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What If Tug-Of-War Were Still An Olympic Sport? And Other Crazy Crucial Questions With Mike Pesca

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Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

The book is a whole series of earth-shattering, hypothetical, what-if questions (and posited answers to said earth-shattering, hypothetical, what-if questions):

"What if a blimp full of money had exploded over world track headquarters in 1952?" "What if Nixon had been good at football?" "What if Bobby Fischer had received proper psychiatric help?" "What if the Dodgers had left Brooklyn?" "What if basketball rims were smaller than basketballs?" "What if the 1999 U.S. women's national soccer team had lost the Women's World Cup?" And yes: "What if the Olympics had never dropped tug-of-war?"

It goes on and on.

Pesca joins us for the hour.


  • Louisa Thomas - A NewYorker.com contributor, a former writer and editor for Grantland, and the author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams
  • Will Leitch - Contributing editor at New York magazine, senior writer at Sports on Earth, founder of Deadspin, and a whole bunch of other things
  • Mike Pesca - Host of Slate's daily podcast The Gist and the author of Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on June 7, 2018.