I’ve probably been overly critical of WFAN’s Mike Francesca through the years, but today, I’ve got to give him considerable credit. On a Friday in which the sports fans of the tri-state area might well have wanted to discuss such topics as Michael Phelps’ historic gold medal haul, Team Redeem’s early Olympic success, the Mets’ ascent to the top of the NL East, the Giants’ pending title defense or Brett Favre’s rusty arm in training camp, the planet’s no.1 consumer of Diet Coke had bigger fish to fry.
To wit, a wake for his 19 year partnership with Chris Russo, a demise described in tones so solemn, an unwitting listener just flipping around the AM dial might have thought the station had decided to replay a tape of their 9/11 programming.
That Francesca took an early call from Russo — allegedly prevented from doing a farewell show by ownership — was a classy enough gesture, though the results weren’t without some unintentional humor, as always. The Mad Dog (is that nickname someone else’s intellectual property now?) said he’d miss some of the program’s more contentious moments, citing “the Cory Lidle thing” as an example. Indeed, it’s gotta be attractive for a satellite broadcaster to consider a guy whose resume includes bullying a man into flying a plane into the side of a building. Then again, we’re talking about the same people who hired Scott Ferrall.
For his part, Francesca vows to emerge from summer vacation with some new concepts “and new jingles”. Hey, this guy played a big role in writing the blueprint for much of what passes as sports yack radio. Who’s to say he can’t revinvent himself and do it again? Other than me, that is?