Episode 346 of Sports Illustrated Media Podcast Presented by Jimmy Traina features an interview with veteran actor Sean McDonough. The versatile ESPN announcer talks about how and why he pushed for the job as the network’s NHL lead announcer. McDonough also reveals why he thought his two-year stint working with Jon Gruden on Monday night football it didn’t work and how his style didn’t fit Gruden’s. Other topics covered on the podcast include McDonough’s famous call-up of Francisco Cabrera’s game-winning hit in 1993 NLCS Game 7 and whether he feels he should be mentioned among elite people play-by-play in all sports, and his famous voice breaks. . McDonough closes his interview by sharing a must-see story about his former college basketball partner, Bill Raftery.
After the interview with McDonough is the weekly segment “Traina Thoughts”. Topics include the Rachel Nichols-Maria Taylor controversy, MLB All-Star uniforms, and an embarrassing move by MLB.
The following transcript is an excerpt from SI Media Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.
Jimmy Traina: Tell me, what attracted you to getting that concert? [ESPN’s lead NHL play-by-play announcer]?
Sean McDonough: Well, I love hockey. I did a lot in his day. Obviously I haven’t done it in a while because we haven’t had it for 16 years and as I said in a couple of interviews since the announcement was made, obviously you can only do what you have. And one of the things I love about ESPN is that we have a lot and I enjoy variety as much as anything else. So every time people ask me, ‘What is your favorite sport or your favorite sport to call?’ I never really have an answer because I enjoy doing them all.
If I had to choose, you know, based on what I’ve been doing lately, I’d say college football. But I love hockey. I grew up in Boston in the 60’s and the heyday of Bobby Orr; Every kid on the block wanted to be Bobby Orr. And most of us had the poster of him flying through the air after he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal and stumbled in Game 4, against the St. Louis Blues. And it was really my first job out of college in the mid-80s, and when I left Syracuse, I went to Nesson when they were starting out in New England and my first gig there was calling college hockey.
Hockey East was a conference that had just been formed. So I was able to do a lot of games there. There weren’t many people watching at the time; this was only in about 3,000 households. You wondered if someone was watching sometimes. And obviously, that has changed a lot. But I was involved with the Boston Bruins, mostly in the intervening periods before and after the game, when the legendary Fred Cusick was doing play-by-play. I was able to replace it a couple of times, which was exciting. Then we did a lot of hockey for ESPN when we had it. The Frozen Four and the NHL and they did Olympic hockey in ’98 on CBS and I loved that. So it has always been one of my passions.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.