Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Farewell to the Jake?

It was a beautiful early afternoon.

The sun was shining.

The sky clear and blue.

The Tribe was in the process of a third-straight come-from-behind win to bury the Tigers' flickering Central Division hopes.

C.C. was mowing them down one last time in the regular season in front of the home folks.
Several Tribe hitters were taking their turn contributing to an offense that, once again, was just good enough to put up a "W."
All was right with the world.

And then, with one toned-down, oh-by-the-way announcment - put out in the form a press release and played down considerably by the TV announcing crew - the festivities at the Jake seemed just slightly less festive.

The Indians front office today announced it has retained an advisor to help the team search for someone to purchase the naming rights to Jacobs Field. Or, as the team put it, "a naming rights partner."

The Jake, as most of you know, was named by Richard Jacobs - the owner if the team when the stadium opened in 1994. Jacobs purchased the naming rights for 13 years. Jacobs' name remained on the park this year, as the Tribe, apparently, was unable to come up with somebody to cough-up big cash to put their brand on the park marquee.

With the team's success this year, the front office is stepping up its efforts to find a buyer for the naming rights by appointing sports media firm IMG to assist in the search.

So, without knowing it, you may have already made your last visit to "The Jake"

Next year you might be going to KeyBank Park. Or Cleveland Cliffs Stadium. Or Frankie Yankovic Memorial Field for all I know, if the folks managing the deceased self-proclaimed Polka King's estate determine that's a smart way to spend his money.

Most of the older park's - Forbes Field, Crosley Field, Comiskey Park - were named after a team owner or someone important to the team's history. Some of those names still exist today. Shea Stadium and Kauffman Stadium come to mind.

Some of those names could also be considered "corporate." Wrigley Field was named after the family of chewing-gum fame and the former Busch Stadium is St. Louis was named after Anheuser-Busch brewing magnate August Bush.

Other parks were named for the teams who played there - Tiger Stadium for example.

Others were named for the neighborhood in which they are located.

Fenway and Camden Yards come to mind

Of course, like the star player who stayed with your team his whole career, the classic ballpark names are a thing of the past.

Today, every team has to grab every last dime in order to remain competitive against teams like the Red Sox and Yankees, who - because they play in huge media markets - rake in the money at a much brisker clip than their counterparts.

So today we have AT&T Park, Cellular Field and Minute-Maid-Orange-Juice-With-Less-Pulp Stadium, which took the place of Enron Field after the collapse of that corrupt prize of American capitalism.

We knew the day was coming when the Jake would no longer be the Jake. Did the front office have to choose such a jubilant afternoon to remind us?


moose said...


Isn't it beautiful watchnig this team play now. They are clicking on all cylnders. So I dont want to sound overconfident - aka Boston or the NY mets - but feeling pretty good about winning the division - the question is do you keep playing the regulars to try to get best record - thank you boston - oh by the way my boston chilid is now a reborn indains fan - funny what winning does- tells me no joy in beantown
OR rest some guys and let nixon, barfield, and marte and other play

do you adjust your pitching rotation for the playoffs - or just let the cycle fall - is it CC game one - if so he is acheduled for saturday 9/29 to go for #20 -

is it jake or byrd for third game
is lee and nixon on the roster

answers these questions oh wise one in yankeeland ???

Ron Vallo said...

1. When the magic number has been reached you play some of the irregulars to get them sharp, but only the ones you plan to take with you to the playoffs. Marte and some of the others you might put in the day after clinching but after that only playoff-bound guys should play and the regulars have to play enough to stay sharp.

2. You absolutely adjust the rotation for the playoffs and hope you get the 8-day, round 1 schedule (as opposed to the 7-day) so you can pitch CC and Fausto twice each. Screw the 20-win thing.

3. Two to three weeks ago I would have been happy with either Byrd or Westbrook as No. 3. Now they both scare me. Westbrook has pitched out of the pen before (although it was years ago) and he gets groundball outs - so it might be best to put him in the pen. On the other hand, Byrd never walks anyone and that is a good attribute for a guy in the pen. Whichever you choose to start, you need to have the other one heating up early because both have a tendency to give up the big inning and if you can get them out of the game before it blows up, all the better.

4. Lee is a definite "no" and you may never see Lee pitch for the Tribe again.

5. As far as Nixon is concerned, I'm not sure the Indians have much choice. They had only two guys on the DL on Sept. 1, Snyder and Delucci. I'm not clear on the rules of who can be replaced and why, but I'd say if you get Delucci in some games before the season ends and he holds up he should be on instead of Nixon because he is faster than Nixon (as are most human beings) and a better outfielder (again because Nixon can no longer move).

Pat Tabler said...

Another great piece.
I'd be interested to hear how the Tribe is being covered in NY (if at all) as the playoffs approach.

If the Tribe and Yanks get matched up, let me know if you do anything on the hype leading up to it as I'd love to have a "guest post" or a definite link at the DiaTribe.
Paul (Pat Tabler)

Drop me a line at