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Bob Costas

Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas (born March 22, 1952) is a sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.

Biography

Early life and career

Bob Costas was born in Queens, New York. He is the son of Jayne (née Quinlan) of Irish American descent and John George Costas of Greek American descent, who was an electrical engineer. He grew up in Commack, New York, graduating from Commack South High School. Following high school, he attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, though he left school before graduating to begin his professional career.

His sportscasting career started while attending Syracuse University, as an announcer for the Syracuse Blazers minor hockey team. His career as a professional began as play-by-play announcer for the Spirits of St. Louis of the American Basketball Association, followed by a stint with KMOX radio in St. Louis. Costas later did play-by-play for Chicago Bulls broadcasts on WGN-TV during the 1979-1980 season. He was briefly employed by the CBS network prior to joining NBC Sports in 1980.

ABA

Costas was a prominent contributor to the ABA book Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association. He is extensively quoted on many topics, and the book includes his reflections of ABA life during his tenure as radio voice of the Spirits of St. Louis.

Baseball

Costas is a devoted baseball fan (he's been suggested as a potential commissioner) and wrote the best-selling Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball in 2000. For his 40th birthday, Oakland Athletics manager Tony La Russa allowed Costas to manage the club during a spring training game. The first time Costas visited baseball legend Stan Musial's St. Louis eatery, he left a $3.31 tip in homage to Musial's lifetime batting average (.331). Costas delivered the eulogy at Mickey Mantle's funeral. In eulogizing Mantle, Costas described the baseball legend as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas has even carried a 1958 Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet.

Costas has been fairly outspoken about his disdain for Major League Baseball instituting a wild card. Costas believes that it diminishes the significance of winning a divisional championship. He prefers a system in which winning the wild card puts a team at some sort of disadvantage, as opposed to on an equal level with teams by which they were outplayed over a 162 game season. Or, as explained in his book Fair Ball, have only the three division winners in each league go to the postseason, with the team with the best record receiving a bye into the League Championship Series. Once, on the air on HBO's Inside the NFL, he mentioned that the NFL regular season counted for something, but baseball's was beginning to lose significance.

Family

Costas was married from 1983 to 2001 to Carole Randall Krumenacher, who goes by "Randy." They had two children, son Keith, born in 1986, and daughter Taylor, born in 1989. Costas once jokingly promised Minnesota Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett that if he was batting over .350 by the time his child was born he would name the baby Kirby. Kirby was hitting better than .350, but Bob's son was not given a first (or second) name of Kirby. His son was given the name of Keith Michael Kirby Costas. On March 12, 2004, Costas married Jill Sutton.

Awards and honors

Bob Costas has won multiple National Sportcaster of the Year awards (from the National Sportcaster and Sportswriter Association) and nearly 20 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports announcing. In 1999, Costas was a recipient of the Curt Gowdy Award, which is awarded to members of the electronic and print media for outstanding contributions to baseball. He is also an honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

He was selected as the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism recipient in 2004.

In 2006, Costas was also awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Loyola College in Maryland.

On April 19, 2007, while at the Iowa Cubs vs. Albuquerque Isotopes Pacific Coast League baseball game, Costas was made an honorary member of the Iowa Cubs Video Production Team during a brief induction ceremony in the Principal Park pressbox.

He is a Honorary Trustee of Webster University, a private college located in Webster Groves, MO. He is a frequent supporter of the school, to include numerous radio commercials.

Politics

Costas declared on June 27, 2007, that the presidency of George W. Bush had "tragically failed."
I think it is now overwhelmingly evident, if you're honest about it, even if you're a conservative Republican, if you're honest about it, this is a failed administration. And no honest conservative would say that George W. Bush was among the 500 most qualified people to be President of the United States. That's not based on political leaning. If a liberal, and I tend to be liberal, disagrees with a conservative, they can still respect that person's competence and the integrity of their point of view.

