One October afternoon, Mike Francesa brought up the subject of ESPN's ballyhooed "30 for 30" documentary series, and gleefully took the opportunity to jab both Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons and the Worldwide Leader:
"Bill, the more the chances he gets to speak for ESPN comes off like a stooge... he's gone from being a guy you get a kick out of to a guy who's fronting for ESPN... No one wants to hear from Simmons anymore."
Which first stunned Simmons:
"Wait a second, Mike Francesa thinks that I'm the one who's a "stooge" and a "fraud"?"
And was followed by a counter, directed by his trainer:
"In all seriousness: I remain a big Francesa fan & wish I could have called in + argued with him today. ESPN house rules prevailed. Too bad."
"Of course, if Mike Francesa would like to appear on the BS report, we can definitely arrange it. Would love to have him."
Mike deftly evaded the blow before dropping this vicious left hook:
“If they would like to invite me to chat with Bill on his whatever-it-is… his website? [Simmons] doesn’t even have a show. [A podcast] is not a show… THIS is a show. Here’s what I’d say to Bill: Bill, get a show, and then you can invite me on your show. That’s not a program you’ve got… what do you want to call it, some kind of a little electronic get-together? Please. We want somebody to be able to hear you, to see you. If we do it at your place, nobody’s gonna know it’s happened. We want there to actually be record of it. We want somebody to actually hear it. It’s called an audience.”
Easy call for the judges there: Francesa 10, Simmons 8.
That was the end of the fight, until Mike was given a DVD of the Jimmy "the Greek" piece today, which Mike used to remind the audience of his upbringing at CBS in the 80's during both the Greek's and The NFL Today's heyday. Mike considers himself one of the authorities on the Greek, no doubt one of his gambling mentors -wouldn't you love to see a dramatization of a wide-eyed apprentice Mike scooping up all the valuable tips from the venerable master Greek?- and has to make it clear to listeners that somehow his blessing would validate the documentary.
Of course, the big picture here is ESPN's moratorium on their employees from appearing on WFAN, presumably enforced to give its hideous, god-awful 1050 station a puncher's chance against 660 -who the hell listens to Michael Kay, the Shame of my Bronx Science? Mike used to enjoy having Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen and other personalities on his show, but now takes his revenge on the WWL by taking shots at them whenever possible, including Kenny Mayne's "
and this not-so-subtle-uppercut:
"Mike, you're too young to play the "I don't understand podcasts or web series" card. Still 8 yrs away. We can't lose you to Geezerville yet."
Nice little dig in the end there, but while Mike may not be ancient, he's ruled his roost long before Bill became "The Sports Guy" and deserves a bout on his terms. Give us the Fight of the Century, ESPN. After all, If I can change...
Thanks to TheFantasy555Podcast for the transcripts.