Dan Patrick has been a familiar face and voice for sports fans ever since bursting onto the scene with ESPN's "SportsCenter" and continuing on with a successful radio program, among other things. Patrick left ESPN in 2007 and "The Dan Patrick Show" re-launched in syndication not long after. This past Monday, the program started being simulcast on TV locally on Fox Sports North. The Star Tribune's Michael Rand had a chance to catch up recently with Patrick on a number of topics:
Q Are there tricks to doing a show that is being broadcast for both radio and TV?
A You're always loyal to radio because you can't go wrong being loyal to radio. If you start to lean towards TV, radio isn't going to know what you're talking about if you're making a gesture. Everything has to be radio-driven. This is a radio show that's being put on TV. It's not a TV show on the radio. We don't play to the cameras.
Q What specifically does your show bring to the Twin Cities market?
A The key is I can't "out-local" local. But I can bring a national perspective to a local story, and that's what I've tried to do. It's tricky doing a national show and bringing it to a local market. ... That's the challenge every day. But whether it's having Joe Mauer or Ron Gardenhire -- when it's important, we go after the right people at the right times. And we've been fortunate with the sports stories you've had there.
Q Ever wake up and say, "I really just don't want to do a show today, but I have to because I'm a pro?"
A I think I did that at ESPN the last couple years. I wasn't enjoying it as much as I should, but I put the blame on myself. I had so many different jobs that I forgot to enjoy them. Part of the goal when I left is I would get back to doing what I really wanted to do. ... So far, I've accomplished that.
Q I grew up on "SportsCenter" with you and Keith Olbermann, and I still consider that the heyday of the program. How do you reflect back on that time now?
A I think you can still see remnants of it when you watch ("SportsCenter") now, sometimes good and sometimes bad. We did something at the time where we just wanted to have fun. We were entertaining one another. We didn't know anything that was happening outside of Bristol, Conn. We were not told the ratings. We were not told anything. We just did it. And that's really the reason why you did it. You get the opportunity to have freedom, and we certainly took advantage of that. It was something we went into every single day ready to do something that nobody else was doing. We looked forward to it. There was great teamwork, competition and cohesiveness that made that hour each night well worth staying up for. ... I'm always thankful that people saw and enjoyed and appreciated it. This is such a fleeting business we're in. If you leave an imprint on people, that's good to know. It's rewarding.
Q Do you have one specific interview or exchange you consider the most memorable over the years?
A Probably the Michael Jordan conversations after all his championships, when he came in to do "SportsCenter" afterward. He came in, usually with his shoes off, his jersey soaked with champagne, with a Cuban cigar. You could tell that he looked forward to it because he knew I was going to have fun with him, challenge him a little bit and he was respectful of me to give me that opportunity. ... It's something I won't forget.
Q In terms of modern athletes, are there particular ones you would say are worth the price of admission either watching them play or just listening to them talk?
A Well, my goal is for you to listen to a conversation and realize you're listening to a conversation that sounds more like a private conversation that I'm putting on the radio or TV. Whoever is willing to talk and give you honest answers, that's my goal every time. I had Kevin Garnett on a couple years ago, and he dropped an F-bomb because he had forgotten he was on the radio. I had to apologize to the audience, but I took it as a compliment because I want you to just talk. I never want these guys to feel like they know exactly is going to happen. If you're listening, I don't want to waste your time. I want you to say, "You caused me to be late. I stayed in the car because I didn't want to miss that interview."