Saturday, August 30, 2008

Birth Certificate Luckily Not A Problem For Logano

Now that 18 year-old Joey Logano has officially joined the ranks of the Sprint Cup Series, the "TV packaging" of this youngster has begun. Already having appeared on NASCAR programs on ESPN and SPEED, Logano is about to hit prime-time.

Tuesday's edition of ESPN's news magazine show called E:60 will feature a behind-the-scenes profile of Logano. Many fans have seen Logano's father Tom, pictured above, but have not been exposed to any other parts of this young man's life. That is about to change.

E:60 will be "hanging with Joey" and watching him do all the things that teenagers do before he becomes just another scheduled and managed millionaire Sprint Cup driver. Joey at the pool. Joey at home. Joey at the beach.

Ironically, Logano is finally in this position because he turned 18. That is the magic age to compete in NASCAR and thankfully his birth certificate was checked thoroughly by the sanctioning body before allowing him on the track with the big boys.

This is important, because interviewing Logano will be E:60's Tom Farrey. If the name sounds familiar, it may be for a controversial ESPN video that is still floating around the Internet.

It was earlier this year that Mr. Farrey took a camera crew to the Dominican Republic. They were not looking at the scenery. They were looking for Major League Baseball player Miguel Tejada. They started at his family home.

"They went to my father's house," Tejada told the AP. "They got the camera everywhere in my father's house. I don't know what they tried to find. They interviewed my father, and they interviewed people from my neighborhood and everything. They [ate] in my father's house. They make my sister cook for them. That's why I feel mad. ... I had an enemy inside of my father's house, and my family treats you nice. And look at what they did to me. My family is really mad right now."

Although Tejada insists that ESPN told him these interviews were about baseball and his team, The Houston Astros, it did not work out that way in the end. What Farrey was hunting was Tejada's true age.

After shooting the Dominican Republic footage, Farrey got Tejada himself on-camera for an interview. Instead of talking baseball, Farrey produced a birth certificate and confronted an embarrassed Tejada about being 33 years old and not 31 as he was listed by the Astros and Major League Baseball.

A sports prodigy just like Logano, Tejada changed his age from 19 to 17 so American baseball scouts would look at him as a younger man who could be considered a pro prospect. To a poor boy from a poor family deep in the Dominican Republic, it made complete sense.

"When they signed me back in '93, I was a young kid," Tejada said. "I really wanted to sign with professional baseball because I thought that was the only way I could help my family. That's the way that everybody did it back in those days. My coach told me that's how we are going to do it, and I followed him."

When Farrey confronted Tejada on-camera about his age, ESPN had deliberately not told Tejada in advance that this would be a topic. He had been called only two days earlier for the sit-down with Farrey and was only told the topic would be "baseball."

Embarrassed and upset, Tejada walked-out. Rather than apologize and try to schedule another interview, ESPN kept and aired the Tejada footage in the very same way that Clint Bowyer's misdirected comment about Michael Waltrip was used this past week.

Tejada walking-out was everywhere. It was on the promos, it was on the Internet, it was being "teased" on SportsCenter and other ESPN programs. To those at ESPN in the current mindset that NASCAR fans are now seeing, Tejada's personal embarrassment was "video gold."

Once Tejada had been "used" and the talked-about E:60 story had been run complete with the walk-out footage, a funny thing happened. Major League Baseball, The Houston Astros and many ESPN viewers all asked the same question. Why did ESPN choose to do things this way?

Houston General Manager Ed Wade said Tejada's age revelation "has no effect on our club. I don't think there is any kind of short-term impact on our club and I don't foresee any long-term impact. He's still a premium player. We are happy to have him. He has a couple years left on his deal. I would like to see him play a lot longer than that in our uniform." Tejada's contract with the Astros expires at the end of the 2009 season.

All this work, all this expense and all this hype to embarrass one professional athlete on ESPN...for nothing more than TV ratings. Sound familiar?

E:60's Farrey is the reporter who will be showcasing Logano to ESPN viewers in prime-time on Tuesday night at 7PM ET. While we do not know what Farrey has up-his-sleeve for this report, we can rest assured that Farrey and his crack staff will be using their new found expertise to confirm for America that Logano is really 18 years old. What a relief.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

(photo courtesy of Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)


Dot said...

Poor guy. Does it really matter how old one is to play baseball? I guess ageism is the only one left since sexism and racism are taboo.

KyB got spanked by race officials some years back because he (or parents) changed his birth cert so he could race.

ESPN is beyond belief. Does the E stand for Enquirer? Good grief.

On a side note, I was on Jayski and ESPN offered a survey. I decided to click on it thinking they were going to ask about their sports coverage, etc. The second question asked what product I thought of regarding ED. Aborted survey. Now we know which head they are thinking with.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems like it Dot :(

I hope they're professional about it or I think Daddy Tom will have a "chat" with them.

Yes his parents lied about his age so he could race, he's why they raised the age.

Newracefan said...

Dot, wow glad I've always ignored those surveys, I would have been more than annoyed.

