Cleveland’s in a weird mood.
My son and I attended the Indians game on Father’s Day, the afternoon before game seven of the NBA Finals—which, in retrospect, now seems like it should be blockbustered simply as The Afternoon Before—when the Cavaliers would take on the Golden State Warriors and bring the city its first major-league sports championship in 52 years.
I am 52 years old. I’ve lived in Northeast Ohio all my life. I know what Cleveland feels like. And it’s not this.
In the ballpark that day, 25,269 of us sat watching a pitcher’s duel, and the place was palpably subdued. The announcer and digitized big-screen signage made no acknowledgement of the city’s excitement over the Cavaliers. There were no chants of “Let’s Go Cavs,” no special seventh-inning-stretch cheer for the Indians’ basketball brothers, who play next door in the Quicken Loans Arena, which in a few weeks will host the Republican National Convention.
It seemed like everyone was braced for something, but we didn't know what.
The game, an appropriately tense affair, went to extra innings. The Indians won with a walk-off single in the 10th. Afterward, we exited the ballpark onto a sidewalk teeming with fans heading to various watch parties downtown, the same sidewalks that will soon be filled with RNC visitors. We walked up East 9th Street, the main drag, toward Lake Erie. It looked and felt like a happening for sure, but it also seemed… weird.