I understand why meeting in a bellweather state like Ohio would make sense to Republicans, but….Cleveland?
Now I am sure there are plenty of good people in Cleveland. I just didn’t meet any of them when I was in Cleveland for a week one afternoon 15 years ago.
In 1999, Tiger Stadium was going to close at the end of that season and I wanted to see a game at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull before it was shuttered. I decided to make a weekend of it and also planned to see games in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Everything in Detroit went off without a hitch. I stayed in Windsor. It was when I traveled to Cleveland when my problems began. The worst of it occurred when I got robbed. Fortunately, I only lost $20 and was otherwise unharmed. But when a second guy pulled a knife on me and demanded money, I ran for my life. I reported these incidents to the police who acted like I was inconveniencing them.
As for the game, the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-1 on the strength of a first inning grand slam by Jim Thome. But it was marred by Tribe fans who shouted racial epithets at Albert Belle who by then had join the O’s. I was not surprised to hear that Pedro Martinez had been subject to racial taunts while he warmed up in the bullpen during Game 5 of the ALDS that year. Pedro would have the last laugh throwing six no-hit innings while the Tribe failed to hold onto an 8-0 lead. Still, it was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been at a ballpark.
To add insult to injury, when I went to buy some food after the game I was told the restaurant was closed despite the fact it was the dinner hour and other people were being seated.
I had planned to stay in Cleveland that night, but decided that things could only get worse. So I decided to take an early bus to Cincinnati. Suffice it to say, the people of the Queen City were much friendlier.
It could be that my experience was an anamoly and not representative of the Cleveland experience. But I haven’t been eager to find out. I’ve not been back to Cleveland since and have no plans to go back not even to visit the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame much less the Republican National Convention. I can only hope Republicans have a more pleasant stay in Cleveland in 2016 than I did.