Behind The ScenesHighly QuestionableStudio Shows

Father knows Dan Le Batard best: ‘Papi’ Gonzalo on working with son

It is a tale as old as time, the American dream if you will: The son of a Cuban immigrant becomes a popular sports columnist, then a radio host, then creates an ESPN show so he can hang out and talk sports with his dad . . .

Wait. What? Well, maybe it’s not everyone’s America dream. But it has worked for ESPN sports personality Dan Le Batard.

Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable is ESPN2’s afternoon studio show based out of Miami. DLHQ (weekdays, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) is a perfect demonstration of a unique, and often hilarious, father-son relationship brought to the small screen. Dan, a sports-talk radio host and longtime Miami Herald columnist, is host of the program with his 68-year-old father, Gonzalo Le Batard, otherwise known as “Papi.”

As Father’s Day approaches, Front Row wanted to catch up with one of ESPN’s most colorful dads.

What is it like to work with your son every day?
Working with my son five days a week in the TV business is like a dream. That is something that every father and son would like to do, and I am blessed to be able to do it.

Do you think your father/son relationship has changed working together?
Our father-son relationship has always been good. We have always had a strong bond. I do not agree with him at all times, but I respect his opinions. The show gives me an opportunity to spend more time with him. That is good because he is very busy and his time is valuable to me.

Even though you are the “boss” at home, does Dan get to be ‘the boss’ on DLHQ?
Yes, definitely, he is the boss. Dan and the producers at ESPN are the brains behind the show. I just show up, wear my guayaberas and try to do the best I can. But it is a lot of fun.

What is your favorite part about working on a sports show?
My favorite part is being the voice of the fans and rooting for the underdogs and some of the local teams. Also, I like to needle some of the high profile TV sports analysts and, of course, Dan. In addition, doing the show with Dan allows the viewers to get to know the aspect of Dan’s personality that is not shown in print or on his radio show. I am referring to his human side. In many cases, the readers and listeners have a misconception of him.

Do the Le Batards have any Father’s Day traditions?
Every Father’s Day — Dan, David (my youngest son) and Lourdes (my wife) go out for brunch around noon in Miami Beach. Then we spend the rest of the day in our home watching sports events on TV and playing dominoes.

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