Mike and the Mad Dog pick up where they left off
After 14 months apart, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo picked up more or less where they left off on WFAN on Friday, part of a two-day, three-segment mini-reunion that left many fans nostalgic for the old "Mike and the Mad Dog" show.
Their hour together on the FAN at Yankee Stadium began with their old theme music and Russo's familiar "Aaaaaaaaand, good afternoon everybody!"
The duo also made joint appearances on Sirius XM Satellite Radio - Russo's current employer - on Thursday and Friday evenings, but for most listeners, the over-the-air segment was the first chance to hear them together since Russo left WFAN in August 2008, ending his 19-year partnership with Francesa.
"I have arrived; I have returned!" Russo yelled.
"And they thought we were serious," Francesa said. "That's a good little pun," Russo said.
On it went from there, an amicable, energetic flashback.
"This will put the kibosh on the idea you and I hate each other," said Russo, who last saw Francesa in November and last spoke to him in June.
Francesa said he planned to sit with Russo for ALCS Game 1.
The two talked sports and about Russo's new job, and made several joking references to Russo's diminished visibility.
When Russo mentioned that Francesa had come on his Sirius show, Russo said sarcastically, "I'm sure everybody heard it."
Francesa added, "Tell them, because they have no idea what you're talking about."
Russo said that although he "loves" working at Sirius, "I miss talking sports with you."
Francesa mentioned his early efforts to find a new sidekick but said, "There's no one there and no one coming. I don't even think about it anymore."
So is there a chance of a permanent reunion?
"Here I am, forever, get me signed!" Russo jokingly yelled.
But that is not likely. Russo has four years left on his 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. Francesa later visited Russo's show from about 6:30-7 p.m. They spent most of that time discussing the ongoing Phillies-Dodgers game. Russo's father, Tony, joined them for a segment.
The reunion came together quickly, driven in part by Russo's 50th birthday celebration during his show Thursday and the fact that the two were to be working so close to one another in the Bronx Friday. There was a surreal aspect to it all. Francesa joked about the breakup, saying: "It was just a dream, folks."