Chris Russo Credit: Mad Dog Unleashed on X

Despite basically betting his career on a Philadelphia Phillies win in the NLCS, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo returned to MLB Network airwaves on Monday for High Heat, defiantly trumpeting his arrival in Arizona on television and social media.

“Did you really think I was going to retire, Torey Lovullo?” Russo joked to open the program. “What are you, crazy?

“I’ve been going to World Series games since 1969, I’ll be damned if I was going to miss this one with Texas and the Diamondbacks.”

Prior to High Heat airing, Russo recorded a video poking fun at his feud with the DBacks even more.

“They’re not kicking the Mad Dog out of Phoenix, no matter what they do,” Russo joked.

Credit to the Arizona social media team, who were ready to keep the fight going.

Russo began the whole beef when he threatened to retire if Philadelphia lost Games 6 and 7 at home to blow the NLCS. Russo went back on his promise almost immediately. Longtime sports media colleagues Stephen A. Smith and Don La Greca ridiculed Russo for the bald-faced gimmick. And DBacks manager Lovullo did his best to hold Russo to the pledge.

Later in the show, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall joined the show for an interview and admitted his team likes playing the underdog and the Wild Card. Hall also unleashed an incredible Russo impression.

The Diamondbacks are in the World Series for the first time since 2001, when they won Arizona’s only major men’s sports championship. Prior to a Wild Card berth this year, Arizona was on a postseason drought dating back to 2017. Their last NLCS appearance in 2007 was a sweep at the hands of division rival Colorado.

Russo clearly saw them as a disappointing story. Or he just wanted to rile up Phillies fans. Either way, it worked.

It’s ironic how Russo laying it on Arizona ultimately brought more attention to the surprise World Series matchup. Time will tell whether it translates to real intrigue and viewership.

[High Heat]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.