We have horribly neglected HBO Sports and such programs as REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL. We admit that. Gumbel and company, for example, have been airing sports stories for twenty-two seasons and when I saw the announcement that the content of that show’s 245th installment was posted I thought, “damn some attention needs bestowed.” So here it is it in entirety.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL EXAMINES THE STATE OF THE NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION; EXPLORES THE BOOMING YOUTH SPORTS TOURISM INDUSTRY IN AMERICA; PROFILES ZACK HAMPLE, BASEBALL’S INFAMOUS BALL HAWK; AND REVISITS THE DANGEROUS ISLE OF MAN MOTORCYCLE RACE WHEN A NEW EDITION DEBUTS AT A SPECIAL TIME TUESDAY, AUG. 22, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, with a record 18 Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism, returns for more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 245th edition debuts at a special time TUESDAY, AUG. 22 (11:00 p.m.-midnight ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
*The Union. In 2009, Washington, D.C. lawyer DeMaurice Smith (pictured) came out of nowhere to succeed the late Gene Upshaw as executive director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). His victory seemed to signal a dramatic change: De Smith, as he is known, was going to take a more combative approach with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners. Two years after he assumed the reins of the union, the NFL locked out the players for four months until Smith and Goodell signed a landmark, ten-year collective bargaining agreement. Since then, however, Smith has faced criticism for the NFLPA’s concessions as Goodell has wielded power at the expense of the players.
With the regular season a few weeks away and the next NFLPA executive director election set for early 2018, host Bryant Gumbel goes one-on-one with DeMaurice Smith to discuss the state of pro football, its players and his tenure as chief. Producer: Jake Rosenwasser.
* Youth Sports, Inc. America’s young athletes no longer play their biggest games against nearby towns. Instead, travel teams have fuelled an unprecedented sports tourism boom over the last decade, with millions of parents and their kids hitting the road for dozens of weekends a year to compete in soccer, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball and just about any other sport. In 2016, these families spent more than $10 billion on the road, spurring big spending on top-notch facilities to get a piece of the pie.
REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel takes a hard look at this robust youth sports boom and finds that even as more venues are built, fewer kids get to play in them, thanks to declining participation rates among families who can’t afford to pay and play. Producer: Nick Dolin.
*The Ball Hawk. When Zack Hample (pictured) was 12 years old, a pitcher from his beloved New York Mets lobbed him a ball in the stands before a game at Shea Stadium, inspiring a passion that three decades later has made him one of the most polarizing fans in sports. Now 39, Hample has made ball-hawking his life’s work, hauling in nearly 10,000 baseballs over the years. He has written three books on this obsession turned profession, runs a YouTube page about his hobby and even started a business in which he will, for a fee, accompany you to a game and guarantee you walk away with at least one ball.
His career is not without controversy. Hample’s dedication to catching a foul ball or home run – which can lead to a tantrum if he doesn’t succeed – seems too obsessive to many. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg meets the man the New York Post called the most hated fan in baseball and learns more about the hobby that earned him the title. Producer: Tim Walker.
*Isle of Man. The Isle of Man, a 226-square-mile island in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, hosts motorcycle racing’s most prestigious event, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Each year, about 100 thrill-seeking riders navigate the Snaefell Mountain Course, a 38-mile course on public roads that weave up and over mountains and through tiny towns and villages, while traveling at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour. Since the race began more than a century ago, 252 riders have lost their lives on the course. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel revisits the British Isles to learn more about this deadly race, which claimed another three lives this year. Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.
Here is a highlight from last month –
*The Heart of 29. Rod Carew was one of the most accomplished hitters in baseball history, with 18 All-Star Game nods, seven American League batting titles and a Hall of Fame bust in Cooperstown. Two years ago, the 71-year-old Panamanian suffered a debilitating heart attack, leaving a transplant his only chance for survival. Coincidentally, Carew had been an advocate for organ donation since his daughter’s death while awaiting a bone marrow transplant in 1996. When his own health problems arose, he launched The Heart of 29 Campaign with the American Heart Association.
A year after his heart attack, Carew received news that a heart had arrived for him. In a surprising twist, he learned that the donor was 29-year-old former NFL player Konrad Reuland, whom he’d met 18 years earlier. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg sits down with Carew, who, with the help of the American Heart Association, shares the film of his first meeting with the Reuland family and reveals how they keep their lasting bond alive. Producer: Maggie Burbank.
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