Hopefully this E60 piece just shows him being an 18YO kid (mine's 24 I remember those days) becuase I am hoping he has some kind of life other than racing to help keep hom well rounded and humble. We already have one arrogant wisea.. we need a balance.

majorshouse said...

It sounds like the typical tabloid journalism that unfortunately ESPN has gotten caught up in. I agree when I say that I hope that Logano stays grounded because we already have a 23 year old punk named Kyle.

Anonymous said...

I will break my personal boycott to see if Joey is Tejada'd. This "reporter" is just a muck raker & not a good one. Now if Miguel's birth certificate had shown him 2 years younger - then theres a problem. I doubt it will be flattering, or unbiased.
I think the E in espn is for the first word in ED. I'm keeping it clean here JD.

Daly Planet Editor said...

If you noticed, Jay has included a note about the survey being ESPN's and himself not being involved.

NASCAR has found itself directly in the aim of the ED companies and they have the right to buy and promote their products like any other company.

My questions about why the survey does not mention what it is about right away were not answered.

I hope Jay got a lot of money in the deal because I think he also gave up a lot.


glenc1 said...

the show has done other features that didn't put people on the spot at all (Randy Moss.) Perhaps it's this one guy (I hate 'ambush' journalism; it's not professional.)

Lying about age *can be* important, it's not just 'ageism'--remember the Little League player from a few years back? It's relevant at the time IF you're competing illegally (as in Kyle's case or possibly the more recent Olympics), in Tejada's case, the truth would not have changed legality. So one would have to look at the whole perspective and treat it in an intelligent matter, which of course, is a bit haphazard at ESPN (as well as ALL TV 'journalism', and i use the term loosely.) But also, lying in general CAN go to credibility; it just depends on the case (ie, doping, steroids.)

I kinda doubt Joey has any skeletons since he was 'famous' at such a young age--with all the attention I think they'd have surfaced by now. But I certainly hope he and his family get a fair treatment and are not victims of some clown going for the sensational.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a really interesting take on the Tejada interview.

Another take might be that this was hard-hitting journalism, backed-up by old-fashioned on the ground reporting and investigation that resulted in pretty solid proof that a major sports celebrity had lied in order to make himself appear more attractive to teams willing to pay millions.

To me, that is a big story - and Tejada's walking out is the final proof, the equivalent of pleading the 5th -- a move that basically shows the journalists hard work was correct. He'd been busted.... and rich pampered people don't like to get caught lying. Boo hoo for Tejada.

I am really surprised at the way you framed the E60 interview with Tejada. I don't think it was unfair in the least. Kudos to them for breaking a serious story that has implications far beyond the single athlete they were profiling.

If E60 goes in and asks Logano some hard-hitting questions, and seriously raises the broader issue of barely-of-age drivers in the Cup Series... then more power to them. It is not E60's job to do another promo piece for NASCAR's biggest star. I hope they do put Logano under the microscope. Anything less is undeserving of the 60 Minutes franchise.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:25AM,

The Tejada story is over a decade old and was one of the most common inside jokes in baseball.

ESPN has been around for twenty-five years and suddenly your hard-hitting news magazine gets a scoop?

The gold for ESPN is getting footage that embarasses people. That is why Tejada was confronted rather then just asked a question about why this occurred in Latin Countries over a decade ago.

E:60 has been roundly panned by TV and Media critics as one of the worst shows on ESPN. It is the only surviving franchise of an entire division of the company that collapsed because of the poor quality of programming it produced.

There used to be so much quality programming on ESPN aimed directly at the sport fan, and now it is a multi-channel mess of talk and sensationalism.

How is that for hard-hitting?


Anonymous said...

@JD--Yes I remember 2K3/2K4 Speed Weeks being sponsored by one of the ED products and it wasn't Viagra...but we were inundated with the ads...

Dot said...

@ Jo, Good one. Keep that up and maybe you'll be headlining on the Strip. I'll look for your name on the marquees. lol

@ glenc1, You brought up good points. I remember the 16 yr old "Little" League pitcher. Turned me off of LL forever. Same thing w/Olympics. Some competitors in the past (and maybe now) have been 15 yrs old for 3 yrs in gymnastics.

@ newracefan, Let's hope Joey learns how not to be a good racer and an a** rolled into one.

I was on Jay before I got here. That pop up survey did not pop up. Maybe if you do click on it, it goes away. I agree with JD, I hope the money was good. I don't blame him though. Maybe he has no choice since he is part of ESPN.

Anonymous said...

dot - Part of the problem with the Olympics and the age issue is ... at least in ice skating, the minimum age for US Nationals is younger than what it is for Worlds ... This happens in other sports too ... This year, it got magnified in both the ice skating AND the gymnastics ...

Maybe we can get ESPN to scour the earth for the real age of those Chinese gymnasts ... No way some of those girls were 15/16 ...

So, did NASCAR get a certified copy of Joey's birth certificate from the state that he was born in?? I still think he's too young & way overhyped ...

Anonymous said...

Where did Kyle B race illegally? He competed in the trucks at 16 - which was legal then but had to stop because of the tobacco sponsorship at the track - Auto Club Speedway and that is when NASCAR made the rule about being over 18. It was a big issue as far as tobacco sponsorship when all of this happened.