GREAT MOMENTS IN THE SPORTS SHOW HISTORY
• Following the Winter Olympics of 1998, moderator Mike Max opened the show by asking Sid Hartman, “What did you think of the performance of [figure skater] Tara Lipinski?’’ Sid responded: “I don’t know anything about Clinton and that woman.’’
The next week, we photo shopped a photo of Lipinski with Monica Lewinsky’s face on it.
• George Steinbrenner still was alive and came up in the conversation. Without provocation, Sid blasted me for “hating Steinbrenner, a guy I didn’t even know.’’ I reminded Sid that years earlier we had met George for breakfast at the Steinbrenner hotel in Tampa.
“Thanks to you, Sid, George and I are fine,’’ I said. “In Barcelona [at the Olympics], we sat at the pool and watched swimming together.’’
Sid looked at me in shock and said: “You went swimming with Steinbrenner!’’
The next week we photo shopped synchronized swimmers with the faces of George and me, to prove we went swimming together.
• The Gophers defeated UCLA on March 22, 1997 in San Antonio to clinch a trip to the Final Four. I was going to miss the show the next night. Dark Star worked angles as only he could and came up with a dramatic fill-in: Gophers basketball coach Clem Haskins.
“When Dark came walking in with Clem, Sid almost fell off his chair,’’ Mike Max said. “Clem was the king of Minnesota at that moment and only Dark could pull it off.’’
• One night in 2006, I brought our large yellow lab, Stout (who happened to be the greatest dog in the history of the world), to the show. He found the cool cement floor in the basement studio very comfortable and became a regular attendee.
The sight of Stout roaming around the set became popular with viewers. In the fall of 2010, a management change at the station led Mike Max to receive an order to have me stop bringing Stout inside the building.
Stout died a couple of months later, in December 2010. The vet said it was cancer, but I think it was a broken heart from having lost his TV stardom.