End Of An Era: A Tribute To 'The Scott Van Pelt And Ryen Russillo Show'

by Adam Ornelas

For the past six years, a tall, bald guy and a buff, blunt guy have been providing commentary to the daily sports headlines for me and countless listeners across the globe.

They teleport into our lives every midday, through radio dials and podcasts.

They've ingrained themselves as a crucial part to our daily media intake, putting fresh spins and well-thought-out analyses on a multitude of sports stories.

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo have been the trusted voices to help break up the monotony of the work week.

However, on Friday, it all comes to an end, like the final month in a lease with the two coolest roommates you could've asked for.

It's been a rough year for sports fans, as commentators' contracts end, restructuring occurs and fan favorites such as Bill Simmons leave their familiar posts to pursue new career opportunities.

SVP and Russillo are the latest to move on to new career positions.

Scott Van Pelt has been tapped to host the midnight edition of SportsCenter, while Ryen Russillo will man the time slot solo.

The show will be renamed, "The Russillo Show," until a long-term direction is charted in August.

Sports are supposed to be an outlet for us, a way for us to channel our primitive competitiveness, cheer on our heroes, identify our villains and create memories.

Each sport has its characters and different plot lines weaving its way into a season-long narrative.

Games are chapters, and players play their part into the identity of a season. Sports are supposed to be fun and lighthearted in a world full of real problems and real villains.

Sports commentators and analysts are supposed to play the part of narrators to the stories that unfold.

But, all too often, our 24-hour news cycle and the need to remain relevant prompts sports and news commentators to be more than that.

They are headline manufacturers, pontificators of political correctness and overdone masters of hype.

This is where SVP and Russillo have managed to find their niche as relatable realists, void of drama. They produced quality analysis with humor and lightheartedness.

They're a bridge between the different generations of sports radio listeners, and they've been in the game long enough to relate to older listeners and the stats of players of the past.

Their knowledge of pop culture allows them to share interests with their Millennial following.

They've also maintained a vice grip on the title for best bumper music. (Rick Ross, De La Soul and a myriad of hip-hop's latest and greatest artists grace the airwaves as they return from commercials.)

Unlike some other radio hosts, they have had an approachable demeanor about them.

They shared stories from their personal lives, held candid interviews on topics beyond sports and created an interesting cast of characters out of the members of their production crew.

They're guys you could imagine sitting next to at a bar and having a beer with, without getting the cold shoulder or a big-time celebrity vibe.

They're the guys you went to college with, knowledgeable about sports and down to earth, regardless of who they're talking to.

Lastly, they were just refreshing and kept it real. They never bought into hype.

They never preached to you or put on some kind of Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo shtick like other radio hosts might.

No far-reaching generalizing or ego-filled rants, just sports, laughs and fun. The way it should be.

The duo will do great things in their next positions -- that much we know.

Thanks for making our middays better and for making us laugh. Thanks for keeping it real and reminding us sports should be fun.