Monday, December 29, 2008

Punt, Pass & Kick

Those three words apply to Mike Francesa's Mike'd Up show last night. Let me explain:

PUNT: Mike obviously spent the most time on the Jets. However, you never heard the words "collapse," "disgraceful," or "choke." Instead Mike told you all about the two key plays in the game - a Pennington TD and a Favre pick. He talked a lot about the inadequate play of the Jets defensive backs. He told you that Favre was bad. He told you the team didn't look like it had any life with six minutes left in the game. But what Mike really did was he punted away responsibility for declaring this Jets season an utter collapse. He wasn't going there. He has had no problem doing that to the baseball team that calls Flushing home. But Mike instead wanted to focus on the Jets DBs.

PASS: Eric Mangini? Did he do a poor job the final five games of the season? Did he reside over a team that was once 8-3 and in Mike's words "a lock for the number two seed"? Did that same team collapse against a weak schedule and stunningly miss the playoffs? Was Mangini in charge of all of that? The answer is yes, but from watching Mike'd Up last night, you would have never known. To say that Mike gave Mangini a pass might be the understatement of the year. Mike thought there was a 50/50 chance that the Jets bring him back. But what Mike didn't do was offer HIS opinion of what the Jets SHOULD do with the head coach. Now, anyone who has followed Francesa for years knows that Mike NEVER has an issue giving his OPINION. So why didn't he offer one up last night? Simple. He knows that he would look foolish. He wants Mangini back. He wants him back for selfish reasons. He wants to be the guy three years from now that says "everyone wanted Mangini out, but I supported him, just like Coughlin and now look where he is..." He wants to give that speech. In order to give that speech, he needs Mangini around for another year or two or twenty. But even FRANCESA couldn't come on the air last night and say that. I mean earlier this week, he told us for the head coach to stay the Jets had to come out and "crush" the Dolphins. Not win a tight game by a point or two. Dominate them. Throw everything including the kitchen sink at Chad. Show ownership that you want to fight for the head coach. Well, that didn't exactly happen, and while much of the blame certainly rests in the hands of number four, isn't the coach accountable? So last night after the Jets did the opposite of what Mike said they needed to do to save Mangini, Mike decided to go easy on Eric. He gave him a bigger pass than Favre has given any of his receivers the past month and a half.

KICK: If you also tuned in to Mike'd Up last night, you were treated to something else that only Francesa can do. In analyzing the game last night, Mike talked about the poor play of Brett Favre, he talked about the awful play of the Jets defense, but he also extended his leg and took a kick at Chad Pennington. In talking about Chad's deep passes yesterday, Mike told you that they were terrible passes, and that he got lucky because the Jet corners misplayed those balls so badly. Now, here's the thing - Francesa might actually be right about that BUT last night was neither the TIME nor the FORUM to be taking swipes at Chad Pennington. Even if those balls weren't the prettiest of passes, he led the Dolphins to the playoffs. Period. He came up to New York in a must-win game and threw zero interceptions. A negative thought should not even be muttered about Pennington. Not once last night did you hear Mike question Mangini's coaching the final five weeks of the season. Not once did you hear Mike call this an utter collapse. Not once did you hear Mike call the Jets a joke (though he did use that word to describe the Cowboys). Not once did you hear Mike condemn the embarrassment that was the end to this Jets season. But you did learn that Pennington tossed some really bad passes yesterday. Kudos Mike. Job well done.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mr. Contrarian

