That’s been the question all week from fans of the popular ESPN show ¿Highly Questionable?. Papi, of course, is Gonzalo Le Batard, the father of ESPN host Dan Le Batard, who has been the show’s co-host and true star since it debuted in 2011.
Papi has been absent from the show since Le Batard’s return last week, causing fans to worry about his health and well being. But Le Batard calmed fears by informing fans his father is fine, he’s just in no rush to come to work.
“He is just 76-years-old. He’s been working, punching the clock for 50 straight years and he doesn’t feel like working that hard right now, so he’ll come in when he wants to,” Le Batard told viewers during Wednesday’s show. “We know he’s the one who makes the show special, different, and awful, depending on your perspective. We miss him as much as you do, but he’s happy and healthy, so thanks for your concern.”
Le Batard brushed up against ESPN’s policy of sticking to sports by criticizing Trump’s immigration policies in July largely because of beliefs informed by his parents, both Cuban exiles who fled the oppressive island when they were teenagers. Le Batard, a former Miami Herald columnist, wrote eloquently about his father in a piece for ESPN back in 2011 when the show debuted.
“He got to this country with very little money and English, worked his way through college as a waiter, and got a master’s degree in industrial engineering so he could provide for us,” Le Batard wrote. “He didn’t get a lot of joy out of his work, but he did get that.”
More recently, Le Batard went off the air for several weeks in October and November — first for a pre-wedding honeymoon, then to deal with what ESPN told the Miami Herald were “personal matters.” He returned to both ¿Highly Questionable? and his ESPN Radio program The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on Nov. 11.
Big Daddy Graham will make his first public appearance Thursday night since spinal cord surgery in July left him paralyzed from the waist down. Appropriately for the longtime WIP host, it’s to promote something he’s selling.
Graham and fellow WIP host Glen Macnow are hosting a celebration of the revised and newly released edition of The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists. The festivities are scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at PJ Whelihan’s Cherry Hill location, and a who’s who of Philly sports media are expected to attend, including Phillies announcers Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson, former Flyers great Bernie Parent, WIP hosts Al Morganti and Ray Didinger, and others.
“We worked really hard on this book, and we’re really proud of this book," Macnow said. "That I get to celebrate with my friend, who’s had a rough year, makes it all that much more fun.”
Tickets for the event cost $10, and can be purchased on WIP’s website or at the door. That ticket also earns fans a copy of the new book, which Macnow said normally costs $16.
“Big Daddy and I are already losing money on the deal. Which shows what great businessmen we both are,” Macnow joked.
Graham and Macnow will also host a book signing on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Shakespeare & Co. Books on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
• NBC Sports Philadelphia brought back its sports betting-centric Sixers simulcast Wednesday night, which features 97.5 The Fanatic talkers Marc Farzetta and Anthony Gargano and Betting Break host Brad Feinberg. The network has scheduled nine more of these alternative broadcasts, which air on NBC Sports Philadelphia+, though March. The next will be on Monday, Dec. 2, when the Sixers take on the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m.
• Speaking of sports betting, 102.5 The Gambler is expanding its local programming Thursday with the launch of In the Zone, which will focus on all things NBA. The one-hour show, hosted by program director Sean Brace and sports agent Jerrold Colton, will air live on Thursdays at 7 p.m. The launch comes on the heels of Eytan Shander’s new show What are the Odds, which debuted last month and airs Monday through Wednesday at 7 p.m.
• Chef’s kiss for this, from ESPN High Noon co-hosts Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre: