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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
On February 2, 2004, Stat Boy was the man sitting in the host’s chair at Around The Horn at 5 Eastern on ESPN. Tony Reali, Stat Boy’s alter-ego, had periodically filled in for host Max Kellerman on the show, and so a 13-year-old future
Obscure Athletes owner sat idle, watching the show he loved, as the next day, and again the day after, Stat Boy was back hosting. Little did I know at the time, my boy, Max Kellerman, had permanently been replaced by that weasel from PTI.
What I’m talking about here, folks, is how fucking badass Old Around the Horn was. TJ Simers back in the day, the real LA man, pre-JA Adande, and before that clown Bill Plaschke got anywhere near that show, getting kicked off the show for ripping on the show…during the show. How fucking sick is that? Back when Mariotti got points just for mentioning Michael Jordan and/or his middle name, a mute was -5 points, and before the days of Woody Paige’s ridiculous blackboard. Or the little-remembered saga over the first several months of the history of the show it took for Woody Paige to break through and win for the first time. It was gold, silver, bronze, and tin foil then. Remember that? And everyone would get face time at the end according to how many points they scored.
And of course, who can forget the immortal Charlie Pierce on that show? In the post-Michael Holley era, but before
Jackie Mac became a regular panelist, every once in a while a man would come on the show and fill in admirably for Holley. He’d have a burly beard and look like he had just slain an ox or chopped down a sizable chunk of the evergreen landscape surrounding his hometown of Worcester, MA, just in time to sit in the Boston seat on Around the Horn and fuck shit up.
And you can’t talk oldschool Around the Horn without talking about my boy, Bill Wolfe, the disembodied voice. One of the greatest voices in the history of ESPN, also left the show shortly after Kellerman’s tenure ended, and was replaced by a shitty recording of a lame announcer declaring which round it is. That spelled the end of my watching ATH every day.
I still watch Around the Horn, but not as frequently as I once did, and I know there are people out there who remember everything that show used to be, and how great it was, back during the Kellerman administration. There was a time when every day at 5
the first seven words I would hear would, without fail, be “These four things I know are true!” Now I watch just a couple times a week, but each time a part of me hopes that Reali’s tenure filling in for Max has finally ended, and Kellerman reclaims his spot at the ATH throne. That day will likely never come.