Originally posted on Stepien Rules  |  Last updated 9/12/13
Tristan Thompson returned to Cleveland this week after competing in the FIBA Americas tournament for Team Canada. Soon after he touched back down in the 216, he threw on a Cleveland Indians jersey and went out to support the Tribe. On Tuesday night, Thompson was among the 12,615 fans in attendance as Cleveland battled for a playoff spot against the Kansas City Royals. Despite not realizing he was there until midway through the game, the Cavaliers forward happened to be seated approximately 15 rows in front of these guys.   The guy on the right (my Dad) caught a foul ball in the second inning. The guy on the left (my younger brother) didn't catch anything except for a free drink sent his way in celebration of a Cleveland sports fan snagging the first foul ball (?!?!?) of his career, despite being old enough to have attended 10 cent beer night as a college student.   Later on in the game, the Cavaliers forward stopped on his walk up the stairs and said hello.   "You hot enough?" Thompson asked me, as I sweat through the black pants and button down shirt I had worn to a conference earlier in the day. "Yeah it's pretty hot out here man," I replied. "I should've worn an Indians jersey like you." After Thompson left to potentially eat hot dogs with either his right or left hand depending on how he was being defended, my Dad, brother and I continued our game-long discussion about Cleveland sports. "That is the type of guy that's easy to get behind," my Dad said. "No fanfare, no nothing, nobody even knows he's here. Just sitting there, wearing an Indians jersey, rooting for Cleveland."  "Right I know, he's a good dude," I added, providing depth and substance to the conversation.  While Thompson threw out the first pitch at an Indians game earlier this season, on Tuesday night he was just a fan. He didn't promote his appearance on Twitter or Instagram or anywhere else because it wasn't about him. His adopted hometown was battling for a playoff spot and he came by to genuinely root for the same city that roots for him. This, we collectively concluded, is all we've ever really asked of our athletes in this town.   As a core piece of a rebuilding effort preparing to take a major step in 2013-14, it's just good to see another example of how Thompson understands as much already. Whether anybody even knew he was at Progressive Field this week or not. Cavs training camp tips-off later this month, make sure your number 13 jerseys are ready.
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