Something interesting happened Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET when “Mad Dog Unleashed” came on the air at SiriusXM: the Mad Dog was missing.
Chris Russo wasn’t present for the beginning of his titular radio show as part of the fallout from his promise to retire if the Diamondbacks won the National League pennant.
Arizona took care of the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 7, and as a result, it was fill-in host Steve Torre batting leadoff today on “Mad Dog Unleashed.”
“Now what can I tell you? If you’re looking for Dog, I mean you’re out of luck. This is not schtick. I’ve got nothing for you. He’s not here. And so this threat of retirement has kind of taken on a life of its own,” Torre said.
However, as Awful Announcing posted on X, “Chris Russo’s retirement was even shorter than Mike Francesa’s” as the bombastic host came on the show minutes later:
“I have returned! I have returned! How are you, Steve? I’m here! I didn’t go anywhere! Retire, my ass! I’m here to do a talk show, and by the way, after 12 minutes of you, thank God I’m here to do a talk show!”
Wednesday has been a busy day for Russo.
It started with an interview with Howard Stern, who got Russo to agree to an alternate form of punishment to avoid retirement.
“You gotta do something so outrageous that they forget about the fact that you said you were gonna retire over a baseball game,” Stern said, as transcribed by Awful Announcing. “What were you thinking though, saying you’re gonna retire if the Diamondbacks win, that’s crazy!”
“How bout this. You come on my show, I’ll come into Manhattan for this, we put you in a bikini and you walk down the street with a sign that says, ‘I’m a douchee.’ If you do that … it will make all the media and everyone say, ‘Wow, this guy was standup, he took it, obviously he couldn’t retire, but he was humiliated.’”
Russo agreed, though said his sign would read: “I am a liar and a dope.”
Later Wednesday morning, Russo made his weekly appearance on ESPN’s “First Take.”
Stephen A. Smith added his own form of punishment, dedicating the show to treating Russo like an intern.
For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Russo announced on Monday, with the Phillies leading the best-of-seven National League Championship Series 3-2, that he was so sure Philadelphia was on its way to the World Series, he would immediately retire if Arizona wins Games 6 and 7.
“To make a long story short, I’ve been wrong on Arizona from Day 1,” Russo, 64, said on his SiriusXM radio show. “I’m stunned they beat Milwaukee, I thought they’d get swept by the Dodgers, I never thought they’d even go back to Philly for a Game 6.
“I’ll try it one more time: I would not be stunned if they won [Monday night], I would be floored. … If they win the next two days, they win the next two games and win this series in seven games, if they win, I will retire on the spot.”
On Monday, the Diamondbacks stunned the Phillies, 5-1, to force Game 7 on Tuesday.
Before the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park, Russo clarified that his pledge applied only to his radio work for SiriusXM.
Upon learning about Russo’s promise, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, “I’m looking forward to that,” according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
“There’s nothing better than a wise guy New Yorker saying something and then having to chomp on those words. That’s how I’m processing it. It will be great,” Lovullo said.
Then Arizona did the improbable, beating the Phillies, 4-2 in Game 7 to advance to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2001, when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in seven games.
While enjoying their celebration in the clubhouse Tuesday night, Diamondbacks players trolled the former WFAN host, chanting “Mad Dog” as the team let the alcohol flow.