60 Minutes of Real Sports
From DART to New York's No. 7 train, Jeremy Schaap used our fair little burg as a step, step, stepping stone to stardom. Schaap's one of the ace reporters on ESPN's new E:60, which airs its second episode this evening at 6. Schaap hasn't always been the street-tough New York watchdog emerging from the subway -- as in the show's open -- to uncover national sports scandals and the like.
Back in 1996 he was one of us. Riding DART. Living in Uptown at The Worthington apartments. Pulling for the Dallas Cowboys to do something -- anything -- positive for a change. “As a native New Yorker, I loved living in Dallas,” Schaap tells Unfair Park. "It was different, of course, but I liked the ease of getting around, the friendliness of the people and the passion about their sports teams, especially the Cowboys."
Schaap arrived as ESPN's first Dallas-based reporter -- a gig held these days by Dallas Morning News alums Ed Werder and Marc Stein -- just after the Cowboys' third Super Bowl in four years. Or, just in time to report on Erik Williams’ car crash, Michael Irvin’s training camp scissors incident and, yep, very few playoff games. "Go ahead," Schaap says. "Blame me."
With the Cowboys' reincarnation, Schaap may very well have a Dallas-related piece in an upcoming episode of E:60. The show, a descendant of CBS’s long-running 60 Minutes and ESPN’s high-tech answer to HBO’s Real Sports (so says The New York Times, anyway), is trying to inject hard-hitting, deep-digging journalism into a network that long ago became diluted by Skip Bayless’ faux-animated gesturing on First Take.
While Rachel Nichols’ story about a sports bettor left us wanting more, and Bill “Sports Guy” Simmons proved to be even more lame on TV than in print, Schaap hit a homer with his profile of the estranged relationship between Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder and his father, Cecil. Watching the magazinish, investivative reporting show, it totally reminded me of a Monday afternoon Observer staff meeting. Except for the black-and-white setting, the artsy-fartsy shake camera and, yeah, the six-figure incomes. --Richie Whitt