Weekly Updates

ESPN MidWeek – February 27, 2013


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NBA: Doubleheaders on ABC and ESPN; “Awesomest Dude in NBA” Contest



ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase: Heat at Knicks; Thunder at Clippers
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ABC will present a blockbuster NBA Sunday Showcase doubleheader, March 3, beginning at 1 p.m. ET when the defending NBA champion Miami Heat and LeBron James visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. With a win Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Heat would enter Sunday poised to tie their longest win streak in franchise history. Mike Breen has the call with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters.

A star-studded Western Conference showdown will follow at 3:30 p.m. matching the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder – led by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – against the Los Angeles Clippers and the dynamic duo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Mike Tirico will be joined by analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Chris Broussard for the telecast.

KIA NBA Countdown – with Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and Michael Wilbon – precedes the doubleheader at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.

The prime-time game on ESPN features a divisional battle between the Central division-leading Indiana Pacers – led by David West – and the second-place Chicago Bulls and Joakim Noah. The game tips at 8 p.m. with Dave Pasch and Doris Burke providing commentary.

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Sun., Mar. 3 12:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Michael Wilbon ABC
  1 p.m. Miami Heat at New York Knicks Presented by State Farm Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters ABC
  3:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles  Clippers Presented by State Farm  Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox ABC
  8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Presented by State Farm Dave Pasch, Doris Burke ESPN, WatchESPN


NBA Friday on ESPN: Heat, LeBron Look to Extend Hot Streak to 13 Straight Wins
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The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat – led by Eastern Conference Player of the Week LeBron James – will try to extend their season-high streak to 13 straight wins on Friday, March 1, against the Memphis Grizzlies and Zach Randolph. The game tips at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Mike Breen calls the action with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters.

In the nightcap, the Denver Nuggets and Kenneth Faried host the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant at 10:30 p.m. Mike Tirico and Jon Barry will provide commentary.

KIA NBA Countdown – with Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and Michael Wilbon – precedes the doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. ESPN NBA games and Countdown are available on computers, smartphones and tablets via WatchESPN.

Also this week, the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry face the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. Following, the Portland Trail Blazers and LaMarcus Aldridge host the Denver Nuggets and Andre Iguodala at 10:30 p.m.

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Wed., Feb. 27 7:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown                    Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon ESPN, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks Presented by State Farm                     Mark Jones, Doris Burke ESPN, WatchESPN
  10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Presented by State Farm                        Terry Gannon, Jon Barry ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., Mar. 1 7:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown                    Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Michael Wilbon ESPN, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Miami Heat Presented by State Farm                Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters ESPN, WatchESPN
  10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets Presented by State Farm   Mike Tirico, Jon Barry ESPN, WatchESPN









Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant Finalists in SportsNation’s “Awesomest Dude in the NBA” Contest
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Thursday marks the last day to vote for the “Awesomest Dude in the NBA”  and SportsNation’s fan-voting contest is down to two players: Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The two, who have been lighting up the court this season, beat out Blake Griffin, James Harden and others to make the final round.

Fans can vote on SportsNation’s facebook page until 5 p.m. on Thursday. The winner will be announced on Friday, March 1, during the show.

The “Awesomest Dude in the NBA” contest launched on February 11. Since then, fans have voted an estimated 25,000 times. In two rounds thus far, Irving has received 33.5% of the overall vote and led all players in votes received in the first and second rounds while Durant has received 20.7% of the overall vote and finished second in voting to Irving in both rounds.

SportsNation airs weekdays at 4 p.m. on ESPN2. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.


Featherweight Billy Dib – Promoted by Entertainer 50 Cent – to Defend Title on FNF; 50 Cent to Visit ESPN Thursday to Appear on TV & Radio Shows
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 ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will feature an IBF Title fight between Featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-1, 1 NC, 21 KOs) and undefeated challenger Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) in the 12-round main event. Friday’s show from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., will air live at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 HD, and will be available online through WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. The card will also air live on ESPN Deportes+, the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes, and will air tape delayed on ESPN Deportes Saturday morning at 3 a.m. The card is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, owned by multiplatinum recording artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside describing the action for ESPN2 HD, while studio host Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will be on site presenting the latest boxing news and highlights. Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call this week’s fights for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Friday Night Fights) with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both shows.

50 Cent will be at ESPN’s headquarters on Thursday, February 28, for an ESPN “Car Wash” to discuss Friday’s main event on ESPN TV and radio shows. He will also be the sparring partner in Friday’s “Fight Plan” segment with Atlas, in which Atlas and a sparring partner outline what each fighter needs to do to win. Read more.

espnW: Rutgers Coach Stringer Gets 900th Win, Tennessee-Connecticut Rivalry Revisited and Black History Month Celebration Continues
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Rutgers women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer nabbed her 900th career win Tuesday night, becoming only the fourth women’s coach to reach the milestone. espnW.com’s Mechelle Voepel examines the road to 900 and what is next for Stringer.  Voepel also reflects on the past Tennesee-Connecticut rivalry in light of former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt’s book release.  espnW’s celebration of Black History Month continues with a feature on Stephanie Ready, who in 2001 became the first female coach of a men’s professional team.