I'm a few hours behind today and was just able to watch Mike's open. Today Mike woke up in his Long Island home, kissed Roe as he left the bed, got in the shower and threw on his best contrarian outfit. On a day when the national media, the local media, and Jet fans everywhere are screaming for Mangini to be fired, Mike is not ready to go that route. Francesa is drawing a line in the sand. You are either with him or against him. He is harkening back to the days when he and Doggie did not want Tom Coughlin fired when everyone else wanted his head. And since that worked out Mikey's way, he is going to try and do that once again here. Just because the Jets are about to stage as epic a collapse as the New York Mets did with a Hall of Fame quaterback no less, Mike is not ready to hand the man his walking papers. Kind of funny though because he demanded the Mets had to change the manager or the core before heading into the new Stadium. Neither happened. But I digress. Despite Mangini's insane decision-making, Mike has decided that if the Jets play a solid game against Miami, then the head coach stays. Even if they don't make the playoffs. He's ready to hand out pink slips to the coordinators but not Mangini: "I think this week (against Miami) will tell you exactly where he is." Umm, shouldn't yesterday's game have told you exactly where he is? What more do you need Mikey? This is obviously just another one of those "Mike vs the world" moments, where he just can't align himself with everyone else. He's got his best contrarian dress on now and he's not going to be disappointed. So Gang Green fans. Prepare yourself for Mike's Save Mangini Campaign.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Legends of the Fall

Yesterday marked the completion of the Mike'd Up Legends Shows...or better yet, what I like to call the "I have run out of ideas for how to fill 5 1/2 hours a day, I have no co-hosts, am not close to having any revolving guests, still have no new jingle and I just need to distract the masses from all of this" experiment. But the question to you is - what did you think of the Legends shows? Were they Legendary? I caught most of the Strawberry and LT shows, but was unable to catch much of Phil Simms and Mark Bavaro. I found the Strawberry show irritating because Mike constantly interrupted Darryl and would never let him finish a thought. On the other hand, I actually very much enjoyed the LT show. Even though Mike did cut LT off several times, it usually came at moments when LT was slightly incoherent - so I was fine with that. The day LT was on, I was in my car and I decided to switch back and forth between ESPN Radio and Mike'd Up. ESPN Radio was talking local baseball. I am a big baseball guy and would much rather hear baseball talk than reminisce about the old Giants Super Bowls yet again..but ESPN Radio just wasn't cutting it for me. Michael Kay is not Mike Francesa. Say what you want about the arrogance of the big man and we do that here quite a bit, but he still blows away the competition in my mind. Now, if Chris Russo was on ESPN Radio, that's a whole other scenario. But anyway, the point is the Legends Show of LT was a success to me. Strawberry...not so much. I'll leave it to you to inform me about the others. But the bigger issue here is that once again, Mike promised something that he did not follow through on. He promised 2 weeks of Legends Shows. Instead, he had 3 1/2 days of them. This new era of Mike Francesa is becoming the era of broken promises. The Legends are just the latest to Fall.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This Idea...

Mike had AJ Burnett on a short while ago. AJ admitted to Mike that part of his decision to sign here was the money. Mike was overjoyed that AJ admitted that and praised him for doing so. After the interview, Mike went on and on about how guys always say "it was a dream to play for this team" when it's really about the money. This idea that these guys dreamed of playing for the team bothers Mike. But the problem here is THIS IDEA is MIKE'S IDEA. What players exactly is Mike talking about? Which players have come here and professed their lifelong dream of playing in New York, when in fact they were just hear to collect the dough? Did Johan talk about his lifelong passion to wear the orange and blue? Nope. Did Carlos Beltran sign here and talk about how growing up all he could think of was playing in Flushing? No again. Did Johnny Damon reveal that while he was up in Beantown, all he could think of was wearing pinstripes? Not so much. So Mike, this idea that players come here and lie about how much it was their lifelong dream to play in New York is YOUR idea. This idea doesn't actually exist. You seemed caught off guard when AJ told you that the money was a factor. Why was that even remotely surprising? The man got an $80 million contract and is only 10 games over .500 for his career. So not only was the money a factor...the money was THE factor. I mean this idea that you are commending AJ for letting us in on the fact that the money played a part is a bit much...

