There is nothing quite like New York City’s sports-talk radio scene. Well, other than various reality TV shows and any high-school friend group around prom season.
The latest development in the drawn-out saga surrounding Mike Francesa’s return to WFAN is an explosive feud between Chris Russo and Bart Scott, who spent Wednesday yelling at each other on the radio. First, Russo minced no words in declaring that Scott, one third of the trio that replaced Francesa upon the longtime host’s retirement in December, does not belong on the radio.
They’re gonna get me to go over there, and I’m gonna tell Bart to his face that he shouldn’t be on the radio. Would you like me to say that? He thinks somehow I’m afraid to approach Bart Scott and say, “Bart, listen. Good man, good guy, knock ’em dead, but you shouldn’t be doing a talk show.” Would you like me to say that to him? If Bart wants me to run down to Hudson St. I’ll do it. Bart, you are not qualified, just like I wouldn’t be qualified to be a linebacker coach if you were playing. You are not qualified, under any circumstances, to be doing an afternoon talk program on any big-market station in the country.
Then Scott defended himself, before going after Russo.
I prepared for the job. I prepared for the job. Yeah, I’m not a baseball person. I’m figuring it out. I’ve been paying attention to baseball pretty much since December, November. But guess what, you had a 29-year head start, and I’m catching up. And trust me, it’s not rocket-science what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about feats of athleticism, sport, hand-eye coordination. I think I can catch up pretty good.
This is what happens when people get old and they start seeing the end coming. They start to try and find excuses, to try and find reason why they’re not relevant anymore. Your time has passed, my time is now. And listen, I’m already retired, and I’m in your sandbox now, and I’m pushing you off. You’ll be a non-factor in probably the next two years.
Here’s audio of both rants, via the referee of all New York radio disputes, @BackAftaThis:
Bart Scott vs. Mad Dog Russo REALLY heated up today. You're gonna want to listen to this. pic.twitter.com/RrMLMAEi60
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) April 26, 2018
Let’s recap, as best we can, how we got here. Tension between Scott and Russo started back in November, when Mad Dog bashed WFAN’s decision to put Scott on its new drive-time show, saying the former Jets linebacker had “urinated on the New York media” and “wouldn’t know the first thing about the history of the New York sports scene.” Months later, when Francesa appeared on Russo’s MLB Network show High Heat, the two joked about WFAN hosts losing their jobs, in a blatant shot at Scott, Maggie Gray and Chris Carlin. That exchange reportedly inspired Carlin to tell off Francesa and Russo over text — a clapback that some people believe to have inspired Francesa’s return.
At that point, the war was fully between WFAN’s old guard and the new, and it was only a matter of time before the shots got more direct and vicious, as they did Wednesday.
Russo’s involvement in all these feuds is kind of amusing, given that he hasn’t worked at WFAN in nearly a decade. He just pops in once in a while to intercede in whatever happens to be going down at his former station, whether it be yelling at Boomer Esiason, calling out Carton or even criticizing his old pal Francesa. As they say, you can take the man out of New York sports talk, but you can’t take the New York sports talk out of the man. Or something.