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Life After Mike and the Mad Dog

Mike SteffanosMonday, March 13, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


The Mets training camp is off to a fairly tranquil start, with one glaring exception being that Kaz Matsui is already being booed for any misstep he makes. I guess there is an element of Mets fans out there that believe they can put pressure on Mets management to trade for a second baseman. Actually, I'm fairly convinced that most of those that boo Matsui do it more because it is the thing to do, lacking any real personal opinions in this matter. More and more, I find myself in agreement with the person that made this comment on my site:

Frances[ca], Russo and Beningo (of all people) beat the Mets/ Matsui/ Beltran stink drum and the fans for some reason follow. It shows at the stadium too.

Don't get me wrong here. New York has always been a tough place to play, and Matsui has been a huge disappointment. I'm beginning to seriously doubt that he'll be able to play a competent second base for the Mets, much less maintain a level of play commensurate to his contract. However, the sheer amount of anger displayed towards Matsui is just way out of whack with his inability to do his job. It seems more at a level that should be directed at someone who's committed a heinous crime.

I'm not going to waste my time here trying to protect Matsui. He's making a lot of money, and can afford a really good shrink or whatever else it might take to get over the trauma of these 3 disappointing seasons in the Big Apple. He can regale his grandchildren someday with tales of the Roger Cedeno treatment he received from us kooky Americans. I'm not going to try to talk anybody out of booing the scapegoat of his or her choice, either. This has become the cherished tradition of a small but vocal percentage of Mets fans who believe this to be their God-given right. Knock yourselves out.

What I've come to realize is that my commenter had a valid point, and that is that a large contributor to the negativity that surrounds this team is the duo that rules the airwaves on WFAN from 1 - 5:30 every afternoon. The person that left the comment responded to a short mention I made at the end of a post of how tired I was of WFAN and their two afternoon "personalities":

Are you as tired of WFAN as I am?
I really wanted to listen to WFAN today to hear if anything was going on with the Mets, but had to turn it off when I got tired of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo's negativity towards the team. They were talking about Aaron Heilman like they had a clue about him, which was laughable. Russo is so anti- any New York team I often wonder what people see in him. He's like the New York sports fan's bratty little brother.

Even if it's not the on air "talent" turning me off to WFAN, it's the incessant silliness of Yankee fans and Mets fans sniping at each other. I feel like I'm back in junior high school. I'd love to hear some intelligent baseball talk. Maybe I need to check out satellite radio. Anyone have any recommendations?

I got a lot of response to that, including some great advice about satellite radio. It struck a chord with others like me, who love sports talk but have just had enough Mike and the Mad Dog to last a lifetime. Any time there is something negative to be brought up about the Mets, rest assured they'll beat it to death. They jumped on Cameron in 2004 when the guy was hurt and struggling -- it took him a year to get the fans back on his side. Were any of you "lucky" enough to catch the gloating party they had when Looper blew the opening game last season to the Reds? It was unbelievable. Then when they got flack about it -- I guess a lot of Mets fans complained they went over the top -- Francesa was pompously accusing Mets fans of not having a sense of humor. Then they complained when the Mets didn't cooperate with them for a while early last year. Clueless -- and arrogant. That should be their motto.

I thought the most ironic thing was when Chris Russo was branded a racist for getting on Minaya about allegedly favoring Hispanics. He really got a large black eye on the issue, especially in the print media -- and not just in New York. He swore he wasn't racist, but no one believed him. The irony was that I don't think he was being a racist. The Hispanic thing was just a way to be negative about Minaya and the Mets, and it blew up in his face. You got to love it.

Look. I'm not going to sit here and list all of the sins of the dim-witted duo. I'm not going to try to talk people out of listening to them that enjoy their show. I just wonder how many out there are like me -- we love New York sports, and we listen because we really have nowhere else to go for that. For me, it became like a drug addiction. I'd turn them on for my New York sports fix, but it wasn't even fun anymore. I'd listen for a while, not being entertained or enlightened, and eventually turn off the radio in disgust -- feeling vaguely dirty just for turning them on. I'm contributing to their ratings, which sells the commercials that pay their salaries, and I don't even enjoy their show. What's up with that?

