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'Mike and the Mad Dog' reunite, and it's like old times

No. 8: Mike & the Mad Dog split

No. 8: Mike & the Mad Dog split up Whether you loved 'em or hated 'em, gun to your head, you probably tuned in. When Chris Russo announced he was leaving WFAN's "Mike and Mad Dog" radio program and partner Mike Francesa to pursue a job in satellite radio, it was the end of an era for New York sports talk radio. Russo's emotional good-bye call to Francesa was one of the most unexpected poignant moments of the year. (Credit: Newsday / Paul J. Bereswill)

After 14 months apart, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo picked up more or less where they left off Friday on WFAN.

Their mini-reunion at Yankee Stadium began with the old "Mike and the Mad Dog" theme music, and Russo's familiar, "Aaaand, good afternoon everybody!"

(There's video on YES' Web site.)

"I have arrived; I have returned!" Russo yelled.

"And they thought we were serious," Francesa said, laughing.

"That's a good pun," said Russo, who left WFAN last year to join Sirius XM Satellite Radio, ending his 19-year partnership with Francesa.

On it went from there, an amicable, energetic hour.

"This will put the kibosh on the idea you and I hate each other," said Russo, who last had seen Francesa last November and last spoke to him in June.

Francesa said he planned to sit with Russo for Game 1 of the ALCS.

The two talked sports, talked about Russo's new job and made several joking references to Russo's diminished visibility at Sirius.

When Russo mentioned Francesa had come on his Sirius show Thursday night, Russo said sarcastically, "I'm sure everybody heard it."

Francesa added, "Tell them, because they have no idea what you're talking about."

Russo teased Francesa about the money he earns from WFAN (and his YES simulcast) and about his expensive new home.

He also said that while he "loves" working at Sirius, "I miss talking sports with you."

Francesa mentioned his early efforts to find a new sidekick after Russo left, but said, "There's no one there and no one coming. I don't even think about it anymore."

Does that mean there is a chance of a permanent reunion?

"Here I am, forever, get me signed!" Russo jokingly yelled at one point.

But that is not likely. Russo has four years left on his Sirius contract, and with Francesa's ratings strong and CBS Radio's coffers less than full, there would be little incentive to add another high-salaried host.

Russo left just before 2 p.m. for his Sirius booth, where Francesa was scheduled to visit after finishing his WFAN shift at around 6:20.

The reunion came together quickly and spontaneously, driven in part by Russo's 50th birthday celebration during his show Thursday and the fact the two were to be so close to one another in the Bronx Friday.

There was a certain surreal aspect to the whole thing.

Francesa joked about last year's breakup, "It was just a dream, folks."

(Newsday Photo / Paul J. Bereswill)

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