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Kevin Neghandi Back On Spelling Bee Duty For ESPN2

Neghandi last hosted the event in 2017.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NICK CAITO / ESPN IMAGES

Kevin Neghandi is back in the saddle for this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee after a few years away from the event. The show returns to ESPN2 this summer following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. ESPN2 is airing the semifinals and finals of the event live on June 27 and July 8.

Neghandi last called the Spelling Bee in 2016 and 2017. Paul Loeffler joins him as a familiar face in the booth. A finalist in 1990 and the voice of Fresno State athletics, Loeffler returns as an expert analyst for his 15th Spelling Bee. 

Veteran reporter Jen Lada is handling reporting duties from the stage. Lada has reported stories on “College Gameday” and “College Football Live” since 2015.

“I’m thrilled to be returning as host of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” Negandhi said. “Due to my schedule in 2018 and 2019, I missed out on the fun, but it’s great to be back to share the stories about the competitors and what drives them at a young age to be the best in the world. I’m looking forward to teaming up again with the best in the business in Paul Loeffler, Jen Lada, and producers Bryan Jaroch and Steve Ackels, and the rest of our dedicated crew who love the Bee and what it stands for.”  

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the country’s longest-running educational program, getting its start in 1925. This is the 27th consecutive Spelling Bee that ESPN has broadcasted. Fans can expect a virtual event up until the Finals on July 8. Every round leading up to the Finals is airing on ESPN3.

ESPN is also returning its Play Along channel on ESPNU. Spelling Bee fanatics can try to pick the correct spelling of words while contestants are working through them in real-time. The Spelling Bee has set up a website for fans to follow along.

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Bob Costas Gets Choked Up While Telling a Vin Scully Story

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Costas

The sports world was saddened to learn of broadcasting legend Vin Scully’s passing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, tributes across sports media to the Dodgers icon came pouring in. Some could only hold in their emotions to the news but so well.

Bob Costas appeared on High Heat on MLB Network to remember his friend, and when talking about a particular memory that stood out in his mind, Costas got choked up.

The memory was from November 2016 when Scully received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama. Costas said Scully invited him and his wife Jill to attend the ceremony at the White House.

After the ceremony, and following an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, Costas said something wonderful happened.

“When Vin Scully walked back out of the Rose Garden and back into the White House, the conductor of the Marine Corps Band spots him and immediately he cues the band to play Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Costas said. “But then he hands Vin the baton and Vin steps up on the podium and he’s at least figuratively conducting the Marine Corps Band.”

Costas said Scully’s wife, Sandy, photographed the moment, and then Costas started tearing up.

“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.

In the moment, Costas caught himself and tried to regain his composure.

“I can’t believe I’m choking up,” he said. “You’re not supposed to do that. Be professional, Bob.”

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Joe Buck Says He Tried to Convince Vin Scully to Call Part of the World Series on FOX

“If I could somehow… pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Vin Scully

Vin Scully is widely regarded as one of the greatest broadcasters ever and for good reason.

Even in his later years, Scully still knew how to captivate an audience while riding solo in the broadcast booth.

Joe Buck, remembering Scully in an interview on the Sports Media podcast with Richard Deitsch, said he did his darndest to try and get Vin in the booth during the World Series one more time.

“I tried to go through intermediaries to get him to do it,” Buck said. “I said we’ll make it as easy as possible.”

But Buck said it was likely the fact that Scully didn’t want to be a distraction and work with people he’s unfamiliar with that it never happened.

“You’re coming into a completely foreign situation, and now somebody’s talking in your ear, you have no idea who the hell that is, you’re working with a director you’ve never worked with, and you’re working with an analyst you’ve never worked with and what have you,” Buck said. “But just his voice and that cadence and that rhythm and that ability to just weave stories in and whatever would’ve been so great.”

Had the moment happened, Buck said there would’ve been zero chance he’d have stayed in the booth with Scully.

“I would’ve been in the lunchroom watching it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hovering. I would have been gone.”

Buck, like so many others in sports media, had a unique relationship with Scully. Buck said he felt like giving Vin one more chance to be on the microphone for a World Series game was the best thing he could’ve done to recognize an icon.

“If I could somehow, because I saw it in my own home, pay homage to somebody who’s that great and let them take my spot, man that would’ve been in the weirdest way one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

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ESPN Will Honor Vin Scully By Airing Iconic 1988 World Series Game 1 Tonight

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scull

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Vin Scully

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. The network will air the game tonight, August 3 at 8pm ET on ESPN2.

The 1988 World Series was between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics. Scully was on the call for the classic game which is notable for an injured Kirk Gibson coming off the bench and hitting a walk-off home run.

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