By Gus Ramsey
My drive from work to home is twelve minutes long, thirteen with traffic. So my entertainment window during that time is small. Some days I hope to hear three good songs on the radio. On other days there is the often entertaining WFAN radio and it's mainstay host, Mike Francesa, with his thick accent and a pompousness that makes Donald Trump seem humble. My hope when I listen to MIke is that someone will call with a really bad question and send him into a fit of anger or a lecture laced with superiority. And no, the two are not mutually exclusive. (some of the better ones can be seen on YouTube.)
On a separate note, you may know I am a Mets fan. That makes me a "New York Baseball Fan." You know us, we're the ones (Mets and Yankees fans) who often get praised by the media and, at times, the players, for being smart baseball fans. We "understand the game," and are "really passionate".
I always cringe when I hear people say that because you need a pretty big brush to paint that large of a group people.
Now, take all that into consideration as I share with you the five questions I heard in succession to Mike Francesa on my drive home yesterday.
#1 Caller: "Hi Mike. Love your show (still waiting for the first person to open with "your show sucks, but I wanted to wait an hour on hold to talk to you anyway.") In all the time Alex Rodriguez has been a Yankee he has never come through in the postseason.... I mean..."
Mike: "Wait a second, wait a second...Nevuh? Did you watch the 2009 playoffs? Two game-winning homahs. 18 ribbies. He saved the Twins series with that 9th inning homah. I mean. c'mon already. What kind of a Yankee fan are you anyway?"
#2 Caller: "Mike, Girardi made a big mistake leaving Garcia in in the 6th.... Should have taken him out."
Mike: "Why? He had only given up two runs and had thrown like 50 pitches?"
Caller: "Nah, they should have pulled him."
Mike: "He had not given up a run in 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th... He had thrown like 50 pitches? There was no reason to take him out. And replace him with who, by the way. Who are you gunna replace him with? That is a CLASSIC second guess. A classic second guess." (Mike likes to repeat himself.)
#3 Caller: "Hey Mike. The Yankees should start Burnett tonight and pitch CC in game 4 so they don't have him going against Verlander."
Me in my head: Oh boy. This is going to be good. Mike HATES this idea.
Mike: (starting slowly) "Well, it's CC's day to pitch. It's his day.... Look, they already put him in the room with the media yesterday... it's his day....(getting hotter) I mean, the Yankees should just concede this game? This is a best of five series and you want them to just give a game away? You can't do that in a best of five. Sabathia is your ace! Geez. What people forget about sports is that the idea is to COMPETE. Not to say, 'well, we can't be this guy today.' C'mon with this stuff."
#4 Caller: "Mike, Teixeira is killing the Yankees. I think maybe they should sit him tonight and play Eric Chavez at first. He's been looking good when they play him."
Mike: "How many homahs did Teixeira hit this year?"
Caller: "I have no clue. 25?
Mike: "39. 39!" How many did Chavez hit?"
Caller: "I don't know..."
Mike: "2. He hit 2. It's 39 to 2 and you want to sit Teixeira for Chavez? 39 to 2. This is what happens in the playoffs, people lose their minds!"
#5 Caller: "Hi Mike. I've been listening to your show for a long time. Your the best... in America (hmmmm. Wonder what kind of research this caller did for that hypothesis.) Look, I really think Girardi should have taken Garcia our before the 6th inning....
Mike: "He had just put up goose eggs in 4 straight innings! He had hardly thrown any pitches. And who would you have brought in by the way?? "
At this point I pull into my driveway. So in a span of twelve minutes, and five phone calls by those "intelligent" baseball fans, I got "a guy who propelled his team to a title with 6 HRs and 18 rbi never did anything clutch," "The gold glove, run producing 1st baseman should sit for a dude with an OPS of .676 in 160 ABs this year," "the best starting pitcher on our team shouldn't face the best starting pitcher on their team because we're going to lose anyway," and "the starting pitcher who had given up one hit over the previous four innings and had thrown a minimal number of pitches, should not have come out for the 6th inning." Oh, and none of them mentioned the Jeter error that started the 6th.
Maybe the smart baseball fans are too smart to call shows like these. But for those twelve minutes I'm driving home, I'm kind of glad they don't.