The point in going down to Mets spring training to do Met interviews for two days and yet Mike can't get the players to sit beside him for the interviews? I mean I tuned in right now and I get the graphic "On the phone: Johan Santana" - where exactly is he on the phone from? Downstairs in the clubhouse? Another room three doors down? How in the world is this the best that the "#1 ranked sports show in NY" can do? How can Mike'd Up not get ANY players to do the interviews with Francesa, instead of on the phone. It borders on ludicrous. In fact, if this is the case, why bother going to Port Saint Lucie? Why not just do your show from Astoria and get these same phone interviews? What has being on location in Florida actually achieved? This is a joke...
So today was the first time in quite a while that I was able to listen to a good amount of Francesa on the Fan. I realized that in my couple month mini-hiatus from Francesa that it had done good things for me. No longer was I obsessed with yelling at a television screen or radio. No longer did I find myself dialing 718-937-6666 and hitting redial over and over again. No longer was I consumed with an arrogant man posturing about the sports world. But then there was today. I fell off the wagon.
For a good portion of the afternoon, I found myself addicted to Francesa. I wanted to blog about the show immediately. Mike opened with the Jim Calhoun press conference where the Uconn coach went off on a reporter questioning his salary. Mike backed Calhoun, but if you read between the lines, Mike was backing himself. He went on and on about how people who do well in this economy don’t want to talk or gloat about it. He was pretending to talk about Calhoun. Said good old Jimmy turned that program into everything that it is today and he’s worth double the money they pay him. But if you listened close enough, Mikey was really talking about himself. He was justifying his immense salary. Making it known that he put WFAN on the map. And that he is worth twice what they pay him. Now don’t get me wrong – Mike never said these things about himself. But he didn’t have to. It was pretty obvious.
But anyway, there were a few other instances in which I felt compelled to blog. But I began to feel like an old addict. I had managed to quit my drug – Francesa – but here I was, relapsing, completely consumed by the big man. So I forced myself to try and not blog. To let go of the addiction. By not blogging, I was not giving into the obsession. So I managed to make it through the show without a single post. Yes, this whole idea is somewhat contradictory to the very purpose of this blog. But after listening to hours of Francesa today for the first time in a long time, I realized that life is better off without him. I don’t need the Francesa fix anymore. Does that mean I won’t fall off the wagon again? Not at all. Only time will tell.
Check out this article that Neil Best blogged about...The 100 most important radio talk show hosts in America. Boomer/Carton are ranked ahead of Francesa. Dog isn't even on the list. These rankings seem rather absurd but nonetheless Francesa has to be annoyed by this....
I'm subbing out Col. Jessup with Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction to give us some thoughts on ARod's press conference:
PRE-PRESS CONFERENCE PEP TALK WITH ALEX I think you're gonna find -- when all this shit is over and done -- I think you're gonna find yourself one smilin' motherfucker. Thing is Alex, right now you got ability. But painful as it may be, ability don't last. Now that's a hard motherfuckin' fact of life, but it's a fact of life your ass is gonna hafta git realistic about. This business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their ass aged like wine. Besides, even if you went all the way, what would you be? Home run King of the world. Who gives a shit? I doubt you can even get a credit card based on that.
ON AROD'S COUSIN I'm prepared to scour the earth for this motherfucker. If Alex's cousin goes to Indo China, I want Selena Roberts hidin' in a bowl of rice, ready to pop a cap in his ass.
Mike Francesa. Francesa has been killing Arod since the end of his press conference. This is why I still listen at times to Mike Francesa. This is why through the ego and the arrogance, I turn to Mike for his take in times of big sports moments. This is why he still gets ratings. I would imagine Dog is just as good today, but I don't have SIRIUS so I am stuck with Mike. But Francesa is killing Arod and he is dead right. For those Michael Kay lovers, I would be interested in hearing what he has to say on this matter...
