The McLean Stevenson Of Sports Radio Isn’t Totally Opposed To Having An Audience Again

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 4:11 pm by

OK, perhaps Andrew Ridgley would’ve been a better analogy. On the occasion of WFAN’s 25th Anniversary, Mike Francesa’s former co-conspirator, Chris Russo tells the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman that he’s not ruling out a return to the New York terrestrial station, though given their success without him (and the commercial/artistic failure of Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio), who’s to say he’d have an opportunity?

“You never want to say never. You know how the radio business is. So, you never say never, but I haven’t thought about it in my crystal ball, let’s put it that way,” Russo said. “But I’ll tell you right now, if Mike and I did shows together we would have no trouble picking right up where we left off.”

Russo knows the business. He knows Francesa, as a solo act, has maintained the kind of ratings the two of them produced. He also knows through all those years together he figured out a way to deal with Francesa’s mood swings, using humor to soften his rough edges and oversized ego.

“I am who I am. My nuttiness cannot be duplicated. They miss my nut sensibility,” Russo said. “They miss the things that just came out of my mouth. From that standpoint I had some impact.”

The decision to part ways with Francesa was the biggest one of Russo’s life. It’s one he made himself. To this day he still asks, “You think I did the right thing?” Yet, when asked to reflect on his years at FAN he’s fuzzy.

“It’s almost like in the last four years, it’s almost like I’ve forgotten I was at FAN for so long. This (Sirius/XM’s ‘Mad Dog Radio’) is a different kind of element, a different kind of show. It’s all-consuming. It’s so different than what I was used to,” Russo said. “You forget what you accomplished in that 20-year period. It’s almost like I forget I was at FAN for 20 years.”

When Russo’s deal is up in 2013, I suspect he’ll find gainful employment somewhere on the radio dial. Conversely, it’s probably gonna be overnights (at 7-11) or podcast-city for the man with more pseudonyms than cogent thoughts that follows him on weekday evenings.

When It Comes To Covering For Jose Canseco, The Worcester Tornadoes Are All-In

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 3:03 pm by

Worcester Tornados play-by-play announcer Nick Gagalis has additional duties with the Can-Am League franchise including, but not limited to rolling out the tarp, and babysitting Jose Canesco (above).  If Canseco’s kept a low profile of late, no one can say Gagalis isn’t doing his best Jay Horowitz impersonation when it comes to putting a positive spin on things.  From the Worcester Telegram’s Bill Doyle :

When Gagalis traveled with the Tornadoes to Quebec earlier this month, he slept in what was supposed to be Jose Canseco’s single hotel room. The 47-year-old former major leaguer missed the long bus trip (some say purposely). Canseco’s absence saved Gagalis from having to sleep on a cot in a room with two players.

As the team’s marketing manager, Gagalis helps arrange Canseco’s various media interviews. Canseco was hitting only .194 with one home run in 20 games before the team placed him on the disabled list last week. Gagalis plans to post his call of that home run on his website,  nickgagalis.com. Canseco did not travel to Texas, but Gagalis thinks he’ll return at some point.

“No matter what happens,” Gagalis said, “we were happy to have him when we did. We hope he can come back as soon as possible. It’s just a matter of making sure that if he does come back, he gets at-bats. We don’t want to have him just sitting on the bench.”

The Tornadoes signed Canseco 11 years after he left the majors to draw fans. Some fans are disappointed when they go to games and learn that Canseco won’t play, but Gagalis insists the team has more to offer — including theme nights, giveaways and promotions.

“We’re not the Worcester Jose Cansecos,” Gagalis said. “We are an affordable, family, fun thing to do.”


On WFAN’s 25th Anniversary, Here’s The Station’s Real MVP*

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 6:26 pm by

While a guy with a fraction of Steve Somers’ audience (and none of his talent) engages in a thoroughly fraudulent campaign to boost his Twitter followers, The Schmoozer deserves tremendous credit for being the best thing about NY’s all-sports WFAN for a quarter century and counting. That Somers has shared the airwaves with the hapless likes of Chris Russo and Sid Rosenberg has never been any reflection on Steve. While WFAN’s 25th Anniversary is mostly framed as an opportunity for the high and mighty to thank Mike Francesa for allowing them to breathe the same oxygen, anyone with a shred of taste or wit knows who the station’s top host has been.

