Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fans pan Progressive Field

So far sentiment seems to running against the renaming of Jacobs Field, which is no big surprise.

Lots of good things happened at The Jake and folks find it hard to say goodbye to a good thing, quite naturally.

Based on reaction on the name change may present a bigger-than- anticipated P.R. problem.

Progressive Corp. - which will pay $3.6 million a year for next 16 years to have its name plastered all over the park - laid off more than 300 workers just before the holidays. So the backlash is not only against the name change itself, but against the company involved.

Here are a couple of examples found on the Web site:

Let me get this straight. Progressive lays off more than 300 employees in November, and then purchases stadium naming rights for millions two months later. I think the new name should be "Lay-off Field." Or how about "Poverty Field" or maybe "Highest Bidder Field." This is just disgusting. I will always call it "The Jake"!

How about "Blood Money Field"? Now I see why I was laid- off right before the holidays.

There were a fair number of fans who defended, and even lauded the company's move:

This announcement is great news for many reasons. For one, how many fortune 200 companies are based in Cleveland? Progressive has chosen to remain in Cleveland, employ over 10,000 people locally, and significantly contribute to the economy here in Northeast Ohio.

It only seems fitting that the Indians play in a park that is supported by another Cleveland original.

Congratulations, Progressive. Thanks for believing in Cleveland.

Then there were those who, like me, just hate the whole idea of corporations sponsoring everything:

This whole company named arena/stadium thing is just sad. The Quicken Loans Arena still tops the charts as THE WORST NAME EVER . . . but now . . . The PROG. What's next . . . players giving up their nicknames for the right company paid price? "Now batting . . . number 48 . . . PROG!!!

Just as an aside here. Did you know that there is actually an "official bottled water" of the Yankee Stadium broadcast booth? Not of the Yankees, or Yankee Stadium, but of the broadcast booth.

How long before we get to: "the right butt cheek of C.C. Sabathia's uniform pants is sponsored by ..." And will it cost a sponsor more to sponsor CC's butt cheek than it would for - say - Kenny Lofton, because it's a larger advertising space? Would CC's right butt cheek cost more than his left because the right cheek is the one that faces home plate (and the TV camera) in the middle of his delivery?

Anyway, back to fan reaction.

A number of fans steered clear of the political aspects and just plain don't like the sound of the name. Many thought Progressive Park sounds better and some wanted to incorporate the Jacobs Field name in with the Progressive name, which would defeat Progressive Corp.'s whole purpose.

There were those who found some humor in it all, as P.D. columnist Jamie McIntyre found out:

Folks reacting to the news on yesterday had a sense of humor about the change, "Wait 'til Next Year Field." Another wag offered "Nine Dollar Beer Stadium." And a fan familiar with Progressive's commercials suggested, "When you call for tickets, they give you their price, plus the prices of tickets at other ballparks, so you can decide."

What do you think? Log on and leave your comments, or take our newTribe Fan Poll.


moose said...

well you beat to the punch. Yes I think the local reaction was more negative than positive to progressive. I for one will always know it as the "jake" and I am sure tom hamilton will have trouble saying "greetings from the corner of east nineth and carnegie at progressive field". Obviously people dont understand how a company can lay off people but then spent $3.6 mill a year for 10 years on a name. It may have a negative effect people may decide not to use progressive insurance. A few other locals were interested but it was a steep price.

Are they going to change anything but the name. money talks - what will dolan do with an extra 3.6 mill a year.

I for one will no longer have my fantasy baseball teams named - "mooses something" but am leaning more towards "The jake forever" or "long live the Jake" or "remember the jake"

enjoy the football playoffs

moose said...

in case you missed it - a few big moves

the indians signed another OF candidate but lost out on the battle for mike rouse

1/11 J. Liefer, CLE, RF Signed to a minor league contract
M. Rouse, CHW, 2B Signed to a minor league contract

Ron Vallo said...

I'll bet the battle for Rouse was fierce

Steve J. Rogers said...

FWIW, and more of a sign of how names, no matter how many times they change for whatever reason, including actual change of addresses, will forever be associated with certain buildings and whatnot.

On a Mets messageboard a poster posted a reply in a thread about The Jake's name change and said that it would still, to him, be "The Mistake By The Lake!"

I corrected him by saying that the Jake enjoys a new address (though it is next to a river!), and alluded to the fact that Cleveland Municipal is no longer standing, though it is the site of the current Browns Stadium.

Ron Vallo said...

Like Queens is a real garden spot!!