Published on: 11th May, 2010
by Scott Mandel
New York – Today, Mike Francesa of WFAN radio and the YES Network went on another of his anti-Tiger Woods rants. He called Woods a “quitter” for walking off the course in the middle of the last round of last weekends’ Tournament Players Championship, telling us that Woods has “fallen off the tracks, physically and mentally,”
The questions are, how can Francesa, of all people, call anyone a quitter and, who exactly did Francesa interview to support his assertion of Woods’ character as a quitter?
Is this the body of a former athlete?
We were waiting for Francesa to produce quotes or some reliable source information to back his accusations of Woods, who announced his inability to continue playing last weekend because of neck pain that had been bothering him since he returned to competitive golf at the Masters Tournament in April. Did Francesa produce a doctor who might share an educated opinion? No. Did he produce either of Woods’ golfing partners on that final round at TPC who could have commented on whether Woods had mentioned his painful neck during the early stages of the round? Nope. Did he contact anyone from the PGA to comment about Woods’ actions? He did not nor did he do any of the work of a professional broadcaster to back up his rants about the character of arguably, the greatest player golf has ever produced.
Francesa, who has been about 150 pounds overweight for most of his adult life, went on to say how “bad it is to quit because once you’ve done it, it becomes easier to quit in the future.” He casted aspersions on a man he doesn’t know personally, has had no contact with but most assuredly has publically denounced because he simply never liked Woods’ style on the golf course or his treatment of the sports media world.
For this morbidly obese broadcaster with a diminishing audience (other than the sychophants who still tune-in to him) to judge a man’s injury and his character without the benefit of a little homework is inexcusable. For a man who clearly has trouble quitting the dinner table or the snack table for the entire length of his life, it’s laughable.
Francesa, an old CBS sports producer from the 1980s, comes from the Jim Nantz school of political conservatism, despite all of his transparent attempts to separate his politics from his sports talk. He has admitted to siding with his old CBS buddy, Nantz, a fanny-kisser of the Bush Family to the ultimate degree, in most things sports or political. Like Nantz, a tall, handsome on-air presence in ways that Francesa cannot ever be, Francesa has never denied his personal dislike for Woods but given the complete lack of contact Francesa has with the golf world, other than what he’s told by Nantz and by Nick Faldo, another CBS employee, his opinions are offered to his audience, third-hand. That is a great disservice to his listeners.
The paradox here is that Francesa has never purported to be a man of the people, or come across as a broadcaster representing the hoi poloi, you know, the guy sitting at a bar talking sports with whomever is in his vicinity. Francesa has always been about money. Who makes the most, who has the biggest house and who stays in the best hotel suites. Yet, as he gets older and more detached from the actual work of being a sports broadcaster, he is sounding more and more like the guy he doesn’t want to emulate, the man sitting at the bar espousing wild, fan-like opinions.
Except, we prefer to our on-air talent to present us with educated opinions based on their being connected and invested in the people and the industry they get paid to talk about. We don’t like to listen to the blustery, biased rants of a fat, disingenuous, disconnected and over-paid con artist.
Back in the 1950s through the 1970s, here in New York City, there used to be a curmudgeonly sports columnist named Dick Young. He was a right-wing conservative in every way and a brilliant baseball writer. He was the best-read and best-known writer in this huge market but as he got older, he became angrier and more detached from the players he covered. He began to spew out vitriolic opinions without the benefit of acquiring real facts to back up his rants. Readers began to whisper about Young in the same way fans watch the diminishing talents of an aging pitcher as he loses his fastball. Young’s readership eventually declined after many years at the Daily News and he left that newspaper.
The same thing is happening to Francesa, now. He is in the beginnings of a delusional state, seeing and ranting about things that don’t always have a basis in fact. Mike Fatcesa believes he can maintain his Arbitron ratings with silly, off the cuff, redundant remarks about his favorite targets: the New York Mets organization, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Rex Ryan, Tiger Woods, ESPNRadio and any callers who disagree with him, He’s become a laughable despot who is only surviving in this business because of the lack of existing talent to compete with the WFAN brand. He continues to laugh, truly laugh all the way to the bank and appears not to care one iota how people criticize his work.
Good for Francesa. Bad for sports fans.