Talk of the Town

For some people, it’s chocolate. Others find it in reality TV.

For me, there’s not much like the addiction to talk radio — especially sports talk. What’s not to love? Callers rip on Larry Hughes for being fragile, concocting deals to send him anywhere for a much needed point guard.
(Sacramento, you say. Or how about to New Jersey for Jason Kidd?)

Arguments simmer over whether the Cavs or the Indians will win the city’s first championship since 1964. (Right, don’t forget the Browns — anything can happen if they make the playoffs, someone chimes in.)

And second-guessing is more prevalent than performance-enhancing drugs apparently were in baseball. (Barry, we know you didn’t act alone, but here’s guessing that, like “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the Chicago Black Sox scandal, you’ll pay the highest price.)
The questions are almost endless: Will the Buckeyes fare better in the national championship game now that they’re the underdog again? Is there any way the Indians will re-sign C.C. Sabathia after this year? What are the Browns going to do at quarterback now that Derek Anderson is playing well?

The answers don’t seem to change much, though. Take, for example, the Browns pre-draft talk earlier this year. Your choices were Wisconsin’s Joe Thomas (the solid pick), Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn (the glamorous pick) and Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson (the wildcard pick). Yet the discussions raged for months.

When the Browns found a way to land both Thomas and Quinn (who suffered a long, agonizing day after falling to the 22nd pick in the first round), fans lit up the phone lines like that holiday Miller Lite commercial. (They may have toasted with a few too, because things like that just don’t happen in our jinxed town, which is another great topic of discussion.)

That’s one of the reasons I’m excited about this year’s Most Interesting People issue. We’ve got Brady and Joe (and Craig Karmazin, who owns two talk-radio stations). And associate editor Kim Schneider’s interview with the Browns’ top draft picks, like good talk radio, feels as though it’s two friends, hanging out, talking about what guys talk about. Say, roommates fighting over the remote:

Joe Thomas • Last weekend Notre Dame was getting handled by Navy?
Brady Quinn • Air Force.

JT • Air Force. And he insisted on watching it. I said, “Brady, the game’s over. They’re getting crushed. Why don’t we watch something exciting?”

BQ • OK, hold on. Hold on a second. There’s two minutes left in the Wisconsin-Michigan game, and I realize it’s a big game. But [Wisconsin was] winning by at least 16 points. It was way out of hand. It was early in the Notre Dame-Air Force game, so I’m thinking there might be a comeback. But there wasn’t.

JT • That’s probably the biggest conflict we had — turn off the Wisconsin-Michigan game to watch the beat-down.

BQ • Yeah, it was a beat-down.

Or their takes on draft day:
JT • It’s a very stressful time going through the draft, and it adds to the stress when you’re sitting in front of everybody and the cameras are on you. My opinion was always that draft day was supposed to be fun and supposed to be exciting. Also, my dad and I have had this tradition: Since I was a little kid, we always went fishing on Saturday afternoon, and I figured, What better way to get away from the hassle and the craziness of the NFL draft than to go fishing with my dad? We didn’t even plan it, but the boat we were on actually had a radio, so they tuned it in. But we were so busy catching fish we didn’t pay much attention to it. We actually didn’t catch that many.

[They both laugh.]

BQ • You did catch a brown trout though.

JT • We did catch a very nice-size brown trout, which was funny because we had it onboard as I was getting the call that the Browns were drafting me.

And there it is. Why is sports talk great? Because at its best, you’re 12 years old again, fishing with your dad, and he’s asking if you know Jerry Sherk’s jersey number (72), or you’re the guy pulling the trigger on the big draft-day deal that sends the Browns to the Super Bowl, or you’re just hangin’ out with Brady and Joe.
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