Live from Cleveland: Game 2, and the Mayor is mad at me!

Cleveland – I don’t like doing television. Heck, I don’t like watching television. But a local station asked if I’d come on live from courtside at the Q before tonight’s game because one of the anchors took umbrage with this scandalous line from the live Game 1 blog:

“For one thing, they have to live in Cleveland.”

It was, I’ll grant you, a bad little joke. But I’d also submit that, as Cleveland jokes go, it was about the mildest ever. Because I don’t really get into that make-fun-of-the-other-city thing. (Except for Birmingham, Ala. — don’t get me started on Birmingham, Ala.)

Anyway, I was asked to go on the local Fox affiliate with some guy named Bob — or maybe it was Bill — who bills (or bobs) himself as the Mayor of the City of Champions. (Yes, that would, in Bob/Bill’s mind, be Cleveland, Ohio, which hasn’t seen a professional championship since 1964. But I digress.)

So there I am, trying to be a good sport, and Bob/Bill comes on, calls me a knothead, calls my employer the Journal-Constipation (hey, new one!) and starts ranting. Being a Kentuckian and therefore a diplomat on the order of Henry Clay, I seek to calm the waters.

I call him, “Your honor.” I say, “We all know the Braves were lucky to beat the Indians in 1995 [they weren't, but I was trying to be conciliatory] and we have a sneaking suspicion the Hawks won’t win a game against the Cavaliers [I wasn't kidding about that one] and we’ve had such a difficult winter with all the snow [what'd we have, an inch?] — I was just trying to give us Atlantans something to feel good about.”

Well, Bob/Bill wasn’t having it. He ranted about our “dreadful airport” — if you want to see a dreadful airport, take a stroll through the one up here — and the byzantine nature of Peachtree Street and called ours “a dreadful, dreadful city.” And I stood there deadpan. And then he started going on about Cleveland, and said he was glad he lived there.

And I said: “And we’re [meaning Atlantans] glad you live here, too.”

Apparently deadpan doesn’t register up here because the Mayor had no rejoinder. And apparently this wasn’t making for the kind of Good TV this fine station had in mind. So Bob/Bill’s co-anchor — I believe her name was Stacey, though it might have been Cindy — said: “Mark, you know this is all in fun?”

And I said: “Actually, I thought this was supposed to be a serious discussion.”

So then the folks back in the studio decided to cut it off because I wasn’t yelling back, but not before Bob/Bill threatened to beat me up. Twice. And he told me I’d better hide. And finally I dropped the poker face and started laughing.

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m hiding from you.”

And I probably shouldn’t report this because they might get exiled by the Mayor, but the technicians on my end of the camera laughed, too. I felt I’d kept my dignity, such as it is. And I also felt that, alongside Bob/Bill, Russ Spencer is David Brinkley.

OK, enough about me: While I was waiting to do my calamitous spot, none other than LeBron James was shooting 40 footers over my head. He was shooting from the walkway adjacent to the Cavs’ bench. He was shooting over the backboard.

He airballed the first half-dozen. Then he hit the rim. Then he airballed two more. Then he swished one. This pleased him so much that he leaped up and touched the exit sign above the tunnel, which is about 11 feet from the floor.

Speaking of which: The Plain Dealer’s lead sports story, written by Brian Windhorst, posed this stumper — who jumps higher, LeBron or Josh Smith? No consensus was reached, save for the belief that LeBron jumps stronger but Smoove jumps prettier.

Reading the story on the morning of Game 2, the first thought that crossed my mind was: The Cleveland folks must think there’s not much to say about this series if they’re already trotting out the feature-y stuff. And there might not be.

Major basketball news!!!! Mike Woodson just announced that Al Horford and Marvin Williams won’t play tonight. Zaza Pachulia will start in Horfy’s stead. Woodson described the two injured Hawks as “day to day” and said that Williams (wrist) was closer to being fit for Game 2 than Horford (ankle).

Woodson: “We’ve got no excuses. Guys have to step up and play. I expect [bench guys] to step up and play, and I’m going to push them to step up.”

Ramifications of this breaking news: Let’s assume the Hawks lose tonight. They’ll have to win Game 3 to keep hope alive, but can they manage that with Horfy and Marvin gimpy at best and sidelined at worst? The skeptic in me says no. But I’m also the guy who figured the Celtics would sweep a year ago.

The vile video: Here, if you dare, is my alleged conversation with the alleged Mayor. I would not recommend anyone watch, unless you’re fond of disasters. Even Channel 8 describes it as “one of the strangest moments in the station’s history.”

522 comments Add your comment

Gravy Train

May 7th, 2009
6:55 pm

Mark,

Can we get a link to the video footage? Thanks for representing Atlanta, don’t take any mess from those fools up there.

