As you all know that I’m a big fan of Tony Kornheiser. I’ve always wanted to meet him, though I didn’t have the time the past 10 years. I’ve wanted to go to the radio show a few years ago, but there was a policy implied about Mr. Tony stalkers (thanks Neil in Rockville (inside joke)). I wasn’t likely to meet him again until he mention my name out of nowhere during the D.C. Sports Fan contest. Yes, I know he reads the papers, but I would have no idea he would remember my name. He mention if I don’t win the contest, then I get some consolation prize from him. I didn’t get anything from him and that was expected. That made me think that I need to force the issue and meet Mr. Tony on my terms.
I decided to book the PTI tour last month with assistance from the board, so I had around a month to set up what I wanted to do. What was stunning is I made it publicly that if anyone wanted to attend the tour, they can. Sadly, only a couple responded. It could have been the tour was on a Monday and nearly everyone is working. After Christmas, I got a response from a friend who was available on January 9. One week later, my friend had a prior commitment she couldn’t exit, so a slot opened up from help with @MrTonySays. Then, I got a response from Ernie and he accepted. How do I know Ernie? Well…I don’t know him that well since we recently met on Twitter, but I (and the rest of the littles) know him for this:
(via Ernie Chamberlain)
Yep, Ernie put up that sign on the Today Show.
The Day of the Tour
Ernie, his friend, Joe, and I first meet up Morton’s for lunch. Luckily, this week was D.C. Restaurant Week – Winter Edition, to get a discounted three-course meal. I selected Morton’s hoping they have the steak sandwiches Mr. Tony craves about. Sadly, it wasn’t on the list and Ernie mention why I didn’t choose the Palm. Inside, I was shaking my head and should have booked a table at the Palm. Besides that, all three of us had a great talk about Mr. Tony, sports, sports radio, our day jobs, etc. After a 1 hour break, we went to the ABC News studios for the tour.
There, we met Bonnie Berko and asked who the Mr. Tony stalker is and everyone pointed at me, including myself. I mention that I was a recruiter and I was a “professional stalker” who has standards of how to “stalk.” We came up to the newsroom and saw Mr. Tony working on today’s show. A few minutes later, he came by to us, shake our hands, and mention me that I should have won the contest and I thank him for it. Then, he saw we have tons of stuff, or as the crew calls it, the “Bag of Crap.” I had most of the crap, Ernie and Joe brought 4-5 Mrs. Smith’s Apple Pies and Peanut M & Ms. I mention most of my crap came from Costco and Mr. Tony said, “Yeah, I get my food next to the tire section.” Both Mr. Tony and Bonnie said this is most gifts they’ve gotten from a tour guest. It was sweet of them to say that, but I know there were others who have done better, but I was flattered. Anyway, the only gift that was not on the Mr. Tony shopping list was an autographed portrait of my head photoshopped to a bird.
The story behind it was a few years ago, I mention to the board that they should join Twitter. Some muffed at it, but slowly they went to Twitter and from there, they see I did a lot of tweeting. On my birthday, Kuke Reynoso (the photoshop artist of the photo above) decided to photoshop my head onto a bird and it became one of my favorite profile pictures.
As we were heading out to the tour, Tony saw me grabbing the Johnnie Walker Blue and gave it to him and said slyly,
“You paid too much for this, this is a lot of money. Have you tried this before?
I said, “Yes, at an event last year”
he then said, “You paid too much”
then I said, “I had this for 4 years.”
We headed to the tour and the studio is pretty small, but handles three shows: PTI, Around the Horn, and Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable. Then we headed to the studios, where PTI and ATH stages are linked to each other and met Sharon and Will, who might be the only Bostonian I know who hates ALL Boston teams. Will predicted that the Giants will go to Super Bowl this year. I’m writing that so I don’t forget and hold him to it.
As for the show itself, Mr. Tony arrived on time and mention me that I went beyond my means with the gifts and the cheesecake. We had another surprise that day: Michael Wilbon was in the D.C. studios for the next two days and as Ernie pointed out to me, “He’s wearing pants!” The taping should have started around 4 P.M., but in typical Wilbon fashion, he came in late. This is not a shock and if you saw Wilbon on WRC’s Full Court Press or Redskins Report, you know his tendencies. What was surprising was Wilbon has a booming voice on and off camera, while Mr. Tony “rests” his voice off-air, and then when the on-air switch is on, he yodels of what you see in TV and on radio. Another great part was we were helping out Wilbon and Tony Reali what SEC quarterbacks made it to the Super Bowl or made an impact on the NFL. On the guest end, we mention Rex Grossman. For the record, Reali does read tweets, Facebook statuses and check YouTube videos during the show for research.
Basically, what you see on TV is what you get when you attend a live-taping, but more explicit language during commercial breaks (like the old Mr. Tony radio shows), and they only did one take for each segment. The interesting part is the SportsCenter segment they do it between the regular show format, so after the second “Headlines” segment, they do the SC segment, and then go to the last two PTI segments “Mail Time” and “The Big Finish.” After that, Ernie, Joe, and I got our picture with Tony and Mike:
Afterwards, the PTI crew gave me a 10th Anniversary shirt, hat, and cup. I wanted to get an autograph, but I know Mr. Tony had to go home through the strong flurries that came that night, so I didn’t bother.
I know Ernie and Joe had fun not only having lunch and going to see a live PTI show, but visiting Washington D.C. As for me, I wanted to get a consolation prize from Mr. Tony on promoting me by name, never even meeting me. Shaking his hand was the best consolation prize I’ve got. The rest after that is a bonus and I thank Mr. Tony and “Gettin’ It Done” Bonnie for organizing this to five littles.
Of note: Apparently, we were there to witness history that Woody Paige broke the ATH scoring record of 71.