The Media

Craig Carton, Former Drive-Time Partner of Boomer Esiason, Released From Prison. Could He Return to WFAN?

By Scott Mandel, NY Post

Now that Craig Carton is out of prison, he should be back on the radio, according to his former partner at WFAN, Boomer Esiason.

The 51-year-old Carton was released early from prison on Tuesday after serving just over a year of a 3 ½-year sentence for his role in a ticket scam that also cost him his job at the radio station.

“He deserves another chance, in my eyes,” Esiason said on his WFAN show on Wednesday. “Whatever issues we had after this whole thing went down, they’re gone. As far as i’m concerned, they’re gone.”

The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported that Carton may have a path back to WFAN now that Chris Oliviero, his former producer, is running Entercom’s New York stations.

Carton was replaced by Gregg Giannotti and Esiason and Giannotti are expected to stay together, but other spots could open for Carton at the station.

Esiason said he heard from Carton shortly after he was released from prison.

“I get off the radio [Tuesday], I see a number pop up on my screen,” Esiason said. “I’m thinking, ‘Is this spam? What is this? I answer the phone, I say hello [and] i hear a very familiar voice saying, ‘Hey, it’s me. I’m out.’”

Carton’s release was unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.

“What I heard was a happy and relieved Craig Carton,” Esiason said. “He did everything he possibly could in jail to mitigate his sentence and try to get out as early as he possibly could.”

Carton will either enter home confinement or a halfway house to finish out his sentence, according to sources.

“Now the real work begins for him and that’s rebuilding his life,” Esiason said. “He paid his debt to society.”

And Esiason is looking forward to hearing Carton back on the air.

“I do believe he deserves a second chance, whether it be here at our station or another station,” Esiason said. “He’s too talented not to be on the air somewhere.”

Esiason said he and Giannotti would remain a team and he didn’t expect to work with Carton again.

“Of course, when you talk about this show and moving on and me being here, it’s probably and most likely not going to be here,” Giannotti said. “But that doesn’t mean it can’t be on the radio station years down the road somewhere else. But i’m happy that he’s out and i’m happy he’s going to get another opportunity.”

WFAN Sports Radio in New York Fires Afternoon Host, Chris Carlin. Was Mike Francesa Behind It?

by Scott Mandel,

Chris Carlin, a long-time producer and most recently, a co-host of the CMB afternoon show at WFAN Sports radio in New York City, has suddenly left the station. There are unconfirmed reports he was informed his expiring contract, which runs through December, would not be renewed.

His partners, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott (the M and the B in CMB) are being retained and the show re-named, Maggie and Bart.

There may be a back story here that won’t be coming into the light of day for awhile but there has been speculation that Mike Francesa, the 65-year old afternoon drive time host at the station since 1987, may have been behind Carlin’s firing.

Carlin began his career at the FAN as the producer for the legendary Mike and the Mad Dog show, in which Francesa and his on-air partner, Chris Russo, essentially invented the daily sports talk format which has been copied all over the country.

I’ve known Carlin for 17 years, since we were on the football Giants beat, sitting shoulder to shoulder in the Giants Stadium press room. He is a salt of the earth guy who, even as he stepped away, kept his comments brief and above board.

Carlin tweeted this on Wednesday, and has not had further comment, at this point:

Carlin declined to comment further when contacted by Newsday and also declined to comment on the timing of the move and whether it was his decision for him to leave immediately or the station’s.

His contract was due to expire at the end of the year, and he already had been told that his option under the existing contract terms would not be picked up. But until this week it appeared the station might let things ride until December.

Radio stations often are reluctant to allow lame ducks to remain on the air, so WFAN’s parent company, Entercom, may have decided to let Carlin go sooner rather than later. Also, Thursday is the start of the autumn ratings book

“We can confirm that Chris Carlin is no longer with WFAN,” an Entercom spokeswoman said. “We appreciate his many contributions and wish him all the best.”