New Black History Month-Related Stories  on ESPN.com
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Several new stories have been added to the ESPN.com Black History Month topics page. ESPN.com celebrated the accomplishments of African-American athletes throughout the month with the SportsNation Rank’Em polls, online chats with some of the top athletes, and profile stories. This week’s latest story centers how the “SEC Leads the Way in Diversity” with seven African-American college basketball coaches.

OTL Earns 2013 Gracie Award
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Outside the Lines received a 2013 Gracie National Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) which named the ESPN series its “Outstanding Sports Program” this week. The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry.

MLS Season Begins Sunday
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ESPN ‘s 20-game MLS regular-season schedule kicks off Sunday, March 3,  with the Portland Timbers vs. the New York Red Bulls, featuring 1998 FIFA World Cup champion Thierry Henry, on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN at 7:30 p.m.  Play-by-play commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman, sideline reporter Monica Gonzalez, and studio analyst Alexi Lalas will provide commentaries.  Highlights:

  • Live match preceded by a pre-game, highlights-driven show featuring key moments from the six MLS matches played on Saturday, as well as a preview of the Timbers-Red Bulls matchup;
  • The pre-game show will also feature one of the best traditions in American sports by a team’s fan group – the Timbers Army singing the national anthem before kickoff;
  • Healey, Twellman and Lalas will host a special MLS post-game show on ESPN3, the live multi-screen sports network available in 83 million homes, immediately following the completion of the match.  In the program, also available on ESPN FC and WatchESPN, Twellman and Lalas will answer viewer questions and share insight on key matchups to expect in Week 2 of the MLS schedule.

In addition, this weekend ESPN networks will present seven matches from the Barclays Premier League, Mexico’s Liga MX, Dutch Eredivisie and the Portuguese Liga.  All matches will be available on WatchESPN.

Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Fri, March 1 8:25 p.m. Jaguares vs. Santos Laguna ESPN Deportes
Sat, March 2 9:55 a.m. Manchester United vs. Norwich City ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes
  1:45 p.m. PSV Eindhoven vs. VVV Venlo ESPN3
  2:45 p.m. FC Twente vs. Ajax ESPN3
  2:45 p.m. Sporting CP vs. FC Porto ESPN3
Sun, March 3 2:30 p.m. SC Beira Mar vs. Benfica ESPN3
  7:30 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. NY Red Bulls ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes
Mon, March 4 2:55 p.m. Aston Villa vs. Manchester City ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes

30 for 30 Shorts: Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner Premieres Today on Grantland.com Showcasing the World’s Most Famous Baseball Card
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The T206 Honus Wagner is the most famous baseball card in the world.  Bought and sold many times over, the card has now appreciated to nearly three million dollars, but some in the card industry believe this gem may have been doctored.  From mere speculation, the accusations of alteration have risen all the way to federal indictments.  In this 30 for 30 Short directed by Nick and Colin Barnicle, baseball card experts and enthusiasts including Keith Olbermann, Michael O’Keeffe, David Hall and Matt Federgreen discuss the history of this iconic card.  Watch Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner here.

Additionally, Grantland’s Jonah Keri takes a closer look at the world of baseball cards with his feature “The Value of Imperfection.”

Previous films from the 30 for 30 Shorts series include Arnold’s Blueprint, The Arnold Palmer, Jake, Ali: The Mission and Disdain the Mundane, which can all be viewed on Grantland.com.  ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series is artfully crafted by Blue Moon.

Men’s College Basketball: No. 1 Indiana Hosts No. 16 Ohio State
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ESPN’s men’s college basketball schedule for early next week will be highlighted by No. 1 Indiana hosting No. 16 Ohio State in a Big Ten showdown on Tuesday, March 5, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Overall, ESPN platforms will carry seven of the top-10 ranked teams, including two of the top six on ESPNU: No. 3 Duke against Virginia Tech (Tuesday, March 5, at 7 p.m.) and No. 6 Kansas against Texas Tech (Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m.)

