For those unfamiliar with his famously withering diatribes, Craig Carton is New York City's barking, bombastic, loudmouth AM sports DJ (alongside Boomer Esiason) on radio WFAN, where he makes his living educating listeners. In the Big Apple, that usually means tearing into the Mets' stingy owner, or the Knicks' waifish defense, but often also entails calling out poseurs and callers to the show who simply do not know what they are talking about. The 44-year-old native New Yorker, whose upcoming book, 'Loudmouth,' comes out in June, is a veritable and imposing encyclopedia of sports arcana.
On the eve of March Madness and all that it implies – bouts of hysteria and depression, dramatic loss of productivity, obsessions with brackets by the general populace – it's a rough time for those gawking novices who would love a spot at the water cooler, but lack the sports knowledge chops. We caught up with Carton at a recent Guinness Happy Hour Event (to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation), where he revealed to us a secret to the art of talking sports smack: Half the battle is just sounding like you're smart. With a little prep work and some time on the Internet, any schmo can fake it till they make it, says Carton (though, he cautions, "if you're not a good memory guy, you're fucked."). Here are Carton's cramming tips for talking the talk, even if you can't tell a triple-double from a double dribble (and if you can, these tips are still pretty good for faking you way through almost anything).
A sure way to establish cred is to create an air of authenticity. For this, Carton recommends opting for trivia about otherwise big events for a team. "You need to pick out one fact, the more obscure the better, so that you can always bring it up when you are having a conversation about it," he says. For Carton, a diehard Mets fan, the 1986 Mets are immortal. And while even a lukewarm fan would surely know about Mookie Wilson's groundball in Game 6 that trickled through the legs of Bill Buckner, the real proof is being able to recall the oddball. "You need to know about the parachute guy that flew onto the field out of the night sky," Carton says. (That would be Michael Sergio, an actor who literally dropped in on Shea Stadium during Game 6 wearing a sign proclaiming "Let's Go Mets.") "That you would only know if you were a diehard fan of that team," he points out. "You've got know these things."
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