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The Loop

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo catches the rabies while ranting about Bryce Harper and Trevor Bauer

It’s mid-June. New Yorkers have been stuck inside for four months. You have to sign a waiver to get an overpriced cup of coffee and there’s no nightlife, no haircuts, and, most importantly, no baseball. People are starting to crack. Stir-crazy. Cabin fever. Whatever you want to call it. But in the case of Mike Francesa’s former right hand man Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, it might just be the rabies flaring up.

During his daily Mad Dog Unleashed show on Tuesday afternoon, weeks of MLB tension finally boiled over as Mad Dog turned an unsuspecting caller into kibble before wheeling wild-eyed on Bryce Harper and Trevor Bauer, both of whom took to Twitter this week to express their readiness to get “back to baseball.” Here’s the meltdown in its full, froth-mouthed glory.


In between shouting “$336 MILLION DOLLARS!” like Dr. Evil on an amphetamines bender, Russo laid out his core point, which, to the best of our interpretative abilites, is that if you got paid a lot of money and had a tough season last year, you're not allowed to want to come back and do better this year. According to Russo, you especially don’t get to do this as a means of throwing backdoor shade at the Great and Omniscient Robert Manfred Esq., whose boots taste of cotton candy and unicorns.

With Bauer, Russo has something of a point. Bauer's status as MLB Complainer Emeritus far outweighs his status on the field, where he is an average rotation guy at best right now. Harper, however, is a former MVP, Home Run Derby champ, and one the league’s two or three most visible superstars. Sure, he underperformed in 2019, batting .260 while driving in 114 runs, but he also posted a 4.3 WAR, placing him firmly within the top 25 percent of MLB players. Hell, even his contract—13 years at $336 million—isn’t that astronomical compared to the half-billion valuations he was getting before his move to Philadelphia.

In other words, if Harper wants to use his considerable voice to raise concerns about the direction (or lack thereof) that baseball is heading, then he absolutely can and probably should. And this is coming from a Mets fan. So thanks for the entertainment, Mad Dog, but it’s time for your shot. And we won't lie to you; it’s going to hurt like a sonofabitch.