Wednesday night’s Radio City Music Hall reunion of famed New York sports radio hosts Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo after seven and a half years had plenty of notable moments and interviews, but the one The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel puts first in his list of observations stands out: these guys managed to do a show together without speaking off-air for six whole months.

“The most interesting thing of the evening was an anecdote about how the two went six months on-air together without ever otherwise talking to each other (at 1:55:00-mark of video). The falling out apparently came when Dog wanted to go to Indiana to do the show onsite for a Knicks-Pacers series, and Mike … did not. Their first flight got canceled, and instead of waiting for another one that would have had a layover in DC, Francesa just bailed.

I have so many questions about this. How the hell were they able to plan the show? Or carry on like that for so long without anyone ever noticing? Holy moly. The spat ended when Mike invited Chris to his wedding. ‘I didn’t invite you,’ Mike corrected him. ‘[My wife] Roe did.'”

Despite the at-times strained relationship (Francesa told Dan Patrick Thursday that they didn’t even want to work together initially), these guys clearly have chemistry from their 19-year partnership on WFAN, and Francesa said “Never say never” on Wednesday to the idea of an ongoing reunion. If the reception they got when they took the stage Wednesday is any indication, that might be very well received indeed:

The event raised $1.1 million to benefit the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and it featured both hosts interacting with each other and interviewing New York sports figures such as Tom Coughlin, Bobby Valentine, Joe Torre and Mark Messier, with Russo even screaming at Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (who was in the audience) to “Sign the contract!” As Neil Best writes in Newsday, plenty of the VIPs in attendance had high praise for the duo afterwards:

The actor/comedian Michael Rapaport said, “They’re very New York, staples of New York — original, fun, feisty. They were trendsetters in the sports radio, banter thing. I’m having ’90s flashbacks. The ’90s are the new ’70s.”

Said (former Knicks coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff) Van Gundy: “For Mike and Chris to get back together for a night, I admire them a lot for whatever in the past happened that they said, hey, let’s do it for them and let’s do it for the underserved kids in the community, and I think it’s awesome.”

Valentine, the former Mets manager, joked, “I was always interested in what they were talking about — but it was less interesting when they were talking about me.”

(John) Starks, the former Knick, said, “They made the game fun. They made it interesting, especially after you had a bad night.”

Here’s video of the show. We’ll see if this one-night-only reunion turns into anything more.

[The Big Lead]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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