I knew I had to save myself from this awful situation. It wasn't easy, but when I was in my car in the afternoon on the way to appointments, I turned on music and resisted the urge to turn on WFAN. I'll still listen to WFAN when Steve Somers or Beningo (if he's not on a real negative kick) or someone else I enjoy is on. I'll even flip on Mike and the Mad Dog if there is an interview I want to hear. I'll even listen to Michael Kay on ESPN radio -- in small doses.

At first it wasn't easy. I missed the company of sports talk when I was working on something boring. But then I thought about it, and wondered what I was really missing. Most of the time Russo and Francesa just annoyed me, anyway. And you know what? I really don't miss it. Bottom line -- if you enjoy listening to those two, more power to you. I'm not going to try to talk you out of that unhealthy addiction. But if you're like me, and have had enough, I'm here to tell you that you can free yourself -- that there is, indeed, life after Mike and the Mad Dog.

Comments (17)

Hey, just listen to MLB Radio.
Its new programming every day, Mondays-Fridays.
And if you can't catch it live just hear the archives. You must be near your comptuer but whatever... its worth it.
They have all sorts of different shows, from fantasy Baseball help, the "GM Corner" with former GM, Fred Clair.
I know I must sound like a commercial but it is good stuff, I love it.
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/radio/index.jsp

I'am a old Brooklyn Dodger fan and a Met fan from day one. I love my baseball and hot stove stuff. I would be glued to sports radio listing to all possible trades and lineups, playing G.M. and like you said, I was addicted to WFAN. I started to pull away as it seemed more and more a Yankee can do nothing bad and a Met could do no good. Most of it hurt me, but I stayed on with hope I would hear something exciting and a "lets go Mets" nice comment. But they found fault in everything the Mets did. And now I am looking forward to the new Mets network and hope it is fair and easy to watch without any blows below the belt. I have never did this before and I thank you for letting me share.

Being a removed NY Mets fan, it's hard to find good conversation about the team. I don't like M&TMD like I used to. While it's hard to find good baseball conversation sometimes, I love listening to XM's Home Plate station, it's a 24/7 baseball channel (at least during the season.. in the off season they tend to play classic games during non-peak hours). Their weekday morning show features Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez, they have a fantasy show at noon, Charie Steiner is on in the afternoons (which I still find sometimes hard to digest), Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy on at 3pm-6pm, Ronnie Lane at 6pm. Probably my favorite host is Holden Kurshner (he's a Mets fan) who is on during the weekends at noon and he fills in sometimes at night. It really is good baseball conversation and if you like hearing interviews you wouldn't normally (ex. Barry Bonds during the WBC game, Pete Rose out of the blue) this would be a good station to try out.

If you have Directv, you get it for free.

Hope this helps,
Paul in Cincinnati

I think your dead wrong about this. To think that mike&dog have some control over what goes on in St. Lucie is horrifying. As a huge Met fan, I haven't listend to the m&d show in years. The negativity toward the Mets is so severe, I'm not sure how any true Met fan could. The FAN used to be the Met station, now the're just the station that plays Met games. Even Benigno isn't very good, or informative (Come back Jody Mac). He's more oriented toward the Jets.
The people going through the trouble to attend the ST games are die hard Met fans. I can't imagine that a die hard Met's fan coud listed to the m&d show for very long. Your just not giving them credit for thinking on their own. It doesn't take very much to figure out that the Met's need to cut there loses with matsui. Not only isn't he hitting or fielding, but his errors are maginified because of his situation. They affect the team like a Benitez blown save.

It always surprises me how much reaction this gets.

Hi Benny, thanks for the tip. A lot of time when I'm listening to WFAN I'm working on my computer, anyway.

Al, I'm looking forward to the Mets new network. The one thing that worries me about it is that they seem to be trying so hard to be more than just the Mets, they might not be enough about the Mets for Mets fans. Guess we'll see.

Paul, I appreciate the tip. I think if I lived outside the area where MATMD was the only New York sports tallk I got. I'd listen to them at lease some of the time.

since68, you didn't really read everything I wrote if you think I was blaming those guys for all the booing. I said New York has always been a tough place to play. You've been a fan since 68, me since 69. The sheer amount of negativity is mind-boggling now compared to what it was even 20 years ago. This WFAN format, and those 2 in particular, to me in no doubt have enhanced this negative atmosphere. Nobody got booed like this in the late 70s - early 80s when the team absolutely sucked for 7 years.