So I just caught myself up on the ongoing feud between the divorced couple of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. And to be honest, I still haven't quite decided who I want to live with yet. Sure, moving in with Francesa full-time would be rough. I would have to deal with the arrogance and the ego. But packing up and heading over to SIRIUS to live with Dog would be no picnic either. That would require me actually paying for radio, something I have little interest in doing. And even if I did, do I really give a shit about Alabama football or Kansas City Royals baseball? Those are things I would have to deal with at Dog's house. So what to do? Well it occurs to me that the best possible scenario would be if SIRIUS/XM folded, forcing Russo out of a job. Dog then ends up at ESPN Radio. Think about how great this scenario would be. It would be like your parents going though an ugly divorce and then one of them moves back into town with their new partner. This is what I long for. If Russo wound up at ESPN Radio, then I could actually listen to him again. But more importantly, think about the war that it would set off between him and Francesa. People have been killing Mike for saying he and Russo are not in competition right now. But in many ways Mike is correct. Being on Satellite radio is not a fair fight for Dog. The simple truth is that most people don't want to pay for radio. But if you take Dog and put him on 1050, then we have a real fight. Think about the possibilities. I don't know who would ultimately win custody of me, but I would love to find out...
Chris Russo is scheduled to be on David Letterman's show Thursday night, which has great potential to ruin another one of my evenings.
Anyway, for now I swear this is the only post I'm going to do about this today, but I figured I'd wait for the first caller to ask Russo about Wednesday's back-and-forth with Mike Francesa and share it with you.
The caller asked about Francesa's decision to move his Super Bowl show away from Radio Row the last week of January.
Said Russo: "Again, the bottom line is I don't care who you put on nine blocks away. You cannot put on me, you can't put Obama nine blocks away from Radio Row. You're not going to get guests. It's not Mike, per se, it's anybody, for goodness' sake. You can't do it. It's not going to work. Case closed."
So...the bigger news here is that Russo will be on Letterman tonight. We all know the firestorm that set off within Francesa last time as Letterman took a few jabs at the big man, without Russo defending him...So what will happen tonight? My guess is Letterman will most certainly bring up the controversy...Stay tuned...
...and I missed most of it! The only part of Mike's show I heard yesterday, was the close. I already wrote that I thought Mike handled it well (assuming the numbers, which I won't look up, bear out what he said). Anyway, it was a "triangulation of crossfire" yesterday and it was awesome. No matter which side you're on, this was good stuff.
So, who was the big winner? Who was the big loser? How does 1050 fit into the equation? If you need to refresh your memory, Neil Best was good enough to blog 4 different times yesterday.
I don't know if Mike brought any of this up yesterday but Dunn and Abreu both signed yesterday. I really don't care about Abreu since I didn't want him on the Mets but 1/5MM seems like a good signing for LAA. I am disappointed that the NYM, however, couldn't find 2/20MM for a 40 HR, .900 OPS guy. They're going to battle with essentially the same team, offensively, while their counterparts in the East have upgraded.
If Mike hit on these topics, what was his reaction?
There was a caller who was talking with Mike and was just about to get his point out when there was a scream of a baby in the background. The caller says, "Mike, I'm gonna have to call you back." Mike took it in stride. "Ok," he said. And then Mike went off the reservation a bit. Amidst all the talk of ARod, the stalking of ARod, Favre, Jeter as compared to Dimaggio as Yankee captain, the Russo on Stern brouhaha, etc., Mike was able to keep it light and have a little fun.
Legendary father Mike informed us that these things happen, "You're listening to a show and the baby cries...I've been there." Mike came up with "that was a baby falling-off-the-couch type of thing". And then was able to deduce that the crying child in question was not walking yet. Then it got even more amusing as Mike tried to paint a picture of fatherhood..."the baby rolls this way, it rolls that way. It gets stuck in the walker." Then Mike put a very nice bow tie on this total non sequitur of a conversation with, "I'm past all those things. I got 'em all walking. All talking. All potty-trained."
This has been a topic here for awhile. Seems it's come up again so let's roll with it...Even better that it's been chronicled, the contempt they share for one another.
In one corner, we have Francesa. Expert on everything with extra special expertise in: Yankees, heart, Kennedy, "max protect schemes", Parcells, other Presidents, Diet Coke, horses and "big spots". Famous blowhard; recently split from radio partner of 19 years.
