Jacob’s FieldProgressive Field To Open In 2008

Ok, so it’s still the same beautiful structure. But in what I can only describe as a tragically sad decision, the Cleveland Indians have sold the naming rights to Jacob’s Field to Progressive Insurance. In 2008, the Indians will play their games in….gulp….Progressive Field.

Hoynsie has the story in the Plain Dealer:

“Jacobs Field, the home of the Indians since 1994, will now be called Progressive Field.

The Indians have reached an agreement with Progressive Insurance for the naming rights of the 40,000-seat facility on the corner of Ontario Street and Carnegie Avenue, a source close to the Indians said Thursday. Progressive Insurance, a Cleveland-based company, is owned by millionaire/philanthropist Peter Lewis.

An announcement is expected to be made today. Terms of the deal were not released.”

Even though terms were not announced, expect the deal to be in the $2 million to $3 million per year range. Even though it’s really just semantics at the end of the day, I think this is a sad day in Indians’ history. Jacob’s Field, or The Jake as we fans have so lovingly called the building, has been an institution in recent Cleveland history. The name is engraved into us as a part of who we are.

I would gladly give up the name if it meant the ability to compete with the higher spending teams in baseball, but really, what is an extra $2.5 million going to do for the team? Allow them to sign more David Dellucci’s and Jason Michaels’s? Maybe bring in an aging veteran like Trot Nixon?

Well I say ‘no thank you’. The naming rights really illustrates the greedy nature of professional sports today. It’s an era where any little bump in the bottom line, no matter how small of a bump, is given credence over the history and traditions of the games we grew up loving.

So to the Dolan family, I say thank you for trashing one of the most special stadium names in all of baseball. And to Pete Lewis, I say good luck in getting me to give in to your millions of dollars…I refuse to call the stadium Progressive Field. And to my readers, I say get used to me using the name ‘Jacob’s Field’ or ‘The Jake’ to refer to the stadium. Make a mental note of this so you are not confused 5 years from now when I’m still talking about The Jake.

In summary, no, this is not the end of the world. We’ll get over it just like we got over the Gund changing to The Q. But for right now, it stings a little having to say goodbye to such a dear friend. And if the magic of The Jake is gone next season, we will all know who to blame and where to look…..as dumb as that sounds.