He went on to say that, although a liberal, he has voted for some Republicans in the past.

Television career

NBC Sports

When Costas was first hired by NBC, Don Ohlmeyer, who at the time ran NBC Sports, told the then 28 year old Costas that he looked like a 14 year old. Ohlmeyer presumably based his reaction on Costas' modest stature (Costas is 5' 7" (1.70 m) in height) and boyish, babyfaced appearance (Costas' appearance has, at times, been compared to actor Mark Hamill's). After Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made disparaging remarks about Barry Bonds (concerning Bonds' alleged steroid use) in a 2007 HBO interview with Costas, Bonds immediately responded by dismissing Schilling's comments and calling Costas a "midget" who "knows absolutely jack shit about baseball".

He has been an in-studio host of National Football League coverage and play-by-play man for the NBA and for Major League Baseball. Costas has teamed with Isiah Thomas and Doug Collins for basketball telecasts (from 1997-2000) and Tony Kubek (from 1983-1989), Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker (from 1994-2000) for baseball telecasts. Before becoming the studio host for The NFL on NBC in 1984, Costas did play-by-play with analyst Bob Trumpy for NFL games.

Olympics

Costas has frontlined many Olympics broadcasts for NBC. They include the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002, Athens in 2004, Turin in 2006, and Beijing in 2008. He discusses his work on the Olympic telecasts extensively in a book by Andrew Billings entitled Olympic Media: Inside the Biggest Show on Television. A personal influence on Costas has been legendary ABC Sports broadcaster Jim McKay, who hosted many Olympics for ABC from the 1960s to the 1980s. Costas is allowed large segments of on-air time to editorialize about Olympic controversies which, critics proclaim, at several times detracts from the actual athletics, and the airing of said events. Critics also feel that his actual experience/ lack there of, as an athlete, nullifies any certain credibility with a majority of his viewpoints.

During the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Opening Ceremonies, Costas' remarks on the China Team's possible drug use caused an uproar among the American Chinese and international communities. Thousands of dollars were raised to purchase ads in the Washington Post and Sunday New York Times, featuring an image of the head of a statue of Apollo and read: "Costas Poisoned Olympic Spirit, Public Protests NBC." However, Costas' comments were made subsequent to the suspension of Chinese coach Zhou Ming after seven of his swimmers were caught using steroids in 1994. Further evidence of Chinese athletes' drug use came in 1997 when Australian authorities confiscated 13 vials of Somatropin, a human growth hormone, from the bag of Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan upon her arrival for the 1997 World Swimming Championships. At the World Championships, four Chinese swimmers tested positive for the banned substance Triamterene, a diuretic used to dilute urine samples in order to mask the presence of anabolic steroids. Including these failed drug tests, 27 Chinese swimmers were caught using performance enhancing drugs from 1990 through 1997; more than the rest of the world combined.

Major League Baseball on NBC

One of Bob Costas' most memorable broadcasts occurred on June 23, 1984 (in what would go down in baseball lore as The Sandberg Game). Costas along with Tony Kubek, were calling the Saturday baseball Game of the Week from Chicago's Wrigley Field. The game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in particular was cited for putting Ryne Sandberg (as well as the 1984 Cubs in general, who would go on to make their first postseason appearance since 1945) "on the map." In the ninth inning, the Cubs trailed 9-8, and faced the premier relief pitcher of the time, Bruce Sutter. Sandberg, then not known for his power, slugged a home run to left field against the Cardinals' ace closer. Despite this dramatic act, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the tenth. Sandberg came up again in the tenth inning, facing a determined Sutter with one man on base. Sandberg then shocked the national audience by hitting a second home run, even further into the left field bleachers, to tie the game again. The Cubs went on to win in the 11th inning. Costas said when Sandberg hit that second home run, "Do you believe it?!"

