Using the rudimentary basic eye test, they are virtually two different people.
One is an older blow-hard sports talk show host who clings to the old ways, like that of a coworker who refuses the validity of email because it’s not on paper.
The other, an all-time baseball great whose personality and propensity to be associated with PED’s has made him a pariah of his sport and the overall public.
But, in an odd way they need each other now more than ever.
Rodriguez, embattled in a seemingly never ending appeals process regarding his unprecedented 211-game suspension, has virtually run out of friends. Even groupie Michael Kay has pulled a Paulie Cicero and turned his back on him.
While it’s debatable that he had that many to begin with, he has become a man solely surrounded by lawyers and attorneys on a daily basis.
While Francesa is still ” Numbah one” there’s no doubt his show’s overall content has dipped since the “Mad Dog” Chris Russo departed six years ago. Sure, Mike can still bring the fiery passion he’s known for, but many times the program consists of mindless dribble perpetuated by his own personal beliefs with no one to reign him back in to reality. And like A-Rod, over the years Francesa has burned more bridges than an addictive arsonist.
Suddenly, the far-fetched friendship makes sense.
Both are stars in their craft, slowly inching closer to the twilight of their professional days. Rodriguez needs an outlet to tell the world “his version” of everything that has occurred in the past few months. Francesa needs a splash into a many times dull and repetitive show, whose ratings rely on WFAN dinosaur listeners who still think Mike walks on water.
In reality, Rodriguez needs Francesa more. Alex has been appeared in so many interviewing venues in his life and more than often met with sharp skepticism. In the comfort of “Blue Heaven”, everything is roses when he takes the stage with Big Mike. They exchange pleasantries and engage in so much casual friendly flirting, one would think they were old war buddies rekindling after decades of non-communication. No other setting in sports would relax the Yankee third baseman like the gentleness of the Sports Pope.
As for Francesa, of course A-Rod equals ratings. Their new found friendship has given Mike sole ownership of “the only only place in town” to hear the thoughts of Alex Rodriguez. No one else can trump Mike’s scoop, as he leans back in his catbird seat with his pearly white teeth radiating superiority.
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And not to be minimized, throughout his career, Francesa had always considered himself part of sports, instead of a host talking about it. Buddying up with Rodriguez gives him that behind the velvet rope feel of an exclusive party, making him privy to how the other half lives.
How Rodriguez’s appeal goes from here, no one knows. His outburst after learning MLB commissioner Bud Selig would not testify has thrown the proceedings future up in the air. Many, including Francesa, think the case ends up in court, which could lead to multiple “exclusive” Rodriguez interviews for Mikey.
And while Francesa has attempted to stay objective, it’s obvious he’s failed. The bond between them is that strong.
Whatever the results of the appeals/court cases, both Mike and Alex are intertwined. Both will take the tumultuous fall or both will come out of the fracas looking a crisp,clean pressed,Yankee uniform.
They’re stuck together with nowhere else to go. By each other’s side till the end.
Because that’s what friends are for.
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