No one thought it was funny when I wondered aloud if Bob Costas had to stay in the same lousy accommodations as other western journalists. Last Tuesday I wrote: Is it bad that they only thing I can think about when reading this stuff is whether or not Bob Costas is stuck in these accommodations? Like, there’s no way Costas isn’t in a five-star hotel somewhere miles away from civilization, right? It’s sucks, too, because he’s one of the few people that could fit in those little beds, and I feel like he’d recite one of his awesome poems about his experience before signing off one night.
I then went on to write a mostly convoluted prose in Costas voice. But let’s face it: I was right. It was worth ruminating about. Costas’ pink eye – which, as we’ve discussed on the podcast, is the best sickness to get– you miss work but feel otherwise great! – will keep him out tonight. On the Today show this morning, he called in to give Matt Lauer the news that Lauer will be filling in for him. Lauer acted surprised, but I assume he already knew, and I also assume that he has been farting on Costas’ Olympic pillows since 1998 just waiting for this moment.
I say 1998 because, according to NBC Sports’ PR department, that was the last time a prime time Olympics coverage was hosted by anyone other than Costas. And tonight will mark the first prime time NBC coverage of an Olympics since 1988 that someone other than Costas has hosted.
Ahh, Sochi. Only you could keep Costas down.
UPDATE: The statements from NBC are hilarious [via Fang’s Bites]:
Executive producer Jim Bell:
“Bob has been a real trooper, but needs a night off. We’re fortunate to have such incredible talent to draw upon within the NBCU family, including Matt, someone I’ve worked with for many years. Now I know how Chuck Daly felt with the 1992 Dream Team, substituting one Hall of Famer for another.”
“I saw Bob in the hotel this morning, and if ever there was a guy who looked like he needed a night off, it was him. I’m happy to keep his chair warm. Although I might Purell it before I sit in it!”
“It was becoming increasingly noticeable and uncomfortable, but if it was just that, I would have continued. We in broadcasting are lucky to have the jobs we do, and at one time or another, we’ve all gone on the air feeling less than our best.
“The difference is that last night and into this morning, it got to the point where, as a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light.
“If it was just discomfort, I’d be there. I’m receiving excellent treatment…it’s a viral infection, and all you can do is try to manage the symptoms while the virus runs its course. But I’m hopeful that those symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast.
“Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”