it's all fair game. Sports people of all stripes are everywhere -- the hosts Jay Crawford and Kit Hoover, really, really tall basketballers, the lucky couple Woody Paige and Skip Bayless -- and they'll talk to anyone about anything even remotely sports-related. For example, along with the D.C. boys' bit, today's show featured a distractingly sexy female pro wrestler, and this guy from Boston who quit his advertising job in order to devote more time to playing fantasy football. (He wrote a book about it, which is the only reason he still has a wife.)
Not much soccer paraphernalia down here, but New York Daily News basketball writer Frank Isola, who was being interviewed for another segment, showed his true colors when I overheard him explaining to someone that Alecko's father, Andranik, was a great player for the New York Cosmos back in the day. Gotta love basketball writers who get the soccer thing.
Once on camera, Ben and Alecko jumped through the usual TV hoops that were set up for them. Sometimes it's a little embarrassing, but they were good sports. It was all for a good cause -- Toys for Tots -- and the boys felt pretty strongly about that. They donned Santa hats, and emerged from under the stairs as if they were two subterranean hobos bearing gifts. They both answered questions about their holiday plans. And, finally, because U.S. sports personalities never really know what to do with soccer players -- I think it's because we're simply smarter than the average bear -- Ben did some juggling, or as I like to call it, "Stupid Human Soccer Tricks."
Ben and Alecko were on. Two totally different characters. Ben played the shy sophisticated one, demurely flashing that brilliant smile-smirk of his that says he's got a lot more going on in his head than he's letting on. Alecko, on the other hand, let it all hang out, just like on the field. He laughed openly and hammed it up a little. Best line: Alecko telling Kit Hoover that he was going to celebrate the New Year with mistletoe and her. If it hadn't been shooting live I would've cracked up.
Back in the Green Room, there was the usual post-game banter. The boys offered critiques of each other. "You should have your own show," Ben told Alecko. They schmoozed with Woody Paige.
Then it was over. Ben had to rush off to catch a flight. Alecko slipped on his Jersey black leather jacket. And before they left, they gave each other a hug like two teammates saying goodbye after a game. Two friends parting ways until the next time.
Greg Lalas played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the New England Revolution in 1996 and 1997. Send e-mail to Greg at email@example.com. Views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.