Anyway, I'm not telling people that like these guys that they should turn them off. I'm not asking Mets fans to boycott WFAN. I do know other people like me that don't enjoy listening to those 2, but keep turning them on. That was all this article was about.

since68, I just what you wrote about me on the New York Mets message board. Since I can't post there in response, I'll have to say it here.

You characterized what I wrote as a "rant"??? Did I seem really angry to you? That was silly. And I never said fans are guided by what Mike and the Mad Dog say. I said they created a lot of the negativity that surrounds the team. They've been doing that for years.

If you are going to be angry with me in the future, I'd appreciate if you'd do it over something I really said.

Mike. My apologies. Your right, I didn't read the rest of the piece.

Your initial 2 points hit a major nerve with me. 1.) The Mets not cutting their losses with Matsui. 2.) m&d, a show I despise, actually influencing Met fans. To where you could say that m&d is why they were booing Matsui in ST. This is the point that made me angry.

I overreacted. Actually, your views about WFAN are pretty much in line with mine. For many years I listened to this station non-stop, but now have trouble stomaching much of their programming. There is currently very little Met oriented programming remaining on any station.

Finally, I like Keppinger and A. Hernandez, but specifically think the Mets are not giving Kep a fair shot

There are a lot of Mets fans, especially younger ones that grew up on WFAN, that have been influenced by the negative crap put out by MATMD. I never said everyone that boos Matsui is, and you obviously are not.

I was at a game last year where Matsui had a couple of hits and a nice fielding play. In the 8th he struck out in a relatively unimportant AB with the Mets comfortably ahead. He got booed. That was unfair and silly. Those are the types I talk about -- booing for the sake of booing. You can disagree with me on this, I guess.

I agree with you on Keppinger, and also really on Matsui at this point. I don't think they can make this work any more. And what Willie said about Keppinger was stupid, and I'm one that likes and supports Willie. Not here. See my post on this.

http://www.mikesmets.com/2006/03/this_second_base_situation_cou.html

Screw it. I don't know if you're a regular reader or not, but if you are and you think I'm wrong, you're right to call me on it. Thanks for your thoughts, I'll always respect the view of real Mets fans.

I don't think it is a stretch at all to say the M&THD influence the way fans view their teams. If you are a Mets fans that listens to Mets games on the radio and enjoy Mets talk (especially when they are playing good), you tend to turn on your radio. M&TMD are on all afternoon. It almost unavoidable to hear their negativity towards the Mets. They will throw out every possible scenario on what could happen to ruin a Mets game and if it happens they say "I told you so." Then they reinforce how that player's shortcomings are destroying your Mets.
It's perfectly fine not to be a fan of a player. But to treat him (Beltran, Matsui) with such disdain, that boarders on hate, is unfair. Especially when they arm busting it out of the box on every pop up or grounder. M&TMD feed that voice inside your head that just wants to scream in frustration to the point where you feel the need (or undeserved right) to boo your own team's players. It's embarrassing to be a fan and listen to other "FANS" boo. I, like Mike, am tired of M&TMD's antics.

Hi Chris -- I don't want to make this about people that boo or even Mike and the Mad Dog. People boo for different reasons. Some of them are voicing a sincere opinion. A lot of them are just doing this because they think it's cool. In the game I described a few comments up where Matsui was booed despite playing a good game there were a bunch of young guys around me that were laughing their asses off while booing. Hard to take them seriously -- they're the MATMD generation I talk about. Like I said, I have nothing against anyone voicing a sincere opinion, but honestly think they're in the minority at Shea.

As I mentioned in this posting, I blame myself for not turning MATMD off years ago. No one held a gun to my head to listen, I should have been smarter. Mike and the Mad Dog will never change, so I had to.

I like Mike and the Mad Dog. I don't know why though. It's very strange, very much like seeing a car accident on the highway. You know you should't look -- but of course you do. Mike and the Mad Dog annoy the heck out of me, as do many of their callers -- but I think listening to the show is both masochistic and therapeutic. I know that doesn't make any sense -- but that's just how it is for me. I do give them this -- they are huge baseball fans and love their teams (Yanks/Giants) -- though I think Mike is just starting to grasp the concept of OPS. One thing that frustrates me to no end about Mike is his belief that Alfonso Soriano is a big time player.

