Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Mike Francesa responds to all the Russo coverage

(Credit: Watchdog)

Yes, I heard Mike Francesa's monologue this afternoon regarding the "Mike and the Mad Dog" saga, and yes I plan to blog about it. Give me some time. Our blog system has been very shaky all day.

One of Mike's sore points was speculation that he is jealous of Chris Russo's $3 million per year Sirius salary. As he said on the air and as I noted in a blog comment recently (or maybe it was in a live chat), that is just plain incorrect.

Mike makes more than Chris does. My educated guess under his new deal: a cool $5 million per, which would make him one of the three most highly paid Tampa Bay Rays, I believe.

That's more than Russo and I make combined!

I'll come back to all that later.

Meanwhile, there was much about my visit to Russo's first official show for Sirius that I was unable to get into my Tuesday newspaper column.

Click below for a transcript of a brief discussion I had with Chris after the show was over at 7.

First, other random stuff:

Russo's biggest concern is maintaining his voice and energy working alone, with only two updates per hour rather than three and only 10 minutes of ads per hour rather than 18. Indeed, his voice did start cracking between 6 and 7 o'clock.

Rather than having the New York newspapers stacked in front of him, Russo asked for a copy of USA Today before the show began. He's national now!

Russo ripped not only referee Ed Hochuli for his pivotal botched call in the Chargers-Broncos game but also CBS' Dick Enberg, who erroneously said the game was over after the Broncos' two-point conversion with less than a minute left. "Dick, there's 24 seconds left! C'mon!'' he yelled.

Early in the show, Russo said "who cares?'' about Derek Jeter tying Lou Gehrig's record for hits at Yankee Stadium. Later, he brought up the mark in a conversation with Joe Torre. When a caller called him on the hypocrisy, Russo admitted to going "soft" on the subject.

The first caller was Tom from Miami, who wanted to discuss the Dolphins-Cardinals game and quickly was dispatched. "Dolphins-Arizona is not where we're going at 2:25,'' Russo said.

Another early caller, Ben in Virginia Beach, said this in response to Russo's introduction of himself and his background, "I don't think you need to over-explain. We know who the Mad Dog is."

Russo kept referring to Steve Torre's updates as "Dog Bites," even though Torre called them "Sports Bites," which is what they are supposed to be called. I pointed out the disparity to Russo about two hours into the show.

In introducing himself, Russo mentioned he is from Syosset, saying, "What the heck, throw it in there. Give it a little pop."

Jim Nantz and Archie Manning taped congratulatory messages.Here's Chris from after the show:

"Good first show. Calls were there, very New York-centric today, a lot of Mets bullpen.

"The length is an issue [because of fewer breaks]. You have to make sure you can handle the length. You have to make sure it's not antiseptic, that it's got pep and juice to it. Toward the end a little voice crack. But don't forget I worked at NBC today, not that that has anything to do with it.

"You're the better evaluator than I am. You listen to me and Mike, you listen more than I do. Listen, for the first time out we did a pretty good job here. Was it an A show? I would look at this even at FAN as a solid B show. Selig gave us something interesting about the Astros which we didn't have. Bettman was pretty good. Danielson did a pretty good job.

"I can't gauge it around the country. It's going to take a while to gauge that. But overall I think the show was a good show, and that's all I can gauge it on. Did I walk out of here tonight feeling I did a good show? I did. And we had some extracurricular things today. We were in this [larger] room, we weren't in our studio, [update man Steve] Torre's not in the mix .It was sort of a welcoming show.

"The length is interesting. The pacing is interesting for me because there are a lot of scenarios there where there are no commercial breaks, so you have to handle that. That's going to be the hard part. You get into a rhythm.

"I had Danielson on from 4:06 to 4:29 with only one 2 1/2-minute break, and I did the USC-Ohio State game, then took a break, then did the rest of college football. Now I can't do that kind of stuff at FAN. The in-depth, I could do it, but it's a little hard. The quality of the interview with not having to worry about the length of it, you can go as long as you want, the intelligent calls, we'll have no problem with it."

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