My review of Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable

I have a new favorite television show.

As most of you already know, my set never strays far from the family of ESPN networks, unless of course there’s a sporting event on another channel I should be watching.

Since I tend bar at night, my schedule allows me to watch (or nap through) most of ESPN’s non-prime time programming, so as often as I can, I tune into Mike and Mike, Colin Cowherd, The Scott Van Pelt Show, Outside the Lines, Rome is Burning, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.

It’s an exciting life I lead.

Recently, ESPN gave us a new show that mixes things up a bit.  It’s a talk show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but can when needed.  It’s a show between father and son.  This program is called Highly Questionable with Dan Le Batard and while it might not be for everyone, it’s certainly for me.

Le Batard is a Miami-based newspaper writer and radio host.  He gained national recognition when he regularly sat in for either Michael Wilbon or Tony Kornheiser on PTI.  On his early appearances, he was loud and brash, but on HQDL, we find a more subdued and respectful Le Batard, probably because he’s doing the show with his father, Gonzalo, who he lovingly refers to as “Papi.”

The two sit on their set, an old school, art deco, Miami-style kitchen backdrop, as they answer questions either written by their producer or sent in by viewers.  The affable, guayabera-clad Papi sits in front of his laptop, reading each question aloud in his thick Latin accent, which Le Batard then answers.  He later discusses that topic with his father, asking for his opinion which is generally straight-forward, honest and more often than not, unapologetically biased.

They interview athletes and analysts in candid fashion asking questions a lot of other programs won’t ask.  Highly Questionable is uniquely-edited and generally off-the-cuff.  The best part about the show is that there’s no boisterous or obnoxious debate, like so many other programs on ESPN these days, where the talking heads do their darnedest to shout over the top of each other to get their opinions across.  Are we supposed to find that entertaining?

Highly Questionable is just Dan and his father talking sports.  That’s it.  The show is brilliant in its simplicity and has quickly become my favorite program out of their entire lineup.

HQDL airs on ESPN2 at 4:00 pm and in my opinion is a must-watch.  My only concern is that it may be a bit too ethnic for the likes of some, but as a bilingual sports fan of Latin heritage, I enjoy their antics, whether it’s their dressing in costume, calling Le Batard’s mom for dirt on Papi, playing “Sí o No” about what they should watch that evening or simply talking sports while random jai alai players or refrigerator repairmen loiter on the set behind them.

If you want to tune in to a sincere, entertaining sports program that tackles the serious as well as the mundane, I suggest you give Highly Questionable a chance.  And if you get hooked, you can thank me later.

41 thoughts on “My review of Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable

  1. Pingback: My review of Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable - BallHyped, Straight Ballin Blog | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. I haven’t watched the show a ton, but do enjoy the questions Dan asks during the interviews with athletes. He seems to have a knack for asking things that aren’t always about playing their sport or about something personal that happened to them during a conflict with another coach or player, and he gets good answers from the interviewee.

    I doubt, I’ll set my DVR on it ever, but when I have caught the show, I did find it entertaining…

  3. Chap…

    I guess I’m just tired of hearing Skip Bayless shout over the top of Stephen A.

    This may sound as sacrilege to some, but Dan Patrick and Scott Van Pelt are getting more and more pompous with each brodcast.

    I have my own opinions about sports from watching the games. We all do. I don’t need to be told what to think or have it screamed in my face.

    Just lay it out there and let me decide for myself. Le Batard’s interviews allow me to do that.

    And listening to his dad blast the pundits at ESPN just cracks me up.

  4. Disclaimer: I do not watch the show; I don’t have cable.

    Le Batard cannot be this man’s legal name. If it is, then he must have been the base of many, many jokes growing up. Le Batard is French for “the bastard” (as in Guillaume Le Batard or William the Conqueror as the English call him).

  5. I’m glad someone brought this up, Beag.

    I’d been reading Le Batard, and listening to his radio show (when in Miami), long before HQDL hit the air.

    I never knew he was of Latin heritage.

    We all know that, generations ago, the bulk of European immigrants altered their surnames upon moving to the Americas.

    I’ll be sure to ask them the origin of Le Batard when I’m interviewed on the show.

  6. Chris I’ve been watching this show too and really like it. I like the banter back and forth between the father and son… It reminds me a lot of how it was between my own dad and me. He was an all around sportsman and instilled that in me… Dad’s long gone now. The show fills a void for me… Pretty hookie I guess…

  7. Dwin…

    I think that’s the whole point, brother.

    The show brings out that sentiment in a lot of us.

    I actually watch the show with my mom on occasion and she loves it. She even thinks Papi’s cute.

