The SportsPickle Interview: Tony Reali

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Tony Reali is an accomplished sports media personality known for, among other things, Around The Horn, Pardon The Interruption and this interview with SportsPickle.

Tony Reali is an accomplished sports media personality known for, among other things, Around The Horn, Pardon The Interruption and this interview with SportsPickle.

You have seen Tony Reali’s face on your TV for more than 10 years. Now you will see his words on your computer screen or mobile device. It’s The SportsPickle/Interview with Tony Reali. (And, yes, this is a real interview.)

DJ Gallo:

First off, the obvious question. You have been on “Pardon The Interruption” for years. You’ve hosted your own show, “Around The Horn,” since 2004. Now you’ll be on “Good Morning America,” too.

And you’re still just in your mid-30s.

Are you an ELITE sports media personality?

Tony Reali:

(Mute.)

As you’ve correctly identified, ELITE is on the list of WORDS THAT LEAD TO IMMEDIMUTE!, a list that is expanding faster than the universe thanks to the supernatural ability sportsyappers have to murder human sound.   CLUTCH.  LOCK.  BEAST. CHALK.  MUST WIN. PRESENCE OF MIND. HAVING SAID THAT.   Et cetera, et cetera, world without end, Amen.

There are tons of things I say every day that deserve shutdown, too, but the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the director to make the mute button work one way.

DJG:

What does your normal day look like? And when you were just a lowly Stat Boy, did Kornheiser and Wilbon make you run errands for them?

Tony Reali:

Normal is about to go Russell Westbrook on me so I’ll give you the day I’ve had for the last 11 years, Memento style. (Memento: on the list of movies of the 00s that rated high but still are somehow underrated. Also: City of God, Children of Men, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.)

ARISE WITH AN ENTHUSIASM ONLY KNOWN TO HARBAUGH-KIND

LOOK AT TWITTER WITH BUOYANCY

READ AROUND THE HORN & PTI GOOGLE DOCUMENTS FOR RESEARCH

INGEST OATMEAL (RASPBERRIES, BANANA, BEE POLLEN) & TAZO AWAKE TEA

ATTACK THE WALK TO WORK (1.09 MILES) WITH PODCASTS (WTF, This American Life, LeBatard Radio, etc etc)

CONFERENCE CALL WITH HORN PRODUCERS & PANELISTS

WRITE SCRIPTS

LOOK AT TWITTER WITH HOPEFULNESS

CONSUME KALE, SPINACH, QUINOA, TOFU, BROCCOLI, CRANBERRY, LEMON SALAD

MAKEUP (AIRBRUSH)

FILM AROUND THE HORN

HIT CAMERA LENS WITH PAPER TOSS

COMMENCE PTI PRODUCTION WITH TK, MW AND PRODUCERS

DINE ON 2 KIND + BARS, DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY CASHEW + ANTIOXIDANTS

FILM PTI, DOMINATE ERRORS

LOOK AT TWITTER SEEKING APPROVAL AND AFFIRMATION

TURN OFF TWITTER

RUN LIKE BEING CHASED, EXERCISE LIKE DON’T WANT TO GET HURT

MORE RABBIT FOOD

WATCH GAMES

SAY PRAYERS

To answer your second question: No to errands, Yes to constant craving companionship.

DJG:

Does Chris Hardwick give you a percentage of his “@midnight” hosting salary considering you established the discretionary scoring panel show genre from which he is now profiting?

Tony Reali:

The one who we both should be tithing to is Drew Carey because ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ was the first to go full fugazi in its scoring.  (Always go full fugazi.)  He now owns the Seattle Sounders and he’s implemented a pretty cool rule: every four years season ticket holders get to vote on whether they want to re-sign or dump their general manager.  If I owned a team I’d enact that immediately.  And if I ran a league that would be one of the first two things I’d put into the Constitution, along with relegation.  To me it’s all about accountability.  Which gets us back to the need to score and mute and correct an argument.

Hardwick’s father was a pro bowler, so I’m sure he can sling it.  And he can play the melodica.  Cool by me.

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DJG:

You have great power on your show with the ability to mute anyone at any time. How often have you wanted to have this power in real life? Have you ever thought to yourself while dealing with someone annoying: “I wish I had my mute button right now”?