* – other than Jerome Mittleman.

Suspended D-Backs Announcer Daron Sutton Is No Stranger To Mild, Harmless Acts Of Insubordination

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 5:06 pm by

Much has been made this week of the Diamondbacks’ curious decision to remove lead TV play-by-play announcer Daron Sutton from his duties mid-season for what’s being called a “dress code violation” (translation : Sutton prefers a suit and tie to the club’s mandated Snakes logo polo). Sutton might not be returning to the booth anytime soon (at least not for Arizona), with at least one reporter implying the dress code issue is really the tip of the iceburg.  Sutton has also been banished from tomorrow’s Fox regional telecast of Arizona’s visit to Milwaukee, where the Journal-Sentinel’s Bob Woolfey recalls the broadcaster’s prior tenure with the Brewers.

In 2002, when Sutton was with the Brewers, this columnist wrote a story about Sutton’s decision not to say the word “damn” when he had to read promos for a Fox Sports Net show, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.”

When Sutton referred to the show in the promos, he called it “The Best Sports Show Period.”

Sutton said he did read the whole title of the show in the first week or two of the season, but became uncomfortable when he had to read a promo for family day, followed by one for “Best Damn.” That was when he started routinely leaving out damn.

“I think my whole approach on that is we are always trying to sell this game to kids and families,” Sutton said at the time. “I personally don’t see those two going together. I have no problem with the name of the show.”

A Radical Proposition : Soriano’s Shirt Pull Is Not The Yankee Way

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, Fashion at 11:58 am by

Of Yankee closer Rafael Soriano’s curious habit of untucking his jersey after vanquishing opponents, Radical Baseball’s Keneth Martinale humbly suggests that George Steinbrenner — a staunch opponent of such flamboyance — “must be turning over in his grave”.  But enough about the good things surrounding Soriano’s display (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

What the heck is this shirt pulling about?  Did Soriano do this in Tampa when he saved 45 games in 2010?  Thankfully, Soriano saved only two games in 2011 but he finished six others.  That must have been eight times that he pulled his stunt, yet apparently he was not admonished.  Maybe nobody wanted any trouble with a marginal pitcher who had no such opportunities in the five Yankee playoff games in 2011.  After all, the Yankees had the immortal, indestructible Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, for all that’s worth, which obviously is not very much as the Yankees have gotten along quite well without Rivera since his season ending injury May 3, 2012 before the Yankees lost 4-3 in Kansas City.  Rivera’s last appearance was a save on April 30 2012.

In 2012 Soriano has finished 21 Yankee games, saving 17.  Are we Yankee fans to be subjected to this clown pulling his shirt of of his pants immediately after each Yankee win that he finishes?  What does this act signify?  Do other players on other teams do this?  What am I missing?  Or is Rafael Soriano simply a slob?


Whatever Shred Of History The Astros Posses, Jim Crane Can’t Wait To Get Rid Of It

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:48 pm by

And I’m not talking about his controversial decision to have the Charlie Kerfeld Birthplace & Museum (above) bulldozed to make way for a Chase ATM. Rather, in the wake of Houston agreeing to move to the American League and planning new uniforms for 2013, the Astros are considering….GETTING RID OF THEIR OUTFIELD CHOO CHOO TRAIN! Count Crawfish Boxes’ Timothy De Block amongst those saddened by the proposal.

I’m all for it as long as they replace it with a cowboy riding a rocket waving his hit for every homerun hit in Minute Maid Park. The new structure could act a ramp for the rocket. If it’s not that then I’m not really for getting rid of the train. Yes, I know trains have nothing to do with Astros, but it has a lot to do with the old building and I think it’s a unique, classy feature in the ballpark.

