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Wilbon on TK-Wise: Bring on the Steel Cage

Things that are depressing: D.C. sports imploding.

Things that are more cheerful: D.C. sports personalities gnawing at each others' necks.

And thus, enough with the Redskins and Wizards for a minute, and let's get back to Kornheiser vs. Wise vs. Kornheiser. It's a heckuva lot more fun.

Michael Wilbon was on 106.7 The Fan's LaVar and Dukes Show Friday afternoon, and Chad Dukes wisely asked him about D.C.'s hottest sports feud.

"Mike, I gotta ask you about a situation you are very close to," Dukes began. "We've become friends with Mike Wise; he's a great dude, I really like him. I love your show with Tony Kornheiser and enjoy reading him. This rift of theirs, you know both of these guy, they are talking about it on the radio. What is your take on all that?"

"I have two words," Wilbon responded: "STEEL CAGE!!!"

"Lets go rent a steel cage. I told both of them, I love this, I want the steel cage. I just want to be the special referee....Tony says, 'I noticed that LaVar and Wise are teammates, just remind him how much fun I had with him on Dream Job....Steel cage. I talked to Wise today. As the people will know, I'm employed by ESPN and the worldwide leader, I can't go on sort of against Tony. Tony has me on, there is an exclusivity there so I can't be on with Mike Wise. I want to be; I convinced Mike Wise to come to Washington. Ask him to tell you that story sometime. But Tony is one of my dearest friends and has been for my whole time in Washington, a mentor first and then one of my dearest friends the last 30 years. I told both of them--so I'm not talking behind anybody's back--that I want the steel cage, and I think we can work out some rules, and LaVar and I may have to keep some peace if it gets out of hand. That's what I'm looking for."

I mean, I'm in. I'm totally all in for this idea. I'll be the towel boy or the ring girl or whatever.

Anyhow, if you're listening really carefully, both men continue to drop sly references to Steel Cage '09. Like, on Tony's ESPN 980 show last Thursday, there was some sort of discussion of Rachel Ray taking the high road vis-à-vis Martha Stewart.

"Took the high road, and can't we all learn from that?" Tracee Hamilton said, to general laughter. "No, I'm not looking at you particularly, I'm just saying, can't everyone out there learn from taking the high road?" she continued.

"I'm out there on the high road," Kornheiser said. "Me and Denny Green. We're on the high road. I'm doing the best I can to stay on the high road. Because It's not my instinct. It's not my instinct to be on the high road, but what do I care? I've got a radio show, I've got a television show. Life's good. Ratings are zooming. ZOOMING. AM radio, are you kidding me? We are exploding."

Wise, meantime, did an impersonation of a British sidekick he called Jeeves, or some such. Like Wilbon said, Steel Cage.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 23, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Comments

Dan - do you have access to Wise v Tony ratings? I'd be interested to see them - especially in the last couple weeks.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

yes, what are the ratings of these two "writers"?

I don't listen to either of their winey & preachy rants

Posted by: Max231 | November 23, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

from what I've seen of the ratings they are basically tied. To tell you the truth though a tie basically equals a win for Tony when you take a closer look at the numbers.

First look at the lead in programs... the junkies destroy mangirl and meatball (mike and mike) in the ratings and for TK to move into a tie afterwards means many listeners are actively changing the dial. Compare it to a TV show having American Idol/DWTS as a lead in.

Next look at the signals and the amount of listeners reached by each station. While WJFK has its fair share of problems reaching the outer suburbs it cant compare to the disaster that is XXXespn. 3 different stations and I still cant get a clear signal in the city??

Finally look at how many listeners out of the market are listening to the show (an aspect that no radio station has really found a way to capitalize on). Kornheiser is consistent ly one of the top 3 sports podcasts ranked on itunes... as soon as someone outside of the DC market cares about Mike Wise's opinion i'll update.

Posted by: dthompson325 | November 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I love the "whiney, preachy, rant" comment. Couldn't agree more. I don't enjoy the Wise show and CAN'T STAND the Kornheiser show. That said, I do enjoy Wise from time to time...he strikes me as clever, witty, and in tune. I have enjoyed Kornheiser since the Bandwagon days.

