Back when Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy was trying to convince the RAD board to pony up money for a new ballpark, he and Cleveland officials led members of the Pittsburgh media--including yours truly--on a tour of Jacobs Field and the downtown neighborhood surrounding the stadium. McClatchy said the a new ballpark for the Pirates would transform Pittsburgh as it had Cleveland.
About three years later, I went back to Cleveland to write a story about the city's school voucher program, which had been challenged by opponents as a violation of the separation of church and state and had ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court. I saw another Cleveland--a city with boarded-up storefronts, graffiti-strewn neighborhoods and failing public schools. A few blocks from downtown, where tourists went to baseball games, ate in steakhouses and toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, people were struggling to eke out a living and keep their children safe. That's also the Cleveland that the PG's Milan Simonich found when he traveled to America's poorest big city.