Craig Carton calls Francesa rant 'vicious,' 'uncalled-for'

francesa_carton.jpgLet's get this out of the way now so I can get on with my life and my Sunday newspaper column and try to recover the remaining shreds of my professional dignity . . .

Late Thursday afternoon, Mike Francesa responded on the air to some recent prodding from the WFAN morning team of Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, who had poked fun at his suggestion that the Mets should consider trading Jose Reyes or David Wright.

I asked Mike on Wednesday whether this stuff bothered him, because several readers on my live chat had asked about it, and I didn't get much out of him.

The breaking point apparently was a bit Thursday morning in which Boomer and Carton jokingly asked Chris Carlin which other WFAN staffers would be joining Carlin over the next two weeks for guest slots and/or auditions opposite Francesa.

They listed pretty much the entire station staff as possibilities, which Mike took as a dig at his show.

I did not transcribe his entire on-air response, but he clearly was unamused.

"At least he's on SNY," Francesa said of Carlin. "These two have gone hat in hand trying to get their show on television and have failed . . . They’ve gone begging. They’re still begging. I've even tried to help them, throwing a little bit of a life raft. It’s not easy, though. It’s not an easy thing to sell. Without this show, they wouldn’t get fed."

Francesa said that he realized he might simply be being exploited to help promote the morning show, and said, "If the idea is they want to somehow drag me into one of these stupid radio wars . . . I’ve got better things to do here than worry about this. The only reason I brought this up today is I’ve had newspaper people call me and ask me to react to this utter nonsense."

After saying he would not be dragged into a verbal war, Mike said "there is a meanness" to Carton. He also said, "If I want to take care of him I could do it in five minutes. It wouldn’t even take me five minutes. He can’t kiss up enough when he’s around here. If he wants a war, bring it on, it won’t be a long one."

After a break, Francesa sarcastically said he only was kidding, while making it clear he certainly was not.

"I’m only kidding. It’s just meant to cross-promote," he said. "Soon they’ll get it together. Really, it’s meant in fun. Nothing to it. They get on me a little bit, I get on them. That’s all. All meant as cross-promotion. It’s a little radio hi-jinx. Don’t take it seriously. Really, they’ll get it together soon. I really love those guys. They do a great job. They’ll get it together. They’ll fix what they have to fix. It’s coming, it’s coming. I promise. Within a couple of years, it’ll all come together . . . They’ll get funny soon. I promise. It’s coming. They’ll pick it up. They’ve only been at it a short amount of time."

Friday morning, Carton said he and Mike had a heated conversation after Francesa's show to clear the air, and it seemed to only go so far in calming the situation.

Click below for some of what Carton and Boomer said in responding to Mike Friday morning.

No need to thank me for the free ad here, Mark Chernoff, Mike, Craig and Boomer. Just doing my job, such as it is.

And, yo, Mike, if you're going to bash them back this afternoon, please do it early. It's my birthday and I plan to turn off my radio early to celebrate.

Carton: "It wasn't disrespectful at all. We weren't taking a shot at anybody. We were just discussing how literally everybody in the building was going to get a shot to try out with Mike, so Mike can find the right guy or gal and move forward with the show . . . Unfortunately, Mike took that as some kind of insult and unleashed a vicious attack against me and Boomer both personally and professionally.

"Honestly, we're not looking forward to getting in some kind of all-out war, but it was made acutely aware to Mike that if that's what he wants, we're in. And we will indulge him in that if that's the direction he wants to go, and it will not be pretty for either side. We don't want it to happen, but if that's the way it's going to go, that's the way it's going to go."

Regarding the phone call between Carton and Francesa: "It was heated. I'm not going to lie to you. There were loud voices going back and forth. And as far as the five minute thing, and I said it to Mike: 'The clock's ticking. Go ahead.' I honestly think if Mike could do it again he would not say what he said yesterday. Mike is under an undue amount of pressure to keep the high ratings he's had with Chris obviously all those years. And clearly, he's a very important part of what we do at the FAN. He's been here a lot longer than me or you, right? We understand that kind of pressure. We were here Day One, and let's be honest, we had no on-air support, did not happen. And yet we battled through it and knock on wood we're having a great time and being successful, OK."

