Mike and the Mad Dog
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Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo have performed many sporting miracles, both together and separately.

The invention of Radio Row. Mike Piazza to the Mets. The cancellation of the New York City Marathon. Forcing LIPA to turn the lights back on. Two revolutionary phone apps. And, apparently, Keith Hernandez’s broadcasting career.

“I was a big proponent of bringing Keith into the booth when he came,” Francesa said on his BetRivers podcast while mentioning the Mets great’s new contract to continue calling games for SNY.

“Dog and I both were. We were both very much in Keith’s corner. When they were first lukewarm about bringing him in and everything else, we were big supporters of bringing him in there. … I’m glad Keith got whatever he needed to come back and do it, because I think the fans love having him.”

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Hernandez started calling Mets games part-time in 1999, when their games were still on MSG. We could not find any record or suggestion the iconic WFAN duo boosted him into the role or helped keep him there. But that’s not to say it didn’t happen. Hernandez has obviously become a star in the booth since. The upcoming season with be the 18th Hernandez works alongside play-by-player Gary Cohen and analyst and former Amazins teammate Ron Darling.

“That has become a wonderful TV team,” Francesa said. “I think they’re the best broadcast team in baseball. Love to listen to them. Great balance, know their roles, have chemistry, they’re smart, they’ve got the whole thing.

“Darling does a great job. Keith does a great job with what he does, and he brings a little zaniness, and then you have Gary and he’s very good at what he does. And they’ve even drawn a little personality out of Gary, which isn’t easy because he doesn’t have much. The bottom line is he’s a great tactician, but he’s not a personality guy. But they have brought a little of that out of him too, so it’s worked well. It really has. It’s a wonderful listen. I think they are at the top of anybody’s list. I really do.”

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

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.