    I haven’t watched it with my pops yet but he’s just as opinionated as Papi and probably has as many guayaberas.

  8. I get turned off by this show because it never seems to cause a spark. At the same time, I can’t stand listening to First Take and the constant loud mouthing and obnoxious arguing.

    I’ll def check HQ out next time I’m around the Tube.

  9. That’s the thing, DHS.

    These shows aren’t there to cause a spark.

    They serve one purpose, which is to report the news, or at least their version of it. They’re paid analysts.

    Le Batard, at least on this show, doesn’t pretend to break news, or even cause a stink, and I’m perfectly okay with that.

    Somewhere along the line, these guys have forgotten that.

    As for First Take, while that show used to be watchable, I can barely tolerate it now.

    I’m usually taking my (well-deserved) morning nap at that point and I’ve literally had to turn it down, or off, because paid pundits are yelling at each other.

    Not my idea of a good time, or entertainment for that matter.

  10. Sounds like fun man. I have a small collection of guayaberas and am busy slowly growing into them.

  11. Chris

    Stephen A and Skip Bayless the network’s answer to Abbott & Costello ! Hopefully when the program director sees the light both will be put out to pasture !

    LeBatard , having met him on several occasions down in Miami he’s a great guy and fun to be around . He’s got a few insight’s on A-Rod’s numerous problems that I can assure you are so accurate that the player obviously wants it left “on the down low ” .

    If the likes of Mortensen , Shefter , Clayton and Kiper are said to have so much insight on the NFL . How is it that they tend to brown nose ” rather than providing real information ? It’s the same with the likes of Olney and Gammons when it comes to baseball ! Oh , they never were fully aware as to the rumblings within the game concerning steroids ? ##ck I hear that even Stevie Wonder knew what the hell was going on …. and he’s blind .

    So the Nationals are now said to be the front runners for Prince Fielder ? Oh I hear he’ll be getting twice what Jayson Werth is getting (7yrs $119 million) courtesy of the Nats’ off front office of Fielder’s agent Scott Boras has his way .

    Nats’ owner Ted Lerner obviously has way too much money for his own good . If he’s going to offer Fielder $250 million plus he’d better be sure that he’s going to get something tangible in return because the team constructed as it now is …… is still years away from winning !

    Trouble in paradise already for the Kings as DeMarcus Cousins ” wants out” from the organization . Well that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the Sacramento Kings have been about as relevant in the NBA as a piece of fecal matter stuck to the sole of someone’s shoe !

    tophatal ……….

  12. Aer…

    Well, we do live in Florida and you are a little closer to Miami than I am.

    Although they do have some wicked Cuban restaurants here in town.

    Speaking of… I’m due for a little palomilla.

    Now look what you’ve done.

  13. Al…

    Comparing Smith and Bayless to Abbott and Costello is an insult to the original comedy duo. No way are these two nearly as creative. They’re just two guys that argue sports on television.

    You know, I also blame the monitor of those debates, Dana Jacobson and Jay Crawford. How about stepping in and calming things down a bit so I don’t have to turn the volume down on my television, or maybe just slip ‘em a valium to calm them down. Frank Irizarry, the Gator debater, would not be proud.

    If the Nationals can land Fielder, they’ll be one hefty (literally) step closer to contending. I’m eager to see how long it takes to bring up that catcher they drafted number one, and whether Strasburg can give them a full season.

    I haven’t heard the details on the Cousins case. I know he wants out of Sacramento (who wouldn’t) but did he walk out or something?

  14. Try Brocatos,they’re just east of Ybor on Columbus. Joe the owner is an old friend and a genius when it comes to food. Enjoy!

  15. Aer…

    I don’t think I know it. I’ve always been a Teresita or Arco Iris kind of guy, but I will most definitely check that out and report back.

    Should I drop the Mullis name?

  16. I used to watch and/or listen to “shows” on the various ESPN outlets but have grown weary of them, partly due to the resentment ESPN owns most everything now and I’m usually watching most every sporting event on ESPN. These shows all seem to overlap each other on the same daily subjects anyway. As much as I love sports, I would have to say PTI is the one I would most likely gravitate towards still. I found Dan fine when he guested on PTI but admittedly have not seen his own show yet. Perhaps I’ll check it out one of these days based on your post.

  17. SA…

    Definitely check it out once or twice as I think it’ll grow on ya’.

    And you’re right, by no means did I mean to suggest that the ESPN family networks is my only source for all things sports.

    I mix it up quite a bit, whether it’s online blogs, other major sports sites or online newspapers, local radio, etc.

    But during the day, there’s just really not much else on for us rabid sports fans to watch.

    I have resorted to turning down the volume, however, during First Take.

