I tried listening to the countdown of WFAN’s Top 20 Moments from the station’s 20th Anniversary last night, but frankly, it was hard work. For one thing, as Neil Best noted, a person might hear said historical document and emerge unaware there’s been a basketball team playing in midtown Manhattan. In addition, there’s something very strange about the high percentage of Top 20 moments that were actually culled from the vaults of WABC — who would’ve thought a generation after the ’86 Mets turned the former WHN into the nation’s first all-sports yack outlet, the station would still suffer from so much Yankee Envy?
Thankfully, today’s Newark Star-Ledger compiles a few highlights that didn’t quite make the cut.
1989: Jim Lampley relieves himself into a coffee cup while doing his opening monologue. On his WFAN bio page, Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman calls the feat “one of the greatest broadcasting achievements I’ve ever witnessed.”
June 1994: Francesa and Russo turn their attention to the LAPD’s pursuit of O.J. Simpson. After Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti explains how O.J. slipped away, Russo proclaims, “That’s a terrible job by the LAPD!”
August 1998: Mike and the Mad Dog discuss the movie “Saving Private Ryan” on the air. “I’ll tell you what I take from this movie,” Mad Dog says. “War is bad, Mikey. War is bad.”
May 2000: Carlin finds Francesa and Russo watching “The Horse Whisperer” in Russo’s Indianapolis hotel room before a Knicks-Pacers playoff game. They are rapt as Robert Redford breaks up with Kristin Scott Thomas.
When the scene ends, Russo breaks it down like the Pacers defense. “Aw, Mike, he had to do it. You got to break up with that woman. She is lost right now.”
September 2001: In the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Russo, known for his pronunciation challenges, somehow mixes up the world’s most wanted terrorist with a former Olympic figure skating champion. Those who heard it say the riff went something like this: “Mikey, you know it and I know it, we got to go in there and get Oksana Baiul, and that’s all there is to it.”