Mike Pesca

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent  for NPR based in New York City.

Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.

In 1997, Pesca began his work in radio as a producer at WNYC. He worked on the NPR and WNYC program On The Media. Later he became the New York correspondent for NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day, a job that has brought him to the campaign trail, political conventions, hurricane zones and the Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. Pesca was the first NPR reporter to have his own podcast, a weekly look at gambling cleverly titled “On Gambling with Mike Pesca.”

Pesca, whose writing has appeared in Slate and The Washington Post, is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards for radio reporting and, in1993, was named Emory University Softball Official of the Year.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife Robin, sons Milo and Emmett and their dog Rumsfeld. A believer in full disclosure, Pesca rates his favorite teams as the Jets, Mets, St. Johns Red Storm and Knicks, teams he has covered fairly and without favor despite the fact that they have given him a combined one championship during his lifetime as a fully cognizant human.

Pages

Sports
6:53 am
Sat April 6, 2013

Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat

Syracuse celebrates after the team's 55-39 win over Marquette, in Washington last Saturday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

Any recreational league basketball team, any police athletic league squad and every group of 8-year-olds who wear the same uniform are, on the first or second day of practice, introduced to the 2-3 zone defense.

The coach will say, "On defense, you two short guys stay near the foul line, and you three bigger kids, you go down near the basket. Put your hands up, and you're now playing the 2-3."

Read more
Sports
6:40 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Why College Basketball So Celebrates The Semifinalists

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tomorrow. Louisville plays Wichita State and Syracuse faces Michigan. On the women's side, it's Louisville again. They're playing California. Notre Dame is playing Connecticut. These quartets of teams, of course, are known as the Final Four, and this stage in the tournament is a resume booster for teams and coaches. NPR's Mike Pesca ponders the question of why college basketball, unique among major team sports, celebrates the semi finalists.

Read more
Sports
4:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Personality Of Each Coach Reflected In NCAA Men's Basketball Teams

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

To achieve a deep run in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, players have to be skilled and well-trained but also well-motivated.

Sports
3:44 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success

Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals is adamant about recording his team's deflections. It seems to be paying off: The Cardinals have been doing well during the NCAA tournament.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:08 pm

The Louisville Cardinals are among the teams dominating at this year's men's Division 1 NCAA basketball tournament, which resumes Thursday night. The team credits harassing, active defense for its wins.

But there's something else at work, too: deflections. The team puts a lot of stock in them, though deflections aren't an officially tracked statistic.

Read more
Sports
8:13 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Rhymed Wrap: NCAA So Far, In A Poem

NPR's Mike Pesca rhymes his way through the 32 opening-round games of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Sports
4:38 am
Fri March 22, 2013

March Madness Report From Lexington, Kentucky

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

Transcript

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: And I'm Mike Pesca in Lexington, Kentucky where Marquette, Louisville, Butler and Colorado State all advanced. That was the big story for sure, but there was something else that had all the players talking. Other than the memories of a lifetime and the chance to keep living their dreams and all that, there was - as Jamil Wilson pointed out to this Marquette teammate Vander Blue - this amazing room they just walked by in the hallway.

JAMIL WILSON: It was, like, nuts. And me and Vander were, like, yo, we gotta see the locker room.

Read more
Sports
5:39 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

College Basketball Teams Hope For More Money By Leaving Big East Conference

For years, the Big East conference has been an elite force in men's college basketball. That ends this weekend. Realignment has dramatically transformed the Big East, as major powerhouse teams are moving on to other conferences.

Sports
5:01 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Major League Soccer Finally On Solid Footing, But Hasn't Reached Big Time

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Major League Soccer season starts tomorrow. Superstar David Beckham is gone and there aren't any new teams to get excited about this year. But the MLS is on solid footing, and as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, the league has big ambitions.

Read more
Sports
5:38 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 For 2nd Time

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:10 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday, only his second career victory. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: It was his second win at Daytona.] And he made it past Danica Patrick, the first woman to ever win the pole position with the fastest qualifying time. She finished eighth. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the race.