While broadcasting Game 4 of the 1988 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics on NBC, Costas angered many members of the Dodgers (especially the team's manager, Tommy Lasorda) by commenting that the team quite possibly had the weakest-hitting lineup in World Series history. Later, after the Dodgers had won Game 4 (en route to a 4–1 series victory), Lasorda sarcastically suggested that the MVP of the 1988 World Series should be Bob Costas.

Besides calling the 1989 American League Championship Series for NBC, Costas also filled-in for a suddenly ill Vin Scully (who had come down with laryngitis.) for Game 2 of the 1989 National League Championship Series. Game 2 of the NLCS occurred on Thursday, October 5, which was an off day for the ALCS. NBC then decided to fly Costas from Toronto to Chicago to substitute for Scully on Thursday night. Afterwards, Costas flew back to Toronto, where he resumed work on the ALCS the next night.

Bob Costas anchored NBC's pre and post-game for NFL broadcasts and the pre and post-game shows for numerous World Series and Major League Baseball All-Star Games during the 1980s (the first being for the 1982 World Series). Costas didn't get a shot at doing play-by-play (as the games on NBC were previously called by Vin Scully) for an All-Star Game until 1994 and a World Series until 1995 (when NBC split the coverage with ABC). It wasn't until 1997 when Costas finally got the chance to do play-by-play for a World Series from start to finish. Costas ended up winning a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play.

NBA on NBC

When NBC gained the NBA network contract from CBS in 1990, Costas hosted the telecasts and was teamed in the studio with ex-Lakers coach Pat Riley. He also hosted the studio program Showtime and did play-by-play for the 1991 All-Star Game. In 1997, Costas began a three year stint as the lead play-by-play man for The NBA on NBC. NBC enlisted Costas' services after they were forced to (temporarily) remove Marv Albert from their broadcasts due to lingering personal and legal problems at the time. Costas stepped aside following the 2000 NBA Finals, in favor of a returning Marv Albert.

While this, in essence, ended his active role on the NBA on NBC program (by this point, Hannah Storm and Ahmad Rashad had replaced Costas on studio anchoring duties), Costas would return to do play-by-play for selected playoff games. Costas also anchored NBC's NBA Finals coverage in 2002, which was their last to date.

Costas is a critic of the raunchier side of pro wrestling. He condemned Karl Malone during a live NBA broadcast for participating periodically in WCW matches.

NHL on NBC

Costas hosted NBC's coverage of the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor regular season game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year's Day 2008.

Breeders' Cup

Costas filled in for Tom Hammond at the hosting desk during the 2002 Breeders' Cup when Hammond had to undergo open-heart surgery.

Football Night in America

In 2006, Costas returned to studio hosting duties on The NFL on NBC (under the Football Night in America banner), which was returning after a near ten year hiatus. Costas last hosted NFL telecasts for NBC in 1992.

Costas is nicknamed "Rapping Roberto" by New York Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman. Al Michaels also called him "Rapping Roberto" during the telecast between the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants on September 10, 2006, in response to Costas calling him "Alfalfa.

Later

Costas hosted Later with Bob Costas on NBC, 1988-1994. This show was something of a break from the typical TV talk show format of the era, featuring Costas and a single guest having a conversation for the entire half hour, without a band, opening monologue or studio audience. On several occasions, Costas held the guest over for multiple nights, and these in-depth discussions won Costas much praise for his interviewing skills.

ESPN

In 1999, Costas teamed with his then-NBC colleague, Joe Morgan to call two weekday night telecasts for ESPN. The first was on Wednesday, August 25 with Detroit Tigers playing against the Seattle Mariners. The second was on Tuesday, September 21 with the Atlanta Braves playing against the New York Mets.

HBO

In 2001, Costas was hired by HBO to host a 12 week series called On the Record with Bob Costas. On the Record with Bob Costas was similar to the format of the old Later program as they both concentrated on in-depth celebrity interviews.

