Mike Francesa, Presidential Scholar

fran1.jpgMy New Year’s Resolution was to stop listening to WFAN, apart from Mets games and the occasional Schmooze. I’ve been tuning in to that station practically my whole life, and ramped up my listenership back in the days when I wrote a now-defunct sports blog.

But now WFAN just makes me angry. And not Dynamic Anger, which pisses you off so much it inspires to do bigger and better things. It pisses me off to hear so many ill-informed opinions and caveman sensibilities and thinly veiled racism.

And then on top of everything, they added Craig Carton to their morning program, who is made from the slats at the bottom of the barrel. The epitome of everything that is wrong and stupid and adolescent about radio.

Listening to WFAN now is the audio equivalent of finishing a huge bag of Cheetos all by yourself. You’ll get absolutely no nutrition from it and you’ll feel sick and wrong and ashamed afterwards. There’s nothing to be gained from the exercise except orange fingers.

Here’s the thing, though: I have this Pavlovian response whenever I go to the bathroom in my house. It stems from the baseball season: whenever I go to use the facilities, I flip on the radio on top of the toilet so I won’t miss any of whatever game I’m watching. Except that now it doesn’t matter if any game is on. I do it anyway.

I’ve been pretty good about curbing this impulse lately, but this Monday I wasn’t, and I heard about 20 seconds of Mike Francesa that infuriated me so much that I couldn’t even bring myself to write about them until today.

Francesa was talking about the inauguration, which was a big red flag right off the bat. Whenever Francesa talks about anything other than sports, batten down the hatches. It’s bad enough when he talks about music or movies. He loves to pretend he’s Paulina Kael, if Pauline Kael had completely middle-of-the-road taste in everything. “You know who’s a pretty good director? Steven Spielberg!”

But when politics enter the picture, oh lord. I caught his show on election day, just as I was leaving work, when it was slowly dawning on everyone that Obama was probably gonna win big time. You could hear how much this realization was killing him. It was so sweet, because in his voice you could hear the panicked thoughts of every Wall Street asshole and moneyed buffoon in the land. “Oh no, now I’m gonna take home only several million dollars a year instead of many millions! I might have to sell my third house!”

All he could get out was, “Hey, Obama ran a brilliant campaign, what can I say?” He said it in the same condescending way he begrudgingly hands out compliments to the Mets (granted, they rarely give him cause to do so).

If you do nothing for the next 4 years, Obama, thank you for that moment.

So day before the inaguration, the biggest one of our lifetimes, possibly the biggest ever, what is Francesa talking about? He’s complaining about all the inauguration balls and how much money they’re gonna cost. How it’s not right to be spending so much dough during this time of financial hardship. “Hey, I got nothing against him. He’s my president too!” he was quick to add.

You know, Mikey, your argument might track a bit better if your show wasn’t simulcast on the YES Network, the channel owned by the team that just spent $400 MILLION DOLLARS ON THREE PLAYERS.

I’m sure Francesa would counter with the fact that the Yankees are a private corporation. Well, they are and they aren’t. After all, they just had THE CHROME-PLATED BALLS TO BEG NEW YORK CITY FOR MORE

Now, to be fair, the Mets asked for (and received) extra bonds for their stadium, too. But they just didn’t spend almost half a billion dollars on players before doing so, then turn around and cry poverty to the city (even though, after Bernie Madoff, Fred Wilpon can probably cry poverty). They also don’t have a paid mouthpiece on their own network bitching about somebody else’s “misuse” of public funds.

I don’t recall Francesa saying word one about the Yankees feeding from
the public trough in such a brazen manner after unloading dump trucks
full of cash on free agents’ doorsteps. So don’t play like you’re all of a sudden concerned about wastes of public money, you fat mess.

I mean, what’s more gross a use of public moneys: celebrating the inauguration of a president, or making A.J. Burnett richer?