On Friday, I had the day off and decided to go see the Mike Francesa remote show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
I wish I hadn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, the cause is of the utmost importance that being the Connecticut Sports Foundation and the great recovery stories from battling cancer.
But, my lord this show.
I got there at 12pm, a full hour before the show started, and many of the prime time up close seats were already occupied. And they were occupied by quite a crew. Not everyone looked like your stereotypical caller, but many did. Donning 1996 Yankees Wild Card Winner shirts (couldn’t spring for American League Championship Tees, Chief), they chatted amongst themselves about sports from yesteryear and the games they had gone too, which were most likely half lies anyways. I was fully convinced a majority of them had called WFAN at one point to request a Felix Hernandez trade to the Yankees.
At 12:55pm, Francesa appeared giving a small acknowledgement to the crowd and took his seat. The oddest part of the arrangement was the update anchor Bob Huessler sat next to Big Mike the whole show only speaking every 20 minutes. Weyrd. But anyways, Mike was Zaun.
Older mongos had settled in with the complimentary coffee and obligatory Diet Coke and were ready for the tons of interviews. There were no calls and much of the first half of the show is dedicated to kids that were afflicted with cancer. Many of the kids were a combination of Cloud 9 and confusion, but they had a ball and good job out of Mike being involved in this, even if it was a complete removal of what normally happens on his show.
Then, the baseball guests started appearing.
It’s as if some sort of dinner bell went off throughout the casino and “it was time”.
First, out of the shadows of the ketchup and mustard stained shirts from Joe Sixpacks, the Autograph Mongos appeared ready to pounce. They just came out of nowhere. If you have ever gone to a minor league game when a major leaguers is rehabbing or Spring Training, you know who they are. They’re adults with no shame and no souL, having sold the soul a long time ago for an Alvaro Espinoza signed mini-helmet. They will knock children down a flight of stairs and blame it on the dog (tear). Basically, they have traded their dignity in exchange for having a professional athlete sign 194 different pieces of memorabilia. Most will sell the signatures to the masses, but I bet some keep it in their one room apartment to show off to guests who knocked on the wrong door or their landlord.
Then as the guests increased in known stature to the common fan, the gamblers stumbled into the Wolf Den. After hours of gambling on a Friday morning (possibly Thursday night), they looked at the sign with Francesa’s mug welcoming them, begrudgingly put out their cigarette, and then slowly moseyed into the Den like a zombie from the Walking Dead. “What is this? Where am I? That’s the radio guy” their faces said. One lowlife yells, “Hey, Mike how’s it going?” during a break. Francesa waves and smiles, counting the hours until he is done with this remote.
Once the guest list go to the likes of Starlin Castro, Bernie Williams, and Dave Winfield, the autograph mutants could smell blood. Running up on stage after the radio set was done. Then some players would go behind the stage to sign and the migration of Hancock hawks was like a flock of birds in perfect synergy turning and darting every which way. In fact, it became so ridiculous, I had to take a video.
As for the rest of the show, Mike kissed up to many of the athletes, repeated the same questions such as, “Did you every go up to the plate trying to hit a home run?” and “Which pitcher always seemed to have your number?” Afterwards, the autograph hounds disappeared, presumably into the Indian Summer garage and cry in joy over their new prized possession and the gamblers descended into the casino darkness to light another bogue and find the “perfect machine” in an endless pursuit of Lady Luck.
So, the show raised some money for a good cause, which is wonderful, but I think I had my fill of the Francesa on the road show at Mohegan Sun.