“We don't do much in the way of teases….but”
“Well Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothing, child, on me…”
Dateline: A Dining Room Table Story Tease
ask my former colleagues at ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” if you don’t believe me.
We’re doing a story about the mob and some athletes. One athlete swears, he knows nothing about it.
I’ve been told different.
So I go into my boss’s office and say this, “I have to go to Manhattan.”
Boss looks up, “Why.”
“I have to meet a spy by a dumpster.”
Boss, “Have fun.” It’s not the first time I said something like that to him.
Four hours later, I’m in Chinatown, in the middle of a long alley, one black flap is up, one is closed…I’m leaning against it looking at my watch…5:15pm, I look up as an African American woman in a long coat starts walking down the alley.
Behind me, a dark van pulls across the back of the alley blocking the street.
The woman when she gets about three feet from says in a British accent, “You Don.”
She is still walking up to me, when she reaches in her coat, and pulls out an envelope and without ever stopping, she does a hand off with the letter, walks past me and climbs in the black van at the end of the alley.
I walk out of the alley, with the envelope in my jacket, and as I turn to enter the subway, I look across the street, and smile to my friend an FBI agent standing there.
Sitting in the Metro North car heading back to Connecticut, I take the envelope out of my pocket, open it, and on a polaroid photo I see the head of a foreign criminal organization in a restaurant, and sitting next to him is the athlete who said he never even knew the guy.
And on the envelope, is the watermark of the largest intelligence agency in the United States of America.
That story was the main story on the night ESPN launched ESPNnews.
“…well now if I have to swim a river, you know I will…”
You can ask my friend, who runs MLB.com about this next one.
Jim and I are sitting in an office at ESPN, we are trying to figure out how we can use this new thing called, The Internet, to our advantage in finding people,
when my cell phone rings.
I answer it, it is a federal law enforcement source stationed overseas, in Italy, he tells me exactly this, “In 10 minutes we’re going to bust someone in Italy here for fixing the skating event in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.”
“Give me 15 minutes and go with it.”
I flip the phone closed, look at Jim, dial another number real quick, talk, second confirmation given, get up to leave when Jim says to me, “Dude, what’s up.”
“Dude some commies fixed the Olympics…got to go.”
Twenty minutes later we busted into ESPN programming and broke the story.
“…and if I have to climb a mountain you know I will…”
In the news biz, it’s not so much WHAT you know, as it is WHO you know.
The more impossible the story, the more WHOS you better know.
On Monday, a story of mine will go up on Bassmaster.com that was almost exactly a year in the making.
A story that lead me back to some old roots…starting at the Smithsonian doing a little digging again.
A lead…next the Library of Congress…stronger lead.
From there several calls across the plains of America.
Call, leave message, call, leave message, call, leave message.
And then comes a txt message, and with it, a photo. That photo you see in this story…a mismatched uniform…
…and that was the key,
that lead to all the rest,
of the story.
A story of twists and turns, of hope and dreams,
of how Bull Shoals is so very important to one angler.
And why that is very special to us.
For me, it is not about the find,
but is all about,
“…’cause I've been searching, oh yeah, searching.”