Tabloid New York Post Fails Middle School Level Spelling While Ripping ESPN for Sabathia Photo Error

By Scott Mandel

The New York Post, one of the leading tabloid newspapers in the New York tri-state region, ripped ESPN, yesterday, for mistakenly putting up a picture of Aaron Hicks with the graphic, below, “Leads Active Pitchers with 249 Wins.”

Then, the Post wrote, in its accompanying article,

“Hicks, an outfielder, most certainly does not lead active pitchers with 249 wins.

Besides plainly not being Sabathia, Hicks also throws right-handed, where as Sabathia is left-handed. Sabathia didn’t pick up his milestone 250th win, as the Yankees lost, 8-5.”

HEY POST sports editorial staff, you misspelled the word, WHEREAS. Editors of newspapers and magazines know better than to go to press with your incorrect two-worded version, “WHERE AS…….Sabathia is left-handed…”

The lesson here, New York Post, is, if you’re going to rip another news provider for its errors, clean up your own house. You must know scrutiny goes both ways. Your F in spelling is not even irony. You just look plain silly.

You still have great sports writers, though, New York Post, WHEREAS, many newspapers have lost their way. So, keep up the mostly good work, New York Post.

Former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa Making His Mark as Baseball Pundit on Television

One of the fun parts about covering a baseball game at the major league level is in the pregame preparation reporters and journalists involve themselves in.

Usually, we meet with each manager before the games to get some background on lineups and injuries, etc. Often times, we get to hobnob with players and other members of the media, in our own market as well as reporters from the opposing team’s city.

Tonight was one such night when we had the pleasure of sitting down in the Mets dugout with former Mets right handed pitcher, Nelson Figueroa. Figueroa pitched for the Mets from 2006 2012, with varying degrees of success. In nine years in the big leagues, Figueroa compiled a 20-35 record with mostly bad teams. But, he pitched in “The Show” for nine years. Not many can say that so in his case, the phrase, journeyman, is one he proudly carries.

Figueroa was born in Brooklyn and attended Abraham Lincoln High School, better known for its basketball teams and NBA stars than baseball, though it has produced a few major leaguers like Lee Mazzilli, Dallas Williams, a number one draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1977, and yes, Nelson Figueroa.

“I was 5’10’, 145 pounds in high school so nobody at the college or professional level looked at me,” said Figueroa, as we chatted in the Mets dugout before tonight’s game. “I was throwing between 80 and 85 miles per hour so they weren’t exactly knocking my door down to recruit me.”

Part of what led to Figueroa’s eventual success as a major league pitcher came from being in the right place at the right time, to be seen by scouts who had no particular interest in watching him pitch. He just happened to get into a game.

“After my senior year in high school, there was a baseball consortium that brought a bunch of high school players from New York City up to Waltham, Massachusetts for a week of games and practices. It was a chance for different colleges to get a look at kids who weren’t recruited but might have a little college-level talent.”

Figueroa was off to a side, warming up, when he was approached by a man who introduced himself as the coach of the college baseball team at the college located in that same town of Waltham, Massachusetts, Brandeis University. It was not exactly a hotbed of baseball but the coach liked what Figueroa was throwing and, as they say, the rest is history.

Figueroa accepted a baseball scholarship to Brandeis, a Division Two program. The rigorous academics of Brandeis was right up his alley, as he was planning to attend Stanford, on his high school grades and board scores, alone. This was not a kid without talent in many facets of his life.

“I chose Brandeis because, one, they offered me the opportunity to pitch. And, two, I thought I could be a big fish in a small pond up in Waltham, and possibly get noticed if I dominated competition at that level.”

The turning point for Figueroa came in the summer of 1994, when he was invited to play in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Baseball League, which, to this very day, showcases and produces great major league baseball players. The competition is considered the best summer program in the country for college-age players.

Figueroa and Mandel before tonight’s Mets game