    All they do is talk about Tebow anyway… and loudly.

    Disrupts my peaceful slumber.

  18. Tol…

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that the show will bring up things you won’t necessarily see on other sports shows.

    Can I ask what it is about the show specifically that you don’t like?

    And does that discourage you from watching it?

  19. Chris Jacobsen is easy on the eye to look at as a moderator and that’s about it ! Hell you could insert alleged journalism major Sarah Palin (graduate from Uni’ of Alaska in journalism [but she can't name one damn statute passed by the US Supreme Court ? ] ) and still end up with the same result in terms of the program’s content . WTF !

    Bayless is an oaf ! As for Stephen A .. he’s now beginning to make Al Sharpton seem like an intellectual with his own show on CNN . Need one say anymore on the matter ?

    tophatal ………….

  20. Al…

    I haven’t been following the Republican race all that much as I’m sure I’ll get my fill when they roll into Tampa later this year.

    And I can’t believe Bayless is a mainstay on that show? For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I actually don’t watch that show BECAUSE of him.

    I do like Rob Parker though.

    He’s quite level-headed… or least he is by comparison.

  21. MLK…

    That’s another resounding vote for si.

    I knew I should have posted a poll with this article.

    Now you guys are gonna make me go back and count.

  22. I’ll give it a shot.

    Stephen A.(nnoying) and Mr. Allhedoesiswin autotune are like nails on a chalkboard and more worthy of having tard in their surnames.

  23. I cannot say “si” with any more emphasis to this show. I have “set my DVR” to tape every single episode of PTI in it’s decade long run and always enjoyed when Dan would sub and get under Kornheiser’s skin.

    But this show is even better.

    I now DVR both and always watch PTI first so as to save “the best for last”

    Papi is the key. He is SO my deceased father in law it’s comical. He should unbutton his shirt at least once every week as to bring horror to his son and laughter to the faces of myself and my two sons, 8 and 6 respectively. They act like I’m killing the family pet if I try and watch without them.

    My only lament is that I haven’t been able to find a Papi t-shirt yet with one of his neer Yogi Berra malaprop quotes!

    Long live DLHQ!

  24. RMW…

    “SI, SI, I AM VERY INTRIGUED!!!”

    Yea, man. I love the show. And I’m assuming you’re referring to the episode where they were making fun of Candlestick Park’s Monday Night Football electricity problems. As a spoof, they shut off the lights on the set of DLHQ, only to turn them on again and find Papi unbuttoning his t-shirt.

    I do like the fact that this guy now has a media pass wherever he goes.

    High roller, the papi.

  25. I will admit it – I am hooked on HQ. The first time I saw it I was thinking huh? After seeing it a view times after that I was hooked. What’s not to love about Papi? Dan and his Dad do not take themselves too seriously. I love the bantar between the two. Gracias.

  26. JJ…

    I’m glad to see the show make it this long.

    And you’re right on. While ESPN boasts a line of programming that tries to take itself too seriously, it’s nice to see Dan and his father keep things in their proper perspective.

  27. I love this show, mainly because it is the only sport show that my wife absolutely loves. and now with the addition lof Bomani Jones, the humor is amped up even more. I DVR this everyday.

  28. I think that was their point, Sonny.

    They’re trying to find sports shows, like Sports Nation, that are accessible to more than just the guys between 21-45.

    Either way, I’m watching but I’m their demographic. But my mom loves that show probably more than any other on ESPN.

    Understandable since so many of them are garbage.

  29. Would someone please get this abomination off the air. I’m hispanic and I cant understand half the words the dad says. Now they’ve added Bomani Jones to “spice” things up. Thats like adding another actress to the two girls one cup scene. They just regurgitate crap and feed it to each other. If you want some friendlt bantering tune, wake yo’ (expletive) up and watch Mike & Mike…hey, guess what? You dont even need a TV. ESPN RADIO MOTHA(expletive)ER -Sincerely, Ritchie Incognito

  30. SportsDude…

    First of all, thanks for swinging by. Feel free to comment any time.

    I first wrote this piece almost two years ago when the show first aired. I thought it was a refreshing change to the other shows in their lineup.

    I’ll admit to not having watched it lately, only because they keep fiddling with the time it airs. They should probably pick one time slot and stick to it.

    To be honest, at this point I don’t know whether to laud or criticize ESPN for airing a show that kinda, sorta caters to a more Latin audience, if that’s even it’s intention.

    And re: Mike and Mike, I’m getting a little tired of Greenberg. If I’m going to watch a show, not only do I want to be entertained but I want to be informed and educated. Mike and Mike, while entertaining at times, don’t necessarily do that for me.

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