As co-host of “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio and on TV at ESPN2, Mike Greenberg makes a difference for many sports fans nationwide to start their day.
The man referred to as “Greeny” by his broadcast partner, Mike Golic, has penned a novel to do something positive in the wake of losing a close friend, Heidi Armitage, to breast cancer in 2009.
As part of Greenberg and Golic’s annual broadcast from the Hootie & the Blowfish “Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am” at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, a fundraiser for the group’s foundation helping various charities, Greeny has booked some time to sign copies of “All You Could Ask For,” released April 2 by HarperCollins Publishers’ William Morrow division.
Meet Greenberg at noon April 15 at Books-A-Million at Myrtle Beach mall, at U.S. 17 and S.C. 22, near Briarcliffe Acres. His novel takes readers on the paths three women take in forging friendship amid crises. In a phone interview last month from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., he said this book fulfills a mission in his heart, and that “every single penny we get from this” in sales proceeds will go to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
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Question | How is the adjustment going from interviewee from interviewer with the release of “All You Could Ask For?”
Answer | I think it’s going well. The book is something that’s so different in every conceivable way. It’s such a departure, so different, that it hardly feels the same, but it’s also something to remind me of what I do normally every day.
Q. | How does release of this novel, with voices given to three women, help give you some extra release in mourning the death of your family friend, and help the V Foundation for Cancer Research, which ESPN has done so much to promote for viewers and listeners through the years?
A. | I wrote in the book so that my sense of a feeling of justice in the universe was tremendously impacted by my friend. My wife, Stacy, and I had a close friend who died after a very brief battle against breast cancer. She had pain in her back but did not have anything else seriously wrong with her. By the time she was diagnosed, doctors said there was nothing they could do. ...
To see this happen, it really haunted me with my sense for justice. I felt like I need to do something. I thought about the idea of running a marathon and raising money, then the idea for a book came into my head. There are times in your life when you have to do something, and this was the best thing I could think of. ... And we can make something positive come from it.
Q. | When have you carved out the time to focus on piecing together this book?
A. | It took me a year and a half to write it. ... In the mail, the publisher sent me one of the first copies of the book, just so I could see what it looked like with the hardcover and jacket. I said to my wife, “What an amazing journey it has been.” I jotted down my first words in the book on a flight to the ESPY Awards in July 2010. It really is a huge process.
Q. | In 13 1/2 years together on the air with Mike Golic, what are the neatest nuggets of insight you’ve learned about each other’s hometown – New York and Cleveland, respectively – whether for sports or anything else, solely through each other?
A. | Mike Golic has two hometowns: Cleveland, where he grew up, then Golic goes to his sports hometown, South Bend, Ind., where he played football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he’s like Santa Claus on Christmas. He is the mayor of that town, or Golic should be the mayor there. He travels around the town in a golf cart. Golic is to South Bend what Norm was to “Cheers:” He just walks in there and everyone knows his [name].
Q. | If Mike Golic’s oldest brother, Bob – a former Cleveland Browns nose tackle, who in 2005, started his own general talk radio show on WNIR-FM 100.1”The Talk of Akron” – were to fill in someday on “Mike & Mike” for one of you, would that be a bigger relief/respite for you or Golic on that day?
A. | Anytime he wants to come, he’s welcome. All three of the Golic brothers, including both Bob and Greg, are great. Every year, we go to Progressive Field in Cleveland – Progressive Insurance is a sponsor of the show – for a half-hour with the three of them, and it’s always so fun.
Q. | With the tradition made in broadcasting “Mike and Mike” by remote for “Monday after the Masters,” what other pastime scores the most for you on these Grand Strand visits?
A. | I love this trip because every single year, it is by definition, the Monday after the Masters. The Sunday of the Masters is my single favorite television event of the year, even ahead of the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four. I just open up all the windows, and I sit there in my room by myself and I watch this magnificent event.
Q. | Do you have favorite songs by Hootie & the Blowfish and lead singer Darius Rucker each?
A. | Golic’s a fan of Darius in his new incarnation as a country artist. ... I like all of those old Hootie & the Blowfish songs such as “Let Her Cry” and “Only Want To Be With You,” which to this day, it’s one of those songs on the radio I love to hear. But I’ll say “Let Her Cry.” Darius has done a fabulous parody of that, when he’s one of the fill-in guys on our show when we’re on vacation, and he’s really funny.
Q. | What step in the rebuilding process for your favorite NFL team, the New York Jets, would parting ways with All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis mean?
A. | I am against trading Revis. I don’t think you get better by trading your best player. You can’t have too many great players. I’m not sure the Jets have any other great players.
Q. | You had quite the tutor and partner in Anna Trebunskaya of “Dancing with the Stars” for a routine performed live on “Mike and Mike” last May. What stars had the most cheers from you to start this 16th season of the dance show?
A. | I always root for the athletes .. because it’s for the good of sports. I love Dorothy Hamill. .. She and Chris Evert were the first two women I ever loved.
Q. | You used to voice a desire to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” Is that still the case?
A. | No. Having Anna come here in the studio, that was so much fun. It went so well. I want to leave it as a perfect memory, and there’s [no] reason to mess with it.