In the other corner, Michael Kay. Famous Yankee announcer; face of the YES Network; documented allegiance to the Yankee brass; excellent pitch man for upcoming ESPN/1050 programming. Famous blowhard also famous for the WORST end of show sign-off ever and expert in making my skin crawl when he lusts after women 25 years his junior.
Both huge Yankee guys. Both from NY. Neither guy has a grasp on baseball stats that are conjured up by bloggers living in their parents basement. Both fellows think Derek Jeter's sweat eliminates the suffering of children everywhere and that Randy Johnson was a bust in NY. Man, these guys sound like twin brothers, huh! In fact, they're very similar, to me. Except, Francesa's agenda is Francesa and friends of Francesa and Kay's agenda is the Yankees and ESPN.
I will say, Joey Salvia seems pretty funny. so that's good. It's immediately counteracted by that whining, unoriginal Donnie Pucks, so that's bad.
I cast my vote for Francesa. I just think he's better than Kay and he's not pushing anything on me that comes down from above.
What do you all think? Is the Kay show really better than Mike'd Up at this point?
I will admit to have not watched or listen to a single moment of the Diet Coke Diva in months but i turned on my tv and made the trip to the YES Network thinking perhaps Mike would bring some energy, some ooomph to this topic.. That did not happen.
What i got was my first listen at the new jingle, which considering that it took a shorter amount of time to record the SGT Pepper album is very disappointing...
Next up, Mike's take on the AROD situation had nothing to it. He had all weekend, he said he had been asked to appear but didn't. Who was asking him? No one knows. He had all weekend to come up with something unique, something fresh, to have some energy and really go hard at this one, but instead just came with the "not surprised" and that the union and selig have their legacies tarnished by this. Really Mike? Wow.
Come on, give me something Mike. I've decided to listen. I'll stay with you till 2pm. Come out the gate with the fact that the Yankees have to be shaking in their boots that they just didn't give another HUGE contract to a former Texas Ranger star.. come on!
I got a lot on my mind.. so let's take a ride, will ya?
Imagine what it was like being in that Texas Rangers locker room in the mid 90s to 2000s. Were guys just walking around with needles coming out of their asses? People can say that the Yankees had a lot of steroid guys, but how about them cowboys in Texas? Canseco, Raffey, IRod, Juan Gone, Garry Matthews Jr and a certain 3rd baseman who now wears pinstripes. And oh by the way, if you are scoring at home, and it was a 5-3 (third base to first base put out), the guy receiving the throw across the diamond from ARod was the man who will be receiving that same toss from him this year, Mr Mark Teixeira.
Yup, I am about to present a theory, not an accusation but a theory or a wondering of wonders (that's a little song from Fiddler on the Roof for you musical fans at home). If ARod was caught up in this culture of the Steroid Rangers, and IRod was and Juan Gone was and Raffy was and Garry Matthews was and even little Randy Velarde was.. can we wonder how Mr Teixeira was able to exist in that culture with sticking a needle into his own record? HMMMM...
But I have yet to hear anyone bring this up. You think that the Yankees are wondering if they simply replaced one steroid user first baseman with another? I am. Just wondering...
SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD: It seems when it comes to steroids, sorry doesn't come to easy. It doesn't come easy from the players, it doesn't easy from the owners, and this pisses me off. Just in case you haven't read up on everything in that SI article, but the reason AROD even got caught is because Gene Orza of the players union was fighting the results of the tests so that they would be under the 5% that would mandate a testing policy. He was more concerned with trying to keep testing out of baseball and allowing the players to continue to cheat, and by doing this kept the test results alive and essentially got AROD into this moment.
It was written in the Post today and I emailed Gman and FTLT about it yesterday. AROD can be a hero here and completely change his image. I actually feel that he has an enormous opportunity here to completely change the game. If he comes out and says I'M SORRY. This was a terrible thing. I was completely wrong and not only that but the game has been wrong, the players union was wrong and I now want to stand in the front of this battle to keep the game clean. I will start my own program to teach kids about the dangers of steroids and I will submit to the very same testing done in the Olympics and believe that baseball should do the same thing.
