"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: joe depaolo

Tough Turf

Head on over the SB Nation’s Longform page and check out this profile on Gary Stevens by Joe DePaolo:

“I got balls and guts,” Gary Stevens tweeted on the evening of Feb. 23. The barb was directed at an armchair critic who blasted the legendary jockey’s ride in that day’s Risen Star Stakes — at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, in New Orleans. Stevens’ mount, Proud Strike, finished eighth in the race, and some fans in the blogosphere blamed the rider. Stevens felt compelled to respond directly to one of the more vocal detractors.

Few would argue with Gary Stevens’ declaration. He has competed in more than 27,000 Thoroughbred races worldwide over a 34- year span, winning more than 5,000 and frequently putting himself in danger in the process. Over the years, he’s often tried to squeeze his horse through a tight opening, or pin a rival down on the inside — whatever it takes to win.

Oh, yes. Gary Stevens has guts and balls. He has ‘em to spare.

He’s also got an intense desire to show the world that he’s got them. And should you challenge him, as the Twitter pundit did, he’s going to want to fight you.

Then go over to Time’s Lightbox site and dig this photo gallery by Jehad Nga.

And while you are at it, don’t forget this classic by Hunter S. Thompson.

The King of New York

Over at SB Nation’s Longform page, check out Joe DePaolo’s long and considered piece on Mike Francesa:

Then, there is the case of ESPN’s “Sports Guy,” Bill Simmons. The two have been mutual admirers for some time. In a fawning 2006 column Simmons called Mike and the Mad Dog “my favorite radio show ever.” Francesa, in turn, views Simmons as incredibly witty and when Russo left the show in 2008, he even called Simmons to gauge his interest in co-hosting. Since then, Francesa has watched Simmons’s role at ESPN expand from writer and editor to serving as host of his own podcast – The BS Report – and appearing on ESPN’s NBA pregame show, NBA Shootaround. Francesa does not seem to approve.

“When you find something you’re good at, stick with it,” Francesa says – voicing a personal philosophy that runs counter to Simmons’s recent career developments.

“I think what happens in our business is that people get to a certain level, and then they’re like, ‘OK. I have to go prove I can do this now.’ Why? Why can’t you just stay there and do it really well? When you do something well, why can’t you stay there, and perfect it, and prove that you can do it really well?”

In response to a direct question about Simmons, Francesa shares an experience from his own career, illustrating a fundamental difference between the two iconic personalities. “A year-and-a-half into Mike and the Mad Dog, I got offered an enormous TV deal to leave, and I turned it down. It was the best decision I ever made. I could’ve left. But understanding where you belong, and understanding where you’re supposed to be and what you’re good at – I never entertained another serious offer. But I had a very serious offer that was wide in scope, and was a very big opportunity. And I turned it down.”

[Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle, Newsday]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver