1. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, heard Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on SiriusXM, is one of those people you either get or don’t get.
If you don’t get him, you think he’s just a loud radio host who doesn’t know anything and seems a bit odd.
If you get him, you realize he’s authentic, unique and entertaining.
So when it comes to the topic of Tony La Russa's getting all hot and bothered because Yermín Mercedes swung on a 3–0 pitch and hit a home run against the Twins in a blowout game earlier this week, you either care about Russo’s take or you enjoy the performance.
I couldn’t disagree more with Russo’s take, but I absolutely loved watching him perform.
Let’s start with the fact Russo is doing his show these days from a couch somewhere in his house. So here we have him screaming in his home and throwing out some analogy between Mercedes and Hank Aaron as if Aaron has absolutely anything to do with the Mercedes–La Russa story.
Russo is mad people are saying La Russa is old and out of touch and so Russo defends him by bringing up what a player from the ‘50s and ‘60s would do in the situation (3–0 count late in a blowout) without sensing any irony whatsoever.
The whole point of the La Russa controversy is that baseball in 2021 is different from baseball in 1950 or '60 or '70, yet Russo brings up Hank Aaron to make his point.
But Russo still sells his point with more passion than anyone else in sports media and it’s glorious. He honestly believes every word he’s saying. This is not an act.
Russo went into much more detail defending La Russa earlier this week on his MLB Network show, High Heat, while also claiming other people don’t defend La Russa because they’re afraid of social media backlash.
Again, I don’t agree with one word of Russo’s defense of La Russa, but this is still the most entertaining thing I’ve seen this week.
2. The NBA got some good ratings news for Wednesday's Warriors-Lakers play-in game.
According to ESPN, the game drew 5.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched NBA telecast on ESPN since the 2019 Western Conference finals
The game peaked between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET with 6.1 million viewers.
3. ESPN's lead Major League Baseball analyst is now a makeup developer.
4. The WWE will finally get back to doing live shows on the road in front of their fans beginning in July, and Roman Reigns had the perfect tweet to promote the news.
5. Not as good as LeBron/Wade, but pretty, pretty close.
6. A brand new episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast dropped Thursday morning.
First up is New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand. Topics covered with Marchand include Marv Albert's upcoming retirement and who will replace him as TNT's lead NBA play-by-play broadcaster, what happened between TNT and Chris Webber, highlights of the 2021 NFL schedule, whether Tom Brady vs. the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in Week 4 will set a ratings record, what the merger between Time Warner and Discovery means for sports fans, ESPN's six-part documentary on Derek Jeter and much more.
Following Marchand, CNN TV analyst and executive producer of The Story of Late Night docuseries Bill Carter joins the podcast to talk about the six-part show currently airing on CNN. Carter sheds light on the Jay Leno–David Letterman battle, the Johnny Carson–Joan Rivers feud, the changes in late night over the years and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I love Bill Burr.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.