Yesterday, Jim Rome made a visit to ESPN Cleveland WKNR. He did his show from their studios in the Galleria and spent the entire day with Cleveland based guests and praising one of his most supportive affiliates. I listened to the entire show yesterday and for us Clevelanders it was a veritable smorgasborg of Cleveland related talk. Rome talked to Mike Brown, Jim Brown (not related,) Earnest Byner, Bernie Kosar, and Grady Sizemore. It would have been a completely perfect day if Rome had found a way to track down Cleveland Cavalier Delonte West. Rome bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t track him down on the air. But it was eventful day nonetheless.
Rome talked to Jim Brown about civil rights, the movie business and even tried to get him to revisit his very public feud with Tiger Woods. Jim Brown likes to speak his mind, but he seemed to not want to do it on Jim Rome’s terms. The rest of his time on the show was mostly talking about his foundation working with fringe gang members to avoid trouble.
Grady Sizemore spoke about the Indians and his most interesting answer was when Rome asked him why he continues to play through an elbow injury in meaningless baseball games. Grady’s answer was interesting because it was basically, “I keep playing because I can. Why wouldn’t I play through an injury when I can be on the field?” While I don’t think it casted the organization in the best possible light because it seemed like they didn’t have a plan, you have to give credit to Grady for being a really tough guy. Now, I am sure a lot of people (our own TD included) think Grady should have shut it down at some point this year, but you have to put that on the organization and not the player.
Earnest Byner was a great guest. He spoke about how much he loved playing in Cleveland. He spoke about “The Fumble.” After explaining how dealing with that fateful play had helped him become the person that he has become, Earnest was asked by Rome if he would choose to have the fumble take place all over again knowing what he knows now. Earnest Byner provided a big laugh when he responded in the negative. His take was that while he recognizes how that day has impacted his life and how he has been a better person because of it, he still would never wish to have it happen again. Rome also did Byner a solid by comparing his infamous moment with Jim Everett to “The Fumble.”
Bernie Kosar was also entertaining with his in-studio appearance. He talked a bit about the current Browns. He talked about his time at Miami. I don’t want to take Bernie for granted, but it was a lot of the same old stories that we have grown to love. When Rome asked Bernie who he thinks should be the quarterback for the Browns this year, Bernie was somewhat noncommittal. He made sure not to get himself into trouble by picking a guy, but he did point out that a lot of the sentiment in the city is that people want to see what Quinn can do.
The highlight for me was Mike Brown. There were some interesting nuggets in there. When Brown was asked about Shaq and how he was going to get along with the team and whether he was actually going to defer to LeBron, Mike had a complex answer. He mentioned that he has no problem with guys who say all the right things even if they secretly want something else. Then he gave an example that might have some Cavs fans happy. He mentioned he plans on playing young guys like JJ Hickson and D-Block a good amount this year. He said that even if those guys don’t make the Cavs the absolute best at the times they are on the floor that it was his goal to give them minutes. He expected his veteran power forwards to be good mentors and support the young guys even if they were looking to steal the young guys’ minutes on the floor. So, get ready to see some development of the young guys this year Cavs fans!
All in all it was a great show to listen to for us Clevelanders. It is a testament to us as sports fans. It is a testament to the ownership of WKNR, Craig Karmazin. It is a testament to Rome himself for caring enough to come and visit our oft-maligned city so many times in his career. It is nice to have our loyalty rewarded for once even if our sports teams can’t seem to ever deliver.