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Satchel Paige died on June 8, 1982, at the age of 75.
June 8, 2019
This last week, we wrapped up Season Two of Sports Illustrated’s “The Will Leitch Show.” I’ve said this before, but in all seriousness, it really does bear repeating, particularly for anyone who might be new here: I do not understand why I get to have a talk show and consider every episode a little bit of a cosmic prank on the universe. I mean, even the name of the show itself is meant to be ironic: The only reason to name something “The Will Leitch Show” is to make fun of any show that would presume to have someone’s name in the title. That “The Will Leitch Show” could exist is absurd on its face. I was on Don Van Natta’s podcast earlier this year, and he asked me “how has your show succeeded where Bill Simmons’ didn’t?” I told him, “well, it actually mattered how many people watched Bill’s show. No one would ever have such unrealistic expectations for mine.”
This is not to say I do not want people to watch it, or that I do not think it has value. I and the staff work very hard on it, and I’m proud to say it is, in most senses, exactly the sort of show I want to do, written by me precisely how I think it should be written. Sports Illustrated obviously values it enough to keep paying me to do it, and I want to make sure I give them a good show that is worth paying for. But the DIY aspect of the show, the idea that it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel or be some sort of weekly desperate plea for virality, is a large part of its appeal. I did not get into this career to do television: I’m here to write. I say yes to television because it typically opens the door to more writing opportunities and because I enjoy trying to get better at something that does not come naturally to me. But this is not the goal. I get to talk to smart, funny people about smart, funny things in a way I find interesting and hope that other people do as well. That seems enough. I’m not sure how to do anything more than that.
Anyway, Season Three begins in September, and, as is tradition around this here newsletter, we wrap up each season with a show-by-show recap of the season that just ended. We did 29 shows in Season One, but only 10 in Season Two. So the good news for you is that this newsletter will be considerably shorter than that one was.
You can watch all of these shows on SI.tv or Amazon Prime. There is a small monthly fee to subscribe to SI.tv, but there’s many other shows you get for that fee, not just mine. I’m hesitant to ask you all to pay for anything from this newsletter — and besides, I need to save up my chits for you all to pre-order the book when it comes out — but I bet if you give the channel a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Episode One: Andre Holland
The star of “High Flying Bird” and “Moonlight” was not only funny and engaging, he even dealt with this incredibly awkward set that we jettisoned two episodes in. I still miss my desk — I miss my desk — but this setup made us feel like we were sitting in each other’s laps.
Episode Two: Russell Hornsby
Hornsby, who’s so great in “The Hate U Give,” has a “The Will Leitch Show” distinction: The show he was there to promote has already been canceled. That’s the Will Leitch touch!
Episode Three: Jason Jones
The last show with the awful glass-top table and terrifying nostril proximity, it is worth noting that Jason Jones is jacked. I had no idea. Good for him.
Episode Four: Nyambi Nyambi
I am not saying that I am not a skilled television personality, but when I introduced Nyambi Nyambi from “The Good Fight” — a guy, I remind you, has the exact same first name as last name — I got his first name right and his last name wrong. Like Carson in his prime.
Episode Five: Jemele Hill
I have known Jemele for about 15 years and, as I’ve said before, she gets a little more impressive each time I see her.
Episode Six: Reid Scott
The “Veep” star — who’s also in “Late Night,” which opened this weekend — was so game in delivering staffers’ insults toward me in the style of Dan Egan that I’ve been a little afraid to show my face in public since.
Episode Seven: Sean Astin
This remains my favorite show we’ve done. If you only watch one of these, to get a sense of what they’re like, this is probably the one.
Episode Eight: David Cross
David Cross is a legend, and “Mr. Show” is a Mt. Rushmore comedy show, but ... this wasn’t the best show. We weren’t really on the same wavelength, which is surely my fault. It was the one interview I’ve ever done where I could hear the air conditioner running in the studio.
Episode Nine: David Cone
Look, an actual professional athlete on a show ostensibly about sports, huh.
Episode Ten: Heidi Gardner
A perfect capper to the season. Of everyone on the show, I have a sense that Heidi’s going to be the biggest star 10 years from now, the one no one will believe would steep so low as to go on my show.
Anyway. I will shut up about the show until September now.
Here is a numerical breakdown of all the things I wrote this week, in order of what I believe to be their quality. You may disagree. It is your wont.
1. How Have Women’s Sports Progressed Since the 2015 Women’s World Cup? New York. The entire family has their MORGAN jerseys for Tuesday.
2. Data Decade: The Best Center Fielders of the Decade, MLB.com. Trout Trout Trout.
3. X-Men Movies, Ranked, Vulture. None are spectacular, some are bad, most are just fine.
4. The Other Free Agents Still Out There, MLB.com. Remember that Bartolo Colon used PEDs, and we should all love him anyway. Probably because of that.
5. Debate Club: ‘90s Genre Movies They Should Remake, SYFY Wire. This was a fun one.
6. The Thirty: Best Player on Each Team Not to Make An All-Star Game, MLB.com. Seriously, Anthony Rendon has still not made one.
7. The Best Games of the Year, MLB.com. Updated every two weeks.
THE WILL LEITCH SHOW
Yeah, you saw this picture already. Watch on Amazon or on SI TV.
Grierson & Leitch, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Booksmart” and “Animal House.”
Seeing Red, Bernie and I just don’t know what to do with these Cardinals.
Waitin’ Since Last Saturday, no show this week
GET THIS LUNATIC OUT OF HERE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL POWER RANKINGS
Sure, I’ll include Mike Gravel. The story about the teenagers running his campaign is amazing. Those kids are going to rule us all someday.
1. Kamala Harris
2. Elizabeth Warren
3. Beto O’Rourke
4. Joe Biden
5. Amy Klobuchar
6. Pete Buttigieg
7. Cory Booker
8. Seth Moulton
. Kirsten Gillibrand
10. Julian Castro
11. Bernie Sanders
12. Michael Bennet
13. Jay Inslee
14. John Hickenlooper
15. Bill de Blasio
16. Marianne Williamson
17. Tim Ryan
18. Eric Swalwell
19. Steve Bullock
20. John Delaney
21. William Weld
22. Tulsi Gabbard
23. Andrew Yang
24. Wayne Messam
25. Mike Gravel
ONGOING LETTER-WRITING PROJECT!
Send me a letter. Letters make people happy. Bring ‘em on at:
P.O. Box 48
Athens GA 30603
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
“I Need To Know,” Tom Petty. Last year, I did this. This year, it’s Petty.
It now officially feels like summer. Have a great weekend, all.
Also: GO BLUESSSSSSSSS