Love him or hate him, Mike Francesa will be missed.
When listeners across the tri-state area and beyond tune their radios to WFAN at 1 p.m. Monday, the official passing of the torch will begin.
For me and many others, it will be hard to believe the Francesa era is over.
It didn’t take Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to capture the sports public in the area, and they mercurially overtook most of the nation.
Even though he became more egotistical and self-righteous in the latter years, Francesa still had everyone hooked.
His ratings remained high and his bombastic rants padded his legacy.
During his final show, Francesa took a modest approach and revealed his seldom-seen softer side, oozing humility among some pomposity between the lines.
His final words of “I Love You” and “Goodbye” to his listeners left them temporarily stunned.
I know I was.
It is over and now time for the passing of the torch in afternoon drive time.
Chris Carlin, who became a media mogul with his radio and TV gigs in the area over the years, will be in the spotlight on WFAN Monday afternoon.
Bart Scott, who caught listeners’ attention with his flamboyant style on ESPN, and “SI Now” host Maggie Gray will flank Carlin to try and create the same atmosphere left by the “Sports Pope.”
Good luck. I have a feeling they will need it for a while. Carlin exactly wasn’t lighting up the airwaves during his brief run on Philadelphia’s WIP before he returned home.
Michael Kay, who was on Francesa’s heels the past few months, has a better opportunity to take the torch.
In fact, Kay needs to firmly take control. He may never have this chance again.
Kay and sidekick Don LaGreca have developed into an informative and entertaining duo that could truly control the afternoons. Personally, recently added Peter Rosenberg disrupts the flow. Kay is at his best when he is in control of the show.
To me, three-person teams usually don’t achieve their true potential.
When Francesa signed off on his 30-year career on Friday, December 15th, a piece of New York Sports History was in the books.
The question between Carlin-Scott-Gray and Kay-LaGreca-Rosenberg is will another one begin.