A picture is worth a thousand words.
Before 2002, WFAN listeners could only openly wonder what the studios of the most popular sports talk radio looked like. How fancy was it? What were the hosts doing while on air? Did John Minko look as creepy as he sounded?
But on March 19, 2002, the curtain was peeled back and we were to no longer wonder. With our own eyes, we gazed upon the Mike and the Mad Dog radio program. The YES network took a gamble, and as Mike Francesa has mentioned 529 times it was the decision of the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to air the sometimes cantankerous duo.
As we opened our eyes to this televised radio platform, some visions were immediately startling.
First of all, the studio was a shithole. Any ideas of grandiose and royal working environments were thrown quickly out the window. Certainly, it was a far cry from the furnished Taj Mahal Francesa holds court in now.
Second, more times than not, they both dressed like slobs. Maybe it’s me, but I figured there was a little more chic style involved than a Mad Dog lumberjack shirt and a Mike track suit.
Shame on me.
But, not all the new sights were negative. We got to see the eternal struggle Mad Dog had with his headphone cords. Constantly, tangling, untangling, biting, twirling throughout the whole show. And Mike, well most of it was expected, as he sat there stoicly, either staring into nowhere or, in a disinterested manner, reading the newspapers.
It also made for great theatre when a major story broke like the Red Sox ALCS comeback in 2004, or when Mike declared his love for Brandon Inge. Both pivotal moments in New York sports history.
However, I’ll admit that when it became Mike’d Up or Mike’s On only then did the YES simulcast really become a treasure worthy of the Smithsonian Institute.
The listeners, now viewers, were able to witness “the handwave”, a not so eloquent way of disposing of a caller Francesa did not see fit. In live and living color, the “adjusts mic and grin” motion was born right in front of us, which consisted of Mike telling an awful joke, looking at his “YES” man behind the glass for approval, while adjusting his microphone for no apparent reason.
But there was more, so much more.
Everyday YES allowed us to observe Mike scream questions at callers that he had just hung up on, making it seem as if the caller was so stupefied by Francesa’s mind blowing intellect that they couldn’t respond. It’s safe to safe to say Mike many times forgot or didn’t care that he was on air, as he’d trash ESPN while cruising around their website in plain view.
All this ends this week, as Francesa’s simulcast concludes after YES failed to renew his contract. Starting February 3, Michael Kay will take over the spot with his radio show, a far cry from “The Sports Pope”.
No more “Pop it up Victah”. No more “simulcast across the country on the YES network”. Enjoy a painfully awkward remote program this week, as Mike’s unfair televised swan song. Because on Sunday at 11:57am, WFAN viewers really do “say goodbye to YES”.