MVP23

May 7th, 2009
6:58 pm

The mayor… he must be a knucklehead !!! I enjoy reading your column and yes, there have been numerous jokes about Cleveland and your joke was mild. Keep up the good job and screw Mayor Bill/Bob. Heck, let’s just call him Billy Bob.

Gravy Train

May 7th, 2009
7:02 pm

And while you’re at it, let them know that the Ohio State University is always over-rated and the Big 10 is a fraud.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:09 pm

Gravy, I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to that travesty. But thanks for asking.

Arts' Jokers'

May 7th, 2009
7:15 pm

Have you taken a page out Steve Holmans public relations book? You two should start your own ‘Bash Blog’!

So where is your daughter going to college?

May 7th, 2009
7:16 pm

This should be your column, so that isn’t wasted on the old folks who don’t follow blogs. This is you at your best. Congratulations for not calling Cleveland “the mistake on the lake.”

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:16 pm

Actually, the Voice of the Hawks and I exchanged e-mails on this very topic. But he’s the king of that realm. I’m just a serf.

OldTimer

May 7th, 2009
7:16 pm

Never been to Cleveland, never had a reason to. Never used an outhouse either.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:17 pm

There’s no such thing as me “at my best.” There’s only “bad” and “slightly less awful.” But thanks nonetheless.

Chuck G.

May 7th, 2009
7:17 pm

As someone who was born in the Cleveland area and now lives in Gwinnett, I am glad I don’t live there. I’ll take our one snow storm this year over 50 feet of lake effect snow any day.

Ted Striker

May 7th, 2009
7:21 pm

Mark, The mayor of Cleveland sounds almost as classy a civic representative as the Honorable Marion Barry. Nobody who knows you really thinks you were really knocking Cleveland. (Besides, who in their right mind would knock the city with such lasting contributions as the home of the Drew Carey Show, the Dazz Band, and Cuyahoga Community College?)

I’m proud for Cleveland and the fact they have a guy, LeBron who can reach the rim. For years their best dunker was Mark Price.

JP from Cleveland

May 7th, 2009
7:22 pm

Cleveland sports reporters are awful, stupid, imbeciles. Please pay them no mind.

We just want to win a championship and be done with the suffering. And trust me, many of us know that the Big Ten is overrated, and that the Buckeyes stand little chance of winning another title anytime soon.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:28 pm

Got no problem with Ohio. I was born in a hospital overlooking the mighty Ohio River. My pediatrician was in Cincinnati. I rooted for the Reds. (But not the Bengals.) And I didn’t tell the Mayor this, but I can name the entire starting lineup for the 1964 Cleveland Browns — the first NFL team I really loved.

Wooten and Hickerson the guards, Schafrath and Clark the tackles, John Morrow at center, Johnny Brewer at tight end, Warfield and Collins the receivers, Jim Brown and Ernie Green the backs, Frank Ryan the QB.

Defense: Wiggin and Glass at end, Kanicki and Modzelewski at tackle, Costello the MLB, Fiss and Houston the OLBs, Fichtner and Benz the corners, Parrish and Beach the safeties. Leroy Kelly returned kicks. Gary Collins punter. Lou The Toe was the kicker.

And I swear I didn’t look any of those names up. I swear!

Fire Mike Woodson Express

May 7th, 2009
7:29 pm

once again Mark kissin asssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

area code 419

May 7th, 2009
7:30 pm

Hey Mark, I’m an hour or so away from Cleveland and believe me you’re right about Cleveland…Should’ve told the mayor to do something about the 1000’s of potholes since he wants to talk so highly of Cleveland

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:39 pm

I don’t know if this guy was a sports reporter. I’m not sure what he was. (Actually, I am sure. But I’m much too polite to say so.)

Arts' Jokers'

May 7th, 2009
7:41 pm

Without Al and Marvin, yes our big Z can go wild get everyone fired up on the floor, but he can also rack up fouls as quickly as Holman racks up views on YouTube.  Which means, we will hear a lot about number fourty four, “Solo” Jones. Once they both foul out, R. Morris will be sent into the fracus. But by then the while flag will have been waved.

Reid Adair

May 7th, 2009
7:42 pm

Mark, I don’t know why anyone would feel such a segment was newsworthy, but it sounds like you stood up for yourself and Atlanta well. Keep up the good work.

It’s going to be very difficult for the Hawks tonight without Horford and Williams.

mike28212

May 7th, 2009
7:42 pm

Mark, do you think Joe Johnson is just tired from all the minutes played not just this season but the last couple? Could that be having an influence on his sometimes less than stellar play in the playoffs?

Arts' Jokers'

May 7th, 2009
7:42 pm

BTW, Cleveland hasn’t been the same since Bernie Kosar left.

nunna yo bizznezz

May 7th, 2009
7:44 pm

woody looks like he knows its gonna be a long night..
he looks like he lost already..

i hope its his poker face,And he knows something we don’t..

he has that pepto bismol look,like his stomach is turning already..

i don’t think i want to even watch tonite..

but,i will..i got a gut feeling,that we’ll put up more of a fight tonite..

