WFAN's Francesa Defends Rodriguez Interview, Says He Asked "Every Hard Question"
WFAN-AM host Mike Francesa yesterday "knew he had a 'great story' on his hands when he was informed -- on 20 minutes' notice -- that Alex Rodriguez was bound" for his studio, according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. There were times the tone "got a tad chummier than it needed to, but the questions and answers were to the point." Francesa after the show said, "I felt like I asked him every hard question you could possibly ask him. I don't think there's anything I could ask him about that wasn't asked." Francesa knows that he "still will be accused by some of offering Rodriguez an overly friendly forum, but he said he is not bothered by that." Francesa: "When you're the big guy and have been the big guy as long as I have, you're going to get it from every angle; I'm used to that." He added that Rodriguez "presumably chose him because of his large audience, because the two have known each other for many years and because A-Rod believed he would get a fair hearing." Francesa "would not say which of Rodriguez's representatives called to ask whether he would be interested in having him on the show, only that his response was, 'What do you think?'" He said that there "were no preconditions, and that he only preplanned one aspect of the interview in his own mind." Francesa: "If he gave me an opening I was going to go for what I knew was the headline, which is, did you or did you not use performance-enhancing drugs?" (NEWSDAY, 11/21).
TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes under the header, "Alex Rodriguez, Mike Francesa WFAN Interview Is A Pure Love Fest." Rodriguez "landed on the marshmallow Francesa provided, a feather bed befitting a featherweight interview." Francesa "had to be laughing inside." Raissman: "His 'kindness' wound up getting him access to a biggie, one that produced ratings and drove the competition a bit nuts." After the Rodriguez interview, a caller to Francesa said that MLB Network’s Ron Darling and Jon Heyman "were supporting" MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Francesa "accused the two of doing what their employers ordered them to do." Heyman "dialed up WFAN." Francesa said that Heyman, who "does work for the station, had breaking news." Heyman told Francesa "no one tells him what to say, pointing out that he once defended Ryan Braun" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/21).