You can't tell me that if he does something like that and continues to speak out that he doesn't have an opportunity to impact his image in a huge way and come out of this way better than it's looking at the moment.
FINALLY: To refute the earlier post or to answer the question.. Do We Care? My answer is strongly YES. This is a game about history. The records matter. The Hall of Fame matters. Hank Aaron matters. What he went through to get that record matters. It matters that Hank Aaron achieved the top of the home run list while receiving racist letters and words from the fans every single game. It matters that on the other hand Barry Bonds achieved the top of the home run list while receiving steroid injections before every game. THAT MATTERS.
So there it is. Call in today. This Tex thing needs to get talked about. Don't let Mike tell you it doesn't matter. Don't let people tell you Pujols is now the clean guy. Don't look at a record book that has Bonds on the top of the list and think it's real. It ain't real.
And don't think it doesn't matter. It matters. Honesty isn't some relic like wooden rackets or the Polo Grounds. Nope, it's here and real and it too matters.
I hope our gracious hosts don't mind a topic not directly related to Mike, The Dog or their respective shows but I noticed some comments and thought I'd see if anyone else is checking here over the weekend.
We all know the story so there's no need to link. We also know the condemnation Canseco received from, well, everyone so there's no need to go there either. What I want to know is what do we all think about the story bigger than A-Rod getting busted for PED's? The story of PED's in baseball. Do we care? Is it cheating if your competitor is also on them? Are we trying to make ourselves believe that we didn't know about McGwire and Sosa that crazy summer? What's the end game? What will satisfy us?
For me, since I hate the NYY this is fun. I never really liked A-Rod and when he went to NY, I liked him less. Nothing made me happier than A-Rod grounding into an inning ending DP. Maybe Mariano blowing a save but that's it. Even though I thought he was clean, I am not surprised. Nor would I be surprised if I heard any of the following names linked to steroids (Mets fan here): David Wright, Jose Reyes, Greg Maddux, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Derek Jeter and so on and so on. I would be surprised by no one. No one at all. Except David Eckstein or Juan Pierre. Those two would be surprising. What I mean is that, for now, they're a part of the game. Players use/used them. A lot of players. I knew it in 1998 and I know it now and I can't deem someone a cheater unless I know what proportion was cheating along with that player.
I am sure there are some parents who read this blog. Is this affecting your children? Do you fear that they'll be pressured to try PED's in high school? What are the opinions?
Been a little quiet on this blog lately. Let's see if we can get some chatter going.
I didn't get to hear all of Mike and Dog's interviews with Torre. From what I can glean, they were both unspectacular. Would you guys give them both a "C" grade? If not, who outperformed the other and why?
I saw a little of Mike on Yes the other day. What is the deal with the constant gesturing? Is he telling someone where to drop his wings and mozz stix? Who is beckoning? Why can't he wait for the break? What's going on here?
I heard him the other day buddying up to his crew. Ack and Eddie Erickson and someone else. Taking himself down a few notches. Love it when Mike becomes one of the people. Refreshing and truly down to earth. That's Mike F. in a nutshell. Seriously, do you think he acknowledges these people outside of the context of his show? I can see something like this:
Minko: Mike, did you see LeBron last night?
Mike: Who'd they play?
Minko: The Knicks. At MSG.
Mike: No one watches the NBA Mink. I tried to watch them earlier this year but I couldn't find the game on TV.
Minko: Well, LeBron had some night. Triple double with over 50 points! That's some night, huh?
Mike: I don't care about the numbahs. The numbah mean nothin' to me. Did he play with heart? Did he dive on the floor? Did he set and screens that didn't show up in the box score.
Minko: He had 11 assists and 10 rebounds Mike. It was a game for the ages.
Mike: Hand me that Daily Form. I'll be in the my office. Do me a favor, pull up Jetuh's sac bunts, per year, for his career for me. That guy is all heart.
