Monday, February 19, 2007

WTAM's Mark Schwab

He scooped all of Cleveland on Keith Foulke's retirement, once beat St. Joseph High School graduate and former Cleveland Brown Bob Golic in an eating contest, and named his cat Boomer.

Now WTAM Indians beat reporter Mark Schwab has achieved his career pinnacle -- a Q&A with God Hates Cleveland Sports. And this isn't just any Q&A, this is the first of what will become an ongoing series of interviews with Cleveland media personalities. Schwaby earned the leadoff spot with his Keith Foulke scoop and his ability to pop up anywhere at anytime on WTAM, much like the gopher in Caddyshack.

Here's the results of our email Q&A with WTAM Tribe beat reporter Mark Schwab:

GOD HATES CLEVELAND SPORTS: You kicked everyone's butt on the Foulke story. Let's put aside how you got the story -- how did you manage to get the story and report it WITHOUT any other Cleveland media member running with it. You were on WTAM at about 15 minutes after midnight teasing the story. There was still plenty of time for any newspaper in town to get something in, especially since all were waiting for the end of the Cavs game before running their final editions. Yet NO ONE had it in the Friday morning paper. How'd you keep it away from everyone else?

MARK SCHWAB: Well I got it on the air after midnight, by then the print guys would’ve had to have heard the story (or received a call telling them about it), get a source to pick up the phone after midnight, actually get the source to confirm the story, something that wasn’t easy with that story at that time.

GHCS: A perfect storm of events kept both this story and the Cavs/Lakers result-- the ONLY two sports stories in Cleveland from Thursday, BTW -- out of most everyone's morning papers. That turned both stories into Internet stories. And yet despite one of LeBron's best games of the season against a glamour team and foe (Kobe), the Foulke discussion DOMINATED the sports scene like the Steelers dominate the Browns. Why is that?

MS: Because it was a one-time event. The Cavs play 82 times. Only "once a never" can you have your closer retire on the first day of spring training.

GHCS: Does God hate Cleveland sports?

MS: Absolutely not. First off, hate is a sin. God is incapable of sinning because of His perfect righteousness. Scripture tells us God “hates” some things, but the term is there more to illustrate in a human way, that those things are bad. Proverbs 6: 16-19 tells us God “hates” haughty eyes (self righteous arrogance), lying, murder, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil (using ZERO self restraint with sin), a false witness who lies and one who spreads strife. CLEVELAND is mentioned no where in the Bible. Even if Cleveland was guilty of these things, He STILL would not hate the city. Rom 8:38-39 confirms that. And all sins are forgiven at moment of confession to God the Father anyway (1 John 1:9). So no. God does not hate Cleveland.

GHCS: LeCharles Bentley, signed as a free agent by the Browns to plug the biggest hole on the team, goes down on the first day of training camp, never plays a down for the team. Keith Foulke, signed as a free agent by the Indians to plug the biggest hole on the team, retires on the first day of spring training, never throws a pitch for the team. Coincidence?

MS: Yes. Coincidence. An odd one, but still coincidence.

GHCS: What makes for a better sports talk show -- when our teams are really good, when our teams are really bad, or when they are just OK?

MS: Depends on the host. I like it more when they’re good, it’s just more fun. The bitter people that love to be negative like it the other way.

GHCS: Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston was on Les Levine's talk show last Monday night and wasn't too pleased with the prospect of heading to Winter Haven for the beginning of spring training. He said something along the lines of nothing ever happens the first couple weeks. What kind of Chad Johnson-like TD dance did you do for him when you landed your scoop?

MS: Normally I don't like TD dances, but Chad’s (and some of Steve Smith’s) I don’t mind because they’re funny. A lot of his come to mind, but I think the Tiger Woods putt was the best. Hilarious.

GHCS: You've got one day with absolutely nothing to do. No obligations whatsoever. Which do you do -- a Star Wars marathon or a Lord of the Rings marathon?

MS: Wow. Ok, have I mentioned this on the air? How’d you know! This has actually been discussed with my friends, and we’ve unsuccessfully tried to plan a day just like this. First off, any LOTR viewing MUST be the extended editions to even count. Now, you’ve got to look at time. There are six Star Wars movies and only three LOTR movies but the Star Wars movies are much shorter, especially since you’re watching said extended versions of LOTR. My final decision would come down to two things probably. First, which of the films have I not seen lately, and second, what video games am I playing. If it’s one of the two Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic games for Xbox, Star Wars could win out. If it’s a more traditional role-playing game, then I might side with the hobbits. Still a tough call.

GHCS: Ever take advantage of the Sunday Score Special that oil-change place offers during Indians games?

MS: Absolutely not. I drive a Volkswagen Turbo S New Beetle. Only Volkswagon dealers can touch a Volkswagen! And if you want to laugh at me for driving a Beetle, watch me blow your ass away off the line with 6 speeds of pure Turbonium. Who’s laughing now!

