NBA Finals: Cleveland vs. San Antonio? Or 'Plain Dealer' vs. 'Express-News'?

By: Joe Strupp With their respective pro basketball teams preparing to go at it in Thursday night's first game of the NBA Finals, it didn't take long for writers at the San Antonio Express-News and The Plain Dealer of Cleveland to offer up jabs at their opposing cities.

In what has become something of a tradition between daily papers with opposing championship game teams, the two papers have let the fur fly.

Express-News writer Gaylon Krizak declared "Nothing but love for Cleveland," in his Page 2 column Wednesday. But what followed was less than loving.

"I simply will not fall into the trap of ragging on a target as big and inviting as Cleveland," he claimed. But later, he took shots at everything from a local river to its poor image in national magazines.

"Sure, it would be easy to point out that, while the San Antonio River has taken its fair share of abuse ... it at least has never caught fire. That happened to Cleveland's Cuyahoga River in June 1969, thanks to massive petrochemical pollution in that tributary of Lake Erie," he wrote. "Or that, while San Antonio has been home to three NBA championship teams since 1999, the most noteworthy Cleveland victory in the past 40 years came when Jake Taylor surprised the New York Yankees with a ninth-inning bunt in the final scene of the 1989 movie 'Major League.' Which, incidentally, used Milwaukee as a Cleveland stand-in -- as did this year's Indians, who played their 'home' opening series at Miller Park because Jacobs Field looked like a 'Happy Feet' stand-in for Antarctica."

Krizak went on to point out, "that, according to WEWS-TV's crack reporting team, 'Cleveland has the most UFO investigators in the world,' and there have been 20 reported UFO sightings in Northeast Ohio during the past two years." He also noted "the Harper's Magazine piece from 1979 that read: 'Though the city bills itself as 'The Best Location in the Nation,' even its residents are more apt to refer to it as 'The Mistake on the Lake.' That lake, of course, being the aforementioned once-flammable Erie."

In Cleveland, which is seeking its first NBA title ever, Plain Dealer Reporter John Campanelli offered up a comparison of the two cities that appears to take shots at both, but with an obvious slight at San Antonio.

"Forget the Alamo. San Antonio's got nothing on us," the piece is titled.

"Both cities are packed with things to do, places to see and interesting history," Campanelli notes. "Cleveland was founded by a surveyor; San Antonio by a saint: Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of things lost -- items, articles, and four games this series."

Among the other comparisons:

"San Antonio: Famous River Walk is glamorized muddy water. Cleveland: Famous Rock Hall immortalized Muddy Waters."

"SA: Home of the world's only toilet seat museum. Cleve: Home of King [Cavaliers star Lebron] James' throne."

Still, Campanelli is glad to make fun of his own city's team and its lack of glamour, writing that "Spurs guard Tony Parker is known for his girlfriend, Eva Longoria," while "Cavs guard Daniel Gibson is known for his nickname, 'Boobie.'


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