11:45 am Sep. 14, 2012
WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa made himself a sports-talk subject when he briefly fell asleep on the air this week.
The nap, highlighted by Deadspin's John Koblin, was only the beginning, leading to a debate over how well Francesa does his job of hosting a radio show five days a week from 1 to 6:30 p.m., from the Daily News to the smalltalk among the Mets' announcers during a game this week.
Briefly, if you missed it: Francesa, while interviewing WFAN's Yankees reporter, Sweeny Murti, appeared to doze off as Murti answered a question. The moment has been memorialized in an epic GIF, as all things seem to be in 2012.
Francesa has since responded with a five-minute explanation of why the moment everybody saw--Francesa falling asleep, then waking up startled--was understandable, and also didn't happen.
"Now, I wasn't gonna address this, and often, I don't like wasting your time and my time with nonsense, but since this has become a story, and was in the paper today ... you know, and the only reason I'm doing this is because, uh, my wife won't talk to me until I do it..."
He continued in this vein for a while, making it clear that he stayed up late Sunday night with a sick child, and was very, very tired. But then he kept denying that he fell asleep.
"Obviously, I was dragging during the show, which led to me closing my eyes during a Sweeny Murti interview, and causing this hurrah which none of us here knew about, until yesterday, because people are now accusing me of being asleep because I closed my eyes during the interview, which [laughing] I shouldn't have done, and I was exhausted, I hadn't slept the night before, okay? And maybe I--I've done that many times, through the years..."
But also, this:
"But I can promise you this: I did close my eyes, during the Sweeny interview for a minute, and it was on T.V., and that's become this big bone of contention, because, I guess, everything on this show does, but I can promise you, as, you can go listen to the interview, I was never asleep."
He repeated these themes for another three minutes, transitioning to a criticism of the reporter who wrote up the sleeping incident in the Daily News, Bob Raissman, for getting the timing wrong of an upcoming award, for which Francesa is a finalist. (The award is for excellence in broadcasting.)
It was reminscent of his response to critcism of a moment last fall, when a caller wanted Francesa's opinion about a very real Tigers reliever, Al Alburquerque, who had pitched the night before in a playoff series against the Yankees.
Francesa cut him off, first asking the question, "Who is Al Alburquerque?", then hanging up on the questioner and accusing him of being a prank caller.
When Francesa subsequently sought to address his error, he refused to acknowledge the obvious, which was that he hadn't recognized a pitcher in a playoff game involving his favorite team from the night before. He assigned it to confusion, since he (and to be clear, no one else) knows the guy as "Alberto Jose Alburquerque."
"I didn't know they call him Al Alburquerque," Francesa insisted. "I don't even know if they do."
Then came some truth: "Because, when he was in the game, I didn't pay much attention, to be honest with you."