Mike is looking forward to Tenn v Florida this year. Kiffin v Meyer. Bloodbath, he says. No word on whether Meyer will bust out the U-T/Humanitarian line.
Caller got through complaining about the morning show. Mike actually, sorta, defended them. He also kinda sorta said they were not as good as the Imus show and no one should expect them to be.
Q - "Was the plan to do this much media on this book?" What a softball, layup. Guess he's just trying to warm him up. Q - "Are you surprised this book got this much reaction?" Torre claims he didn't realize that he was writing this 'kind of book'. Again with the innocent Joe act. (Phone call forces me to interrupt my transcription) Q - "You were pretty honest about some of these Yankees the last 10-12 years." Just like Mike, is wont to not ask a question. Just state something. Q - "Was there anything that you read through, that you kind of wish you took back?" Torre says no, but the Cashman stuff was tough for him.
Multiple phone calls happened so I had to suspend this post. How did the interview turn out?
Here is an on-the-fly transcription of Francesa's interview with Joe Torre. Just so you know, a closed question is one that asks for a yes or no response. An open question is the opposite. Supposedly, a good interviewer uses more open questions than closed.
"What was the motivation for this book?" Nice closed question. Vague Torre answer. "You wanted someone else to be the voice of the book." This is not a question "What was the reason why it was written in Tom's voice and not your voice?" Not bad. Torre's answer was basically, 'I'm not interesting enough for a full book'. "How do you condone(Single White Female) if you don't know what it is?" This question seemed to get Torre backpedaling slightly. "How about the idea of Mussina going after Rivera?"(this was followed by a long post-question amble). Torre answered this question with a question. "People are gonna say, Why would Joe say that about Mariano?" Joe tries to slip out of this one. Says it was just a statement of fact. "How would you describe the relationship you had with A-Rod?" Torre very evasive. 'I don't think it's changed. But that doesn't mean that it was bad.' This is a total non-answer. He finally said 'Our relationship and what he we said about each other has been documented.' Huh? "Cashman - Was it a bad relationship after '06?" A closed question but got an ok response from Torre. Mike came back at Torre a little here, but I was too busy typing the A-Rod stuff, that I couldn't make sense of it. "That did tick you off that he(Cashman) didn't agree with you about the Bernie thing." This is not a question. "Was Randy Levine out to get you...Did he get you in the end?" Good Question. Mike then asked if they had made up. Uh. Who cares if Torre made up with Randy Levine?!He went on some question about if things would have been different if George was in charge. "What is your reaction to the David Wells quotes?" Good question. "When you look back...was Clemens in a roid rage with the Piazza thing?" Torre, I guess sort of answers yes. Says he was in his 'own place'. Then brings up Bob Gibson. "Do you think you had an inordinate number of players doing steroids?" Interesting question. But it was closed so Torre could duck it pretty easily. "Did you violate the sanctity of the clubhouse?" Closed question. Torre used the excuse that he wasn't really breaking news because some of these things had been reported before. Weak. "What was your reaction to Ball Four?" Picture half of this blog, googling 'Ball Four'. "Is there anything in the book that you wish wasn't in the book?" Torre 'Not from my perspective.' "What about Verducci?" Torre totally sells out Verducci by saying that he didn't have final say on the whole book. This is a cop out. "Do you worry about your Yankee legacy?" Totally preposterous question. Do you really think Torre is worried about this Yankee legacy if he writes this book? Mike obviously cares about Torre's legacy, but I don't think Joe gives it much thought. "Is your legacy important?" This was for some reason a better question than the previous one. Don't ask me why. You had to be there. Some long, rambling non-question about how Joe should have known about the reaction to the book would be like this. "If you were A-Rod, would you have been upset about the A-Fraud stuff?" Joe Torre is not Alex Rodriguez. Weak response from Torre 'This wasn't stuff that was said behind his back.' "Did you leave there thinking he(Cashman) wasn't an ally." Closed question but illicited the most honest answer 'I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure.' Sort of like when Tom Skerritt asks Jester(Michael Moriarity)'if you had to go into battle, would you want him with you?' 'I don't know. I just don't know'. "Was there one decision that you wish you could have changed?" Torre says, 'good question'. "Was Pavano your biggest disappointment?" 'Probably and Randy Johnson' "Any second thoughts about doing the book?" umpteenth closed question prompted an obvious answer 'No.' "The book wasn't written out of bitterness?" 'No' "Were you bitter?" 'I was unhappy at times.'
