Saturday, January 12, 2008

It’s Now Progressive Field – Get Over It!

The Cleveland media announced yesterday that Jacobs Field, the home of The Cleveland Indians, would now be called Progressive Field. Progressive Insurance purchased the naming rights for the playing field, in a 16 year, $3.6 million a year deal. The length of this agreement coincides with the Indians’ lease with Gateway.

If you listen to the media reports, one would think that Progressive was planning on having the venue demolished. For example, USA Today’s website headline says “The Jake is gone: Indians name it Progressive Field.” Local outrage also ensued, more from television news outlets, whining about the name change, and reporting that fans wanted to still call it “The Jake.”

If I were Progressive Insurance, who employs thousands in the Cleveland metro area, I would be a little annoyed that the local media is dismissing the name change and being less than supportive. Full disclosure here: I don't own Progressive stock, I don’t have Progressive Insurance ,nor do I work there, so I have no motivation for defending them. But I think the media has gone a little too far in simply reporting the story, and in this case seems to be unnecessarily starting a fire, or at least fueling one.

Personally, I don’t care who’s name goes on the field where the Indians play. The can call it Progressive Field, or The Prog or The Pro or whatever. OK, don’t call it The P just because it sits next to the Q. I don’t want jokes about minding my Ps and Qs, thank you. But anything else is fine with me.

Those people who still feel that they want to call the place “The Jake” need to get over it and move on. . Naming rights are common in professional sports. Clevelanders should be grateful that Cleveland is still able to support a major league baseball team. Many cities would love to have a team like ours, and probably could care less what the name of the stadium in which the team played was called.

I would just like them to have winning seasons and maybe bring home a World Series title. At least in my lifetime!

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