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).
Make it personal.
For those feeling brazen, Carton has a bold tip to capture the attention of any audience. Lie. "This is the little trick," he says. "Three words: 'I was there.'" No intimate knowledge is required for this maneuver, just a willingness to think on your feet. "Remember the 6-overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut in the Big East Tournament a few years ago?" Carton asks. (One of the best ever in college basketball, a nearly four-hour battle that ended with a Syracuse winning 127-117 after a breathtaking six over times.) "I was there," Carton says. "And sonofabitch, can you believe I left after the third fucking overtime because I had to go to work? Unreal!" Carton insists it's a full-proof plan, because who's going to make that up? "You can use that beyond sports," he suggests. "'Remember when the Berlin Wall came down? I was there. I actually had a hammer!'"
Credit: Ron Antonelli / NY Daily News / Getty Images)