So apparently there is a new jingle. I just got the last few seconds of it. But even though he has a jingle, he apparently is not totally happy with it. He mentioned how long the guys in Nashville took and how they 'have to get in the studio' for some revisions.
Be careful: Mike and Chris' way of telling sports fans not to fall in love with a player or team ("Be Careful about falling in love with Pagan")
Let's be fair here: Russo's counter-argument to callers that attack someone ("Let's be fair here. If you are going to knock Rick Peterson, you gotta give him credit for John Maine")
This whole notion: When Francesa or Russo declares something to be fact when in actuality, they are making it up themselves ("This whole notion that Mike D'Antoni is going to make the Knicks a playoff team is a joke")
Pipe Down: Russo's way of telling a player to shut up ("Pipe down there Figueroa")
Tough Spot: This is usually a negative. 'Tough spot. Aaron Heilman. Can't trust him.' They rarely say, "I really like Chauncey Billups in a tough spot." Even though Mike and Dog don't trust a lot of athletes in a tough spot, you can earn your way out of this label. For example, they couldn't trust Eli Manning in a tough spot until the Super Bowl. Now he can basically retire and still be a legend. He proved he can perform in a tough spot. This phrase is used by both Mike and Dog.
Tricky Spot: This really means an awkward position. For example, Ian Eagle running into Marv Albert at the Garden. Or I'm sure that the Giants last game of the 2007 was a tricky spot. "Coughlin wants to get ready for the postseason but you have to try to end the Patriots' undefeated season. Tricky spot, Mike." And for clarification. This phrase is used primarily by Russo.
Timmy: Russo's son. ("I mean, let's be fair here Mike, Timmy can throw harder than Igawa")
Say Something Funny Mike (When Russo can't control himself and breaks out into laughter and tries to egg Francesa on to keep it going. Picture Russo hysterically laughing followed by "Say Something Funny Mike")
First time, long time (this term is announced by a fan calling to the show, who has been a long time listener of the show, but is making his first ever call in - hence, first time (caller), long time (listener)
I can't go too crazy - This is a Mad Dog special. Dog uses this phrase to throw cold water on enthusiastic callers("I can't go too crazy about the D-Rays in May. Talk to me in September.") or admit that he doesn't have strong feelings about a subject("I can't go too crazy about the Olympic torch protesters.").
A-Game - This is Mike's new terminology that he applies to a Yankees win in which the starter goes 7 innings, Joba pitches a perfect 8th and Mariano closes it out. "The Yanks need an A Game tonight."
Bad Job: This is Mad Dog's way of criticizing something. It can be applied to players, coaches, general managers, fans - even networks, as in "That's a bad job out of NBC on the Derby Broadcast."
I'm not a big believer in: This is mainly a Mike comment. It means he doesn't have much confidence in something. And just like other comments, this is mainly used in negative, eg. 'I'm not a big believer in starting someone on 3 days rest.'
The whole bit - Russo's phrase when he is alone and wants to keep the conversation moving along. Without Mike there to add any details, Russo will use 'the whole bit' to sum up a person or issue. 'Selig will make it into the Hall of Fame. Steroids, the whole bit.'
Mike and the Mad Dog Photos
One of the more uncomfortable shots you will ever see of them
Mike and the Mad Dog Photos
On Location (yes, the show does sometimes travel forcing the duo to sit awkwardly next to each other)
Russo going off on Pacman Jones, one of the classic rants in show history (see Video section for link)
Mike and the Dog Photos
Posed (notice Francesa has to be slightly more upfront and center)
Mike and the Dog Photos
At work (the traditional YES split screen - Dog on the left, Francesa on the right)