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Two Greats: Costas and Lipsyte

December 23, 2011

Two of the great figures in sports media, Bob Costas interviewed by Robert Lipsyte engaged in a lively, humorous, informative discussion at The New York Times Center on December 7th. Lipsyte as the interviewer opened the program with details of The ” Two Bobs’ ” history with each other which included a fourteen year period when they did not speak. After the discussion ended I wanted another as these two eloquent figures are a much needed light in contrast with the darkness of sports media today.

They certainly did not always agree starting with Costas’ response to Lipsyte’s claim that Costas was too generous in his praise of Mickey Mantle after “#7 ” died in 1995.Among the other sport’s figures discussed were Mantle’s friend, Roger Maris, Joe Paterno and Howard Cosell.Both men agreed that Maris, who played on seven pennant winners with the Yankees and Cardinals from 1960-1968, should be in The Baseball Hall of Fame.Costas eloquently stated that Paterno’s failure to act in the Penn State sex scandal tipped the all time scale against Paterno.While Lipsyte is a big Cosell supporter, Costas though respecting Cosell’s presence and impact at a time of “stark sport’s issues” took a negative stand against the sport’s broadcasting giant.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The topics were intense and timely; violence in football, Costas’ inside information about his interview with former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and assessments of Cosell, Jim Mc Kay and sport’s journalism past and present.Most intriguing was that with one as skilled and challenging as Lipsyte asking the questions, Costas,  who makes this difficult forum look easy, had to bring his “A game” and he did.Costas was entertaining doing Cosell immitations and remarking how little space Lipsyte’s picture was given on the program cover compared to his own.Injecting his wry sense of humor,  Costas called that unfair.He closed the program with a wonderful recollection of how reticent actor, Jack Palance was on Costas’ “Later” show only to tell a great story as they walked off having finished taping. It was a great ending to an outstanding event,  well worth my long trek even on a rainy night.

Robert Lipsyte and Bob Costas

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