AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him and let him know what you think.
It's prime time for Spring Break, and who deserves a wild weekend, meet-and-greet with some of its fans more than the staff of ESPN? That's right, Orlando, lock up your daughters: It's ESPN the Weekend. This is year four of the event that takes a bunch of current athletes, former athletes and ESPN personalities and unleashes them upon Disney's landscape. And, you, YOU, lucky fan and admirer of the WWL can interact with these people in a Magical Kingdom, within groping distance of all of these sports luminaries and dimly lit sports reporting personalities.
Notables from the sports world scheduled to appear include: Ben Roethlisberger, David Robinson, Drew Brees, Roger Clemens, Devin Hester, Roy Oswalt and, amazingly, former Dodgers manager Swirly Lasorda. Mangia!
The ESPNers scheduled include: Peter Gammons, Mike Golic, Dan Patrick, Lemme Know, Linda Cohn, Karl Ravech and El Wingo.
Noticeably absent from the ESPN promo team? Salisbury and Berman. Salisbury, well, he knows Orlando is Cougar central, and he likes them a bit younger, so he's probably going lone wolf in Bristol this weekend, maybe taking in a matinee of Wild Hogs. But Berman? He's emceed a bunch of these things, but you're telling me that the man who is arguably the most recognizable face on the Network is unavailable to attend a meet-and-greet with a delirious family-friendly fan base? Really. He's not into that sort of thing? Weekender in Florida with all of his buddies and hanging out doing the New Year's Eve countdown at Pleasure Island every night? Yeah, I'm sure he voluntarily sat that one out.
As most of us know, any kind of work trip or class trip usually has its own little cliques. And most of the fans this week who've plunked down their hard-earned cash to, hopefully, ride Space Mountain with Chris McKendry (not a euphemism — well, maybe it is) will naturally gravitate toward the athletes/ESPN personalities they find most recognizable and appealing. That'll result in very lonely moments for some of the lesser known, lesser liked personalities who will find themselves sitting in the Mad Teacups all by themselves this weekend as Stu Scott fights off the boo-yahing hordes and Dan Patrick tries to close the deal with Snow White.
So I'm putting on my Captain Neo glasses, maxing out my Dick's Sporting Goods gift cards and placing odds on the ESPN personalities who'll be the least popular at the WWL's Disney Weekend.
Let's pants Mike Greenberg in the Hall of Presidents, after this jump ...
Eric Karabell: 2/1
When he's not being mistaken for John Clayton's son, Karabell will most likely be spending a lot of his time trapped in his hotel room because, unfortunately, he's got his Northeast Regional 5x5 Elite baseball draft this weekend and he's determined not to let Howie Kendrick slip past round six this time. So, he might catch up with some of the guys later on Saturday night, but he has to get up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning to drive down to Clearwater because Cole Hamels is supposed to be throwing BP. And how could he possibly miss that?
Orestes Destrade: 3/1
Even though he's become a major contributor to "Baseball Tonight," Destrade is kind of caught in the middle between unmemorable major league baseball player and not-so-recognizable ESPN personality. Plus, it doesn't help that he's probably the nerdiest looking Cuban ex-baseball player on the planet. So, in order to not feel out of place all weekend, he'll most likely spend a lot of time with his family, standing in line at EPCOT Center and spending thousands of dollars to get his wife and children matching leather Universal Studios jackets. You're a stud, Orestes. A big fucking Cuban stud.
John Seibel: 2/1
You may not recognize John Seibel, but you'll be able to pick him out by the "I'm sorry, who are you again?" responses he gets when he attempts to get special treatment at all Disney events this weekend. It won't help that Steve Phillips still think he's the summer intern and keeps asking him to call the front desk at his hotel to make sure he's got enough pillows.
Skip Bayless: 1/1
"Hi. My name's Skip. I work for Cold Pizza. Do you want a picture with me?" His enormous ego will get the best of him, and Bayless will find it unconscionable that some of the fans down here for The Weekend wouldn't want him to accompany them in the Haunted House. Look for Skip to follow around a bunch of the better known ESPNers, inserting himself into pictures and chastising people who don't know who he is. I'm Skip. Skip Bayless. Cold Pizza?
Howie Schwab: 1/4
Ugh. Is there ever a situation in life where this guy would ever be a welcome addition to your social circle? I'm sure Stu Scott will be trying to shake Howie all weekend, or else he'll spend his after hours at 8 Trax trying to lasso Orlando ponies with a wingman who'll try to seduce women with his ability to name every Hartford Whaler from the 80s in alphabetical order — backwards. If you're heading down to Orlando, expect to find Schwab spending a lot of his downtime wandering around Tomorrowland by himself after he was told that "everybody was meeting up there around 9 p.m." Plus, when he does get recognized, it'll be by a bunch of meatheads, grabbing their crotches and yelling "Hey Schwab! Stump this!".