In squashing hopes for a reunion with Mike Francesa, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo has signed a new contract extension with SiriusXM. The famed Mike & The Mad Dog pair split several years ago with both acts going solo, and neither has really been the same since. Francesa has maintained his afternoon spot on WFAN while Russo launched Mad Dog Sports Radio at SiriusXM.
Now, Russo will not only stay at Sirius, he'll also add a new role in 2014. Host of his own MLB Network show. From Sirius/MLBN:
"Russo will continue to host his daily show, Mad Dog Unleashed, weekday afternoons on Mad Dog Sports Radio, SiriusXM channel 86. Starting in September, with the beginning of NFL season, the show will air daily from 3:00-6:00pm ET/12:00-3:00pm PT. The show is also available to subscribers through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com.
MLB Network today also announced that Russo will join its roster of on-air talent to host a new weekday baseball show launching in the spring of 2014, in addition to appearing across its studio programming. The show will be produced by MLB Network and simulcast on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. MLB Network’s Emmy Award-winning studio show “MLB Tonight” is currently simulcast on MLB Network Radio on weekdays at 6:00 p.m. ET.
In addition to hosting Mad Dog Unleashed daily, Russo will take on an expanded role that will feature him prominently on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM (channel 89 on XM, channel 209 on Sirius Premier and on the SiriusXM App). He will serve as SiriusXM’s “baseball ambassador,” hosting shows and specials and appearing regularly on the channel to comment on MLB news and issues."
I can't imagine baseball fans who religiously watch MLB Network are too thrilled with this idea. Russo isn't necessarily a "baseball guy" and most fans are likely to see him as more fluff and bombast a la Intentional Talk than smart baseball analysis a la MLB Tonight.
That said, I was always more of a Russo than a Francesa guy. I don't know why, but there's always been a soft spot in my heart for his neurotic rantings. The success of his MLB Network show (and palatability among baseball fans) will depend on how much of it is sports talk radio schtick and how much of it is actual baseball.
Regardless, hopefully we all receive the gift of at least one MLB Network rant like the "ONE TIME" classic…