Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Ca-Boom promises MSG honesty
I attended a party Tuesday evening in Manhattan to mark the launch earlier in the day of MSG's simulcast of WFAN's morning show.
Also in the house were various Knicks and Rangers (Wilson Chandler!), luminaries from WFAN and MSG (Tina Cervasio! Jill Martin!), actors (Steven "Bobby Bacala" Schirripa!) and models (young enough to be my daughters!).
While there I asked Craig Carton whether having the show appear on MSG will in any way inhibit him and co-host Boomer Esiason (who wore a Rangers jersey on the set Wednesday) from criticizing the Garden's teams.
"Fair question," Carton said. "I can tell you, on the record and a million times over and as a fact, from Hank Ratner on down not a single member of MSG's board or braintrust who put this together have ever hinted at that as an issue.
"They've never asked us to change anything and they recognize that we do what we do and if the Knicks or Rangers deserve to be criticized they're going to be criticized.
"They said to us, 'Craig, Boomer, we want the radio show.' And that's what they're going to get.
"I have personal relationships with the New York Mets and I criticize them every day, because they deserve it. And I think they recognize that they deserve it as an organization so they take it for what it's worth: fair criticism. I'm sure the guys at the Garden will be the same way."
WFAN's afternoon show has been simulcast on YES since 2002, and hosts Mike Francesa (and formerly Chris Russo) have been harshly critical of the Yankees at times.
"I'm paid to do a radio show," Carton said. "The fact a company like MSG feels strongly enough about what we do on the radio that it will translate to TV and they want to be in business with us specifically is a great feather in the cap and I think a great acknowledgement that we've, for lack of a better term, arrived on the New York sports scene and we're very relevant to what's going on in New York."
The show is signed with MSG through the summer of 2013.