Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo tells Charlie Slowes to ‘pipe down’


(Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for SiriusXM Radio)

To recap:

1) With two on and two outs in the top of the ninth Friday night, Jayson Werth caught a potentially game-tying blast by the Mets’ Daniel Murphy at the wall, clinching a Nats win. Radio play-by-play man Charlie Slowes briefly thought it was out of the park before correcting himself almost immediately.

2) On his MLB Network show each Monday, Chris Russo apparently grades different MLB broadcasters on big calls. This Monday, he gave Slowes a 0 for that call on a scale of 0 to 5. “That’s a zero for Charlie,” Mad Dog said. “That’s a bad call.”

3) Slowes heard this segment, because he was set to appear on the station’s next program. So on Twitter and then in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny, Slowes fired back when talking about Russo’s segment on broadcasters.

“I guess they can’t fill an hour with his great content, and [so] it’s five minutes less of his hysterical illiterate screaming — which is his thing, which is unlistenable for me,” Slowes said in part. “For one second, could he do what we do every day? And better still, if he was doing it, would anyone comprehend a single word of what he’s saying?”

4) Russo heard what Slowes said. And then he talked about it for nearly seven minutes on his SiriusXM/Mad Dog Sports Radio show Tuesday afternoon.

Now, I just transcribed the entire seven minutes, which took untold years off my life expectancy. Here are some highlights. These quotes are all Russo.

* “It’s not my idea to do the segment. We call it Curtain Calls — I have nothing to do with it — in which we build segments on that. That’s an hour baseball show. They want to get as much of my personality as they possibly can. I have no problem doing the segment, I love to do the segment, but it’s not like I say let’s get this announcer, that announcer, this announcer, that announcer, and we’ll kill ‘em. I don’t do that at all. I get the Curtain Calls. I have no idea what announcing home run calls they’re gonna give me or game walk-off calls or anything like that.”

* “One of the calls this Monday was Charlie Slowes, who I guess is a Fordham guy. Boy if he’s a New Yorker he’s got to get a little bit more of a thick skin. What a sensitive son of a gun.”

[Russo played the Slowes call of the near-home run]

* “Well, that is an atrocious call, all right? Atrocious call. You can’t tell me — a game-winning [sic] home run — it’s gone, and then come back and tell me it’s caught. Now, we kill John Sterling for that every single time he makes those mistakes. So I mean, we have a rating system of five is great and zero is bad. So top of my head, I got to give a rating, so I gave Charlie — deservedly so for this situation, which the game was presented, ninth inning, two out, 5-3 [sic], the whole bit — a zero, because he had the Mets being up 6-5 [sic] and game’s over [sic]. That is unacceptable, in my eyes, as a broadcaster. I did it in funny ways. I didn’t say, ‘Jeez, what a disgrace, get him off the air.’ I did it in a funny way.”

* “First off, I have done a Major League Baseball TV game by the way, Mets and the Phillies, but we’re not gonna get there.”

* “Anybody who’s a guy from Fordham who’s annoyed about that — this is New York. If you’re that sensitive in New York City you’ve got major problems.”

* “Let me tell you something, Charlie: I’ll say it one more time, nice and clear. Now you’ve got me mad. That was a garbage [call]. I don’t care how good an announcer you are, because I don’t listen to you. I just don’t. I don’t listen to Nationals radio games. And that’s not to say that you’re a bad announcer. But that call was a lousy, lousy call. All right? There’s no way around it. You told me it was a home run and then you took it back. I don’t care if you’re calling the game from the upper deck down the left field line. All right? You get the call right. You wait, you pause.”

* “And MLB Network wants me to do this. I didn’t just all of a sudden come up with this segment. They want me to do this. So as a result, I have to give grades. And as I said, I gave Slowes a zero. I understand he’s a little sensitive. But I mean, pipe down. Pipe down now.”

[Slowes had suggested it was a shame MLB Network Radio was playing Russo instead of Jim Duquette.]

* “Duquette calls me all the time and loves the fact that I’m doing the hour on TV. I know Jim Duquette longer than you do, so don’t bring Jim Duquette into the conversation. Him and I have been best friends for 25 years. So that’s the first thing. … Don’t even bring Duquette into the mix.”

* “And if you want to say that I’m unlistenable, you have every right to say that. If you want to say that I’m unlistenable, this that and the other, I have no problem with it whatsoever. But do me one favor. And I shouldn’t do this, but do me one favor. Before you say I’m unlistenable on MLB Network, go look at the ratings. Go look at ‘em. Go look at the ratings. Go look at the little book and pick up the ratings. Charlie, take it easy. Take it easy, all right? If they want me to rate the announcers — which is what they want me to do — I can’t give everybody a five. I can’t give everybody a four. That doesn’t make it fun. If you’re that sensitive and you’re that upset because you got a zero — I didn’t realize I had that much power to get you that upset – get the call right. Simple as that. Don’t tell me it’s a home run and then come back and say, ‘Oh, he caught it.’ Don’t do that. Get. The Call. Correct.”

* “And listen, the audience doesn’t care, but if you want to start a little war, I’ll be very happy to start it. I’ll start any war you want. If that’s what you want, you want to go out there and fight this day to day, I will dissect every word of those play-by-play calls, and we’ll be playing ‘em every Monday, if that’s what you want. So calm down. A New Yorker can’t be that sensitive. Can’t be that sensitive.”

[Editor's note: Yes, my role in this is sort of sad. No, there's really no honor in helping fan the flames of a sports-broadcasting war. But let's all agree it's a helluva lot better than having to post photos of 18-year-olds at the NBA draft lottery.]  

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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