Despite being apart for eight years, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo haven’t lost any zip on their fastball.
The partners of 19 years on WFAN received raucous applause from the moment they took the stage for their three-hour reunion special LIVE from Radio City music hall. Russo opened with his classic, “Good afternoon, everybody!” and off they went, treating it just like any other show.
The show included live appearances by former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, former Yankees manager Joe Torre, former Rangers captain Mark Messier, former Mets skipper Bobby Valentin, and former Knicks Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy. All of them spoke with Mike and Chris for 15-20 minutes about their time in New York, and their future endeavors.
One thing that remained the same for the duo was their shtick as they offered their passionate opinions.
At one point, Russo screamed at free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was in the audience, to re-sign with the Jets. When Francesa countered Russo by asking “How much are they going to have to give him”? Russo replied “16 million” to which Mike followed up by adding “if that’s the number he’s heading there now to sign it. You’re going to look back in a few minutes and see an empty seat because he’s left the building to sign that deal”.
Prior to the show, Francesa and Russo allowed themselves to enjoy the moment and reflect back on what they had accomplished together.
“When we started, sports talk show was at the bottom. No one respected the job,” Francesa said. “Now kids go to school to become a sports talk show host. Now being a sports talk show host is a really good job.”
Added Russo: “Sports talk creates a bond. … I didn’t realize how many 35-, 40-year-olds are so into this. Twenty years ago, they were 10, but they listened to it with their fathers. So they have a bond with their father while listening to Mike and me.”
To buildup to the reunion show, WFAN aired a “Best of Mike and the Mad Dog” throughout the afternoon and early evening yesterday. The station brought back many of Mike and Chris’ famous debates and discussions, funny moments, and special interviews including a classic conversation with former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
The reunion special was carried LIVE on WFAN and SiriusXM radio, and on MSG television.
Credit to the New York Post who provided some of this information.