1. Three months after testing positive for COVID-19, Scott Van Pelt still can’t taste food.
The popular SportsCenter anchor detailed his experience with coronavirus on this week’s SI Media Podcast. Van Pelt said he did not have a fever or a cough. He had some back pain and lost his sense of smell and taste.
“I still can’t taste, which is a horror show,” Van Pelt said on the podcast. “I couldn’t taste an apple one day and it was like, ‘Oh, man.’
"I went and got a rapid test. I’ll never forget. It was a snowy day where it turned into ice and rain. It was miserable; I’m sitting on my couch and I get the text back from the facility and there’s just this big red positive. My wife and kids walk in and I just gave her the hand sign across the throat, like this is no good.
"Our family, for years, has had a house in Bethany Beach, Del., and I just said, ‘I’m leaving.’ I went and sat by myself and waited for time to pass. I never had a fever—gratefully. I never had a cough—gratefully. The only thing I had was this smell and taste issue.”
Unfortunately for Van Pelt, the loss of taste continues today.
“It’s awful,” said Van Pelt, “because the one thing that tastes the same to me even now is peanut M&Ms, so I just eat family-size bags of peanut M&Ms because it’s the one thing that tastes correct. All these weird things, like savory pasta with beautiful tomato and onion, I don’t get that flavor. I’ve had so many people tell me they get these windows of taste back but, say there are four or five flavor profiles that go into making something taste like something. I only get two of them, so I get this really incomplete taste and it’s not the same and it doesn’t taste good.
"I’ve read everything there is to read, and I’ve done all the stuff like orange and brown sugar. I found a news story from a doctor in Phoenix where you put your hand on your chest and somebody flicks you in the back of your head. My wife was like, ‘I’m supposed to flick the back of your head?’ I’m like, ‘JUST DO IT!’
"I don’t know what to do. There isn’t some pill to take or shot to get that’s gonna suddenly wake my taste buds back. So now I’m in the wait-and-see mode and every day it’s like, 'Can I taste this?' And it’s like crunch, crunch, crunch, 'not really.' And it just sucks."
In addition to discussing his experience with COVID-19, Van Pelt also gave SI Media Podcast listeners the inside scoop on how his weekly “Bad Beats” segment gets put together and why the bond gamblers have with one another is unique.
We also touched on Roger Goodell finally seeming open to NFL telecasts acknowledging fans bet on football games, whether he'd ever want to call NFL games, his appearance on Jason Sudeikis's show, Ted Lasso, the problem these days with podcasts, what it's been like to host SportsCenter over the past year during the pandemic and much more.
2. Even during a pandemic with very few fans inside Madison Square Garden, there is controversy. This fan alleges he was kicked out of the arena during Tuesday night's Knicks game because he wore a "Ban Dolan" T-shirt.
If this is all legit—and it sure looks like it is—it's just a reminder there may not be anyone softer in sports than Knicks owner James Dolan.
3. ESPN announced its broadcast teams for the upcoming NFL draft today. Mike Greenberg will host the network's coverage. He will be joined at the desk by Mel Kiper, Louis Riddick and Booger McFarland.
What stood out about the press release for this news was this tidbit: "This will be the 38th straight year that Mel Kiper will cover the draft for ESPN. Like him or not, that is a pretty impressive run."
4. This is the best NCAA recap that you'll see this year.
5. We learned on the latest episode of Young Rock on Tuesday night that The Rock stole one of his gimmicks from his home.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: In honor of Scott Van Pelt's appearance on the SI Media Podcast, here is a "Bad Beat" he referenced many times during our conversation.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.