While many of Mike Francesa’s former producers generally categorize the sports radio icon as being financially generous to the people that work for him, WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti remembers Christopher ‘Mad Dog’ Russo asking for a dollar to buy Wheat Thins.
According to the now WFAN morning show co-host, Dog liked to bet on day baseball games during the summer. Near the end of Dog’s WFAN tenure, Gio remembers being asked if he wants to join a group (led by Russo) in a runs, hits and errors over/under bet.
In 2008, Gio was only making $31,000 a year producing the station’s midday show with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, so he was reluctant to risk his money. It’s safe to say Mad Dog was more financially stable at the time, having already been one of sports radio’s most prominent voices for nearly two decades.
Gio decided to go in for $50, but was quickly brushed off by his idol Chris Russo who demanded a minimum buy-in of $250. “Do you want to be in the family? Are you in or are you out?!” Gio remembers an animated Mad Dog asking him in the newsroom. Gio ultimately decided to risk the money, but found himself out $250 by the end of the day. Day two, same result, another $250 lost. Ultimately, Giannotti was down $1,100 after agreeing to participate in the runs, hits and errors wager with Russo and others in the WFAN newsroom.
According to Gio, he showed up with an $1,100 check to pay his share of the debt, but, “was stopped by somebody who will remain nameless and said ‘you don’t owe that money anymore, it’s okay.’” Gio didn’t explain why he no longer owed $1,100 and what may have happened to the money Russo was supposed to be wagering. Dog never asked for the money and Gio ripped up the check.
Not long after, Russo split from Mike and the Mad Dog to join Sirius for a reported $15 million deal in Aug. 2008. After months of no one at WFAN hearing from Russo, Gio received an unexpected call in the newsroom. Christopher ‘Mad Dog’ Russo following up and asking for the $1,100 that Gio was told he no longer owed.
“You owe me $1,100 for the runs, hits and errors from a few months ago, anything you can give me,” Gio remembers hearing from Dog when he picked up the phone.
But during his Wednesday afternoon show on SiriusXM Russo accepted no blame for the lost $1,100, claiming the now WFAN morning host joined the runs, hits and errors wagers willingly. Russo also noted years later he stumbled into Gio who said he just won a season over/under bet on the San Diego Padres.
“Anybody who’s betting the San Diego Padres over/under in the season has got a gambling problem long before he met Christopher Russo,” Mad Dog said.
Interestingly enough in 2019, Russo told his High Heat audience on MLB Network to take the under on the San Diego Padres for the season. For what it’s worth, the Padres hit the under.
Michael Irvin Tells Parkins & Spiegel How He Learned What Guacamole Was
“Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid.”
NFL Network analyst and First Take fighter Michael Irvin was the guest of Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel on Tuesday. 670 The Score’s afternoon hosts asked The Playmaker what his favorite fruit was. It led to a story from Irvin about a recruiting trip that ended in a Mexican restaurant.
Irvin prefaced the story by saying that he has loved avocados since he was a kid. His mother used to clean houses and one of her clients would often send her home with a few avocados. That is how he was first exposed to them.
Fast forward to Michael Irvin’s high school years when he was being recruited to play college football. He was taken to a Mexican restaurant where he saw guacamole.
Irvin told Parkins & Spiegel that he told the waiter “whatever you do, do not put that green, it looks like bird doo doo, on my plate. I can’t even take it. I can’t even stand looking at it.”
Later in the meal, he saw the same waiter walk by with avocado and he asked if he could have some. The waiter said that Michael Irvin had said earlier that he didn’t want it.
“I didn’t say that,” Irvin said. “I said I don’t want that bird doo doo.”
He says that is when one of the people he was dining with spoke up and said “Michael, the bird doo doo is avocado.”
“We asked you for you’re favorite fruit and you had a fruit story. That is why you are one of one,” Danny Parkins responded. “You are Michael Irvin and you are the best man.”
Bobby Valentine Tells Boomer & Gio Donald Trump Photo Sunk Him
“Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the Stamford mayoral race.”
Former MLB manager and ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine joined WFAN’s Boomer and Gio this week to discuss his mayoral campaign in Stamford, Connecticut.
Valentine ran as an unaffiliated candidate and fell to Democratic State Rep. Caroline Simmons in the race. He claims that a decades-old picture with him and former President Donald Trump sunk his chances.
“We had a photo taken together in 2000 for the World Series and so the last day of the campaign all around the neighborhoods, a picture of Donald and Bobby with the quote ‘only poor people and dumb people pay taxes,’” Valentine told Boomer and Gio about the photo that circulated around the town on Election Day.
“That really helped with the minority vote in my town,” Valentine said sarcastically.
It wasn’t all bad news for Valentine, who was enamored with the campaign-building process, among other things.
“Built it [the campaign] from scratch, which was a wonderful experience” Valentine explained. “Figuring out how to get volunteers together, and money together, and office, and headquarters together. We actually ran a six-month—perfectly clean—campaign. Not one negative word mentioned the entire time. Got 14,000 votes, more than any non-Democrat ever got in our city, and almost won that thing.
“I’m glad that I was the candidate, and I’m also glad that I’m not the mayor because it’s really a tough job. I got four years of my life back when the votes came in.”
Valentine worked at ESPN for a few years in the early part of the 2010s before re-entering the managing circuit with the Boston Red Sox. He famously managed the Mets to one of their two World Series appearances this century in 2000.
“It’s a little bit of the seven-year itch,” Valentine said when asked why he’s always looking for the next obstacle. “I did seven years in Texas; seven years in New York; seven years in Japan; seven months in Boston. Then I did seven years at Sacred Heart. So, yeah, it’s all about the sevens.”
Tony Rizzo To Baker Mayfield Critics: I Hope You’re Happy
“850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.”
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn’t looked like much of a franchise star so far in 2021, and it has all the attention of sports radio in The Land.
850 ESPN Cleveland host Tony Rizzo laid it all out on the table during The Really Big Show.
“You happy?” Rizzo said to his co-host, Aaron Goldhammer. “Are you Baker [Mayfield] haters? Are you guys happy? Baker looks bad, and you wanna jump down his throat. I’M A BROWNS FAN! I’M A BROWNS FAN. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE ROOTING AGAINST OUR QUARTERBACK!”
Mayfield has struggled with shoulder and knee injuries throughout this season and ranks 25th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks in ESPN’s QBR metric (42.9 out of 100).
“You want him to fail,” Rizzo continued. “To prove what? You were right? Do you realize what happens if this kid isn’t the right guy? WE’RE GONNA SUCK, AGAIN. You don’t find quarterbacks. It took you 20 years to find a guy to win 11 games. Now you don’t think he can take you the rest of the way? Are you happy?”
The Browns went on the road this past weekend and the New England Patriots stomped them 45-7. The loss meant Cleveland still hasn’t won in Foxboro since 1992, when, ironically, now Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held the same role with Cleveland.
“I hope you’re all happy,” Rizzo declared. “I hope you’re happy; so you can draft some quarterback in the 30s and try and pray…Don’t you understand? If Baker fails it’s back to the drawing board for my franchise.
“We know that everything has to be right for Baker to win. Sobering stuff for me. This year has been sobering; however, he’s got a bad shoulder, he’s got a broken bone. Now he’s got a bum knee and bum foot. He’s getting beat up. Maybe he can’t play the position.”
Watch the full clip from ESPN Cleveland above.
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