ESPN2 will televise No. 7 Georgetown, winners of its last nine games, vs. a Villanova squad playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. Also on Wednesday, ESPN3 will carry No. 5 Miami against Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. and No. 8 Florida against Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 schedule through March 6

Date Time (ET) Matchup/Commentators Network
Mon, Mar 4 7 p.m. Cincinnati at No. 10 LouisvilleSean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Bill Raftery ESPN
  7 p.m. Texas Tech at No. 6 KansasCarter Blackburn & Stephen Bardo ESPNU
  9 p.m. Baylor at Texas Brent Musburger & Fran Fraschilla ESPN
  9 p.m. Savannah State at North Carolina A&TMatt Schick & Stan Lewter ESPNU
Tue, Mar 5 7 p.m. Arkansas at MissouriBrad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake ESPN
  7 p.m. St. John’s at No. 21 Notre DameRece Davis, Bob Knight & Digger Phelps ESPN2
  7 p.m. Virginia Tech at No. 3 DukeTom Hart & Len Elmore ESPNU
  7 p.m. No. 22 Marquette at RutgersScott Graham & John Celestand ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network
  7 p.m. Boston College at Clemson ESPN3 * & RSN ^
  8 p.m. TCU at No. 13 Kansas StateDave Armstrong & Rich Zvosec ESPN3 * & Big 12 Network
  9 p.m. No. 16 Ohio State at No. 1 IndianaMike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Samantha Ponder ESPN
  9 p.m. Alabama at MississippiDari Nowkhah & Dino Gaudio ESPNU
  9 p.m. Seton Hall at ProvidenceEric Frede & Ron Perry ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network
Wed, Mar 6 6 p.m. DePaul at No. 12 SyracuseJason Benetti & Bob Wenzel ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network
  7 p.m. North Carolina at MarylandDan Shulman & Dick Vitale ESPN
  7 p.m. No. 7 Georgetown at VillanovaMike Patrick & LaPhonso Ellis ESPN2
  7 p.m. No. 15 Oklahoma State at Iowa StateMitch Holthus & Matt Doherty ESPNU
  7 p.m. Mississippi State at South CarolinaMike Gleason & Nate Ross ESPN3
  8 p.m. LSU at Texas A&MClay Matvick & Joe Dean ESPN3 & SEC Network
  8 p.m. Vanderbilt at No. 8 FloridaDave Neal & Barry Booker ESPN3 & SEC Network
  9 p.m. West Virginia at OklahomaBob Wischusen & Stephen Bardo ESPN2
  9 p.m. Connecticut at South FloridaAdam Amin & Tim Welsh ESPNU
  9 p.m. Georgia Tech at No. 5 Miami ESPN3 * & ACC Network
  9 p.m. Wake Forest at NC State ESPN3 * & ACC Network
  9 p.m. Tennessee at AuburnMatt Stewart & Daymeon Fishback ESPN3 * & CSS
  11 p.m. Stanford at CaliforniaDave Pasch & Bill Walton ESPN2

* Local blackout may apply

NASCAR Now to Preview Phoenix Sprint Cup Race

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ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program, NASCAR Now, will preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in a one-hour edition Sunday, March 3, at 11 a.m.  Studio host Mike Massaro will be joined from the track by analyst Andy Petree and reporters Marty Smith and Shannon Spake. ESPN2 will air the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Phoenix Saturday, March 2, at 4 p.m.

ESPN2 to Televise Five Hours of the Bassmaster Classic This Weekend
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ESPN2will televise five hours reviewing the Bassmaster Classic beginning Saturday, March 2, at 9 a.m. with Day One and concluding with the Championship on Sunday, March 3, at 10 p.m. With a total purse of $1.2 million, the Bassmaster Classic includes 53 anglers and a first prize worth $500,000. Commentators Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders call the event, which took place Feb. 22-24 in Oklahoma on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Special guest anglers Gerald Swindle, Byron Velvick and 2012 Bassmaster Classic Champion Chris Lane also help out with the commentary.

The Bassmaster Classic starts off the 2013 season and leads into the Bassmaster Elite Series. Airing on ESPN2, these one-hour shows begin Sunday, March 24, and conclude with the Bassmaster Elite Series-All Star in mid-October. Complete schedule of shows.

ESPN has carried the Bassmaster Classic since 2000 and recently extended its agreement with BASS through 2016. Beginning next year, ESPN’s distribution rights will extend beyond the United States to Sub-Saharan Africa. ESPN will continue to televise 20 hours of original programming each year, including five hours of the Bassmaster Classic.

Date Time (ET) Show Network(s)
Sat, Mar 2 9-9:55 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Day One ESPN2, WatchESPN
Sun, Mar 3 6-7 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Day One (encore) ESPN2
  7-9 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Day Two ESPN2, WatchESPN
  10 p.m.-12 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Championship ESPN2, WatchESPN
Sun, Mar 10 5-7 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Day Two (encore) ESPN2
  7-9 a.m. 2013 Bassmaster Classic – Championship (encore) ESPN2


 PBA on ESPN: Don Carter Classic Showcases PBA League, PBA Tour Championship Match
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The PBA’s Don Carter Classic airs Sunday, March 3, at 3 p.m. on ESPN, with the Don Carter Classic PBA Tour championship match and the return of the PBA League.

