The Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world by advancing to the World Series after winning just 84 games in the regular season and finishing as the third Wild Card team in the National League.
To get to their second Fall Classic in history, the D-Backs had to upset the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies in three series, and in the process, they also stunned MLB Network Radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
After Game 5 and as the NL Championship Series was heading back to Philadelphia for the final two games, Russo pledged on air he would retired if the Diamondbacks won both games and advanced to the World Series.
— Chris Mad Dog Russo (@MadDogUnleashed) October 24, 2023
“I laugh at it,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said prior to Game 7. “I was telling the group of guys the things that make me mad, you would never even imagine. That type of stuff is kind of entertaining to me because I know that Mad Dog has a show, and he has to do his thing. But I would love to see him quit if we won.
“You know what I mean? There’s nothing better than a wise guy New Yorker saying something and then having to chomp on those words. That’s how I’m processing it. It will be great.
“He’s a friend of mine. I love Mad Dog, and I know that he’s going to end up hearing this, and I didn’t want to really get into this, but I did. We have a little thing going on about it. I think you just internally use it as motivation. You have a sense of pride when you play this game. You want to do your job to the best of your ability, and you want to help your team win a game.
“I want to manage these players the best way to help us have the best outcome. I am extremely motivated at the end of the day on my own.
“But when you can prove some people wrong, we all walk around with chips on our on shoulder, and I guarantee everybody in this room has been told by somebody that they couldn’t do something, and it led you down this road to be great. So I just know that there’s an underriding theme here that we, A, don’t deserve to be here, B, that we’re going to get our butts kicked, and, C, there’s bullies all over the National League that can manhandle us.
“It really excites me to know that we’re playing in Game 7, and we’re right on the verge of doing something that’s unbelievable, and we love proving naysayers wrong.”
Proving the naysayers wrong is exactly what Arizona did with their 4-2 victory in Game 7, led by a strong performance from NL Rookie of the Year favorite Corbin Carroll and a solid start turned in by another first-year player, Brandon Pfaadt, before the bullpen locked down the game for five innings.
After the Diamondbacks won the NL Pennant, Lovullo made sure to follow up with Jon Paul Morosi about Russo’s promise.
“I just talked to JP about that,” Lovullo said. “He said he’s a good friend of his, and I told him, you’ve got to follow through. I know he and Stephen A. Smith go back and forth with all these broken promises. Somebody has to follow through.
“I know he probably worked his last date at the MLB Network, and we’re taking applications over there in Arizona right now to work for the D-backs. We need good people.
“It’s good fun banter with he and I. He’s a good man. I consider him a friend of mine. The last time I spoke to him on the air, he said, I’m coming after you. We’re going to keep coming at you and keep coming at you. He said give it back to me when you feel like you can, so I am right now.”
Chris Russo changes retirement comments
Before Game 7 on Tuesday, Russo added that his promise only applied to his radio work for SiriusXM. He also works on television hosting MLB Network’s “High Heat” and ESPN’s “First Take.”
Whether Russo follows through on his claim remains to be seen, but he’s already altered the deal to stay on TV.
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