Great Moments In Mascot Brutalization, Pt. I

Posted in Baseball, Professional Wrestling, When Mascots Are Attacked at 10:32 am by

Putting aside for a moment the folly of the Brooklyn Cyclones hosting an event promoting the WWE’s “Be A Star” anti-bullying campaign (if encouraging arenas full of children to taunt Vickie Guerrero isn’t bullying, what is?) who amongst us cannot smile at seeing the former Sexual Chocolate, Mark Henry, delivering a blow to the beak of Sandy Seagull? Especially if we’re graced with the knowledge that’s Jeff Wilpon in the seagull suit.

While we’re wishing Jeff a swift recovery, given the tone of the event, perhaps it wasn’t the greatest idea to have shown this clip on the MCU Park Jumbotron.

CNN’s Modern Day “Dewey Defeats Truman” Moment

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 9:39 am by

In case you were wondering whatever happened to the Bleacher Report staffer who approved “The Japan Earthquake & Tsunami : The Worst Natural Disasters In Sports History”, well, apparently he or she went on to find gainful employment at CNN.


Dusty To Closer Chapman : Fewer Confusing, Awkward Gymnastics Displays, Please

Posted in Baseball at 5:16 pm by

If you think that headline is terrible, just imagine how hard I struggled to throw a Jesse White Tumblers reference into the mix. Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman is having a very interesting 2012 season. On the field, too.  While Cincinnati skipper Dusty Baker took umbrage at Chapman’s unusual form for celebration at the end of last night’s 4-3 defeat of Milwaukee, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reminds us that “no one dies doing somersaults.” NOT YET, Jon, not yet.

Considering the Reds’ previously mild reactions to the continuing soap opera surrounding their newsmaking reliever, their rebuke seemed over the top. Perhaps the Reds wanted to make a public statement regarding baseball decorum, especially with another game coming up against the depressed division-rival Brewers. But that doesn’t explain the lack of public responses to the previous episodes, all of which Chapman has managed to squeeze into a first half in which he has often been brilliant on the mound (he was near to unhitable for the first several weeks of thee season).

While celebratory somersaults aren’t something old-school people ordinarily rubber stamp, and the Reds probably have concern the Brewers think as old-school as they do and may counter by throwing at one of their stars (yes, Votto or Bruce), the Reds’ stern reaction to a fun incident was in sharp contrast to how Chapman’s previous, greater indiscretions were handled publicly.

There have been a few incidents. But the most obvious opportunity for the Reds to make a statement came when Chapman was stopped for driving 93 mph on a suspended license at 12:42 a.m. one morning.

An Alternative Birthday Gift For Deron Williams

Posted in Basketball, Fashion, New York, New York, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 3:58 pm by

The sister of Develop Don’t Destroy’s Daniel Goldstein has her own activist streak, Miss Wit tee designer Deb Goldstein’s coming in the form of a shirt protesting the MTA’s decision to accept naming rights dough in order to rename the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street subway stop, “Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center”. From DFAinfo.com’s Leslie Albrecht :

The new name is the result of a 2009 deal between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner Companies, who will pay the transit agency $200,000 a year for the next 20 years for the naming rights.

Barclays, a London-based bank, bought the naming rights to the new Brooklyn Nets arena in Downtown Brooklyn in 2007 for a reported $200 million.

She became inspired to make the threads when she spotted the new Barclays Center signs at the subway station, which sits just a few hundred yards from the new arena at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

To Goldstein, the station signs seemed to be “commanding” locals, some of whom had fought passionately against the arena, to embrace the Barclays Center.

“It just feels like there’s no control over anything that’s happening,” Goldstein said. “I have no problem with change, but change is something that evolves. You don’t buy change, and that’s what this feels like. It’s just a reminder of the whole process of how [Atlantic Yards] happened. It was supposed to be about housing, and now a British bank has their name on a subway station.”

Goldstein said she made the shirts in the spirit of the “I’m Still Calling It Shea” T-shirts that popped up when Citi Field opened.