So, what became abundantly evident since June in the New York City tri-state area finally became reality today. WFAN's Mike & the Mad Dog is no more. As has been speculated all summer, Mad Dog Chris Russo is out, off to XM Radio as it seems and was reported in the New York Daily News. Anyone who is a sports fan living in New York, New Jersey, Conneticut, and portions of Southern New England knows exactly what this sports radio show has done. They pioneered the knee-jerk reaction, over-opinionated, misinformed, New York City sports market mania. But as we have seen in more than one market, apparently and much to my own dismay (I much rather prefer the style of sports radio with a tad more perspective and clarity I've heard in Southern California), that is not a bad thing. All day callers are dialing up WFAN and raving about the show and thanking and missing Russo already.
Personally, I will not miss Russo one bit on the FAN. And out of the two, the sports fan in me has much more in common with Russo. I hate the Yankees too. I'm an NL West fan (I'm Padres, he's Giants). But that is not enough to say I'll miss him. Because, really, WFAN is much better off without him as I believe will be proven sooner than later. While there were things I agreed with him on (I'll never forget the NL/AL debate he had with Francesa recently) overall he lacked the intelligence of sports overall (a complete disaster with college football for instance), and more importantly the common decency and class. (I must add his number one most ignorant day and the day I realized what a complete hack he was, was back in 2003 defending America's invasion of Iraq to Tim Robbins, who was on the show only to promote the anniversary of Bull Durham which turned into a Hannity&Colmes hack job)
But instead of this being a completely negative blog post about Russo, I'll attempt to turn it around here and say Mike Francesa has absolutely nothing to worry about and will become even more respected of a sports radio host. And that's even with him being a Yankee fan. Francesa is an intelligent human being who can also talk about government, politics, American history, and literature with the proper perspective. He too could use some brushing up on college football, but overall he is by far the better of the two. I do believe Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN Radio in the same New York market will now crush WFAN and that may be a shame because Francesa desreves to be listened to.
Last summer after Don Imus was rightfully and finally tossed rom WFAN for his ignorant, racist, sexist comments, the station found itself in big big trouble for the morning hours once occupied by the Imus show. Mike Francesa stepped in and had some of the best morning shows in the history of that radio station discussing sports, as well as current events and politics. I am a loyal Mike&Mike listener on ESPN Radio in the morning, but I must admit Francesa had my ear each morning for a little bit as well last summer. Now with the disgusting, sexist, dumbass Craig Carton on in the morning, I will not turn on WFAN before 10 a.m. Francesa opened up today's show at 1 pm announcing again that Russo was done. He did so with honesty, integrity, and absolute class. In a mere five minutes, Francesa today showed why he is the best person on WFAN. Russo is gone and Francesa will be much much better off. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot today. Would Russo have made the same class move Francesa has?