Stephen A. Smith apparently thinks Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is going too easy on the Astros when it comes to the sign-stealing scandal.
“This is the Mad Dog Russo I’m listening to,” ESPN’s Smith ranted to Russo on Mad Dog Radio on Tuesday. ” ’Cause it ain’t the Mad Dog Russo I’ve known for years. I mean all of this stuff about going back to 2009 with A-Rod or Robinson Cano or this team isn’t wasn’t going to win.
“What happened to the Mad Dog Russo that I know and love? That I’ve known and loved for years. That I worked on the same channel with, that was all about principle. What happened to that guy?”
Smith — who worked for Sirius XM and had a show on Mad Dog Radio a few years ago — said he thought Russo was getting too caught up in whether the Yankees or the Dodgers had the best case as the most aggrieved team and that the old Mad Dog would be laser-focused on calling out the Astros for their cheating.
“I’m not hearing that guy right now,” Smith said. “I’m not hearing the Mad Dog Russo, that guy. … It doesn’t matter if they would have won or would not have won. It doesn’t matter if its the Dodgers or the Yankees or who would have won.
“The fact of the matter is the rules of the games were circumvented. These guys had a systemic policy. Cheating, cheating the game of baseball. Because of that, they’re not champions, they’re frauds. They don’t deserve their trophy.”
This came on the same day in which commissioner Rob Manfred had to apologize for saying the World Series trophy was just “a piece of metal.” after catching heat from the Dodgers’ Justin Turner for the careless remark. And the same day in which Yankees star Aaron Judge said he was “sick to his stomach” when he heard the Astros had cheated.
As for Smith, he also said he thought Russo was getting too caught up in talking about how the Stanley Cup is the only piece of championship hardware that matters, instead of zeroing in on the fact the Astros cheated the game.
Stephen A. Smith and Chris “Mad Dog” RussoGetty Images (2)
“Mad Dog Russo talking about the only cup that matters is the Stanley Cup, or the only trophy that matters is the Stanley Cup,” Smith said. “The Mad Dog Russo that I know, the Mad Dog Russo that I know and love ain’t about all that. It’s about the fact they cheated. Period. Where is that Mad Dog Russo at? I haven’t been hearing him the last hour I’ve been listening.”
Russo seemed more amused than upset when Smith concluded the first part of his rant.
“You are something,” Russo said. “How are you doing? Things good? Haven’t spoken to you in awhile? How you feel?”
“I’m feeling great,” Smith said. “I just want to know where my boy Mad Dog Russo is at? Where is he? I haven’t heard him in the last hour.”
“That’s fair. That’s fair,” Russo said. “So you think no matter what happened in that World Series. Who cares? Bottom line, the Astros cheated and they should be punished forever and their championship should be vacated. That’s how you feel?”
Smith didn’t mince words in his response.
“Based on the sheer principle of what you did to win, you SHOULD NOT be recognized as a champion,” he said. “Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, you’ve granted them immunity, fine. Let them keep their money. You don’t want to suspend them for the season, or anything like that, fine.
“But what you can do, without dishonoring your agreement with them, you could take that championship trophy from the Houston Astros facility, and you could demand that all the rings, the championship rings be returned, and you can make sure you can announce as Major League Baseball 2017 there is no champion.”