In 2002, Costas began a stint as co-host of HBO's long running series Inside the NFL. Costas remained host of Inside the NFL through the end of the 2007 NFL season. He hosted the show with Cris Collinsworth and former NFL legends Dan Marino and Cris Carter. The program aired each week during the NFL season.

In 2005, On the Record with Bob Costas was revamped to become Costas Now, a monthly show that would focus more on sports and air year-round in a 9 p.m. ET/PT time slot. Costas Now is more akin to HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

''Larry King Live

In June 2005, Costas was named by CNN president, Jonathan Klein, as a regular substitute anchor for Larry King's Larry King Live for one year. Costas, as well as Klein, have said that Costas is not trying out for King's position on a permanent basis. Nancy Grace was also named a regular substitute host for the show.

On August 18, 2005, Costas refused to host a Larry King Live episode where the subject was missing teen Natalee Holloway. Costas said he had no hard feelings about the subject, but that he was uncomfortable with it.

Other appearances

Costas appeared on the War to Settle the Score, a pre-WrestleMania program that The WWF aired on MTV.

Apart from his normal sportscasting duties, Costas also announced periodic dogsled and elevator races on Late Night with David Letterman.

Costas once appeared on the television program NewsRadio as himself. He hosted an award show and later had some humorous encounters with the crew of WNYX. Costas also once appeared as a guest on the faux talkshow cartoon Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Bob Costas has been impersonated several times by Darrell Hammond on Saturday Night Live.

Costas appeared as himself along with his rival/counterpart Al Michaels (who now works for NBC) from ABC in the movie BASEketball. Costas also appeared as himself in the movie Pootie Tang where he remarks that he saw "the longest damn clip ever".

In a supposed effort to fulfill a deal he made on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, as coverage of a game resumed he sipped a glass of pink lemonade and said "Ah, that's restaurant quality lemonade."

Costas guest-voiced (as himself) on the Family Guy episodes "Patriot Games" and "Petergeist".

Costas is very loosely associated with the Dave, Shelly, and Chainsaw morning show of San Diego, California, and has been known to appear frequently on that show, where, due to one of the show's in-jokes, some of the show's hosts (as well as many San Diego residents) know Costas, belovedly, as the "King of Doucheville." He also appeared in Dave, Shelly, and Chainsaw's motion picture The JK Conspiracy.

Jim Rome considers Costas to be one of the most intelligent people he's interviewed on The Jim Rome Show. One of the more famous callers to the show, 'Jeff in Richmond', often refers to Costas as his "good friend and colleague". Costas has good-naturedly mentioned his bemusement regarding the hoopla that has come from all this.

Costas was "name checked" in a Ludacris song after he had mentioned being a fan on the late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly.

In 2002, Costas was the keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies of the 25th Empire State Games held in Syracuse, New York.

In 2002, Bob was the play-by-play announcer, alongside ESPN's Harold Reynolds, for Triple Play 2002 during the ballgame for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

In 2006, Costas voiced the animated character Bob Cutlass, a race announcer, in the movie Cars.

On October 18, 2007, Costas appeared along with former Baseball Commissioner, Fay Vincent at Williams College for "A Conversation About Sports" moderated by Will Dudley, Associate Professor of Philosophy.

On June 13, 2008, Costas appeared the MSNBC's commercial-free special coverage of Remembering Tim Russert (1950~2008), as a colleague of the host (of that broadcast), Keith Olbermann. He tributed Russert as a person who loved sports and athletes, with mentioning Russert's love of Yogi Berra.

Syndicated radio

Costas also hosted the syndicated radio program Costas Coast to Coast, 1986-1996, which has recently been revived as Costas on the Radio. Like Later, Costas' radio shows have focused on a wide variety of topics, and have not been limited to sports discussion. Bob's current radio show, Costas on the Radio, airs on 200 stations nationwide each weekend and syndicated by the Clear Channel owned Premiere Radio Networks.

Career timeline

Notes

External links

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