FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

JIMMIE JOHNSON SURPRISES ER NURSE AND #48 FAN; MIKE TROUT ON 2020 MLB SEASON — QUOTES FROM TODAY’S EPISODES OF LUNCH TALK LIVE WITH MIKE TIRICO AND THE RICH EISEN SHOW ON NBCSN

“I’m glad through my journey…that I’ve been able to inspire yourself…but now it’s flipped and you’re inspiring all of us.” – Jimmie Johnson to ER nurse and #48 Fan Michael Palmer in surprise appearance on Lunch Talk Live

“What are you going to do with family members? My wife is pregnant. What am I going to do if she goes into labor? Am I going to have to quarantine for two weeks after I come back?” – Mike Trout on the possibility of beginning the 2020 MLB season in quarantine

 “Tom has spent 20 years with a defensive coach, now he’s with an offensive guy.Tony Dungy on Tom Brady teaming up with Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 15, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout
    • New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso
    • Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick
    • NBC Sports cycling analyst Christian Vande Velde
    • ER nurse Michael Palmer

 

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, who is Palmer’s favorite driver, also joined Lunch Talk Live to surprise and thank Palmer for his work on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus. Click here to watch the full conversation.

The Rich Eisen Show followed Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN, as host Rich Eisen was joined by:

    • CBS Sports play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz
    • NBC Football Night in America analyst Tony Dungy
    • Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma

 

Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Michael Palmer on how he keeps a positive mindset in the ER in Michigan: “Each day that passes is one day that we are closer to this being over with.”

Palmer on his favorite NASCAR driver, Jimmie Johnson: “Jimmie’s been my driver from the get-go. Love that guy…That is somebody that you definitely look up to as a role model.”

Jimmie Johnson to Palmer in surprise appearance: “Thank you, Michael. You are such an inspiration to all of us…I’m glad through my journey as a racecar driver and my values, that I’ve been able to inspire yourself…But now it’s flipped and you’re inspiring all of us. Thank you for being on the frontlines. I just can’t thank you enough.”

Palmer to Johnson: “This is just, wow. I’m just blown away by this…This is just a dream come true.”

Johnson to Palmer: “We’ve wanted to extend an offer to you, Michael, to come to the track and have some fun with us, be a part of the Ally team…We would love to roll out the red carpet for you and make you an honorary pit crew member…Bring you and your family, anything and everything that we have access to.”

Mike Trout on how long it would take to get back in regular season shape: “I think for position players – a couple of weeks, maybe two weeks, just to get back in shape. I think everybody wants to play as soon as possible. It’s a little different for pitchers.”

Trout on possibly starting the season quarantined in a hotel: “It would be difficult. What are you going to do with family members? My wife is pregnant. What am I going to do if she goes into labor? Am I going to have to quarantine for two weeks after I come back?…There are a lot of red flags and questions. Obviously, we would have to agree on it as players, but I think the mentality is we want to get back as soon as we can. But obviously it has to be realistic.”

Trout on sharing a message of encouragement to first responders: “They mean a lot to our community, our country, everybody – not just in Anaheim. All of the officers, nurses, what they are doing right now is pretty incredible. How brave they are to go into a hospital or to fight this virus on a level no one has ever seen before. I can’t thank them enough.”

Jack Swarbrick on today’s College Football Playoff Management Committee call with Vice President Mike Pence: “There is reason for optimism, but we have a long way to go. (Vice President Pence) just reinforced the progress that is being made and will continue to be made. We all sort of agreed we would circle back in a month or so and take stock of where we were.”

Swarbrick on the possibility of the college football season taking place in the spring: “It is premature to take any option off the table — a season we move, a season we shorten, a season we delay the start of. All of that has got to be under consideration.”

Swarbrick on playing college football games without fans in the attendance: “It is not for me. I don’t know how we reopen our campuses, put students back in dorms and dining halls, and then say we can’t be in a football stadium together. That doesn’t feel compatible to me.”

