Pop Culture Junkette

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Aaaaaaaand goodbye, everybody

No, this is not a farewell from your trusted bartender, but a somewhat sad farewell to the one and only, Mike and the Mad Dog. Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo essentially invented modern sports talk radio, having done it for the past 19 years on WFAN in New York. It was officially announced that the duo is no more with Russo moving on to newer (and certainly greener) pastures.

Having grown up outside New York City, I have listened to them intermittently ever since they started. And whenever I'm back near the big city, I would often tune them in. They were the best and worst of sports talk radio. Usually entertaining, often funny, very opinionated, and a wee bit full of themselves (particularly Mike). Mike was a huge Yankees and Bill Parcells fan; Russo, a nut for the SF Giants. I still fondly remember listening to them in the summer of 1993 as the Braves came storming back to overtake the Giants . Russo was beside himself, and Mike loved playing the HR calls of McGriff et al. from a huge series the Braves swept to torture Russo. Good times. Heck, when the Yanks were in the 2001 Series and pulled off the miraculous wins in Games 4 and 5 (as far as I remember that series ended then and there), I listened to a static filled broadcast of the show from my car in Virginia to listen to Francesa's excitement at what had transpired.

The worst part about the split--I could never handle listening to them when either one was on vacation. Mike needed Russo to keep his ego slightly in check. And Russo on his own was just painful. I hope Sirius, his supposed destination, knows what it's getting, because there are any number of sports radio guys I would listen to before tuning into a Russo solo show. And with satellite radio, the options are there.

So, farewell, Mike and the Dog. I know I am not alone in saying that even with all of your flaws, I will miss you.


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