Mike Francesa may not know it. But the emperor has no clothes.
Francesa acts as if his latest controversy is because he is still throwing 98 mph. He makes it seem like he is in his heyday with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and they are still the clear No. 1 listen in the city.
However, what most people can see is that an unhinged Francesa is, to borrow a term, lost on the air. His circus act is the viral draw, not the sweet iconic sounds of “Mike & the Mad Dog.”
On Tuesday, he was Mike from Derangeville. Longtime, first time.
Francesa — who treats callers like peasants — phoned into WFAN’s morning show, “Boomer & Gio.” It was so odd that “Boomer & Gio” producers, Al Dukes and Eddie Scozzare, thought it might be a prank.
Francesa yelled that the morning duo had wronged him as it went over Francesa’s ignorant comments about the wounded Giants draft pick, Corey Ballentine, and his deceased college teammate, Dwane Simmons.
Francesa also didn’t like that the shows hosts, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, said Francesa played favorites to those who feed him favors. The truth always hits Francesa the hardest.
Francesa was feeling the heat, because his comments about Ballentine were, at best, insensitive and, at worst, potentially fireable.
It is hard to say where Entercom stands because its public relations person did not even respond to emails, texts or calls. It is an embarrassing situation, so maybe you don’t want to support Francesa publicly.
But there is a real issue as we move toward the bitter end of Francesa’s career. How much longer can FAN trust him on the air?
Even as a caller, Francesa did show his one remaining skill, bullying Boomer and Giannotti, who decided to let him speak instead of really challenging him. That didn’t save him from looking bad.
Nowadays, Francesa can’t hide, like he and Mad Dog used to, when called out on what they said. There are tapes.
Francesa even has his own personal Twitter biographer, @BackAftaThis, who has become a part of New York sports radio lore.
Each and every word — the lies Phil Mushnick has been exposing for years — is now recorded. This is bad for Francesa.
Francesa flails for the past, using falsehoods as support. He crazily claimed that @BackAftaThis “doctors” the video from his paid app. Francesa lies and yells and, if you stand up to him, he retreats.
He should show regret. He should apologize to Ballentine and Simmons’ family. They are dealing with real-life issues, Francesa is in his own fairyland.
The saying “the emperor has no clothes” is derived from the short tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” about a couple of weavers who make a new suit for the king. They tell him that it is invisible to those that are incompetent or stupid. There is nothing there and the emperor is eventually exposed.
Maybe Entercom is blinded by the money Francesa still brings into the station. But most everyone else can see what the talk show host is wearing — and it is hard to imagine it ending well.
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