I have always wanted to try one of these "random thoughts" columns. There I was in the land of over-stimulation -- Las Vegas, Nev. -- so I thought I would let you in on what I did and who I saw out there in the desert. It's not like I was busy in top-secret ESPYs rehearsals. More on that later.
|Super Bowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis looks like he enjoyed the ESPY experience.|
I went to see "O," a remarkable production from the Cirque de Soleil folks that is in residence at the Bellagio Resort and Casino. Everything in Las Vegas finishes with "and Casino." Al's Garage and Casino. Ted's Coffee Shop and Casino. The phrase is also handy as a way to explain a recent weight gain. "Hi, I'm Jack Thompson and Casino."
"O" was a marvel of design and production as clowns, acrobats, divers and swimmers put on a 90-minute assault on your senses. I might have to go back again because so much is going one that I'm sure I missed a lot. Great and unusual entertainment.
I also saw Wayne Newton. He is Mr. Las Vegas in the same way that I am Mr. Bristol. It's not my cup of tea, really, but he is a great entertainer. Puts on a great show. I'm cool with it if "SportsCenter" is not Wayne's cup of tea. You can't please everybody.
I also went over to Shadow Creek Country Club to attend the breakfast before Greg Maddux's celebrity golf tournament. I saw Roger Clemens, who told me that he recently visited with Mike Wallace, who is doing a piece on Clemens for "60 Minutes." I saw Andy Garcia and Joe Pesci, who were smoking cigars way too early in the morning for me.
Pete Sampras ducked me, plain and simple.
Pete said he'd be back to tape an interview for the radio show, but he went out to the driving range and I didn't see him until he was about to tee off. He was sheepish about it but did admit that he just didn't want to talk to me about the stuff he knew I would bring up: Switzerland bouncing the United states from the Davis Cup and his wife's role in "The Wedding Planner." Then he asked me if I would play in his charity golf tournament later this year. I said I would unless I was busy covering Zimbabwe and Switzerland in the Davis Cup final.
Ray Lewis came by the radio show set at the MGM Grand. ESPN Radio was smartly positioned near the check-in point for athletes and celebrities. Ray was a quiet, courteous and polite guest. He also did something you never see.
We caught up with him at the beginning of the show and asked him to come on. He said he was going up to his room but would be back before the end of the show. Now that usually translates as, "You will have to hunt me down and drag me back here if you want me a guest." But Ray came back about an hour later. Rebuilding a reputation starts with small steps like that one.
|Actress Tara Reid brought along fiance, MTV's Carson Daly, for an interview with Dan and Dibbs. Reid and Daly each presented awards at Monday's ESPYs.|
MTV's Carson Daly and Tara Reid came by the show, too. Carson presented an ESPY and so did Tara "American Pie" and "Josie and the Pussycats." Carson was not happy with his patter, saying, "They hire a plane to whisk me out here from the NBA All-Star Game in Washington but won't pay up for writers who can even be half-funny. I don't care. I do live TV all the time so I'm not worried."
Reid, Carson's girlfriend, didn't even understand her punch line. Whatever. My ESPY problems lie elsewhere.
I have been at ESPN for a long time. I have done a lot for the network and it has done a lot for me. The P in ESPN does not stand for "Patrick" but -- you see where I'm going. Anyway, I went out to Vegas for the ESPYs and am ready to do my part. They tell me I will be a presenter. "Great," I say to myself, "I will finally present an award."
Well, at the rehearsal I discovered that I was merely presenting a presenter -- in this case Mr. Steven Seagal. As Al Bernstein pointed out, five years ago this is a nice gig. Now is another story. I guess they couldn't get Danny Bonaduce. I complained about this quite a bit on Monday's radio show.
I'll do my part, but jeez, I feel slighted. Then again, if I were more involved in the show, I'd be rehearsing most of the weekend. No "O." No Wayne Newton. No golf at Shadow Creek.
I guess the guys at the network are taking care of me. Next year, I'll be more appreciative.
"Ladies and gentleman, please give a warm welcome to Pat Sajak."