Mike Francesa Shouts In His Sleep

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This is probably the least important thing about Mike Francesa as a public figure, radio star and famous human, but he really doesn't seem like a very nice person. Of course, being a nice person isn't really his job. His job is to be on the radio for five hours a day, talking about sports to the extent he is able. This is complicated somewhat by the fact that Francesa doesn't necessarily seem to follow sports all that closely anymore: he has never followed hockey, has a familiar sour and faintly racialized disdain for the NBA, and pretty clearly does not even know what soccer is, and does not want to be told what it is. He likes the Yankees and the NFL, his racehorses and his friend Bill Parcells. He doesn't like the Mets or the people who sometimes call in to his radio show or the people who work on it. This, somehow, has been a recipe for great, decades-spanning success.

"I just remembered! DIET COKE!"It's not that anyone really likes Francesa back, either. He's imperious and prickly and generally pretty ignorant about his area of alleged expertise. He's grandiose and petty at once, which is not exactly a new combination, but which is one to which he has added new and weird Escher-ian dimensions, little grouchy stairwells to nowhere and corridors that twist biliously back on themselves before plunging into shallow pools of Diet Coke. While it's impossible to gainsay his work ethic—he talks about something he barely cares about, to people he cares not at all for, in the company of co-workers he plainly disdains, for five hours a day, every day—Francesa is also pretty frankly repellent in most ways. If an undercooked veal chop could also develop a Long Island accent, it would be Francesa. If Sean Hannity's trolled-out soul poured all its sour essence into eating parm-style sandwiches with Bill Parcells, it would be Francesa. If Donald Trump got an ulcer that could wear a headset and interrupt people, it would be Francesa. All of which is to say that I am, regrettably, fascinated by the guy.

Not to the point that I'll actually listen to his show, of course: I'm busy, life is short, and I hate his voice and most of what he says with it. But I do enjoy, in a masochistic way, collecting Francesiana. When Francesa goes on a berserk rant about the New York Mets that is really a berserk rant about how much he hates LOSERS, I will listen to it. When Francesa nods off while a guest talks about the Yankees and then wakes up, plainly terrified, I will watch the video and embed that gif, which is courtesy of Deadspin. Inspired by friend of the program Ben Cohen's meditative practice of doing so, I try to re-read Nick Paumgarten's amazing, saddening, baffling New Yorker profile of Francesa and his frankly psychotic former partner Chris Russo at least once a year. 

I think that Francesa nodding off while another person speaks and then awakening angrily is maybe the most perfectly Mike Francesa thing that he or anyone else could do. I am fairly sure he will top it, though. He will top it, and I will hate it, but a small, strange part of me will be grateful for it.

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Comments

Incredible. I didn't believe anything could get me to interact in any way with Francesca--I read that New Yorker piece some years back, and it helped seal my conviction that the most provincial, parochial, reflexively awful sports fans on the planet were uniformly from New York*, and were involved in some kind of repellent feedback loop with the all-dickhead-all-the-time sports media complex. And yet, here I am, having just read the *shit* out of this piece, and having really enjoyed it--particularly the classic Roth "if an X could Y, then Z" constructions. (I was just savoring my memory of the "duck who developed the ability to talk and be wrong about things" description of, I think, Skip Bayless, so it's good to see these.)

And I'm about to go forth and read a Yak about this little-man-big-mouth exponent of everything that's stupid and selfish and rude about the way we think it's okay to talk to each other about our leisure activities. And I bet I'll like it, too! Come to think of it, I wish Francesca's New Yorker profile had been one of those Tad Friend infinite-condescension specials. Of course, I don't think Friend *writes* those about middle-aged white guys with money, so there's yet another fantasy that'll go unfulfilled. Oh well. Anyway, thanks for a good read about a bad person.

*Please pardon my ignorance: I had not yet become aware of Boston at that time.

In regards to Boston, ahh yes, Dennis & Callahan or as my friends and I call them, the bigoted racist and the racist bigot

When the whole Paterno fiasco was playing out over the past year, they made him out to be worse than Hitler.

Seriously.

On several occasions one or the other would say, "Well you know the Nazi's under Hitler never did this kind of thing, in fact they did the right thing and put all those 'types' in the concentration camps and ovens." and the other would wholeheartedly agree.

Which I guess, is fine because at this point being the host of a sports talk radio show means you are being paid to troll people over the air for 3-5 hours a day.

But right after Paterno died, they were talking about him and Dennis said that in addition to something about Sandusky, "Paterno was a drunk."

Callahan was kind of taken aback and tried to ward Dennis off by saying halfheartedly, "Yeah and about Sandusky..." but Dennis overrode him and went off on this rant about how Pasterno had been a drunk for over 30 years and on and on, when there has NEVER been ANY evidence to support this.

None.

You want to castigate him about Sandusky and having his own set of rules regarding punishment of his players fine.

But alcoholism.

and it wasn't like Dennis was trying to tie the alcoholism to Sandusky, no it was it's own separate thing.