Get Lost

Just a week after yelling at CC Sabathia to "get lost" and informing everyone that the hefty lefty was not in Johan Santana's zip code in terms of talent, today Mike Francesa will be interviewing CC. will Mike handle this? Will he try to form a bond over their similarity in terms of weight? Will he call Sabathia out for his embarrassing the Yankees? Will he just brush it all off and joke around with CC like they are old buddies? Will he marvel at CC's performance down the stretch last season? Will he admit to CC that he was "hoping" that the Yanks didn't sign him? What will Mikey do? Tune in and find out...

P.S. Mike also announced that Mark Bavaro's appearance on the show will sort of mark the end of this Legends experiment. So much for two weeks of Legends shows. Nice gimmick Mikey.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mike Makes My Night

So I was sitting around thinking about tonight's football game between the Saints and the Bears. And actually I was bothered by the fact that I don't have any fantasy players on either team. I was annoyed at this fact because without fantasy players and not being a gambler, I didn't give a shit about tuning in tonight. At first, I was happy when I remembered there was a game being played in a few hours, but then realizing there was nothing at stake, I became somber recognizing there was no reason for me to even watch. But then, Mike Francesa uttered these words:

"This will be a VERY, VERY tough night for Mr. Brees and a very big night for the Tulane rookie (Matt Forte)."

Thank you Mike. Thank you very much. Now I have a reason to watch. Now I have a reason to care. I will be ready to go tonight on the NFL Network hoping for a big night for one Drew Brees and an awful one for Matt Forte...Thanks again Mike for providing my rooting interests for the evening.


A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms... What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork.

'We're going to start our kinda legends thing we're gonna do here.'
This is how Mike introduced his Legends segment with Darryl Strawberry today. Man does he know how to sell this thing. 'Kinda'? Could ya please bring a little more enthusiasm about this new element to your show? It sounds like he is more interested in individual achievement and not so much on the teamwork thing. Let's just keep a baseball bat out of his hands.

(BTW - Why is Mike still talking about Pettitte? No one cares where he is going. I loved how he said, "Pettitte will pitch hurt." Sure he will, Mike. Then after he's hurt he has to go get the HGH to get better.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


* After the short-anticipated open, we are left wanting more. But we should have known that Mike is a slippery fuck(credit Corrado Soprano) and can wiggle out of jams. He doesn't want to talk that much about CC so he doesn't. After one of the most important Yankee signings in recent history, Mike barely talked about CC. We heard words and names like Pettitte, collusion, Rick Peterson, Joba, Frank(Lawrence?), Marte, etc.

* Mike doesn't want to hear how it was Sabathia's 'lifelong dream' to be a Yankee.
He had steered the conversation to these people(I don't know who they are minus a handful of sportswriters) who thought there was collusion. So he went from demonizing a reluctant lefty to a these imaginary collusion conspiracy theorists.
Then he moved onto Andy Pettitte. Now Pettitte isn't front page, second page or even back page news today.

* Mike is apparently trying out for the Carnival by claiming to know the real weight of CC. "Take it from me, he's not 250. If he's a dollar, he's 300." This line was the price of admission today. One big man sizing up another big man. It was like Sy Sperling from Hair Club for Men saying, 'I'm not just the Hair Club president -- I'm also a customer!'

*biggiesmalls gets the door prize today with the reminder that this was supposed to be Legends week. Does Rick Peterson qualify as a legend?



Yesterday on this blog, most of us - including awesomesean, bigjf and the ever-present anonymous - opined what would happen if CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees after offending Yankee Nation with his apparent disinterest in a $140 million contract. With reports of CC Sabathia signing with the Yanks for $160 million, the worm has turned. I don't think anyone of us thought that Mike would get his comeuppance so quickly.

I turned off yesterday's show after awhile, but during my time listening there were a lot of people, Lisa from Whitestone especially, who called in and echoed Francesa's consternation at Sabathia's procrastination. Maybe later callers questioned Mike's intransigence on Sabathia, but the general feeling from callers was 'we don't want the best free agent lefty pitcher on the market because he hasn't respected our team.'

