WFAN’s Chris Russo has been all over the case of U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-4) after the latter’s contrasting tone toward Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens (ie., kinda smoochy towards the Rocket, busting out the Bad Cop rhetoric with the former trainer). The Greenwich Post’s Ken Borsuk considers the amazing circumstances that have the Mad Dog throwing his weight around in an bona fide congressional race (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).
After the hearing, Mr. Shays came under heavy criticism on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show, particularly from Mr. Russo, a New Canaan resident and registered Republican. Mr. Russo said he voted for Mr. Shays in the past but vowed last week to not only never vote for him again but campaign for Democrat Jim Himes instead because he was œembarrassed by the congressman™s hearing performance.
œGet Shays out. Get Himes in there, Mr. Russo declared on the air in his distinctive, excited style.
He also said Mr. Shays was œas bad as it gets and referred to him as a œblowhard because of what Mr. Russo believed to be grandstanding and a lack of knowledge about the issue.
Mr. Russo later added on the air, œHimes is the man. The two or three times that we™ve seen Shays speaking on issues that affect Mike and me and our sports fans, he™s been atrocious.
In an interview Tuesday with the Post, Mr. Russo said he stood by his statements, but didn™t seem quite ready to hit the campaign trail for Mr. Himes just yet.
œI™ve been getting a hard time from all my Republican buddies in New Canaan, Mr. Russo said. œThey all went up to me and were like ˜What are you doing?™ Shays is the only Republican left in the region and it would be terrible if we lost him.™ They all told me he™s a good guy and works very hard, but for me, his baseball acumen is a disgrace.
Mr. Russo said he felt Mr. Shays was œpatting himself on the back in the hearing and giving Mr. McNamee a hard time while giving Mr. Clemens a free pass.
œIf McNamee is a drug dealer, then what is Clemens? Mr. Russo said. œHe™s a drug user. Shays went way over the line.
Mr. Russo™s ribs are not the first time Mr. Shays has come under criticism by baseball fans for his comments in hearings on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Earlier this year, at a hearing where baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appeared, Mr. Shays mispronounced the name of former Baltimore Orioles first basemen and steroid user Rafael Palmeiro; incorrectly stated that Mr. Palmeiro had reached the 300-hit level in the major leagues when it was 3,000, and referred to the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox team that lost the World Series on purpose as the Blackhawks when they are, in fact, known as the œBlack Sox.
The Blackhawks is the name of the city™s hockey team. Mr. Shays was roundly criticized by sports writers after that hearing and Mr. Russo said the congressman also performed badly at a similar hearing in 2005.
Mr. Francesa, a New York state resident, agreed with Mr. Russo™s assessment of Mr. Shays, calling him œawful. The two read Mr. Himes™ biography on the air, bringing free publicity to the campaign at a time when Mr. Himes is still introducing himself to voters around the district.
œObviously this was all done in fun, but there™s a serious issue here, too, and even on a show that™s dedicated to sports it was clear to them that Chris Shays™ priorities are out of place, Mr. Himes said. œThe economy is in a nose dive and we continue to be engaged in Iraq, and Chris Shays™ focus is on steroids in baseball. I don™t condone cheating in sports, but there are bigger fish to fry.
Mr. Himes clarified that his criticism wasn™t about Mr. Shays taking part in the hearing, but rather that he œremained mute on issues such as the war, Blackwater, Jack Abramoff, Halliburton and missing money in Iraq, and instead œhurled invective at an athlete and his trainer.
œThis is about where his priorities are when it comes to oversight, Mr. Himes said.