Today I had to drag my tired ass grudgingly out of bed for work only to hear the news on my radio alarm clock announce that Progressive insurance has bought the naming rights to Jacobs Field, the ballpark of the Cleveland Indians. We Clevelanders knew for months that the contract for the naming rights was up and that it would not be renewed, but we had hoped that the company acquiring the rights would be kind and keep the Jacobs Field name out of a sense of tradition. We’ve recently had to readjust our lingo when the home of our basketball team, the Cavs, changed from Gund Arena to QuickenLoans Arena. In this day and age, it’s disgusting that every public venue has to come with an advertisement for some local company.
Diane said it best when she e-mailed the following to Progressive (and then proceeded to e-mail the same comment to me):
I just wanted to say that, as a life-long Clevelander and Cleveland Indians fan that I am DISGUSTED by the fact that Progressive has purchased the naming rights of Jacobs Field and is changing the name to “Progressive Field.” The name Jacobs Field honored a family that did a lot not just for baseball in Cleveland but also for the town in general, and the name of the ballpark was a fitting, sentimental tribute to this fact. Baseball has always been the metaphor for American life. Given the recent steroid scandals, I guess that it’s only fitting to corrupt the spirit of the sport even more by turning our ballpark that has evoked so many emotions – good and bad – from a cherished memorial to a Cleveland family into nothing more than a giant advertisement for your company. If Progressive had done something such as kept the name to “Jacobs Field at Progressive Park,” that would have been more in keeping with the spirit of baseball and Cleveland in general. But I guess that’s just not the corporate way.
I can’t say it any better than that. It’s the new capitalist American method of advertisement. And I’m getting tired of it. I’m pretty sure that in the future everything’s going to come with an advertisement attached. Here’s some samples of what’s to come:
This presidential election brought to you by DIEBOLD.
Welcome to the 2012 Depends Iowa caucus.
Christmas Mass brought to you by Yankee Candle. When you’re buying candles for your Advent wreath, be sure you use YANKEE CANDLES for a fresh scent to your religious experience.
This Passion Play brought to you by Home Depot. When the Romans crucify thieves or the Messiah, they always buy their lumber at Home Depot.
Every flush of this public toilet brought to you by Tidy Bowl.
The University of Goodyear at Akron.
The New Church of Rockwell Automation
Perhaps I should name my house The Emhoff Floorcovering Abode since my dad spends so much time over there working on it. That way he can ring in some more business, not just help his daughter out.
Pulllease. This smacks of the commercialism accoladed (and warned about) in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
I think I will be adding Progressive insurance to my boycott list…