Spanning the World by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									Spanning the World
Author: Len Berman

Go Spanning the World with Len Berman in this wildly entertaining, insightful, and often hilarious book
that takes sports fans behind the scenes and inside locker rooms.One of the most popular television
sports personalities -- known for his "Spanning the World" segments on NBC's Today show -- Len
Berman delivers his unique view of the world of sports, from the bizarre to the historic, all with his
characteristic wit.Over the years sports and sports reporting have changed, but Spanning the World puts
it all in perspective in this irreverent take on the heroes and iconic moments. Barry Bonds massages the
media: "If you put that camera in my face, I'll slit your throat."Mickey Mantle reveals his most pleasurable
Yankee Stadium experience (it didn't happen on the field). Bobby Orr loses his cool and chairs start flying
from the upper decks.Bill Parcells finally spills his Super Bowl-winning formula: "Power wins!"And much
more ... Berman guides us through the world he knows like no one else, from intimate recollections of his
heroes to postgame celebrations, exhibiting the most hilarious and shocking moments from the whole
cast of characters from the last decades in sports: John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali, Larry Bird, Derek
Jeter, and many more. He also addresses the more serious issues facing sports today, including
steroids, overpaid stars, athletes and violence, and the place of sports in society.A must read for every
sports fan, Spanning the World is an irresistible blend of humor, history, and contemporary commentary
on the state of sports from the ultimate fan who has seen it all.

If you're a New Yorker, or if you've spent a good bit of time in New York, you probably know me from my
nineteen years as the lead sportscaster on Channel 4, the local NBC affiliate. You may also know me
from some of my national sports broadcasts, including the Olympics, college basketball games, and
heavyweight prizefights. Or you may know me from the hundreds of pre- and postgame shows I've done
for the Super Bowl, the World Series, and other major sporting events over the years. But if you're like
most of the viewers who recognize me, it's because of "Spanning the World," my sports bloopers
program that has aired in New York since 1987 and has garnered me invitations to appear on the
latenight shows of David Letterman and Conan O'Brien as well as a monthly spot on NBC's morning
program, the Today show.People come up to me all the time and ask, "Hey, aren't you the guy who does
the goofy highlights?" Some résumé, huh?I don't mind the recognition, but I wonder if airing footage of an 
outfielder running smack through the center-field fence is really going to be my legacy. I mean, I actually
have done a couple of other things in my forty years of broadcasting. In addition to working Super Bowls,
the World Series, and the Olympics for NBC, I've called TV play-by-play for the Boston Celtics, the Big
East Conference, HBO Sports, and for three heavyweight championship fights, including the 1991 bout
between George Foreman and Evander Holyfield. I also created Sports Fantasy, a television program that
gave viewers the chance to compete against Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer, Chris Evert, Wayne
Gretzky, and other all-time greats. And I've done a ton of newscasts and broadcasts from most of the
major sporting events. All this has given me entrée to just about anybody who's anybody in the world of 
sports -- including Willie Mays Aikens.You may not remember Aikens, but in the early 1980s he was one
of baseball's most feared sluggers. A cocaine addiction was his downfall. He was out of baseball in 1985
(although he continued to play down in Mexico, hitting .454 with 46 home runs and 154 RBIs one
season). I interviewed him in 1983 for the NBC baseball Game of the Week at a prison in Texas. He had
the distinction of being the first active major-league baseball player to be sent to jail. He was sent to the
slammer for ninety days after pleading guilty to attempting to buy cocaine. (In 1994, he was sentenced to
over twenty years for selling drugs to an undercover officer.) It was quite a comedown for the first player to
have two multihomer games in a single World Series, a feat he accomplished with Kansas City in 1980.
Aikens agreed to speak to me from prison and to discuss his personal demons. He admitted to me that
he once played a major-league game while high on coke. It wasn't the kind of interview that would be
recycled in one of those "Baseball Fever" or "I Love This Game" commercials. So what's the point of this
digression? Well, USA Today used to ask athletes to list their five favorites in various categories: their five
favorite movies or fast-food items, for instance. In 1984, the paper asked Willie Mays Aikens to name his
five favorite sportscasters. I came in fifth. So perhaps that will be my epitaph. "Len Berman: Willie Mays
Aikens's fifth-favorite sportscaster." • • •As a nightly sportscaster, at times I think I'm doing sports for the
sports impaired. News executives say that the overall percentage of viewers who are sports fans is small.
Author Bio
Len Berman
Len Berman is the host of the popular “Spanning the World” segments, which he regularly hosts on
NBC’s Today show. He is also the longtime sports anchor at WNBC New York, where he has won six
local Emmy Awards and has been voted New York Sportscaster of the Year six times by his peers in the
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.Don’t miss the next book by your favorite author.
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