GHCS: WKNR vs. WTAM in a media Olympics -- softball, bowling, cornhole, and wing-eating. Who wins what?

MS: Softball -- WTAM. I was ready to give this to the guys down the dial because of youth. Other than (Greg) Brinda, they’ve got a LOT of younger guys. But then I remembered our weekenders, Mark Tromba, Ryan Pritt, and Stacy Jantz. Tromba is somewhat athletic, Pritt is young, and Stace could hold her own and definitely has some quicks in her. Add that to a core of me, Andre Knott and Kevin Keane, and I think we could pull it off. Keane would be the best player on the field and crush them. Dude can seriously play.

Bowling -- WKNR. I’ve gotta give them something, don’t I? Besides, can you see Alison wielding a bowling ball? And (Neil) Bender just looks like somebody that knows what he’s doing in a 7-10 split.

Cornhole -- How should I know? I’ve got some southern Ohio roots, so I can play a little bit. I’ll give this to us for that. WTAM wins.

Wing eating -- Probably the true prize of the Radio Olympics. Let’s face it, we can all eat. Now, I say this with no disrespect to guys like Bender, (Mike) Catan, (Kenny) Roda, (Gene) Winters, guys like that. I’m sure they can “get their eat on” better than most others in the media, but not us. Forget the fact that I’ve eaten a Big Mac in 27 seconds. Ignore that Keane piledrives 2 quadruple cheeseburgers just for a snack. Forget about Pritt being a college boy that can chow hound. I give you three names to trump all: Triv (Mike Trivisonno). Marty (Allen). (Paul) Rado. Good evening, good night, good bye. Triv and Marty alone would be a serious force, but oh my, Rado could eat a family of five and he’d still be looking for the grandparents. This man is dangerous with a stomach. He is Unicron from the Transformers movie. There are days I can only tip my hat. I can’t believe the man is alive, let alone functioning and incinerating food at the rate he does. Just ask Mr. Chicken. He spends every Tuesday begging for mercy on the wrong end of Rado’s spork. You challenge Paul in an eating contest, you’re not only going to lose, you going to be embarrassed. WTAM wins this event in a landslide.

GHCS: Name five things you can do in Winter Haven that you can't do in Cleveland.

  1. Be eaten by an alligator.
  2. Eat the worst boneless wings in the United States of America.
  3. Watch Jason Davis get people out (great in spring training, still waiting on the rest of the year!).
  4. See Carmen Policy talk on a payphone.
  5. See sights like a ridiculous orange dome, a boring water-ski show that they think should impress you, and hundreds of people that still think it’s 1981.

GHCS: Why the hell would ANYONE choose to be a Cleveland sports fan?

MS: Nobody really CHOOSES to be a fan of their home teams, they just are. You didn’t choose to be born, or to be a guy, you just were, just are. It’s what you do, there’s no volition attached to being a true fan. You are because you are. Those that choose other teams have no marbles and are cowards. Worthless to the cause.

GHCS: Rocky River's boys basketball team is 12-4. Its girls team is 12-3. The Pirates were 9-2 in football this past season. What's going on over there??

MS: You’ve got it backwards. THIS is the standard. The garbage years we just left were the aberration. We were a force in both sports when I was in high school. Our football team went 9-1 my soph year and we went to regionals in basketball. Especially in hoops, we were good. Football we were always at least average. Except our girls basketball teams, they always sucked. Glad they finally figured that out. I love high school sports, I think it’s awesome that the River Rats are back. I’m off to Danny Boy’s or Herbs to celebrate. Best pizza (DB) and burgers (Herbs) in NE Ohio. I'd put 'em up against anybody, anywhere for that matter.

Thanks to Mark Schwab for putting up with the GHCS Q&A!


Drew said...

I can vouch for the food contest. As a former Triv intern, I gained about 15 pounds working there because of all the food there every day. And between Rado, Triv, Marty, me, Carrie the other intern, Kim, and a little help from Schwabby, Snyder, and Carmen Angelo, we'd kill off enough food to feed the country of Andorra for a week.

I'd hate to see what the whole crew could do at a Quaker Steak and Lube All You Can Eat wings night.

Anonymous said...

Mark Schwab claims that God DOESN'T hate Cleveland sports?


Such a statement gives Schwab all the credibility of the World Weekly News. Trying to deny God's hatred of Cleveland sports is no different than claiming the world is flat.

Granted, he broke this year's big spring training story. But Schwab's denial of God's hatred of Cleveland sports proves his blindness to the obvious.

Ben said...

nice interview, well done

LargeBill said...

Cool interview. Really liked the part about Media Olympics. Schwab isn't kidding about Kevin being a really good ball player. When we were kids he was able to play against much older kids.

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