stephen a. smith
Tori Lynn Schneider | Tallahassee Democrat/USA TODAY NETWORK

It started simply enough. Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo was running down a few of his pre-Opening Day thoughts during his weekly appearance on ESPN First Take, and he got to his last one, which was his belief the Mets will overtake the Yankees this summer.

“They’re going to take over New York City in 2022,” Mad Dog said. Then devoted Yankees fans Stephen A. Smith objected, of course. And there began five minutes of mostly-incoherent sports debating.

Stephen A. made a Bernie Madoff joke and called the Mets “second-class citizens.” Joey Gallo’s strikeouts were brought up. Mad Dog called New York “a National League town” because the Dodgers and Giants used to be here 70 years ago. And on and on.

“There’s sex appeal with the Mets!” Mad Dog said. “They have a little juice. Much more juice than the Yankees, who are a little stale.”

There was a good amount of baseball talk on First Take on Wednesday. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman also got raked over the coals for his recent rehashing of the 2017 ALCS and the Astros’ cheating. And Mad Dog also managed to take a hilarious shot at Alex Rodriguez while blasting Cashman’s whining.

“In 2009, when the Yankees won the [World Series] and beat the Phillies, A-Rod. You know what he did in that postseason?” Mad Dog said.

“He hit .365, six home runs, 18 RBI. He dominated the postseason. And let’s be honest, he was lit up like a Christmas tree. The Barry Bonds of the east coast. … So I’m going to hear [Cashman] now moan and groan a championship series where the Yankees, four games in Houston, hit .156. They couldn’t score. They couldn’t hit the Astros pitchers. … I don’t want to hear from Brian Cashman. It’s about time the Yankees go to a World Series again and win one of these things.”


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.