Well, that stance will be put to the test today. And of course, Yankee fans who listen to the FAN will probably take their cue from Mike. I guess. Francesa hopes there is traffic on his drive into the FAN, so he can mull this one over for awhile. He has to figure out how to spin it. I'm not good at predicting what he'll say, but I think he'll express muted anger at C.C. and then he will start to build A Bridge to Sabathia. After all, if it wasn't for the delayed negotiations, Francesa would have spent the next 4 months building up the legend of the big lefty. 'He misses bats. He eats up innings. etc, etc.'

Regardless of predictions, I think we all are anticipating the show today. Mike doesn't do contrite. Mike doesn't do 'I was wrong.' Mike doesn't forgive(he just conveniently forgets his grudges). So how long will this transition to Sabathia's posterior take place? He's got a lot of time until Spring Training. So I expect him to go slowly today. I think CC will be on probation with Mike for awhile. Mike will make Sabathia sweat for awhile. Not only will Sabathia have to win over New York, he'll have to earn Mike's respect. Good luck, CC.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another's Man gain

quick update from the world of satellite...Russo started off his show gleefully. Why? Because his beloved Giants have entered the Sabathia fray. Dog was absolutely giddy. That would have been great to hear him say that sitting across from Mike, as Mike clenched his Diet Coke, stewing about the disrespect of the Yankees. But that ain't gonna happen. Instead, you read this short snippet and wipe the corners of your eyes as you remember the halcyon days.

"He doesn't know who the Yankees are!"

Apparently, Francesa's feelings have been hurt by C.C. Sabathia. The free agent pitcher has not bowed down at the feet of the great Yankees after they offered him a bunch of money. Francesa was appalled that they flew Reggie Jackson out there to court him. He's appalled at Cashman's feeble description of the negotiations.

"Get out of there. Don't act like this."

This is really not about the Yankees. This is about Mike. Mike doesn't like any challenges to things that he holds sacred. And he also doesn't like when people contradict his predictions and opinion. No doubt, Francesa thought that Sabathia would get all wet once the Yankees called. And when they didn't...

"Have a little pride, if you're Cashman. You're the Yankees! Act like it!"

What he's saying is that Sabathia has hurt his pride. And the Yankees should protect his pride by breaking negotiations off with him.

"I hope a lot that the Yankees don't get him. I don't want him. Get lost."

Now Mike might eat these words. Maybe CC will have a change of heart and sign with the Bronx Bombers. And then what will Mike do? Probably do the ole Favre turnaround. You remember when Mike and Chris complained about all the attention that Favre was getting when he was leaving the Packers? They called ESPN the Favre network. And as soon as Brett came to Broadway, Mike sidled up to him at training camp and sang his praises.

"He's made the Yankees look like fools."

Translation - He made me look like a fool.

Monday, December 8, 2008


So whenever I check into Russo recently, it's like College Gameday. Who knew he was such a fan? Or maybe he isn't. But either way, he's taken to it like a drunk to free whiskey.

It does make sense though. He is talking to a national audience now. The only people in New York who care about college football are more concerned with the spread than any real passion for a school(although apparently hating Rutgers is some sort of NY/NJ metro area pastime. By the way, for all the haters from previous posts, how's that going? Seems Schiano has salvaged this season. And for the record, the only reason I care is because Ray Rice went to my neighboring high school. We don't have many athletes of note come out of 'the 914', so I must represent.)

But he has become very knowledgeable on the subject and he gets in a wide variety of guests in. So good job outta Doggie.

Mike on A-Game today(well...B+)

I'm not telling you anything new, but early December is really when Mike(even sans Russo) shines. That's because the NFL playoff scenarios are hotter than a nun's crotch on Easter Sunday. And this year, Mike has two playoff teams in town. And today, both are coming off a loss. There really is no better day than a Monday when callers phone in to gripe about play-calling, coordinators, officiating, etc. And Mike is the great ringleader. He'll look ahead to upcoming schedules, discuss permutations, calm anxiety, stoke fear, anything to keep listener's attention and at that, he excels. So for all the bashing you take on this site, big man(and we know you're reading), nice job.

