Salud, Chris RussoFoxSports.com's Peter Schrager, friend of Deadspin, possible spray-tanning victim, and an unapologetic friend of Jay Mohr, is one of many New Yorkers mourning the end of the Chris Russo era at sports radio station WFAN this morning. His words (er, eulogy) on the news of the "Mike and the Mad Dog" breakup It’s a bustling Thursday night in August and I’m with some friends at a sports bar in Murray Hill, enjoying this Phelps character in his bathing pants conquer the world. People are chanting “USA”, the bartenders are pouring free shots, and women are actually paying attention to us. It’s the perfect scene. New York City! America! Camaraderie! Possible three-minute sex—missionary style—on the horizon! Yeah! But just as the night was picking up and the women’s gymnastics was starting, a text message came through that put a damper on the entire evening: “Chris Russo…done at WFAN…it’s official.” Sure, I’d heard the rumors all summer. Hell, Neil Best at Newsday had been covering the story like he was Ed O’Neill in “Blue Chips”. But to see the news come through—as “official”—well, I wanted to request “Taps” on the jukebox and bow my head.Yeah, it’s a bit dramatic. You should never care, be upset, or at all affected by the news that a 50 year-old-man was leaving one sports radio station to pursue other sports radio opportunities. Especially when a group of 6’s (and one borderline 7) are giving you and your friends the time of day. But Russo…Well, Russo’s a different case. For those who did not grow up listening to “Gooooood Afternooon everybaaaady” and hour-long tales of his adult tennis camp experiences in San Antonio, it may be hard to understand. But Russo was something else. He was your goofy uncle that you gravitated towards, for better or worse. In a way no Mike Golic, Jim Rome, or Dan Patrick fan could ever grasp—Russo was more than a talking head futzing around and screaming about the latest sports news. He was your friend from 1-6 every weekday. He was the guy you and your friends would imitate. He was who you were thinking about—what he’d say the next day—while watching any big moment in any big game. You loved when he mispronounced a simple last name like Leinart (“Lion Heart”) and never took the time to learn to say it right. You looked forward to his guess at the Nielsen Rating for a Braves-Astros NLDS game on a Sunday afternoon. Though you cringed, you appreciated the fact he’d awkwardly apologize on-air for not taking an athlete to task when he had the chance (as he did with Tomlinson—days after bashing him in the studio—at the Super Bowl this year). And you soaked up those stories of his like you were a kid at the campfire. Ah, his stories. Russo will spend an entire two hours—as he did two weeks ago—going hole by hole, with the excitement of a nine-year old, detailing the afternoon he shot an 84 at Winged Foot. “On nine, took a rescue club, looked to my friend Dennis, said ‘here goes nothing’….Par!” And for some reason, you’ll hang on to every word, not wanting to leave the car until he’s bogey’d on eighteenth. He’ll go pitch-by-pitch, in agonizing fashion, explaining what he was doing, who he was dining with, where he was—while watching the Giants collapse to the Angels in Game 6 of the ’02 World Series. You shouldn’t give a shit. Really, aren’t there 1,000 more important things to be invested in? But you do. Believe it or not, Russo was always at his best without Francesca. For two weeks every summer, “Mad Dog” would be in the studio going solo, while Mike hung in Saratoga Springs with Parcells and the horses. Russo had full control, and he’d go berserk. On the Giants (San Francisco, not New York), on Springsteen, on why he loved “Million Dollar Baby”. His legendary Pac Man Jones rant came on one of the days he was alone (albeit in February), and became a YouTube clip for the ages. Russo’s books—written with the eloquence of a college freshman’s term paper on “Hamlet”—are some of the most enjoyable texts you’ll ever spend an hour reading on the can. Go check out his 5-page venomous rant on Michelle Kwan being one of the biggest chokers in the world in “The Greatest Sports Arguments of All-Time”. Bizarre. Absurd. Maniacal. Amazing. Russo will be fine. He’ll sign a $3 million deal with Sirius and have his own show. He’ll dress up in the Marquis outfit around Super Bowl time, talk with Bruce from Bayside about Xavier Nady, and go gaga over Matt Cain’s fastball. He’ll make outlandish claims like Zelmo Beaty would be a top-3 center if he were in the league today and scream at New Jersey Nets directors of marketing for lying about attendance numbers. But it’ll never be the same again. It’s a shame Mad Dog never got a farewell show on WFAN. It would have been nice to see him exit with a proper hero’s departure. Maybe a Howard Stern-like parade in Astoria, Queens, sitting on top of a float with Jerry Recco and Jerome from Manhattan. Giggling that ridiculous giggle, dancing to Southside Johnny like a freak. I don’t know. Something like that. But I guess things don’t always end perfectly. Sometimes, they just end.