This needs to end in a celebrity boxing match.
Boomer Esiason and Mad Dog Chris Russo continue to fan the flames of their pseudo-feud, taking shots at each other from behind their respective microphones. On Tuesday, Russo responded to being called “classless” when he took Esiason to task for having thin skin and on Wednesday, Esiason remained irked.
“Take it like a man, Boom, take it like a man,” Russo said Tuesday. “Jeez, take it like a man.”
It all started last Wednesday when Russo and Mike Francesa closed out an MLB Network appearance by taking shots at WFAN, where they manned the legendary “Mike and the Mad Dog” afternoon show from 1989-2008, when Dog left the station for satellite radio.
Mike and the Mad Dog made fun of the state of WFAN, the slumping “CMB” afternoon show that occupies their old time slot, and opined that there soon will be nobody left at the hobbled station. The comments did not sit well with Esiason and morning show co-host Gregg Giannotti, who angrily shot back at the iconic radio pair earlier Monday.
“If you don’t like what we say or what anybody says or you don’t like the criticism, here’s what I would suggest, and this is as fact: get a rating,” Russo said Tuesday on his “Mad Dog Unleashed” show. “How about getting a rating? Then if you get a rating, you get last laugh on me. I can’t say anything. You can kill me — then you really can say I went to ‘Nowheres-ville.’ Get a rating, get ratings. You’ve got a huge platform on a 50,000-watt station that covers Yankee baseball, not to mention Giant football. That station’s been around for now 30 years, 31 years. Get. A. Rating.”
Russo’s retaliatory rant triggered a response from Esiason Wednesday morning. Boomer accused the local media of trying to stir up trouble, but lambasted Mike and the Mad Dog for what he deemed “mean-spirited attacks” on Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott.
“To listen to those guys make fun of the afternoon show when both of those guys left here on their own volition, and Mike really was given a send-off like for the Pope, literally the Pope,” Esiason said on Wednesday’s “Boomer and Gio” show. “For 19 months he was given the ultimate respect due to a guy who had a very popular show.
“When I saw they took a shot at the afternoon guys — and the afternoon guys are not going to fight back … but the point being that somebody’s got to stand up for this radio station. The station is a great radio station. And the guys that have worked here for many years appreciate what those guys did. … I just took exception to the fact that they took shots at the people that replaced them after they left.”
Mike and the Mad Dog really didn’t say anything that tough about “CMB.” What Russo said was, “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it.”
Francesa mostly played the straight man.
“Who’s leaving?” Mike asked. “(Midday co-host Joe) Benigno?”
Russo said “they’ve got nobody on” after Esiason in the morning, which should be taken as a broad shot against the “Joe and Evan” midday show and “CMB” and even Giannotti.
“Oh, we can make fun of FAN all day,” Russo said.
While Mad Dog’s comments clearly caught the attention of WFAN people, Esiason’s former co-host Craig Carton has been popping off all week, too. Following Russo and Francesa’s lead, Carton took a dig last Thursday at “CMB” when he said, “It’d be great to prove to America, and to New York, that it is possible for a white guy, a black guy, and a woman to do an entertaining show.”
But Carton’s comments have gone largely unnoticed by his former mates on both sides of the simmering radio war. Or maybe they’re just ignoring him.
On Tuesday, Carton, whose “Carton and Friends” streaming show premiered last week on FNTSY Sports Network, tweeted, “For years I said the same thing as @7BOOMERESIASON Russo hasn’t said a single thing of relevance and hasn’t been newsworthy since the day he left WFAN. The only time his name pops up is when he does something WFAN related or begs [WFAN programming director Mark] Chernoff to do another tired reunion show w/Mike.”
Carton’s new show debuted last week and video segments are available on-demand on a YouTube channel. So far, the most popular clip of “Carton and Friends” has generated almost 3,000 views: when Carton did a Mike and the Mad Dog impression. The second most popular clip to date is the one in which Carton talks about his legal issues.
“There seems like there’s blood in the water right now,” Carton said this week. “There’s little mini-radio fights all over the place. Some are comical.”
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