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Volume 21 No. 30
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Eight sports podcasts you need to listen to

“The Bill Simmons Podcast”

 Talent/Network: Bill Simmons/The Ringer
 Concept: Sports and pop culture conversations and interviews
 Frequency: Three times a week
Why we like it: Simmons’ show remains the king of sports podcasts, thanks in large part to a guest list that remains the envy of the industry. Authors Chuck Klosterman and Malcolm Gladwell, NBA star Kevin Durant, actors Al Pacino and Bryan Cranston and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates have all been on, though Simmons has also made stars out of his own friends and family by having them take part.

“Men in Blazers”

 Talent/Network: Roger Bennett and Michael Davies / NBCSN
 Concept: Two British diehards try to teach Yanks why to love the real football
 Frequency: Weekly
 Why we like it: Bennett, a journalist and documentarian, and Davies, a television executive, balance a unique brand of humor and irreverence with a deep love and knowledge for soccer, which they then pass onto an increasingly accepting American audience.

“The Tony Kornheiser Show”

 Talent/Network: Tony Kornheiser/This Show Stinks Productions
 Concept: The PTI co-host has re-created his old Washington, D.C., radio show as a podcast that he self-publishes and promotes by his own company
 Frequency: Five days per week
 Why we like it: The same reasons the 69-year-old Kornheiser likes it. “It’s a sports-based, smart, adult talk show. A lot of politics and culture, anything smart,” he said. “I [went into podcasting] because I was old and I wanted to try something new. I wanted to go into business for myself.”

“Sports? with Katie Nolan”

 Talent/Network: Katie Nolan/ESPN
 Concept/Talent: Digressive musings on anything going on in the sports world with help from her producers (known simply as Ashley and Dopp) chiming in
 Frequency: Once a week
 Why we like it: Nolan won critical raves for her Fox Sports show “Garbage Time” and her podcast of the same name before joining ESPN last year. She’s still gleefully sarcastic and, while she knows her sports, Nolan embraces the ridiculous without hesitation.

“Pardon My Take”

• Talent/Network: Dan Katz, aka Big Cat, and PFT Commenter/Barstool Sports
 Concept: Two former bloggers who often (always?) delve into not-safe-for-work asides, but also have a knack for getting guests to move beyond Crash Davis-style interview clichés
 Frequency: Three times a week
 Why we like it: It’s often juvenile and occasionally offensive, but the hosts — including PFT Commenter, whose real name is not publicly known — get away with pushing guests into ridiculous and interesting topics. Fox’s Joe Buck, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, wrestler-turned-actor John Cena and Cubs star Kris Bryant are among the notables who have happily played along on recent episodes.

“Hang Up & Listen”

 Talent/Network: Josh Levin / Slate
 Concept: Eclectic discussion and perspective on various sports topics, often featuring journalist Stefan Fatsis
 Frequency: Once a week
 Why we like it: Clever conversation, interesting co-hosts (Fatsis and others from various publications and podcasts who come and go) and plenty of atypical sports musings. One recent episode offers ample evidence, featuring “The Good Place” creator Mike Schur sizing up the glories of “The Dan Le Batard Show” and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey discussing his love of theater after recently producing a basketball-musical hybrid, “Small Ball.”

“Sports Media with Richard Deitsch”

 Talent/Network: Richard Deitsch/The Athletic
 Concept: Discussions with broadcasters, writers, producers and others in media
 Frequency: One to two times per week
 Why we like it: Deitsch’s current podcast is only a few weeks old, but it’s modeled on the one he did for three years at Sports Illustrated. From roundtables featuring writer James Andrew Miller and SBJ’s own John Ourand, among others, Deitsch digs into how interviews and game broadcasts come to life, explores the challenges faced by women and minorities in sports media, and features long-form interviews with everyone from the figure skating analysts Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski to CBS’s Jim Nantz to ESPN NBA analyst Doris Burke.

“Effectively Wild”

 Talent/Network: Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer and Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs / FanGraphs
 Concept: Deep dives into all things baseball
 Frequency: Three or four episodes per week
 Why we like it: Whip-smart analysis, but not too serious to remember that this is baseball, not the U.N. To cite a recent, amusing touch: The show’s intro music soon after Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani left a recent game early because of a blister was, yes, the Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun.” There's also a nice range of guests who complement the hosts without crowding out their insightful perspectives.

— Compiled by Erik Spanberg