In the individual championship, seven-time Tour titlist and last week’s USBC Masters runner-up, Wes Malott, faces Jason Sterner, who is looking for his first Tour win.

In the PBA League Round 4, the winner of the League Clash will face Chris Hardwick’s Silver Lake Atom Splitters for the chance to battle points leader Billie Jean King’s New York City WTT KingPins and the top-seeded Brooklyn STyLES owned by TV’s Jesse Williams.

The final PBA League preliminary round will air March 24, determining the top four finalists for the PBA League Elias Cup finals. The Elias Cup, named in honor of PBA founder Eddie Elias, airs Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. on ESPN from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

Viewers can follow the PBA on ESPN on Twitter with the hashtags #LoveTheLanes and #PBALeague.

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Sun, Mar 3 3 p.m. PBA League – Round 4 with Don Carter Classic Finals ESPN
Sun, Mar 24 1 p.m. PBA League – Round 5 with Earl Anthony Players Championship Finals ESPN
Sun, Mar 31 2:30 p.m. Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions  ESPN
Sun, Apr 7 1 p.m. PBA League – Elias Cup Finals ESPN

Vernon Davis of the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers Visits ESPN
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San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis will join radio and TV shows as a guest during a visit to ESPN on Thursday, Feb. 28. His anticipated schedule includes appearances on SportsCenter as well as the following:

Time (ET) Show Network(s)
6-10 a.m. Mike and Mike in the Morning ESPN Radio, ESPN2
10 a.m.-12 p.m. First Take ESPN2
10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Herd with Colin Cowherd ESPN Radio
1-4 p.m. SVP and Russillo ESPN Radio
3:30-4 p.m. Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable ESPN2
4-7 p.m. Coach and Company ESPN Radio
4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
5-6 p.m. NFL32 ESPN2


Six-time Pro Bowl Center Jeff Saturday Visits ESPN as a Guest Analyst Monday and Tuesday
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Jeff Saturday, the recently retired Green Bay Packers center, who was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, will visit ESPN on Monday, Mar. 4, and Tuesday, Mar. 5, as a guest analyst. A former teammate of Peyton Manning while both were playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday will appear on SportsCenter and ESPN NFL shows during his two-day visit. His anticipated schedule:

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Mon, Mar 4 4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
  5-6 p.m. NFL32 ESPN2
Tue, Mar 5 4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN

Ninth Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney To Showcase Florida A&M and Mississippi Valley State
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The 2013 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney will feature the Florida A&M University Rattlers of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in a gridiron battle at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 1. The yearly event, which features teams from two prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), brings approximately 20,000 fans to Central Florida over Labor Day Weekend for the start of college football season. ESPN will televise the game; exact times will be announced at a later date. Full Release


More E:60 “Inspirational” Pieces on ABC
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ESPN’s award-winning news magazine, E:60, continues presenting on ABC some of its best inspirational pieces from last year on Saturday, March 2, at 4 p.m.

Ben Petrick – Strength From Weakness
A five-tool player, Ben Petrick was projected to be the Colorado Rockies’ catcher for the next decade, a future All-Star and possibly a Hall of Famer.  After only 72 major league plate appearances, Petrick was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s.  As the disease debilitated him, Petrick hid his condition from most of the baseball world and waged an inner struggle to keep his career alive. Buster Olney reports on how Petrick has become an inspiration in the battle against Parkinson’s.

In an unlikely story of resiliency and inspiration, Notinrwildestdremz, once a scrawny and severely stunted one year-old philly, stepped into the starting gate for her first race last year, trained by Billy Turner, trainer of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.  Her unforgettable story is told by legendary racing journalist Bill Nack.

Heath White, a 38-year-old marathon runner and Air Force pilot turned FBI agent strived for perfection. Everything changed when he and his wife learned their unborn child had Down syndrome, an imperfection that threatened White’s seemingly perfect life.  Little did he know, the birth of his second daughter, Paisley, would touch the depth of his soul.

A Girl’s Best Friend
Sami Stoner loved to run, but in eighth grade a rare disease cost her most of her vision. Today, Sami is a 17-year-old senior who runs for the Lexington (Ohio) High School cross-country team. She is able to compete thanks to a remarkable partnership – Chloe is always by her side.  E:60’s Tom Rinaldi reports on the remarkable journey of a blind girl whose best friend sees the light.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Ride
At every Nationals home game, in the middle of the fourth inning, mascot versions of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore race to the delight of fans.  Over six-plus seasons and more than 500 races, “The Rough Rider” has never won.  E:60 chronicles the woes of America’s 26th president and what may be the longest losing streak in sports history.