Just in case fans were not primed by nostalgia as it was, Chris Russo’s MLB Network program “High Heat” opened on Wednesday with the familiar “Mike and the Mad Dog” theme song.
Then, sure enough, there was his old WFAN partner, Mike Francesa, in studio with Russo from noon to 1 p.m., timed for the start of the Major League Baseball season on Thursday.
Before getting into baseball talk, Francesa referenced an appointment the two had together earlier in the day, and Russo coyly hinted the subject was a potential new job for Francesa.
Francesa would not bite. He is not allowed to discuss his future plans until Sunday at the earliest. He recently told Newsday that an announcement on what will come next for him likely will come sometime between then and May 1. He left WFAN on Dec. 15.
It took only 15 minutes for the duo to get to their traditional baseball over-unders, which was designed as the centerpiece of their latest reunion.
The two made a bet on their picks, with Russo saying if he wins Francesa must host the show with him for a week next January. Francesa said if he wins the two will do Russo’s show together for a week next winter, but from Florida.
Russo picked the Mets over 82 ½ victories. Then Francesa picked the Indians under 95 and the Angels under 85.
Russo picked the Rangers under 75 ½ and Francesa picked the Phillies over 78 ½.
Russo picked the Rockies over 82 ½ and Francesa picked the Yankees over 94 ½.
Russo picked the Dodgers under 95 ½ and Francesa picked the Astros under 97 ½.
Russo picked the White Sox over 70 ½ and Francesa picked the Brewers over 83 ½.
Russo picked the Rays under 74 ½.
And that was that. Place actual wagers at your own risk.
The two then talked Mets and Yankees, and closed with Francesa giving Russo credit for making John Sterling’s Yankees home run calls a phenomenon, starting in the 1990s.
Russo then botched the name of the Best Picture Oscar winner, calling it “Shape of the Water” and describing it as a “dopey film.”
Then they both trashed the Oscar telecast itself, with Francesa saying the only good hosts have been Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal.
Asked whether it is more likely they will have a show together on WFAN again or the Rays will face the Marlins in the World Series, Francesa said, “Without a question, Rays easy.”
Then Russo said, “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it.”
Francesa laughed and said, “Oh, geez.”
Said Russo, “I shouldn’t have said it. Forgive me.”
Said Francesa, “Who’s leaving? [Joe] Benigno?”
Said Russo, laughing, “Boomer [Esiason]. Then they’ve got nobody on. Where’s Sal Licata?”
Said Francesa, “Maybe Steve Somers is retiring.”
Said Russo, “Oh, we can make fun of FAN all day.”