Carton and Boomer then disputed Francesa's assertion that the morning team had failed to attract a TV simulcast offer, which Boomer called "a flat-out lie." They said MSG made an offer to the show early in its history, but WFAN turned it down.

The morning hosts also disputed the notion that they have gone to TV entities looking for a simulcast deal.

Regarding the notion Carton kisses Mike's behind around the station, Carton said he has had only three conversations with Francesa since joining WFAN.

Carton said Francesa invited him onto the afternoon show Friday to do NFL picks with him in an effort to make peace. Then he reiterated the theory about Mike feeling the pressure, which could well cause Francesa to boil over yet again.

"I think he truly does want to make amends and break bread with us, and have an on-air relationship," Carton said.

"Why not? Why wouldn't you?" Boomer said.

More from Carton: "We'd like to be able to poke fun at Mike, and we'd like it if Mike pokes fun at us. We have thick skin and can go back and forth. But yesterday's attack was an uncalled-for, vicious, personal attack, which we're not going to tolerate. And I hope that Mike has come to his senses somewhat. If he wants a war, he's got it, 100 percent. We will indulge him in that starting today. I assume he doesn't want it. We're not looking forward to it, but we'll engage him in it if he wants it. And hopefully from this point on we can all just get along and do our own thing."

More: "We hope it doesn't happen again, but if it happens again there will not be any type of, 'Hey, let's all get along.' It will be very bad."

More: "Now the question is, should I go on the show this afternoon and do NFL picks with him?"

Boomer: "Absolutely not. Save your picks for this show."

Comments (34)

The best part of Mike's rant on YES was when they showed the control room and Mark Chernoff used his finger as a gun and pointed it to his head.

Hey Neil,

Some really hard-hitting stuff from Barney and Bam-Bam in the Morning. If they start talking about Francesa, does this mean there won't be as much talk about pubic hair, male pattern baldness, defecation, and the Mets?

Carton is such a woman. Crying how it was a vicious personal attack and he would not stand for it. Please! Typical lame wannabe shock jock. What Mike said was about half as weak as what Carton says about others in a typical day, but as soon as the table is turned he starts crying.

Reminds me of the time the NJ Govenor got in his face and told him if he was not the governor he would take him outside and toss him a beating. Carton's respons was to ask for an on air apology. If you want to play the shock jock tough guy at least back it up a little.

Pinella and Imus might join Mike too.

This is a desperate attempt for publicity by a station that has lost its marquee morning show and the lifeblood of it afternoon show. No station survives such a hit.

Now WFAN - in its death throws - feels it has to feign some type of controversy to try and pump some type of interest? This is as transparent as a WWE fight.

3 jerks acting like 3 jerks. boring....

Carton takes a big hit for this one. First he WAS being disrespectful, that was the point of the bit. Second, he started this all on purpose and now is not happy with the response, nice try, you failed. And third, there will be an earth-swell against him at the FAN if he wants to go to war with Mike. I was an Imus listener, I gave Boomer and Carton a chance, I get annoyed with Carton's anti-Giants garbage and general bad karma he gives our NY teams, but I like Boomer, AND if Carton starts a war with Mike, I will be against him--100%!

Carton is a fake-voice hack. That show is the worst thing they've put on the air since Lori Rubinson. Completley unlistenable. Good job shifting morning listenters to Mike & Mike

Mike Francesa is an arrogant jerk. Carton likes to mess around and is very witty and, however, he is actually fun to listen to. Boomer is just Boomer. I'd much rather listen to Boomer and Craig in the morning rather than Mr. Politically Correct Mike Greenberg and the I know everything cuz i played in the NFL Mike Golic. Not to mention the fact that the Mike and Mike show take breaks every 5 minutes....Lame!!!

I think if Francesa wants Carton gone, he'd be gone tomorrow, no questions asked. This isn't even a fair fight, and Carton probably would know it, so it's probably a PR stunt.

I am in the Boomer and Craig camp on this one. Francesa has treated this transition from MMD to Mike'd Up like an extended vacation. He's been volatile with callers, colleagues in the media, in some ways his former co-host, and his own co-workers on The Fan even before this incident (Evan Roberts just this Monday). Now it is basically a variety show merry-go-round of different co-hosts. The show with Eddie C. was boring, just boring. His nonsensical ideas like trading David Wright for Kevin Youkilis have alienated fan with a brain. Carton may be immature and has gotten his way through the business as following a certain trend but there is no way he should be treated that way on the air. Is Francesa desperate to save ratings? He cannot continue his "break up the core" rants and raves on Thanksgiving.

Mike is a very insecure person. Carton and Boomer do a fine job in the morning. Mike is a miserable human being, he is unhappy, unsatisfied and arrogant. Boomer is a prince of a guy and Carton is you're basic wise guy who knows sports. B&C are FUN. Mike is DONE.

Carton is being disrespectful. no need for that. he cant get ratings without dragging Mike into a grimy radio war with him? what a baby. he has no business even talking about Mike. Mike is so far above Carton that he should just let Eddie and Sal go at Carton. he should not even respond to his nonsense

Mike F is finished he made a complete fool of himself with his rant. I almost feel sorry for the fool....

True; Mike is an ARROGANT SOB; One can only hope is ratings without Chris will bottom out so we can bid Mike farewell and good riddens.

Listen folks, Carton is just being Carton, but this is another kettle of fish, ok? Carton wants to continue to be Carton for this, but he can't. When he is Carton he gets in trouble. But that won''t stop him from trying to be Carton. OK? This idea there is a war is utter nonsense. It will be a massacre. We're back. -handwave-

Mike is rude to his callers. To listen to his responses, you would think that none of his callers are ever right. He interrupts, talks over them and complains that he isn't given enough respect by the morning hosts. Hello, you Fat Gas Bag -- you're a radio host, not a scholar or some high government official. Your respect lasts as long as the last ratings book. You'd better hope you come out on top on your own.

Fatseca sucks, case closed.

Niel, stop acting "hip" or "young" in your blogging. it's not fooling anyone

Carton is like a 13 year old girl who just won't shut up. Idiot should wear a little short skirt.

Carton is like a little 13 year old girl who just never shuts up. Guy needs to wear a little short skirt, something as small as his brain.

Those of you that criticize Carton for his offensive toilet talk schtick are missing the point. He was hired by Chernoff to do exactly that. He also receives his direction from Chernoff daily to continue with this format to attract the mouth breathing 20 something group for the sake of ratings at the expense of the established brand the Wfan has built up for 20 years. Chernoff is the one you should be directing your anger at. He is the one that has imposed his twisted little sicko mindset onto Carton, Boomer and their cohorts. He has also demonstrated, as evident with Carton, that he is willing to take an emotionally troubled person and put him on the radio to exploit him for supposed entertainment. Unfortunately, Chernoff has gotten away with it before with Sid Rosenberg and their continued exploitation of one of their callers, Jerome, who obviously has psychological issues but continues to be abused by the Wfan. It is very disgusting.

Also, it is very obvious listening to other hosts and their innuendo and comments that they think the morning program is rediculous. We should be contacting Lee Davis at CBS Radio to complain about this mess. If he does'nt get it then we should go straight to the sponsors and voice our displeasure. Otherwise we have no right to complain.


Boomer and Carton are horrible. Boomer tries to stay above the garbage that Carton brings to the show but failed and has sunken into the mire. John, you are probably right. Chernoff probably told Esiason to cut the legitimate sports stuff and talk boobs, hot babes and push the envelope as much as possible.
If you think this juvenile talk show is entertainment, then continue to for me, I'll take Mike and Mike for my morning dose of sports or listen to music rather than B&C's foolishness.


Does anyone even like Francesa without the dog? I listen to sports talk prolly 60 hours a week and his new show bores the ever living hell out of me. He complimented dog ok but he is a know-it-all jerk and very unlikable. I can't listen to him talk about how powerful and respected he is. Puke...At least Boomer and Carton don't bore you

I can't honestly believe ANYONE actually enjoys listing to carton and boomer. All Carton does is make fun of people, ethnic groups, or teams that he doesn't root for. I've personally have never heard a more insecure person. This guy just doesn't get it. You don't have to be rude to have ratings. I've lost all respect for Boomer (the little I had) for putting up with this guy. Boomer shouldn't need the money and would be able to get another job if he wanted.

I honestly can't grasp why people listen to Carton. He's a disgusting, untalented, uninformed buffoon.

