Keith Olbermann: I’d Team With George W. Bush To Call Baseball Games

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Keith Olbermann has been back in the news — most recently with revelations he apologized to Bill Clinton for coverage of the Lewinsky scandal. He’s also back on ESPN, where the commentator aroused controversy over a biting rant meant to put Derek Jeter’s status as a Yankee in proper perspective. Love him or hate him, there’s something about Olbermann that keeps earning him second chances. And the good news is, at 55, he appears to be maturing. At least, that’s the sense one gets when reading his recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

Notoriously difficult to work with, Olbermann seems to have (for now, at least) come to accept the things he cannot change. During the interview, he declined to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the suspension of Bill Simmons, or to speculate on the return of his former SportsCenter partner, Dan Patrick, to the network. Olbermann says his mantra now is: “This is not my day to run the network!” (This is good advice for anyone working in an organization to internalize.) Regarding time wasted fighting over office politics, he declares: “I don’t have enough life left.”

And even where he hasn’t changed, Olbermann at least seems be introspective about things. When asked about his enduring practice of engaging in Twitter fights, he explained that he intentionally uses the social network for his own purposes. “Some people warm-up with 10 minutes on a treadmill,” he says. “If I go 10 minutes on Twitter, I find my brain just a little bit sharper. It is batting practice. People say to me: ‘Don’t feed the trolls.’ I say, ‘Feed the trolls.’ I should pay these people.”

Lastly, could Olbermann be mellowing politically? The interview ends with some kind words about former President George W. Bush (even if they interpreted by some as a backhanded compliment). When asked which political figure impressed him most with sports knowledge, Olbermann declared that:

“the guy with the most serious sports chops: the most recent President Bush. He went on the ESPN broadcast of the first game of Nationals Park and within half an inning half his twang had vanished and he was talking twice as fast and a mastery of his topic was evident to anybody listening. He really came alive in that booth. Hell, if he’d do the color, I’d do the play-by-play.”

Read the whole interview here.