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
7:46 pm

I don’t think I stood up for anything, really. Except maybe common sense. (And usually I’m not the bastion of that commodity.)

Paul Clevo

May 7th, 2009
7:47 pm

These “your city sucks” comments in every playoff series are really stupid. Every city has its good and bad. The only people who don’t know that, are the dopes who don’t travel. Of course, journalists travel to all the major cities, yet still they make childish comments. They show themselves to be dumber that the slack-jawed yokels who never leave their home base.

You assholes can hate on Cleveland all you want. You’ll wish you had Lebron when its over.

Robert

May 7th, 2009
7:51 pm

Cleve-land. (snicker) O-hi-o. I’d forgotten about them, er, that place. It was really something in the 19th century.

Fire Mike Woodson Express

May 7th, 2009
7:59 pm

(nunna yo bizznezz)he looks like he lost already..

LOL

Fire Mike Woodson Express

May 7th, 2009
8:01 pm

Mark,

go kiss Woodson ass at half time and make him fill better. There is no way the Hawks can stop Cleveland. They could hardly stop Miami.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:06 pm

OK, here we go. Zaza starts. Bench is now Flip Murray and … I don’t know — is Alan Henderson still under contract?

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:07 pm

Joe takes first shot, as you’d figured he would. Makes it.

Fire Mike Woodson Express

May 7th, 2009
8:09 pm

Mark we don’t need a play by play from you.

Cuz

May 7th, 2009
8:10 pm

Sure we do, otherwise Mark will tell jokes. Keep the play by play coming.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:11 pm

Joe has as many baskets in 2 minutes as in the first half of Game 1 (two). Hawks down one.

RealSquawk

May 7th, 2009
8:15 pm

What I don’t understand is why people don’t body Lebron up and down the court. If you make him work for every inch of space on the floor then it will be a lot harder for him to build up that great bit of speed that allows him to get to the basket.

doggit

May 7th, 2009
8:16 pm

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:17 pm

Hawks with three turnovers in six minutes. But they’re tied at 12. Evans and Zaza scored off offensive rebounds.

braveshater

May 7th, 2009
8:18 pm

It looks as if David Stern has told the cleveland players to keep it competitive for TV.

Cuz

May 7th, 2009
8:18 pm

Thanks Mark I missed it. Lilo and Stitch the movie is on Disney Channel.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:19 pm

Speaking of Cleveland: Usher is a part-owner of the Cavs, but he came to Game 1 wearing a Braves cap. Don’t tell the Mayor, though.

BravesFan79

May 7th, 2009
8:19 pm

I think the Hawks will do better this game because ZAZA will get more minutes. Horford was clearly hurt last game, and only hurt the team giving him starters minutes. WtF was Woodson thinking playing him more than zaza?

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:21 pm

Josh jump-shot count: Has taken two, missed two.

Hawks down two.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 7th, 2009
8:22 pm

Let me know if you need some muscle up there.

I can call some of my buddies from the Lee-Harvard or Buckeye-Kinsman area.
Some of Don King’s folks to handle any “business” you need taken care of!

–D. LED

braveshater

May 7th, 2009
8:23 pm

That was a terrible call and the reason I hate the NBA. Obvious charge, but its the Queen.

Cuz

May 7th, 2009
8:23 pm

Gee, I haven’t seen such rejection since I was at the bar last Friday night.

Fire Mike Woodson Express

May 7th, 2009
8:23 pm

it going to get out of hand

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:24 pm

Solomon Jones in. Josh has two fouls.

Cuz

May 7th, 2009
8:24 pm

tip the ball in dang it

braveshater

May 7th, 2009
8:24 pm

The Hawks are so fucin soft its patheitc.

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:26 pm

Cavs up four, two minutes left in the first. Joe has only taken one more shot, a runner he missed before the timeout. Solomon Jones took a short jumper and missed pretty badly. Flip’s in, and he hit a jumper.

Does Acie play tonight? Does Randolph Morris? Does Othello Hunter? Beats the heck outta me.

Cuz

May 7th, 2009
8:27 pm

I got some better lines for you to make the Cleveland fans love you.

Cleveland, we smell better than Chicago.

Cleveland, if you think we bite, visit Gary Indiana.

Cleveland, we haven’t had a river catch on fire in thirty years.

Just doing my part to help out Mark.

RealSquawk

May 7th, 2009
8:28 pm

The Espn crew has already spoken on the lack of intensity on the Hawks faces. they spoke on the fact that the Josh Smith foul was a charge. And about Josh Smith’s jump shot. And they just spoke on the fact that cleveland has not been whistled for a foul.

just saying

Mark Bradley

May 7th, 2009
8:29 pm

Attention, conspiracy theorists: Cavs haven’t yet been called for a foul.