For the most part, I’m opposed to things that make Mike Francesa happy. Increasingly, it’s difficult to imagine just what those happy-making things might be — A backrub from Bill Parcells? Something bad happening to Carlos Beltran? But I suppose, since I must take a position on this critical issue, that I’m okay with whatever makes “Chris” Mad Dog Russo happy. I don’t know the extent to which Russo is capable of experiencing basic human emotions, or expressing any emotion beyond frantic, caffeinated bafflement. But given that Russo has long been on record as one of the nation’s foremost San Francisco Giants fans — or most insistent and nervous-making Giants fans, at least — it seemed safe to assume that he was pretty psyched by the Giants’ first World Series victory since 1954. Which is six years before Russo was born, but which the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen reports did nothing to diminish Russo’s maniacal glee in his first post-victory broadcast. For a vivid depiction of what is basically a happier-than-average crazy person at work, you can’t do much better than this.
Two minutes before he took the air Monday afternoon, Christopher Russo calmly walked into the studio of his Sirius XM show, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” carrying a tuna sandwich on rye bread. Not long after, he started to scream, uncoiling his body so violently that his hands ended up above his head, convulsing in tremors. A twisted smile plastered his face. “Ahhhhhh”good afternoon everybody!” he squealed, getting louder and higher-pitched as he made four words last seven seconds.
Bruce Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” filled the studio. Dog strutted five paces back and forth, performing the riffs with an air guitar, as if he were on stage at the Stone Pony. “Are you alive?” he bellowed, leaning into the microphone. “Are you alive!” He rolled up his white shirtsleeves and gripped the table in front of him, palms up…
More than two years into his new show, Mr. Russo hasn’t become any less Mr. Russo, even if he’s not saying, “Good job, Mikey,” every hour. He can’t rely on Mr. Francesa’s counterpoint, but on Monday, for example, he was still full of questions. Had anyone seen “The Town”? Mr. Russo had just come from a 10:25 a.m. screening, where he was the only one in the movie theater. How many teams had lost the World Series after leading 3-1 with home-field advantage”was it two, or three?
… And, most important, will he live and die with every Giants score now that they’ve finally given him some satisfaction? He has talked to Red Sox fans whose obsessions dwindled when Boston snapped its championship drought. “That little rant I did in ’03, when I said ‘One time!’ about nine million times, loudly”I wonder if I’ll do that,” Mr. Russo wondered aloud. “Do something else with my life. Be an air-traffic controller. Go schedule passenger planes. I love that stuff. Here’s Jeff in Philly.”
Try not to think too much about Russo as an air-traffic controller, especially if you’re planning on traveling by plane. But if you’re bored, by all means feel free to think of him joining GC onstage with The Air Traffic Controllers. I’m picturing Doggie as a stand-up drummer, but feel free to let your own imagination go on that one.