To explain the B+...Well after setting the stage in the first segment about the two NY football teams, unprepared Mike finds out the results of the MLB Veteran's HOF commmittee. Joe Gordon, in. Everyone else, out. He doesn't have a lot to say on it except that he's surprised at the large margin from Gordon to the next guy. But as much as a baseball guy he is and this town is, did it really warrant a mention in the second segment? Couldn't this have waited til 3 or 4? It didn't matter. The lines were already full of people wanting to discuss pigskin.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BS Open

So after opening the show saying how Antonio Pierce is going to cooperate with police and confirming that Plaxico is gone for the year, Mike mentioned the Rutgers game tonight and then dived head into previewing tomorrow night's MAC Championship. Mike is giddy about this game calling it "A fascinating game, a Friday night game, the MAC Championship game. Undefeated Ball State...they play Buffalo tomorrow night.."

Uhh, Mike, we are in New York City. Sorry for all you upstaters, but no one here gives a F_ _ _ about the Mac Championship. I don't give a shit about Nate Davis. I don't care that someone told you he is the next Tom Brady. I don't care about Ball State. It is New York F'ing City. Talk about baseball free agents for the Yanks or Mets. Talk about the Knicks. Talk about the Nets. Go a little crazy and talk Blueshirts hockey. Talk about Roe. Talk about anything but Ball F'ing State.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It has now been about three months since the end of the Mike and the Mad Dog radio program...a few months since Francesa and Russo split and went their own ways. Since the holiday season is upon us - a season for giving - I have decided to give my Mike'd Up Report Card. Here goes:


After Dog bolted from FAN studios, Mike made it clear that the Mike and the Mad Dog name would be retired. Just like the surviving members of the Grateful Dead can never tour again using that name, Francesa realized he too would have to rebrand himself. So what did he do? He reached into his NBC handbag and grabbed the name from his Sunday night show "Mike'd Up." This did not happen instantly. If you recall, there were "teams" of lawyers involved. Eventually, the big man got his way. But the problem is that Mike has consistently called the show "Mike'd Up, Francesa on the Fan." Mike, which is it? Mike'd Up or Francesa on the Fan? It can't be both. That's too long and clunky. Much like your questions to guests. But anyway, thank God the lawyers were able to come to an agreement on the use of the title "Mike'd Up." Because it has made all the difference in the world. Or not. You decide.


After Mike embarked on his new show, much like President-Elect Obama, Francesa promised change. And that change started with a new jingle. No longer would listeners hear "They're talking sports going at it as hard as they can..." A new jingle would be gracing Mike'd Up. This was big news. This was exciting. Could this new jingle possibly rival the old one? Would I find myself humming it to my wife on Sunday afternoons? At first, Mike reported on the progress of the jingle on a daily basis. But then days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. There were lots of excuses. The jingle company is out West, so it takes longer to get stuff from them. The company is on vacation. Okay, maybe the company is not so good. Okay, maybe we are willing to take jingles that callers create at home. But not some crap that you record on your I-phone. These need to be professionally recorded. Then there were days where Mike would play a few contenders on the air. They were awful, but he seemed to like one or two. Then the jingle talk died, just as quickly as the Jets hopes of a Francesa-guaranteed 2 seed in the AFC. So here we are. No new jingle.

CO-HOSTS - Grade: F

With the new show Mike'd Up, Francesa promised that there would be some new blood in the studio with him. While he initially said he would never again have a co-host, he did say he would put together a few sort of revolving regular guests. He even opened the process up to the Fans, holding auditions at the debacle of a show that was known as the Bar A Disaster. Mike tried out several different people that summer day. They were mostly terrible. Mike's experiment failed miserably. So what did Mike do next? He just pretended that the Bar A auditions never happened. He never spoke of them again. Instead, he moved on to bigger targets. At least, that's what he hinted at for weeks and then months. There were BIG discussions going on. These were COMPLICATED folks. Just give us some time. It takes time to work these things out. We gave you time Mike. And instead of rewarding us, you tortured us with shows featuring Kim Jones, Chris Carlin, Evan Roberts, Joe Benigno and any other Daily News or Post writer you could assemble. This was not what you promised. This was not revolutionary. Now, almost three months later, you told us yesterday that were will be 2 weeks of Legends shows coming up, where legendary New York sports figures will be co-hosting with you. Mike, that's a nice gimmick, but it doesn't solve the issue that you cannot exist doing this show solo. You need another voice in that studio with you on a daily basis. Not for 2 weeks. And not another WFAN staffer. You promised fresh blood. You promised something new. You have not come through in a big spot.


