Weekly Features Across ESPN Platforms
June 4, 2009
Orlando Provides Magic to Four-Year Old NBA Finals (Game 3, Tuesday 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Doctors diagnosed Ryan Rodriguez, who had barely uttered a word in his nearly four years on earth, with “selective mutism,” an anxiety disorder. It wasn’t until Rodriguez watched the Orlando Magic – on TV and in person – that he finally found his voice. The team supplied tickets and Rodriguez kept talking, proving that “Magic” extends far beyond the court. Rachel Nichols reports
Trevor Ariza: My Brother’s Keeper
NBA Finals (Game 2, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ABC)
Lakers forward Trevor Ariza’s success comes from motivation from a tragic loss: 13 years ago while his family was in Caracas, Venezuela, his five year-old brother Tajh fell from a window of a high-rise hotel to his death. Today, Ariza remembers his brother with the tattoos on his body and the spirit of his one year-old son he named Tajh. Chris Connelly reports.
Calvin Borel is on the verge of achieving something no jockey has done – win a ‘Human Triple Crown’ on different horses. Borel rode Mine that Bird to victory at the Kentucky Derby, then switched mounts to guide Rachel Alexandra to her Preakness win. All eyes are now on Borel as he’s back on Mine that Bird at Belmont. From the sugar cane fields of Louisiana to rubbing elbows with royalty and late night talk shows, reporter Tom Rinaldi takes an all-access look at Borel’s unique journey and rise to fame.
Art of the Start SportsCenter (Saturday 10 a.m. ESPN)
Belmont Coverage (Saturday 5 p.m. ABC)
Jockeys describe what goes through their minds as they enter the gates — and how dangerous a place it can be.
“You’re confined to a steel cage with a 1,200-pound sometimes monster that would just as soon hurt you as let you on its back. I’ve had injuries where the horse has reared and crushed me against the post. I’ve had one leave the starting gate sideways and my knee went across the front bars like a guitar pick. You get back to the jocks’ room and your adrenaline’s so pumped up you don’t even know you got a hole in your knee or a possible broken leg.” — Ken Desormeaux, rider of Summer Bird in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes
OTL: Worst Franchise vs. Best Prospect + Toughest Agent = Perfect Storm Outside the Lines (Sunday 9 a.m. ESPN; noon ESPNEWS) Video on ESPN.com
While a 103 mile-per-hour fastball and outrageous strikeout stats have made Stephen Strasburg the prohibitive choice to be the No. 1 selection in the June 9 MLB draft, Sunday’s Outside the Lines will look at how tough-negotiating agent Scott Boras may stand between the
San Diego State right-hander and a deal with the Washington Nationals who hold the top pick. Pedro Gomez reports.
“I’ve seen 36 drafts and I would say there certainly is an element about performance and abilities that has just not been available in prior drafts.” — Scott Boras, one of Strasburg’s advisors and presumptive agent, on the right hander
“I’ve dealt with him on several occasions, and he’s a fair-minded guy that wants the best for his client. He has a job to do on his side, I have a job to do on my side, and hopefully at the end of the day you come to an agreement.” — Mike Rizzo, interim Nationals GM
“In this case, Boras knows it, he’s the best player available by a mile and that really changes the complexion of these negotiations. This will get ugly, I suspect.” — Aaron Fitt, Baseball America, on Boras/Rizzo negotiations
Lane Kiffin: Former Raider Plundering SEC for Vols Outside the Lines (Sunday 9 a.m. ESPN, noon ESPNEWS); OTL-branded piece on SportsCenter (Sunday, 10 a.m. 11 p.m. ESPN)
Lane Kiffin, at age 31, became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he was hired by the Raiders Al Davis, who then fired him a year later in a highly unusual press conference.
In the six months since quickly being named head coach at the University of Tennessee, Kiffin has kept the Vols in the news, though not always for the right reasons. Wendi Nix goes behind-the-scenes to profile Tennessee’s young, outspoken leader.
“Are some fans at other places offended, or on chat rooms saying bad things? Who cares? I wasn’t hired for them.” — Lane Kiffin
ESPN Deportes Determines Role Soccer Played in the “Soccer War”
ESPN Deportes SportsCenter (Two parts: Sunday, Monday 11 p.m.)
As the 40th anniversary of the “Soccer War” approaches, ESPN Deportes looks back at the 100-hour war which broke out between Honduras and El Salvador on July 14 1969, just 17 days after El Salvador defeated its neighboring rival to earn a spot in World Cup Mexico 1970. The countries were already angry because of issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. Fernando Palomo reports on just how big of a part soccer played in the war.
“The night before the game they didn’t let us sleep, they played music, used fire-works so we couldn’t have a good night’s sleep. Obviously we were exhausted during the game the next day.” — Mauricio Pipo Rodriguez, Salvadoran forward, on playing a game in the Honduran capital
“I think that soccer was an instrument for politically agitating the population, an instrument used to motivate. The soccer was the excuse because the problems already existed.” — Dr. Ramon Rivas, Director of the Museum of History of El Salvador
Ecuadoran Soccer Legend Alex Aguinaga Featured on Special Edition of Perfiles ESPN Deportes (Sunday, 6 p.m.)
A special edition of Perfiles will feature Ecuadorian soccer legend Alex Aguinaga, who had a brilliant career in the Mexican league where he led Necaxa to three championships. In 2002, Aguinaga helped the Ecuador National team to qualify for its first World Cup.