If you enjoy the show you should keep listening. I'm not trying to start some sort of puny boycott here, I was only talking about people like me that don't even enjoy the show any more.

Hey, if you live in the listening area, we talk Mets all the time. 2 hours of 100% commercial-free, no one makes a dime from it, Sports Talk every Tuesday and Thursday from 9PM to 11PM on Long Island's 90.3FM.

Daily News Mets beat writer--who put the Sandman "controversy" to bed with the above article--has joined us in-studio for 6 or 7 whole shows taking Mets fans' calls.

You can listen to some of our interviews at http://hosted.filefront.com/patchyfogg

Newsday's Ken Davidoff will be joining us live at 9:15 on Thursday night.
Thanks!

Hi. I guess I'm late for the party but I felt another opinion was needed for this topic. When I listen to Mike & the Mad Dog, I hear enough praise and good words about the Mets, and enough negativity about the Yankees. I think they think the way they do when they think it's necessary. I don't always agree with them but I don't think they are so anti-Mets and pro-Yankees, and I do listen every day. Perhaps, not being a die-hard Mets fan, I don't notice the anti-Mets stance on their show. Of course, that would be an incorrect claim. I am confident enough in my baseball acumen to know if that existed. Perhaps the die-hard Mets fan, or some of them, at least, hate to hear ANY negative talk about the team, and I do thik this exists. I think this exists for ALL sports teams. There are some fans who think the flagship station for a team should do all it can to promote the team, never say anything negative, and so on. Maybe some posters here fall into this category. I've heard callers who have stated this, their desire to never hear anything bad about their team. I think the point I'm trying to make is that I don't hear as much negativity about the Mets as some others do.

Also, I do hate all the yelling that happens and all the Yankee-Mets fan wars. One of the silliest wastes of air time this year on their show was the battle over "Enter Sandman". Two or three days this topic was brought up, mostly by the callers. To have it as a subject, however, was silly and such a huge waste of time! My lorsh, the anger and rage this "controversy" created! Mike & the Mad Dog were the ones to bring it up so they get some of the blame, but it was carried on by the callers. This is why I think they bring up some of the subjects they do: To entice people to call in. It usually works.

Mike & the Mad Dog are not my favorites on the station. I do listen to them and do hear a good amount of New York sports coverage. I do think the station does a good job of New York sports information. I like, too, that it isn't ALL about New York sports, as there is a sports world outside of New York. My favorite host is Richard Neer, who is open-minded, not prone to outrageousness, measured in his conversation, courteous to the callers, and brings a quite, professional atmosphere to his program. I thik Kevin Burkhardt is the same way. I don't like Joe Beningo much because I think he is one of those "homer" types, and Steve Somers is entertaining enough, funny at times. I like "Imus in the Morning", too. Not much sports there-- which is fine with me.

Thanks for reading, sorry I was late. Hope you like what I brought to the party.

No such thing as late, Ralph. You're welcome to this party any time.

I have to respectfully disagree with you. I go into listening to Mike and The Mad Dog everyday with the understanding that much of what goes on is done to incite and create controversy to get people listening and calling. If you take what they do too seriously I think you're missing the point. Mike and Chris purposely push buttons to get people talking, and I understand that. Its entertainment. I'm not so sensitive that i'm going to get all bent out of shape over what they might say about the Mets. I don't need them to coddle my Mets fandom, I just want something interesting to listen to from 1 to 6 at work.

I think in fact if you listened to them over this past year, as the Mets have been pretty damn good up to this point, they've heaped a fair amount of praise on them. I'd get pretty sick of hearing a pom pom Mets fan all the time, I actually find it enjoyable to hear a Yankee and Giants fan discuss my team from time to time. If I want to listen to a Mets fan discuss my team, I tune into Beningo in the mid-day.

I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. I've been listening to Mike and the Mad Dog for many years and just got tired of the act. I've said that people like myself, who just don't enjoy listening to them any more, should turn them off instead of complaining about them. That's what I did, and that's what I wrote about. I said if you enjoyed them keep listening. So what did you disagree with?

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