Here's the thing - Korny needs to move on. All he is doing is lending credibility to Wise and his show. Korny is already established. The worst thing he can possibly do is talk about his competition. Regardless of any ratings boosts it may give him today, he is helping Wise gain a foothold. Poor decision by Korny and/or 980 management to continue this in any manner, regardless of how indirect.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | November 23, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Steinz, if there's going to be a bald ring girl let's please make it Tara Wheeler (remember, Miss Virginia/Penn State ice hockey goalie/shaved her head to raise funds for pediatric cancer care) instead of you.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 23, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@dthompson325- I change back and forth all the time between jfk and tem, usually whenever there is a commercial. I think you are waaay overstating the importance of the Junkies who, I are indeed far better than Lame&Lame on espn.

I dont care for either Wise or TK, slight edge to Wise though. TK's shtick got old a looong time ago. Tony- please get rid of the laughing chick. She is beyond irritating.

Posted by: jp142 | November 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington

I love the "whiney, preachy, rant" comment. Couldn't agree more. I don't enjoy the Wise show and CAN'T STAND the Kornheiser show. That said, I do enjoy Wise from time to time...he strikes me as clever, witty, and in tune. I have enjoyed Kornheiser since the Bandwagon days.
-------------------

Thanks, Sybil.

Posted by: mcoghlan | November 23, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This is Wilbon's way of not taking sides.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

KY wrestling from Old School!

Posted by: G20FdaCowboys | November 23, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I like TK's show but it's not a sports show and should probably be on at a different time (like morning drive).

Problem with TK, and those of us who listen (like me) to him know it, is he's as petty as he is kind .. big swings. He takes maliciouis whacks at things out of the blue (Jacksonville) .. and he's not joking. Way beyond joking and purely personal.

As for TK cracking on Wise, who knows but here's one thing TK should know, TK has DECADES of a head start on Wise in the DC area .. decades, and yet he is barely beating him in the 10-12 slot. TK can say what he wants but if I'm Wise and WJFK, I'm very happy. If I'm TK, I'm wondering with that head start, Snyders money and the Redskins label .. why I'm not truly killing the competition.

My guess is TK's mouth gets him canned before Wise's does.

Posted by: tslats | November 23, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Short of giving out DarkHeart's address on air, and handing out lit torches, Snyder won't fire Tony. Another trophy on his payroll along with John Thompson.

Posted by: rdpinva | November 23, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I was going to express two points, but two posters beat me to the point.

- A tie favors Wise. As tslats says:
"TK has DECADES of a head start on Wise in the DC area .. decades, and yet he is barely beating him in the 10-12 slot. TK can say what he wants but if I'm Wise and WJFK, I'm very happy. If I'm TK, I'm wondering with that head start, Snyders money and the Redskins label .. why I'm not truly killing the competition."

- This rivalry only helps Wise. As DisgustedinArlington pointed out:

"Here's the thing - Korny needs to move on. All he is doing is lending credibility to Wise and his show. Korny is already established. The worst thing he can possibly do is talk about his competition. Regardless of any ratings boosts it may give him today, he is helping Wise gain a foothold. Poor decision by Korny and/or 980 management to continue this in any manner, regardless of how indirect."

Posted by: niceshoes1 | November 23, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@dthompson325 - XXXESPN and their three stations was at least a year ago before Snyder bought out 980. They are now firmly on 980. Additionally, I don't know enough about coverage areas, but I live in College Park and work in Falls Church, and 106.7 signal in College Park is comes in and out. When I used to travel to Greenbelt, I would get no signal on 106.7. Their signal gets stronger as I drive to work. I don't have this problem with 980. In fact, the other day I drove down to Williamsburg and heard 980 almost all the way down there. It started breaking up around richmond, but would occasionally come in and out (I was trying to catch a Redskins game)

Posted by: tedunni1 | November 24, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Tony's clearly on the defense. He went national with MNF and failed. He's good on PTI, just like he was good when he wrote Style section articles for the Post's sports section. But he quivers and fails in the shadow of his own ego. He doesn't know when to stop AND he can't let go. He spreads himself comically thin. I especially loved watching him deteriorate (in the Post) into the guy who wrote 100-word sports thought pieces. They were a mindless waste of space and showed just what a tool Tony was and is ... I miss them. The latest stuff on Wise and Redskins wins and being from here or lived here a long time? Yawn. Catch a clue, Tony. DC's changing. ROCK THE RED. GO CAPS!

Posted by: tonykisanidiot | November 26, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

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