I don't listen to a lot of morning radio: I was not an Imus fan, nor was I "huge" into Mike and Mike. However, I decided to give Boomer and Carton a chance, being that WFAN is my favorite station.

After listening for approximately 3 days (on and off) worth of morning programming, I have come to the conclusion that Carton is like listening to a punk, jackass frat boy you see at a bar whose head you'd like to break a beer bottle over. From his "I-claim-to-shave-my-head-on-purpose-even-though-it's-because-I'm-really-bald-at-36" look, to his completely arrogant, belligerent opinions that have no basis in fact, he typifies everything about the modern-day unlistenable broadcaster, and the modern-day "I wish I was still 24" moron you see out at sports bars overcompensating for *ahem* things.

I find it hard to believe this little chicken-armed, raspy-voiced dumbass has found employment. It sickens me that he's tainted my favorite station. I would rather listen to Tony Paige blather on about "what's your favorite memory of cold weather baseball with your father" for 6 hours than this guy.

And before anyone says, "well he got you to listen, didn't he?" The answer is a resounding "NO." I gave him a chance, and he got me to NOT listen.

Secondly, for the people who say, 'if you hate him then why are you listening?" The answer is, I do hate him, and I'm not listening, ever again.

Thirdly, for those who say, "if you don't like him, then turn it off." My response? I did. Now I'm forced to listen to the mediocre Mike and Mike in the morning.

Cheers, WFAN, for hiring a jackass that is more deserving of a job as a the guy who brings beer up from the cellar at a bar than a broadcaster.

I miss Chris Russo! Good guy and much smarter
than given credit for! Mike is very good but its niot the same
without doggie!

as kirk douglas would say "what are you saying"

as kirk douglas would say "what are you saying"

My opinion on this is I enjoy the boomer and Craig show alot more then mikes because mike is dogging my NY Mets every chance he gets and then we has Omar,Jerry, or any NY Met personality on the air he is brown noses them to the fullest. mike is loosing the younger audience and that will hurt him in the long run i believe. The boomer and carton show is one radio show that i listen to that really makes me laugh my butt off and they reach all types of audiences with the professional opinions and out takes on things from boomer and the hilarious out of whack things that comes out of cartons mouth. mikes skin is so thin his bones are popping out, the man can not take a joke even last week when he had NY Mets setup man JJ Putz on the air at the end of there 5 minute conversation, Putz made a joke about Mike being the sports pope and you can see Mike played it off with a laugh but right away after that rushed Putz off the air before more jokes came out. Once Russo left Mikes show I stopped listening maybe a month afterward because It didn't feel the same and being a Met fan hearing Mike dog them time and time again, it gets old and praises the yankees to no end. I will end this by saying Lets Go Boomer and Carton !!!!

Mike F. Thinks he is god of sports if he knows so much why not be a coach or GM and see what type of jobe he would do he can never lose an arguement becuase he knows everything! Plz! Its past his time plz go away!

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How are you. My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
I am from Northern and now study English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "We like old preschool, aka the asian preschool, but it is a day a week program and it is very expensive."

With love :-), Dyllis.

What I don't understand is how usually intelligent radio listeners could be sucked into the garbage that is Craig Carton? Boomer Esiason, whether you believe hm to be overexposed or not, does at least try to show respect and do his homework.

Carton, who embarrassed himself right off the bat declaring to J.J. Putz that he was a huge Mets fan and had to told by Putz that he joined the Mets via trade and not free agency as Carton inferred, does nothing to raise the intellectual quotient of WFAN. He exploited that funn-sounding intern (Kevin or "K=Dog"), I think he name was and he shows very little respect for anyone that he doesn't feel can give him something. I am sure that Boomer must cringe everytime they interview a celebrity because he knows that by the close of the interview, Carton will have invited himself to the person's home and have tried to ingratiate himself in ways that only a proctologist could relate.

In which world does a war between hosts of the same station (see carton vs. Francesa and Carton vs. Benigno - any common factors?) spill over to the airwaves on a daily basis? WFAN is the gold standard for sports radio, but how in the world can long-time listeners feel that their loyalty is being redeemed when they have to be subjected to the purile behavior that while popular in some circles, seems to have moved WFAN down the food chain.

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