There are many sides to Brandon Tierney.
Maybe too many.
Then again, when you've decided to make sportstalk radio your life's work you better have plenty of angles, preferably jagged.
So, it ain't hard imagining how Tierney reacted in May, when the bossman at ESPN-1050 told him after nine years of yakking on the station his big mouth was no longer needed. It might have been kind of like that day, a couple of years ago, moments after an episode of SportsNet New York's "Wheelhouse."
Tierney and co-panelist Bruce Murray had been discussing an upcoming Rangers-Caps playoff series. At the beginning of the conversation Tierney picked the Rangers. Later he picked the Caps. Murray, with a sandpaper-dry sense of humor, used the vapor lock to take a well-placed, condescending shot at Tierney.
Lucky thing they were in separate studios. After the show Tierney made a mad dash to the studio Murray was working in. Legend has it Tierney threatened to shove Murray's head down his stomach and keep pushing until it came out his . . . Either that, or he just threatened to kill him.
This is the explosive side of Tierney. Then there's the cocky side, the passionate side, the side of a cat who takes his work and preparation seriously, but most of all the side producing an innate ability to infuriate.
When ESPN-1050 boss David Roberts gave Tierney his walking papers, he also offered him a steady weekend gig. Tierney could've easily accepted and cobbled together a nice NYC niche with his TV work. Instead, he said no thanks (and likely told Roberts he was making a mistake) and decided to test the market.
"It's not my mentality to piece things together and just blend in. You get to a point where you want to be the cleanup hitter. You get tired of batting seventh because you know you're a lot better than that," Tierney said. "The only source of frustration, the only thing that ripped me to the core of what I believe in, is I know I'm one of the best (talkies) in the city."
This overwhelming desire for vindication is what makes Tierney run. Now he's running all the way to the San Francisco Bay where he will set up shop on Aug. 1 and start working in afternoon drive on KBWF-FM, Sports Radio 95.7, where he will team with Eric Davis, the former 49ers defensive back.
Think about it. Tierney, 38, paid dues, working in Las Vegas and Detroit, before coming home (he's from Brooklyn) and landing a gig he coveted. Now, he's hitting the road again, this time with his wife Jennifer (they were married last October), headed for a station that until recently played country music and now looks to compete with powerhouse KNBR-AM, which bills itself as San Francisco's "Sports Leader" (sound familiar?).
The move he's making takes heart - onions too. Tierney will be a field general in an uphill battle. He likes the odds. Why? "Because of their (KBWF suits) desire to have a station built around me," Tierney said.
But of course.
"I'm looking forward to being part of a company where it's more about the talent and a little less about the company," Tierney said. "The ultimate strength of ESPN is the company. But (ESPN radio) voices have a way of being homogenized and just blending into the woodwork."
And perhaps just to prove he will never be one of these radio termites, Tierney said: "The (ESPN-1050) audience misses me and I know that they still do. And I still think whatever is on the air now (in his old time slot), I'm better. I'll always say that."
Saying it the same way, but from a different place.
The distance will only make Tierney's mouth run faster, with even more conviction. What else would anyone expect from someone on a singular mission.
A man who still has something to prove.