"What happens when video of a noted Yankees fan and a notorious San Francisco Giants fan appears on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium?
"Boo!" was the reaction of many fans yesterday at the sight of WFAN talk-show hosts Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Fair enough. But what about the Mets fans who listened to them call the game (and help raise $40,000 for charity
)? Did they have reason to boo?
Let's put it this way: Russo had predicted that critics would write about the event only if he and Francesa bombed. Which means, once again, he's wrong.
Turns out the boys weren't half bad, much more so in the innings when Russo handled the play-by-play and Francesa the analysis. They played it mostly straight, focusing on action with minimal shtick. Three times Russo got to use his home run call, "This one is gone!" They talked strategy. They were well versed in each team's personnel. They were more willing to be bluntly critical than home-team announcers ever are.
"All in all, I thought they did a really good job," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said on WFAN. (John McEnroe and Bill Parcells called in with less kind critiques.)
At times Russo forgot that as a radio voice, he had to describe everything. And there was his trademark, um, creativity with language, such as when he encouraged Jose Reyes to take a strike, then said, "And he does! And it's a ball!"
There was some inevitable self-congratulation from two guys with healthy egos, and listening to them read endless commercials was just plain weird.
Overall, though, it worked. Nice. Howie Rose and Tom McCarthy, please come back now."