Read more
Sports
4:47 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

DOJ Joins Whistleblower Case Against Lance Armstrong

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:47 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There is some legal news in American sports as well today. The Justice Department announced it will join a whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong. The suit was filed by one of Armstrong's former teammates on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. And for more, I'm joined by NPR's Mike Pesca. Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Inside Brooklyn's New Barclays Center

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Read more
Sports
5:28 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Summer Olympics To Drop Wrestling After 2016 Games

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Finally this hour, an unexpected announcement from the world of Olympic sport. The International Olympic Committee Executive Board has decided to drop wrestling from the games beginning in 2020. It is a major blow to the sport, which is among the world's oldest. Today, wrestling is represented on every continent. NPR's Mike Pesca reports on fallout from the decision.

Read more
Sports
5:55 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

49ers' Coach Questions Ref's Call On Pass Interference At Super Bowl

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 10:29 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Twenty-four hours after Super Bowl XLVII, the headlines are: superstar Beyonce and a midgame power outage. But in addition to the hip-shaking and the strange third quarter intermission, there was also some pretty good football played last night in New Orleans. The Baltimore Ravens proved they were no fluke. They held off a come-back by the San Francisco 49ers to win the pro-football championship, 34 to 31.

Read more
Sports
5:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Lights Out For 49ers, Ravens Are Super Bowl Champs

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:09 pm

The Baltimore Ravens are the new Super Bowl champions. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34 to 31 Sunday night in New Orleans. The game threatened to be overshadowed by a momentum changing 34 minute power outage.

Commentary
5:28 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Cheat Sheet: Key Phrases To Keep You In The Game

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh (right) and his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Friday.
Jim Young Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 8:22 am

Sure, you can go to a Super Bowl party and be That Guy. The one who gleefully lectures the crowd on the merits of running the inverted veer out of the pistol in order to freeze the weak-side backer.

Read more
Sports
5:17 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Former Football Player Jim Brown Among The Game's Best Running Backs

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. With the Super Bowl this weekend, football fans are renewing a perennial debate about the game's best players, but not just this year, of all time. Jerry Rice is arguably the best wide receiver. Linebacker Ray Lewis, who will play Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens, gets mentioned, alongside Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus, even Lawrence Taylor.

Read more
NPR Story
6:09 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ravens Are Super Bowl Underdogs, But Are Stats On Their Side?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Baltimore Ravens are the underdogs in this Sunday's Super Bowl, going up against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, there have been bigger underdogs. And yes, the Ravens are not the lowest-seeded team to make it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens have beaten the odds in another way. NPR's Mike Pesca talked to some football numbers guys and has this report.

Read more
Sports
3:17 am
Thu January 31, 2013

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws before the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 20.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

There's always a question surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Years ago, people wondered whether the talented athlete would be good enough to start in college.

Then there was the question of what role he would play in the NFL. And after the 49ers took him, fans questioned whether he could throw enough to be more than a backup.

Read more
Sports
3:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Patriots, 49ers To Meet In February's Super Bowl

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 10:01 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The match up for Super Bowl is set. In two weeks, the San Francisco 49ers, winners of the NFC championship, will play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were big underdogs in their game, yesterday, against the defending AFC champions, the New England Patriots. Same teams as last season, but this time a different result. The Ravens beat the home team 28 to 13.

NPR's Mike Pesca was at the game in Foxborough, Massachusetts and filed this report.

Read more
Business
5:37 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Who Is The Real Victims Of The NHL Lockout?

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 5:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The lockout is over and the much delayed National Hockey League's season is now set to begin on Saturday. The regular season will run 48 games instead of the usual 82.

So what's the economic effect of missing almost half the season? NPR's Mike Pesca finds, not as bad as you might think.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: We've all seen the reports during the lockout, the empty bar near the arena should be brimming with Bruins backers or a Washington Avalanche acolytes. Or maybe it's not a bar. Maybe it's pizza in Pittsburgh.

Read more

Pages