Alex Rodriguez is at the center of another storm -- a sports-talk radio donnybrook between a pair of well-known New York sports media personalities:
As chronicled with Homer-like precision by NJ.com’s Charles Curtis, the popular WFAN-NY host Mike Francesa addressed on Wednesday the on-air interview he did with Rodriguez last November on the YES Network (which is owned by the New York Yankees) where the Yankees third baseman repeatedly denied that he purchased and used PEDs. Francesa’s take on his interview and whether he believed Rodriguez lied to him at the time is here.
Within the course of discussing that interview with a caller, Francesa explained that the Rodriguez interview did not prompt the YES Network to end the simulcast of his afternoon radio show, which was a fixture on YES since the network launched in 2002. Francesa said the reason he parted ways with YES was that the Yankees’ management wanted control over his editorial content.
What airs on the YES Network today in that time slot? A simulcast of an ESPN Radio show hosted by Michael Kay, who is also the lead broadcaster of the Yankees on the YES Network games. Kay took umbrage at the implication that the content of his show was dictated by YES and Yankees management, and he let Francesa know about it on Wednesday in an eight-minute blast.
“It’s time to do some truth telling,” Kay said. “A couple of people called me up. A lot of people are giving Mike Francesa grief today because he interviewed Alex Rodriguez and Alex lied to him. And I think that is ridiculous. You get the interview and you ask him questions, which he did, and you can’t force a guy to tell you the truth whatever the case may be. But another friend of mine said that someone called in [to Francesa] and said the A-Rod interview probably cost you the simulcast on YES. And Francesa said, ‘No, that is not the truth. They wanted a show where they could control the editorial and I wasn’t going to give them that.’
"I don't know how to say this without just being blunt. Mike's a liar, okay? Nobody controls this show but me and [co-host] Don [La Greca]. That's it. That’s it. We have never ever been called by anybody at YES and critiqued on what we said or how we said it and the truth of what we said."
Kay then clarified that the only time YES management called him on an editorial matter was his first show when he symbolically tossed a can of Diet Coke (the preferred drink of Francesa) into the garbage can on the air.
"You're trying to soften the blow that you got taken off a great network and you are trying to say that we're the house organ,” Kay continued. “Sorry, you're wrong. They took you off YES for two reasons. Number one, over the years you ended up earning a lot of money, which you earned, and they were losing money on the show. Number two, okay, it's obviously the proper decisions to have been made, because our ratings are better than your ratings were on YES. Let me give you a number three: Maybe they did not want to broadcast a show where somebody was falling asleep on the air. That doesn’t make great television. So don’t you dare impugn my integrity and my reputation by telling people the only reason this show is on the air is because we are told what to say and what not to say…
“Don’t tell me this is state-run radio. I’m not going to put up with it anymore. You can take a walk with your attitude, with your bloviating, keep my name out of your mouth because I am sick and tired of it. I don’t deserve it, I don’t treat you like that and you should not treat other people like that. And maybe the way you treat people is another reason why YES decided to kick your butt to the curb.
Francesa’s fans flocked to Twitter after Kay went off and ended up creating a hashtag -- #ThingsBetterThanKay – that was the top trending topic in the United States.