Swarbrick on if more of the amateur student-athlete model will return to college athletics because of this situation: “I think it could, and I think it is a little bit of an outcome I hope results. I hope there is a refocus on the integration of the student who is an athlete into the university. I think in too many instances we have lost that connectivity.”

Pete Alonso on Homers for Heroes nonprofit he started: “There are so many people that don’t wear capes, I mean no one wears a cape in order to be a hero. You just need to make a difference, even if it is just somebody changing one person’s life for the better, you are a hero. For us, we want to be able to bring those people to light and recognize them.”

Alonso on the potential of starting the season in quarantine in either Arizona or Florida: “I think right now, that could be a very big possibility…I hope that we could get back to playing in our stadiums at some point later on in the year, but I think that’s never not going to be a possibility because we are in uncharted waters.”

Alonso on being a leader on the Mets: “I don’t think of myself as a leader because, for me, I just think of myself as someone who is being accountable and responsible…I want to be the best teammate as possible and I just want to help everyone get better.”

Christian Vande Velde on impact on the Tour de France moving to the fall: “It might be one of the best Tour de France’s we have ever seen. All the eggs in one basket, there is no Olympics and the other grand tours are still a little bit suspect. The weather should be decent, I mean I think that is really the biggest concern for them going to September in the high mountains you could have some snow.”

Vande Velde on what makes the Tour de France special: “I think it is just France in general and why I am a quite bullish on why this is going to happen. [Emmanuel] Macron wants to make this to happen, he wants to bring the country back together again…It is our Indy 500 if you think about open wheel racing. This is the marque event in cycling and nothing comes near it.”

Vande Velde on how a Tour de France without fans would impact the cyclists: “In some ways, it might be a silver lining because it might be one of the easiest tours to navigate as a team. Not having the extra disadvantage, or really the danger, of having dogs on the side of the road, or people with strollers on the side who inevitably come into the road every once in a while…For us looking through the television, it maybe won’t have the same feel.”

Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Jim Nantz on the current state of the country: “I miss these sporting events, but I want that to be put in the proper perspective…The people that have rallied as Americans always do, the front liners, healthcare workers in this case…it’s another great story of America coming together at a time of need and uniting as one.”

Nantz on rewatching his call of the 1986 Masters this past weekend: “How in the world do you take a guy who is not even four years graduated from college and put him on the 70th hole of the biggest golf tournament in the world? Yeah, I was nervous that day, but I was almost more nervous watching it at the age of 60 to hear what might have been leaving my lips that day.”

Nantz on the NFL schedule announcement: “There’s certain things that you look forward to in the sports side of our lives…the night of the (NFL) schedule release is one of my favorite sporting nights of the year, it’s like the bracket release for the NCAA Tournament…I’m really looking forward to seeing how high-profile Tampa Bay is.”

Tony Dungy, who lives in Tampa Bay, on the reactions around the Buccaneers’ offseason: “The excitement and level of expectation now is through the roof. People have always been excited about Bucs football, but no one expected this offseason, and people can’t wait (for the season to begin).”

Dungy on the Tom Brady-Bruce Arians dynamic: “I think it’s going to be very good. I think Tom is going to elevate the play of a lot of the guys around him…Offensively, they’ve got some skilled positions. Everybody’s complaints were about Tom Brady’s weapons the past few years, they have weapons here in the passing game…Tom has spent 20 years with a defensive coach, now he’s with an offensive guy.”

Kyle Kuzma on the potential return of the NBA: “Nobody really knows…It’s a waiting game, all about taking precautions and measures that everyone is safe…As a competitor, someone who loves the game of basketball, of course we want to play, but there’s some uncertainty.”

Kuzma on his relationship with the late Kobe Bryant: “Growing up, he was an idol of mine. Being drafted by L.A. put me in the driver’s seat to build a relationship (with him)…Anytime I needed something, he was always there and genuinely cared about me.”

–NBC SPORTS–