Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Friday, January 11, 2008

No more Jake or Grantham

Two somewhat shocking bits of off season Cleveland sports new today. You knew the naming rights to the ball park were coming but it is always a bit of a shock to the shins to have a corporation take away the familiar. A little more surprising was the Browns firing of Todd Grantham. It was just in August that it seemed more likely that Grantham would finish the season as Browns coach instead of Romeo Crennel. Instead the offense sprang to life while the defense struggled. It will be interesting to find out who they hire instead. As you wonder how much was coaching and how much was a lack of play makers on the defensive side. Grantham was never a part of Parcells-Belichick line and maybe this is just Crennel growing more comfortable as the head man and insisting on his guy on the defensive side.

At first glance, Progressive Field sounds sort of fruity. I read some where how it will be ironic that right next to the Progressive sign will be a huge smiling injun. But that is the way of the 21st century. It is a way for the Dolans to make an extra 3.5 million a year. Calling the park the Jake has always been cool and it is drag to think of it as something else but I am not too miffed. It is not like Gund and Jacobs were legendary figures in town. Both were businessmen who owned the teams and bought the rights to name publicly financed sport stadiums after themselves. Dick Jacobs made a ton of money buying and selling the Indians so I could care less about his legacy. If the park had been Boudreau Field or Doby Field but this was just a rich guy with deep pockets. It doesn't bother me. The name of the field means less to me than the product on the field. We leave in a world of corporate sell-outs. I will get over it.

What does bother me is the Progressive laid off hundreds of workers before Christmas and they have millions left over to name a baseball park. If I was employee or even customer I would be upset. It is just another sign of what is wrong with this country. Added in is that the company chairman is Peter Lewis. He is known around time as the billionaire who won't give money to Case Western anymore or the area around University Circle because of what he feels is poor leadership. Nationally he is more known as the "pothead" billionaire as this link shows.

"He has also been rumoured to be a heavy user of the drug for years, with one close acquaintance describing him to Fortune magazine as a "functioning pothead."

Frankly I wish he had bought the team instead of the naming rights.