Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN By James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, Little Brown, 763 pages, $27.99. What do you want to know about? Chris Berman apologizing when, in the early days, ESPN showed the second half of a college football game before the first? The events leading up to the departure of Keith Olbermann from what he characterized as his own personal Bristol, Conn., hell called ESPN? (After Olbermann's departure, Bob Ley said to exec John Walsh -- whom Kinky Friedman called "the world's most dangerous albino" -- "Our long national nightmare is over huh? We felt not so much relief when Keith left as unrestrained f-----g joy. People were thrilled.")
How about sportswriter Jason Whitlock running afoul of Mike Lupica on the set of "The Sports Reporters?" Whitlock tells the authors he was actually told something to the effect that "you need to hip-hop up your delivery on ESPN. It needs to be more rapperish." When he took on-air potshots at the network and a written potshot at Lupica over steroids, he was fired. "I'd had it with Lupica. I'd just had it with the whole deal, so I didn't care what they did. That was that."
Or, say, Tony Kornheiser being treated like dog-droppings on "Monday Night Football" by Mike Terico and slamming colleague Hannah Storm for wearing a "horrifying, horrifying outfit" and looking "like she has sausage-casing wrapping her upper body" on ESPN radio. That led to a two-week Kornheiser suspension, which, say the authors, cost Kornheiser $40,000 and much pain because "Kornheiser is a guy who loves and lives to talk." Let's not even mention Rush Limbaugh.
You'd think at least half the time that this is a book about a dinky affiliate station in Fenders, Colo., and not a place that is now "the most important component of the Disney empire, worth more than the National Football League and the NBA, MLB and the NFL put together."
To be as crass but honest as possible, if this history of ESPN isn't the most entertaining Father's Day present between covers ever, it will do quite nicely this year. -- Jeff Simon