Surprise, surprise. Howard Eskin is in a tiff with a prominent Philadelphia athlete — again.
The target this time? Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who reportedly got in Eskin’s face before the team’s 5-3 win over the Dodgers last weekend after the WIP host claimed that the pitcher missed an earlier game against the Mets due to a hangover.
This is far from the first time that Eskin (recently inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame) — and his ego — has been at odds with the athletes he covers. Here are five of his greatest hits:
1. Married to the Mob?
Organized crime and hockey aren’t normally mentioned in the same sentence (though they both feature lots of hits). But in the spring of 1996, the two found themselves entwined on Eskin’s show.
Rumors got louder and louder that erstwhile Flyers star Eric Lindros was plying Mafioso Joey Merlino with tickets, to the point that Merlino himself called in to deny it.
You can watch Eskin’s recollection of his tensest on-air conversation here.
2. Funeral for a “Friend”
Eskin and Terrell Owens were never buddy-buddy — the two came to loggerheads in the week leading up to Super Bowl XXXIX — but after the wideout’s tenure in Philadelphia came to an ugly end in 2005, Eskin took it upon himself to rub some salt in the wound.
A mock funeral was staged for Owens, with fans throwing their jerseys into a casket marked with the dates of T.O.’s stint.
“We’re donating them to the homeless,” Eskin said at the time. “Someone in Uganda will be wearing a Terrell Owens jersey.”
3. Getting Curt With Curt
What is it with Eskin and Twitter feuds with Phillies pitchers?
Just last December, Eskin blasted Schilling’s hall of fame credentials, and things got ugly:
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 27, 2013
Schilling shot back:
The day Howard Eskin's opinion matters to me, or to the HoF, will be the day the HoF ceases to be a special place.
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) November 27, 2013
And Eskin responded with a final dig at Schilling’s failed video game studio:
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 30, 2013
4. Caught in a Lie
In the maelstrom that was Allen Iverson’s domestic dispute case in 2002, Eskin committed a costly error, claiming that Iverson’s defense attorney had paid one witness to lie in court, and that another witness failed a lie detector test.
One problem — both claims were phony, and Eskin knew there had been no lie detector test. The result: a 30-day suspension from WIP after he admitted it in 2004 — only after he'd been sued.
No hard feelings on A.I.’s end, though: The guard thanked Eskin during his jersey retirement ceremony at the Wells Fargo Center, to a predictable response:
5. Sorry, Cholly
Eskin’s favorite target not named Donovan McNabb may have been Charlie Manuel — time and again, Eskin found a way to get under the former Phillies skipper's skin.
In 2007, Manuel challenged Eskin to fight in his office after an April beatdown at the hands of the Mets.
And in 2013, Manuel did it again, as the two bombastic personalities traded shots across the bow after another loss to the Amazins’: