonissue. I don’t think this continues to be a topic for very long.
Q: I was watching “Outside the Lines” about golf addiction. As addictions go, not a bad addiction?
Greeny: One problem with a golf addiction, which I have — my name is Mike Greenberg and I’m addicted to golf — it’s a very expensive addiction. This is a topic I would like to get into on the show sometimes. I don’t know if it’s something that would be of that much interest to that many people; when I’ve traveled internationally to play golf, the biggest difference between golf in Scotland and Ireland and here is that it is not an elitist sport. It’s a sport everybody plays because it’s not expensive. The best golf courses in the world, the most famous golf courses on the planet, cost almost nothing to play on there. Here you can’t play most of the really awesome, beautiful, famous golf courses we see on television all the time and if you can … I played Pebble Beach last week. I’m thrilled to have played. It was a great experience. It cost $500. I can afford to spend $500 to play a round at Pebble Beach, but how many people can? That’s what’s killing golf in the United States today. It’s so ridiculously expensive if you want to do it at its highest level.
Golic: To me the only thing I care about when I golf is: Is there beer available and how much?
Q: Do you guys share a political party when it comes to presidential elections?
Golic: No. The amazing thing is if we mention a political thing and we don’t, it’s just unreal how reactive people get. I stay out of it. One time I forgot which presidential race was going on and one of the candidates had trouble catching a football. We just mentioned it. We were inundated with e-mails of people saying, “Oh, I’ll bet the other candidate can’t catch.” I DON’T CARE. I was just mentioning something. I just stay away from it. No reason in the world to go down that road.
Q: What’s the most expensive gift you’ve bought for each other?
Greeny: He’s never given me a gift yet.
Golic: Bought a gift?
Greeny: One year when there was an electrical outage, I slept over at the Golics’ house.
Q: Which doesn’t have a bidet …
Green: It does not have a bidet.
Golic: It will never have a bidet.
Greeny: What it did have was his wife, Chris, bought me a pillow with pictures of the Wiggles on it. That was at the height of my kids being huge fans of the Wiggles, and I still have that pillow. I had it in my daughter’s room and even she’s too old for that now, but we still have it as a memento. That is probably the most significant gift that Golic’s ever given me.
Golic: I don’t get him a gift because whenever he’s stayed over to the house he gives me a rider list. Seriously. On dos and don’ts if he’s going to come INTO MY HOUSE. I’m sorry. There’s no gift-giving going on there.
Q: Who’s the better driver?
Greeny: Easily. He is. Golic is a great driver. Golic could drive NASCAR. If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, I can think of no one. … If you said to me, “I’m in a real rush to get somewhere,” and Jeff Gordon is in one car and Golic is in another, I’m getting in Golic’s car.
Golic: I love driving and occasionally, I go fast.
Q: Has Golic ever tried to lift Greeny off the floor or tip him like a cow?
Golic: Tip you like a cow? [Delighted laughter]
Greeny: He’s lifted me off the floor, yes; he’s never tipped me like a cow.
Golic: Greeny, act like a cow right now, I’m going to tip you.
Greeny: I’d like to say for the record that’s one of the things that is in the rider that I send to his house. I cannot be tipped like a cow.
Q: How many games will the Vikings win this season?
Golic: Oh, my gosh.
Greeny: Five or six?
Golic: I was going to say seven. I think it’s going to be an under-.500 team.
Greeny: I’m not a fan. You’re putting everything on Teddy Bridgewater, an aging Adrian Peterson, a defense that’s lost a lot. I don’t have high hopes.
Golic: I think it could be tough, a tough year for them.
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her watch Fox 9’s “Buzz.”