Monday, July 17, 2017

A Cat, A Dog And A Guy Named Mike

Jingles is the official cat of Miss TigerBlog.

He's a nice enough cat. A tuxedo cat. He's definitely a good looking cat.

TigerBlog isn't a cat person. He's a dog person. As he's told you many times before, the perfect retirement scenario includes a dog, whom TB would walk a few times a day while the other people in the neighborhood - preferably one by the beach - say "there goes that nice old man and his dog again."

The reality of his present does not include a dog, however. In that respect, he's stuck with Jingles the cat.

Jingles has a few spots around the house that he loves. Most of them involve sitting in a window sill, basking in the sun, looking at the views outside, something that MTB calls "cat TV."

That's what Jingles was doing yesterday when he pushed too hard against the screen or something, because the next thing he knew, he was no longer on the window sill. He was outside, on the ground below.

It's TigerBlog's contention that Jingles would never make a run for it, since he knows how soft he has it inside the house. This was his chance, though, and all he did was stand on the driveway and look back up at the window, wondering how he was going to get back inside.

Fortunately for Jingles, TigerBlog Jr. saw the whole thing. And so he went outside and got the cat, even though the cat doesn't give TBJ the time of day.

Dogs. That's where it's at. The perfect retirement awaits.

Speaking of dogs, TigerBlog watched the ESPN "30 For 30" released last week on "Mike and The Made Dog," the longtime sports talk radio duo on WFAN in New York City who dominated ratings and established a model that has been mirrored endlessly today, largely for the worse, by the way.

Here's TigerBlog's review of it: "Eh."

It could have been much, much better. For starters, it was a quick one, only an hour. And it was pretty superficial, like a simple recap of the story of how they were thrown together, the way they rose to the top quickly, the highs and lows of their relationship and lastly how they broke up.

There was very little insight into their backgrounds, where they came from, how that molded them. There was next to no behind the scenes stuff, which is what sets most of the "30 For 30" series apart. It was, well, superficial.

And, lastly, it was very regional. Yes, the show was simulcast on the YES Network for many years, which made it available nationally. But still, it's a New York thing.

If you lived in, say, Washington, D.C., or Atlanta or Seattle, what do you know about "Mike and The Mad Dog?" Where's the appeal?

TigerBlog, on the other hand, has no idea how many hours he spent listening to the two of them, but it's a lot. They were certainly entertaining. They were like nothing that had come before them.

Mike (Francesa) was always pompous. Mad Dog (Chris Russo) had the most unique voice in radio. They were just fans, often of opposing teams, and they were always battling each other, in a way that would have been painful to listen to had it not been so entertaining.

Mike loves the Yankees. Mad Dog hates them. This was in New York City. That alone made it great. TB remembers one day, when Mad Dog was there by himself after the Yankees won another World Series. One of the callers called him out on his anti-Yankee views and said that it was his job to support New York's teams.

"My job?" Russo screamed. "My job is to sit here five days a week and talk to the fat guy." Classic.

Francesa still occupies their 1-6 time slot every weekday, at least until he leaves the station at the end of the year. TigerBlog hasn't listened as much since Mad Dog left. It's just not as good. But hey, there's still something special about that time on that station.

As far as TigerBlog can remember, Princeton was represented on their show a few times. Not surprisingly, all of them were related to men's basketball.

The first was Pete Carril, in 1996, after he announced his retirement and before Princeton's game against UCLA.

The next was a year later, with Bill Carmody, before and after Princeton's loss to Cal in the NCAA tournament. Carmody was on again a year later, when Princeton had its 27-2 season and top 10 national ranking.

The other time was when Gary Walters was the chair of the NCAA men's basketball committee. Gary was on with Mike and the Dog the day after the selection show, back in 2007.

That was the year that Syracuse didn't get in the tournament. The two went after Gary pretty hard on the subject, asking him point blank if he didn't believe that Syracuse was one of the 30-whatever best teams in the country without an automatic bid. Gary, to his credit, said simply "yes."

Their breakup would come a year later. It came after a 20-year run, one that can accurately be called "historic."

The "30 For 30" is worth watching, especially if you were a fan of the show.

It's just that, as TB said, it could have been better.

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