Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can’t Do That Dog, Can’t Do That…

It is with great sadness that we report that Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has left the “Mike and the Mad Dog” show on Sports Radio 66 (the fan!) WFAN. And with him goes a part of Rickey’s childhood. ‘Tis a dark day indeed: sports fans all over the tri-state area now have nowhere to turn to listen to two guys talking sports going at it as hard as they can. For you neophytes looking to bone up on their radio show, a great retrospective about Mike Francessa and Chris Russo was written in the 2004 issue of the New Yorker. The show essentially consisted of a Diet Coke swilling ogre (Mike) and a Bellevue escapee (Chris) talking sports. Were either of them particularly talented? Fuck, no (unless you consider pissing Rickey off to be a talent). But together, they were an institution which Rickey grew up with and as much as they drove us nuts, we just simply cannot imagine New York sports radio without this iconic duo. Call us sentimental, but Rickey has fond childhood memories of riding in the car with his dad, listening to “Mike and the Mad Dog” as emotionally stunted individuals named Howie from the Bronx called in with their insane rantings. Yes, Mike and Chris were relentless morons, but they were our relentless morons.

We wonder, why couldn’t Chris Carlin or Joe Benigno quit instead? With Chris Russo gone, who at WFAN will mispronounce and misuse commonplace words? Who can we turn to for maniacal three hour golf stories? Who can we rely on for bizarre rants about Billy Wagner using the same song as Mariano Rivera for entering baseball games? Where can we find up to the minute analysis of the San Francisco Giants? Goddamnitalltohell, now who’s going to provide us with irrational knee jerk responses to sporting news?

True story, a while back, Rickey and his dad went to see Chris Russo at a speaking engagement and they wanted to get Mad Dog’s signature for Rickey’s younger brother. No joke, the guy actually signs autographs like he talks, and the autograph reads: “Alex, I love all my fans, Alex.” (Alex, buddy, if you’ve still got that autograph, cherish it dearly, for it is just as valuable as the baseball glove signed by George Pataki).

Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen, today is a sad day, and Rickey’s drive home from work will never be the same again without this curiously fascinating duo on the radio. We here at RwR strongly believe that there is only one solution to this deepening crisis: Steve Somers on the air twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Because let’s be honest now, there can never be enough discussions about Sophia Lauren, mushroom barley soup, and “Icelanders” references on the AM radio dial. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this, Chris Russo’s legendary rant about Pac Man Jones.

Oh no wait, we can do even better. Behold, the infamous clip of Chris Russo nancing about to the musical stylings of Southside Johnny.



Goodnight sweet prince, Rickey will miss you.

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9 comments:

Alex L said...

I've only ever saw this guy on Letterman, but he seems nice and is definetly passionate. I guess I'll feel the same way when 'Roy and HG' eventually retire, but I hope thats a fair way off.

Harris said...

Hey Riding WIth Rickey,

Dunno if I hate Francesa's know-it-all attitude or Russo's "I'm louder than you, therfore I am right" method of arguing, but I say good riddance.

Not that I care, as I haven't listened to their show in ten/fifteen years.

Rock On,

Aitch

Smitty said...

Living where I do, we don't always get the best sports radio here. I have heard these guys on some occasions and laughed hysterically every time at the...the...what's the word I'm looking for...Je ne sais qua...

We have our own "Mad Dog" here in Lansing. He is not the brilliant anarchy of your mad dog. Ours is that emotionally stunted Bronx guy who somehow got his own show.

Deb said...

That was lovely, Rickey, simply lovely.

I think M&MD had an odd kind of chemistry and synchronicity that became synonymous with sports talk radio. That had begun to fade somewhat, and at times deteriorated into sycophantic "you're 100% right, Mike"s from the Dog, and a kind of detached superciliousness from Mike toward the Dog.

In other words, the show, I think its best form, had probably run its course, even though it was still a good, solid, entertaining show.

I think Dog will be wildly successful on his own, but I think Francesa will have a road to hoe in front of him.

Alex said...

got the signed pic hanging in my office...

Diesel said...

This is exactly how I felt when E.R. went off the air.

Wait, is E.R. still on?

Toasty Joe said...

I always chuckled at the disturbing sexual connotations inherent in the two them "going at it as hard as they can."

Mr Furious said...

So what's the deal, is MD going solo? I was a pretty big consumer of the show when I lived in NYC, and it is an institution.

Steve Somers 24/7 would actually hurt my head all the way in North Carolina.

Rickey Henderson said...

Yep, he's going solo on Sirius. They offered him a $15 million dollar deal.