Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Is satellite in Chris Russo's future? Sirius ain't sayin'
I thought Chris Russo handled himself well in a tough spot Monday as he addressed my Sunday article about the potential breakup of the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show this summer.
I have been told by readers that after Chris' initial remarks screeners did not allow callers who wanted to talk about my article through, which is understandable in this situation.
Really, the only thing that bothered me about Russo's non-denial denial was his obsession with my negative review of his book two years ago. I thought he and I had talked all that out at the Super Bowl media party!
Click below for more on that.Chris wondered why I didn't say anything nice about his first book, which Mrs. WatchDog liked but I did not read.
Yo, Chris: I wasn't our media columnist at the time! It would have been a little awkward for a Giants beat writer to start reviewing books out of the blue. I remember talking to Chris about the book at a party at Jim Fassel's house in 2003. Everyone seemed to like it. Mazel tov!
I do admit my 2006 review of his second book was longer and more harsh than any other such story I've done. I originally was going to do a small item on it, but when I saw Chris on the "Today'' show talking about the book and imagined people spending money on it for a Father's Day gift, I thought it became fair game for a longer treatment.
The headline, "Mad Dog's Book Bites," was particularly rough. But remember: We don't write the headlines!
Actually, I gave Chris a big benefit of the doubt when I could have made him look worse. In a paragraph about great sports venues, Chris wrote, "As you know, one of my yardsticks for a great venue is whether you can feel the ghosts. The problem with the NFL is that too many of the stadiums are so new that you don't have that. I felt a little bit of that at RFK Stadium in Washington, but it's gone."
I was not sure whether Chris meant that RFK no longer was used for football, or whether it literally was gone. If it were the latter, the Yankees would have been mightily confused the night my review came out when they showed up for their game against the Nationals and found the stadium missing.
Whatever. I appreciated Chris saying Monday that he likes me and that I'm a good guy and a hard worker. I always have liked Chris, too, and was friendly with him in my pre-media critic days.
One of the most helpful things about this job for me is that I knew many of the people I now cover in a non-media critic context during the 20 years before I had this gig.
That's also one of the worst things. Most sportswriters cover people like Derek Jeter, Eli Manning, Stephon Marbury and others with whom they have little in common, certainly not friendship.
I cover and critique friends. Not easy. Not easy at all.