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Volume 24 No. 235
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Weekend Plans With MSG Nets' Bob Papa: Giants, Golf Planning

Few know the NFL Giants organization better than MSG Networks host BOB PAPA, and the veteran play-by-play man likes what he sees from the team's new regime so far at training camp. Papa has been on the ground covering practices throughout the summer, and he'll be back at camp throughout the weekend while keeping his eye on the PGA Championship from afar. Papa, who also works for Golf Channel, doesn't have a ton of free time as the NFL season ramps up, but he caught up with THE DAILY to dish on his expectations for the G-men this season, his love for the game of golf and where to grab the best Italian food in New Jersey. 

TRAINING CAMP BREAKDOWN: It’s a lot of fun and a lot of sweat this time of year standing out and watching a practice at 3:00pm every day. Then we have to get all cleaned off so we can do "GIANTS TRAINING CAMP LIVE" Monday-Thursday at 6:00pm on MSG Networks. It’s been great getting to know new coach PAT SHURMUR. There’s a lot of energy around the team, which brings energy to the telecast. It’s one of those labors of love. Every day I'm out there, talking to players, hanging in the cafeteria, you pick up little nuggets and nuances that you know will pay off somewhere down the line when the season gets here. The new regime gives camp a little bit more of an interest level and the crowds have been awesome. (Senior VP & GM) DAVE GETTLEMAN is someone who has ties to the organization from the past. Then there’s SAQUON BARKLEY with the top selling jersey. My son NICHOLAS was pumping up Barkley last October to me and I basically asked him, "Who is this?" The amount of time I spend on the NFL with my SiriusXM show each morning, I have to study the entire league, not just the Giants. So I really don’t watch that much college football. But my son knew all about him. 

BALANCING DUTIES: The thing for weekends with me is that when I’m off the clock, I’m normally still on the clock. I've got a PGA Tour Champions tournament next week and some meetings about the NCAA East Lake Cup (golf) preparations. So there’s never really any legitimate downtime once football season starts. During the week I’m grinding with the Giants for our “FIRST & 10” shows and you never know which Giants legend will be in town to do a “GIANTS CHRONICLES” with us. You got to pick your spots as far as how to relax. Food Network for me is a big outlet. I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. I like to tinker with recipes and catch some ideas off of there. My alter ego is certainly a chef. 

GROWING THE GAME: I'm definitely going to be watching the PGA Championship this weekend when I can. I've got a lot of rooting interest in some of the guys that I’m friends with out there. JOE LACAVA, who is a huge Giants fan, is TIGER WOODS’ caddie and I always watch them with keen interest. I'm also passionate about playing myself and I’ve been a member at Baltusrol in New Jersey since ’00. My son Nicholas (16) is ridiculously passionate about it, and my older son WILL (18) also tries to play a little bit. The problem though is that I also have a 3-and-a-half year old at home as well now. So my ability to play has been interrupted by trips to the park and pool and waiting with bated breath for the ice cream man to show up. 

GOOD EATS: I’m Italian, so I’m very picky when it comes to Italian food. But my go-to spot when the Giants are home is this place in Union called Da Benito. That's my hang spot where I relax, enjoy a nice meal and a good bottle of red. It’s one of the few Italian places I would run to on a moment’s notice. The coolest part about it is there’s a lot of politicians, broadcast folks, entertainers -- lot of high-powered folks there. It’s almost the “Cheers” of New Jersey. 

Know of someone you’d like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.