Most Interesting People: Jim Liberatore

President of SportsTime Ohio

Age • 45

Why he’s interesting • Jim Liberatore loves Cleveland sports. So much so that the Bay Village native moved back here from national jobs in bigger cities with a plan: Work with the team that wins the next world championship for Cleveland. As president of SportsTime Ohio/Fastball Sports Production, a 24/7 regional sports network launched in December 2005, he might get that chance.

Thank you, hockey • We have the New York Rangers to thank for Liberatore’s return to town. While working in New York in 1995, he was at Madison Square Garden when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. He witnessed a victory celebration he longed to see in Cleveland. “The place was going crazy, but I didn’t have an emotional attachment. I said to myself, ‘I want to be in Cleveland when this happens for the first time.’ That’s when I started orchestrating career moves to get back.”

Browns town or Tribe time? • Cleveland fans would celebrate more for a Browns Super Bowl win, because the NFL has wider appeal than baseball. But the older generations would savor an Indians World Series victory more.

Favorite Cleveland sports memory  • Though he attended Len Barker’s perfect game, the Indians’ snowy 2007 home opener tops Liberatore’s sports memory list. “Everything about it was so Cleveland. People were making snowmen on the dugout. It was frustrating, but people had a blast.”

The hardest thing to do in sports • Hit a good pitch. Second is being a hockey goalie.

Take heart, Cleveland • Liberatore predicts you’ll have a championship to celebrate within the next five years — from the Indians. “The 2007 team was a great team who could have won it. They could win next year.”
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