Greg Rakestraw (left) is the host of SportsDesk from 4 pm – 7 pm weekdays on ESPN 950. He is also the co-host of the Reggie Wayne Show (coming September 2007) and has spent several seasons as the play-by-play voice of the IUPUI Jaguars.
1) You are from Ohio River country. What teams did you grow up rooting for?
I hate to admit this, but I grew up a Bengals fan. I even stuck with them through some early years in the 90s. This is a major source of contention with the lovely Mrs. Rakestraw. She’s from Cincy, and still supports her favorite felons of the Ohio River valley. When we first started dating in college, I told her I was a Bengals fan. She thinks I lured her under false pretenses . . . I call it wising up. I converted to Colts-ism in the fall of 1994.
2) What do you think it would it take for the Pacers to recapture the heart of the city?
Very simple – win . . . they win, and people will start to watch. By winning, I don’t mean 46-36, I mean 50+ wins. They do that, and I don’t care what type of criminal is on the floor, people will show up.
3) What is your dream sports announcing job?
The one I have now. . . and doing podcasts on this website. . . the honest answer would be doing college, NFL, or MLB play-by-play. I love doing the talk show, but nothing beats being at the game. And if that can be your full-time gig, then it would be one of the few that would be better than the job I have now.
4) What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard from a caller on SportsDesk?
Hey there JMV, how’s it going?
5)Who is the best guest you’ve had on SportsDesk?
My favorite guests are the intelligent ones. . . ones you can have an actual conversation with, and not an “interview.” One of the best that people wouldn’t know about would be Joel Cornette from his days at Butler. Might be the brightest athlete I had on the show. Then again, Joey Harris when he was at Purdue was a good interview, too, and he flunked out of school.
6) Have you interacted with Bill Simmons at all? Is he a nice guy or a tool?
Bill Simmons is a good guy, and great writer . . . until it gets to talking about the Patriots or Colts. Then it’s a complete waste of time and space.
7) What would you say is best the reason is to listen to ESPN 950 instead of 1260?
Listen to my show, and then listen to his show. If you honestly think that’s a better show, then go ahead and listen. But I think we consistently put out a better product every day.
8) We have to ask: Do you get along with JMV of WNDE?
Yes I do, but I still think my show’s better.
9) Given the tight budgets of the average local sports fan: Give us 3 good reasons to go to an IUPUI game (instead of a Butler game or WNBA game etc.)
1. Worst seat in the house is no more than 15 rows off of the floor. 2. Ron Hunter is worth the price of admission, even if there wasn’t a game actually playing. 3. George Hill. He’s really good. 4. Reason #4 – it’s cheaper than Butler and the Fever.
10) We are super-psyched about the Reggie Wayne show. Tell us how it came about and what to expect.
We were approached by Reggie’s agent to see if we had an interest in doing the show. After 2 to 3 seconds of deep reflection and consideration, we said sure. Reggie and I will break down the game, talk about life away from the field, and then take telephone calls. Plus, we’ll talk about the latest in military attire.
11) We’ve become fans of Aaron Moorehead as a result of his show, will Aaron still be on the air in some capacity?
Still working on that. Aaron is a true friend. ESPN 950 will not forget about our boy Moorehead. We seriously shared a big old hug last year after the AFC championship game. I couldn’t imagine a Colts season on 950 without him being a part of it.
12) Can you think of a better nickname for IUPUI than ‘Ooey-Pooey’?
That’s actually considered a derogatory term to those of us around the program. Now, I’m going to have to kick your ass. Sorry. Actually, I like to tell people they can’t handle the “Pooey.”
13) How do you see the 2007 NFL season playing out for the Colts?
Don’t know. Schedule is much tougher, especially in the middle. I think 11-5, 12-4 will be a great season for this team. I thought the “planned” changes were going to go well for the team (Jackson, Hayden, Keiaho and Morris). It’s the un-planned changes, Ugoh and whoever plays for Booger, that really worry me.
14) What two teams will play in Super Bowl XLII?
Same two that play in the RCA Dome on Sept. 6th, Colts and Saints.
15) When you watch the Colts play on television are you a screaming, high-fiving fan or impartial media observer?
When I’m at home and not in a press-box, I am a fan, with media knowledge. I do the quiet fist pump, the one-word yell. I do cheer for Moorehead like crazy, and I’m sure the same thing will happen now for Reggie Wayne.
16) Can you think of a greater sports abomination than the Jacksonville Jaguars?
They have the dumbest head coach in the NFL. If they get an actual coach, they might be the best team in the NFL. Of course, a quarterback might help, too.
17) We think Indianapolis is fortunate to have some very strong on-air radio talent from talk radio to the play by play guys (Boyle and Lamey). Who are some of your favorite sports announcers or analysts?
I love Bob’s passion, I love Boyle’s quick witted nature and vocabulary, and no one can imitate Don Fischer, even though we all try. Nationally, Al Michaels is the man. Plus, I grew up a Reds fan, so Marty’s right up there, too. I saw the other day he got a 3-year contract extension, I had always assumed he had a lifetime contract. Oh well.
18) Based on the evidence, do you think Bob Sanders is a zombie re-animated by a vodoo curse?
Yes. He and Rob Zombie are blood relatives.