Despite every aspect of his show falling to pieces, the one staple that has remained and appears stronger than ever is Mike's dismissive handwave to dump a caller from the line. It's almost as if, in a post Dog world, that this handwave has become more ferocious than it ever was. It's even got to the point where Mike has discussed the handwave on air with a caller. The handwave, in many ways has become the last line of defense for Francesa.


Since Dog went packing to Satellite radio, Mike Francesa has promised a lot. A new jingle. A new format. A new set of co-hosts. A completely new show - one that would make loyal listeners forget one Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo. He has delivered on none of these promises. Instead, he has bemoaned the lack of positive media coverage he received after the break-up, continued to come to work unprepared, launched a war with one of his old-time callers Mike from Montclair, and bored the rest of the audience to death on a daily basis. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this post Mike and the Mad Dog world is that Francesa seems somewhat oblivious to all of this. He continues to exist in his cocoon of arrogance. He talks and boasts of number 1 ranked shows. He continues to fancy himself as the one and only authoritative voice on sports. He still considers himself the General Manager/Coach of all New York sports teams. To quote my good friend, Colonel Nathan Jessep "You can't handle the truth!" There is no getting around this - Mike'd Up, Francesa on the Fan has failed miserably in its first term. Hell, if it wasn't for the handwave, I would have given the show an "F."

Monday, December 1, 2008


...And I'm gone again.

I haven't listened to Mike's show in awhile. Probably 3-4 weeks. But I was intrigued to tune into this afternoon's show. All sorts of good sports headlines...Plax flexing a glock, High Noon for Starbury, the Jets sh*t their Super Bowl bed, BCShenanigans, etc.

So I was encouraged when Mike showed up today as our moral conscience. He told us that what Plax did is wrong(no duh) and his career might be over(uh, Mike. He didn't string up any dogs by their hindquarters.) I love how he brings in Sean Taylor into the discussion even though there is no logical reason to. Taylor was killed in a home invasion. He didn’t have a gun. If he did have a gun, he might still be alive. Plax was showing his heat to a couple of hardbodies at the Limelight and clipped his leg accidentally. Not sure how they’re related but it was nice to see Mike not care about any tangents. He just saw these words 'Black athletes and guns' and it's time for him to spout his cliche stereotypes. (by the way, do we have the club that Burress, Bradshaw and Pierce like to walk heavy into yet? Was it Pastis in the Meatpacking district?)

But then, he starts to show the cracks again. At the end of the first segment, he doesn't even mention the Marbury situation with the Knicks. I mean this is a 'he said, she said' situation with one of the major sports franchises in the city. It's pretty easy talk show fodder. Not even a mention. Then in the next segment, he talks about his sick kid show, which is fine. But then he 'teases' us again with some 'legend' shows. These will be shows where legendary athletes('These are big names people') will sit in with him for a show. He lets us know that most of them will be from yesteryear.

I couldn't believe it. Doesn't this guy get it? Is this like the movie The Producers where he is trying to ruin the show. This new legends theme is his Springtime for Hitler. Mike! Why are you trying to skew older? Those people aren't going to get you more ratings. Wait a while before you do Ed Randall's show. Jiminy Christmas. Try to stay relevant.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I took a leave of absence from the show because it stunk. I came back for a day because there were some good things to talk about. And already, I find out that this is my older brother's show. It goes on the Stinks List.