First, an excerpt from a story I wrote for the Sports section last year about my breaking the addiction to Mike and the Dog:
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing if you want to listen to "Mike and the Mad Dog."And yet, my dislike of them as a team doesn't remotely equal how I feel about them whenever they work solo -- which they will be doing permanently, now that WFAN has severed ties with the Dog.
There was a time where my life ticked along to the beat of their WFAN theme song. I nearly got fired from a summer office job because my boss kept catching me listening to Mike and Chris performing their daily inquisition of then Mets manager Jeff Torborg.
But the older I got and the more I attempted to learn about our local teams through resources other than Mike and Chris, the less I could stand listening to them. Because once you realize you know more about a particular subject than they do, they're unbearable.
Their on-screen personas are built on the shaky foundation that they are the all-seeing, all-knowing experts on all matters sports-related. They bully all but the most sycophantic callers, shouting down any attempt to disagree with them. When they do interviews, they don't so much ask questions as make thesis statements for the guests to agree with, as confirmation of Mike and Chris's astute powers of observation.
I tolerated and at times even enjoyed them when they were the only game in town to get a sports talk fix. But now there's satellite radio, and podcasts, and blogs and message boards and so many other venues for me to learn about, discuss and debate what's happening with the Yankees or Knicks that there's no earthly reason for me to endure their act. I'm no sports expert by any means, but when I make the mistake of tuning into their show for a few minutes while stuck in traffic these days, it feels like the only subjects they have a better command of are the '50s Yanks and the San Francisco Giants' middle relief corps.
I feel uncomfortable comparing these two loudmouths to Lennon and McCartney, but in the world of sports-talk, they're essentially The Beatles, and their partnership was one where the whole was far, far greater than the sum of the parts. Just as John made Paul smarter and Paul made John more entertaining, Russo's clowning tempered Mike's arrogance and Mike's knowledge and connections tempered the Dog's more outrageous antics. Working apart, you have a rampaging, unwarranted ego and a cackling idiot whose only skill is agitating his listeners.
Again, I don't listen to them anymore together, and I sure as hell won't listen to either one apart, but for the people who are still fans, this is a lose-lose. Neither will ever be remotely as good on their own as they were as a duo.