CLEVELAND — It’s hot in Cleveland, and that’s no TV show. Nor is it a joke.

A week ago here, it was classic fall weather, cold and wet. Then the calendar turned to November and it was like late summer returned for World Series Game 6. A warm, mostly sunny day, followed by a light-sweater evening for the game Tuesday night.

And the conditions we had back in Chicago over the weekend weren’t bad either. For once in northern cities, we have the decisive game — or games — of the World Series being played in baseball weather.

If this is climate change, give me more.

The fans seem to like it. They hit the streets around Progressive Field by mid-morning. Not in the numbers that flocked to Wrigleyville, of course. But three things factor into that: 1) Cleveland is not Chicago; 2) Progressive Field is downtown, not in a quaint neighborhood, and 3) though it’s a nice, modern ballpark with some really good food options, Progressive is not Wrigley.

After I got to the ballpark, I walked down 9th Street to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (It’s a must-see if you ever happen to be in Cleveland. In fact, if you’re a hard-core fan of music in the rock and hip-hop eras, you might consider it a destination. But we’re here for baseball, although with Rage Against The Machine’s “Wake Up” blasting at Wrigley when Aroldis Chapman came to bat Sunday night, there’s no doubt baseball rocks.)

On my stroll, I encountered two Cubs fans, decked out in blue game jerseys and caps. We chatted as we stood on a corner for the traffic light to change, and a city police car rolled up. The officer stared an Andrew Miller fastball through these guys, and the one next to me spread his arms.

“What? You gonna get me for Walking While A Cubs Fan?”

The officer laughed and drove away.

I asked the guy if he had tickets. “Bought two for $3,600, as soon as Game 5 ended,” he said, then ducked into a latte joint with his buddy.

Every so often we hear about baseball being in crisis. No doubt, the sport has some problems, and I don’t mean the DH rule. But when people are paying $1,800 for a ticket to one game that might not even be the clincher — and when that’s not even close to being the highest-priced seat on the market — I don’t think the sport is in crisis.

I’ve been critical of moves baseball has made in its attempt to attract more fans. The wild card, for instance, is a gimmick that baseball picked up because it’s popular in football. Baseball did not need it. I know polls show baseball fans say they like it, but I’m not so sure. Every year, the football playoffs start with wild-card games, and the TV audiences grow each week to the crescendo of the Super Bowl, while the opposite usually occurs in baseball.

This year has been different, though.

Sunday night, Game 5 of the World Series drew a bigger TV audience than the weekly prime-time NFL game. A segment of the sports punditry was incredulous. How could that happen? It must have something to do with the season-long slump in NFL ratings that is being attributed to the take-a-knee protests inspired by Colin Kaepernick. Or so they surmise.

I hope that’s not the case, though I’m aware there’s been something of an organic boycott of the NFL this season. I would like to believe sports fans are coming to their senses and realizing baseball is to football what prime rib is to frozen burger patties, but that’s wishful thinking.

The answer is much more basic and obvious:
You have two teams representing cities whose starvation for a World Series championship is seared into the national consciousness, through movies like “Major League” and “Rookie of the Year” and countless other pop culture references. One of those teams, the Cubs, happens to play in a world-class city with a gigantic population, one that is capable on its own of moving the TV ratings needle. The other is home of Drew Carey and was the scene of a wonderful TV show starring Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli.

It’s that simple.

Oh, and of course, baseball is our greatest sport.

So rock and roll.

— Kirk Wessler is Journal Star sports editor. Contact him at kwessler@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @KirkWessler.