Press-Box Confidential: Mike and the Mad Dog Backlash; Fat Lady Sings for the Yankees

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Mike, Mad Dog.Photo: Getty Images


It's been just a week since “Mike and the Mad Dog” called it a day, and the backlash has already begun. After an initial wave of goodwill — Chris Russo called in and cried during Friday’s final show, which turned into a wake of sorts, with Mike Francesa, humble as always, comparing the split to the breakup of the Beatles, and callers ranging from Russo’s dad to David Paterson phoning in to congratulate them on a job well done — the hyperbole died down, and then some.

On Wednesday, the Daily News printed three letters to the editor about the breakup: one pro-Russo, one pro-Russo and anti-Francesa, and one criticizing both of them. Then, yesterday, the Mike and the Mad Blog (the best, albeit only, daily source of this information) declared that Francesa's solo show was already so boring that they would no longer bother discussing how boring it is. At least, in sifting through all the obituaries, we discovered this gem, from Sports Illustrated: Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Roth is apparently such a big fan that he can do spot-on impressions of both hosts. We don’t think we’d pay money to hear Russo on satellite, but we’d definitely pay good money to hear that.

And the People Have Spoken: The letters about Russo weren’t the only sports-media ones the Daily News printed on Wednesday. In addition to John from Rego Park writing in to call Michael Kay “a spoiled brat,” James from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, chimed in to say the first paragraph of Mike Lupica’s Sunday column on Michael Phelps was so out-of-this-world amazing that it “shows why he’s the best sportswriter in the business at this time, and maybe at any time.” This is based not on the whole column, mind you, just the first 85 words. Lupica’s simply that good! If you listen closely, you can actually hear every other sportswriter in the country dying inside, just a little bit.

John Sterling Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard: We’re betting that, to John Sterling, the most upsetting part of his call of Cody Ransom’s first Yankee home run on Sunday wasn’t that he attributed it to Xavier Nady — even breaking out his “X Marks the Spot” call for the occasion. It may well be that Sterling may never get a chance to call another home run for Ransom, a marginal player who’s not likely to see much more time on the field. Because you know as soon as the Yankees bring someone up from the minors, Sterling spends hours thinking up an individualized call, then workshops it for days until he gets it just right. It’s a shame we’ll never get to hear “Ransom rips one!” put to good use.

Add Five, Carry the Three … No, Wait: Newsday sports-media writer Neil Best is one of the few newspapermen who’s figured out how to effectively utilize the Internet with his indispensable Watchdog blog. But one thing Best apparently hasn’t figured out is how to file his expenses since Cablevision bought the Long Island daily. How do we know this? Because he mentions it all the time. We don’t think he’s kidding either, because his colleague Bob Galuber seems stumped as well. We’re not sure how hard Cablevision has made it for employees to expense things, but we’ll go ahead and assume it’s somehow Isiah Thomas’s fault.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words: Words apparently can no longer describe how bad the Yankees’ chances of making the playoffs are, so blogs are going with the next best thing: visual representation. So stick a fork in them, because they’re dead. And before anyone else gets any ideas, we’re calling dibs on this one.