Sep 15, 2010

CC Sabathia

Correspondent: Jon Frankel
Producer: Nick Dolin

Standing as tall as the skyscrapers of New York City, six foot seven New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia is one of the game's most intimidating figures on the mound, but an introspective person off the field.  The fireballing southpaw is on track to win his second Cy Young Award, and perhaps his second World Series championship ring.  Most everybody who follows the game knows something about the hurler, who previously played in Cleveland and Milwaukee, but not much is known about the 30-year-old husband and father of four away from the diamond.  He's a son who was able to forgive his late father's unfortunate past and unexplained absence in order to cherish their final years while his dad battled HIV and terminal cancer.  Correspondent Jon Frankel goes one-on-one with the Vallejo, Cal. native to find out more about this quiet family man and his voyage to the bright lights of the Big Apple.

The World's Greatest Athlete

Correspondent: Frank Deford
Producer: Lauren Gaffney

 More than 50 years after his death, one of the most captivating and enduring American sports figures of the 20th century continues to make news.  After his passing in 1953 at age 64, Jim Thorpe's third wife, Patricia, struck a permanent deal with two small towns in rural Pennsylvania, far from the Native American reservations where he was raised.  The agreement included erecting a monument in Thorpe's honor and housing his remains in a roadside attraction, while merging the two towns, which were renamed Jim Thorpe, Pa.  Today, his 73-year-old son Jack Thorpe spearheads a movement to have his father's final resting place moved to his birthplace of Prague, Okla.  In this Real Sports/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Frank Deford follows Jim's youngest son to ascertain whether Jack Thorpe has a chance of succeeding in his mission to bring the world's greatest athlete home, once and for all.

Zany Sports Mascots

Correspondent: Bernard Goldberg
Producer: Tim Walker

The merger of sports and entertainment has produced a carnival-like atmosphere at many ballparks and arenas across the U.S.  Because balls and strikes and slam dunks can only provide so much excitement to fans, sports teams at all levels have employed the wackiest, most mischievous mascots to enhance the fan experience, and nothing else seems to entertain audiences quite like this "furr-ternity" of zany characters.  In an effort to keep pace, many collegiate and professional leagues have gone as far as seeking a mascot overhaul, or "intervention," working with a business spearheaded by Dave Raymond, the original Philly Phanatic.  Correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to "mascot boot camp," where the masks are off and the craziest creatures in sports learn to leap, jump and entertain, all for the enjoyment of their cherished fans.

Back in the Game

Correspondent: Jon Frankel
Producer: Zehra Mamdani, Mike Sullivan

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays made Josh Hamilton the number-one overall pick in the 1999 MLB amateur draft, with the second-year expansion team expecting him to be their star of the future.  Although he received a $3.96 million signing bonus from the club, the outfielder never played a Major League game in a Tampa Bay uniform.  For six years Hamilton battled injuries and substance abuse, receiving a 2004 suspension for violating baseball's drug policy that nearly derailed his career for good.  Despite the setbacks, he finally made his Major League debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 and has become one of baseball's most feared sluggers in his three seasons with the Texas Rangers.  REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel revisits the three-time American League All-Star, who first talked to HBO in 2006, and reflects on his hard-fought journey to conquer his demons.

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