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)