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Buyer Beware: Jacobs Field To Become “Progressive”

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I feel like someone just bulldozed Aunt Ida's house. Or worse, that house in Cleveland from A Christmas Story. Or, even worse, the outdoor tiki patio at (insert naming rights of your favorite sports bar here).

Where does it end, people?

From the "We Knew It Was Coming But I Was A Lot Happier With My Head Buried In The Sand" Department: It was announced today that the Cleveland Indians have sold the naming rights of Jacobs Field (a.k.a. "The Jake") to the Cleveland-based auto-insurance company, Progressive, for around $3.6 million.

Well, sure, that makes sense. Layoff hundreds of employees before the holidays and plunk down millions of dollars on "naming rights" in "the poorest city in the nation."

All that is missing now is an objective reporter screaming at the top of their lungs "Why aren't you people supporting the Indians? Why aren't you people selling out The Jake???" …from The Plain Dealer Pavilion in Cleveland (Hint: See above-mentioned item about that "poorest city in the nation" thingy …or, as painful as it may be, read your own hometown newspaper once in a while, won't you?).

It may be a sign of the times… but these times make me sigh.

So this is how it goes down in Cleveland (and around the country), huh? Some billionaire "philanthropist" living in his hollowed-out volcano/secret underground lair takes time out of his busy day from developing a "doomsday weather machine" (or something) to plaster the name of his mega-corporation all over THE JAKE for millions of dollars …yet cannot afford to retain 300 of his own henchmen (and, um, henchwomen) in the meantime.

That's the major public relations blunder calling the kettle black! So with all due respect to the "Progressive" CEO, allow me to get my cyber-panties in a bunch …because I have an axe to grind.

What's next? I sell out my own blog, a tired little chunk of cyber-space to the highest bidder?  I wish!  Maybe next week you'll be reading the "How Ya Like Me Now Bitch?" blog …presented by Topps trading cards. Sure, I could probably go off and sip Blue Moon Belgian Ale somewhere on some secluded tropical island… but what would I tell my employees? WHAT WOULD I TELL MY EMPLOYEES!?!

Well, maybe we can "smoothe things over" with some popular promotions like "Dollar Dog Night" down at (cough) …"Progressive Field." But, to me, that's about as tasty as "E-Coli Dog Night" down at the Greyhound bus station, don't you think? (An 8-pack of Sugardale hot dogs retails around .99 cents at the local grocery store …I'm not freaking Suze Orman here… WAKE UP, PEOPLE!)

Now where is the excuse that the Indians cannot afford to sign our ace pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, to a long-term contract, huh?  Lost in the current economic shuffle, most likely.

I suppose "Progressive Field" does have a nice ring to it …even if it doesn't quite live up to it's mega-billing. I guess it beats A-B-C Check Cashing Coliseum. But, hey, I'll take my chances with "collision."

Greed is good… but nutty nostalgia and hysterical hyperbole is a lot more fun! Because, right or wrong, like a cranky, old newspaper columnist thrown back into the Lake Erie pea soup: It will always be "The Jake" to me!

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About Chris McVetta

Chris McVetta is a writer and comedian from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate from Cleveland State University and an alumni of The Second City comedy writing program. His first job in journalism was as an Editorial Assistant working with Harvey Pekar ("American Splendor") at The Free Times. Most recently, his was invited to speak at the Ray Browne conference on Pop Culture at Bowling Green State University.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/aaron_kemp Aaron Kemp

    Your headline actually fooled me…I thought they were going to ban hot dogs and start selling soy dogs because they are unhealty for all of the little fat kids in America. Too bad about the name though, at least your not in Oakland. “Network Associates Coliseum” is still the worst name out there

  • Chris McVetta

    Actually, I’m… “Not in Portland.”

  • http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/01/jacobs_field_sign_to_be_taken.html#comments Igor’s Hunch

    Maybe the monster from “Cloverfield” could have knocked the Jacobs Field name off the hinges for a few more bucks, huh? The Jake is no more!!!

  • Chris McVetta

    I just saw “Cloverfield” …and BOTH are so bad it hurts!