Tony Reali:

I. Only. Think. About. This. Every. Day.  Imagine a day at work or school with a mute button.  Or a date.  Or a trip to the DMV. The carnage would be magnificent.  Imagine all the interpersonal exchanges we could avoid!   We wouldn’t have to pretend the earphones in our ears are playing music anymore.   It would be noice!

I feel like we’re letting people down.  Like it’s 1990 and we’ve all just seen BTTF2 and are like, “Where’s My Hoverboard???!!!” #WeWerePromisedMuteButtons.

DJG:

On “Good Morning America” you will do segments on social media, which appeals to a younger demographic. What is the best way to appeal to the youth? Outside of the obvious, of course: cool hand gestures, bright graphics and sitting backwards on a chair while wearing your hat brim to the side.

Tony Reali:

I can’t pretend to have an answer to your question but I do know we’ve had a lot of fun on Horn in the last couple of years hearing from our viewers, talking to our viewers, listening to our viewers.  That’s what social media is all about anyway, right? Having a voice and having that voice heard.   We’ve had a great time engaging those voices, pulling the curtain back on our show and giving viewers access to what we do.  I’m talking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, our Behind the Horn nuggets, our Youtube Tributes.   So, increasing engagement, through access and availability, in a creative way, over multiple platforms – HOW MANY OTHER BUZZWORDS CAN I STRING TOGETHER BETWEEN COMMAS?! – that’s what appeals to me about where we’re going with social media.

DJG:

Who is on your Mount Rushmore of stat people? I have Bill James, Billy Beane, Nate Silver and then either Stat Boy or Pierre de Fermat.

Tony Reali:

That is without a doubt the nerdiest question I’ve ever heard in my life and I recently asked the panel if they thought NFL GMs invoked the right of prima nocta the night before the draft, so take a bow.  Who has a Mount Rushmore of stat people?  Stephen Hawking thinks that question lives long and dateless in an Silicon Valley incubator.

Bill James, Nate Silver, Ken Pomeroy, Daryl Morey.

You ever notice no one on Rushmore has ears? Seems odd that you’d go through the trouble of making graphite eyes and nostril indentations but not have ears.

DJG:

“30 Rock” poked fun at “Around The Horn” with something it called “Sports Shouting.” “30 Rock” has been off the air for more than a year now. Would you care to use this opportunity to dance over its rotting corpse?

Tony Reali:

No show that lives long enough to make syndication rots.  They make gazillions to be forever viewed by Ferris Buellerian children home from school with Casio coughs and clammy trophy hands. Those kids grow up to quote said shows ad nauseam on sportstalk game shows.   A worthy existence all around.

I loved “30 Rock.”  Judah once wore a hat that said Mute Button.  Tracy owned the world’s only giraffe basketball team, the New York Necks.  That Sports Shouting sketch had a bottom line of soccer scores that read 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0.  Lol out loud.

DJG:

There’s not really anyone who has a negative word to say about Tony Reali. In fact, when your “Good Morning America” gig was announced, a lot of people said stuff like: “It’s great to see one of the good guys do well.” Blah blah blah. What are you hiding, Reali?

Tony Reali:

When I was 10 my Uncle John painted a Christmas mural on my Aunt Barbara’s front window.  It was a manger scene with shepherds and animals and the three wise men and of course Baby Jesus.   I carved curse words onto the animals’ butts.   My mom knew it was me because of the paint under my fingernails.

I had to go to confession for that.  I was told I ruined Christmas.   So the real question is, ‘How did a convicted holiday ruiner hide in plain sight all these years?’

DJG:

You are a devout Catholic and have even hosted “Around the Horn” with ashes on your head on AshWednesday. Do you ever fear that when it’s all over, you’ll get to the Pearly Gates and find out life is scored by a completely arbitrary system like on “Around the Horn”?

Tony Reali:

I have no fears like that.   My worry is that when St. Peter sees me he turns to his sidekick and says “Time to find out what you messed up, Stat Boy.”

*** Watch Tony Reali daily on “Around The Horn” at 5 pm ET on ESPN ***

*** Follow him on Twitter at @TonyReali ***

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Also see … 

The 28 Stages of Fan Grief

7 Year-Olds React to Seeing Michael Sam Kiss His Boyfriend During the NFL Draft

SP’s Sports Media page

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