Charita Goshay: Money talks when it comes to naming sports fields

Charita Goshay

Have you ever been in one of those social situations where you encounter someone with a baby, and you ask what the baby’s name is, and his or her reply is so ridiculous it renders you speechless?

A name so bad, you’re not even sure it’s part of a known language? So nonsensical, it should be accompanied by an asterisk because it’s clear that someone was on drugs when they thought it up? But you don’t say anything because your mother taught you better. And when it really gets down to it, a parent has every right to burden his or her child with whatever name the parent chooses.

In 2005, I had my head handed to me by Dan Gilbert, the bazillionaire owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers after I included Quicken Loans Arena in a column about the constant rechristening of sports arenas by corporations waving big, fat checks.

And you are …

I wasn’t so much disturbed by Gilbert’s reading me the riot act as I was fascinated by the notion that a guy who makes more in a lunch hour than I make in a month would even care what I think.

Besides, if Gilbert’s really looking to yell at someone, he might want to consider some of the Cavaliers’ wobbly starters, with the obvious exception of you-know-who.

Compared to Three Rivers Stadium or Candlestick Park, “Quicken Loans Arena” stills sound clunky, but Gilbert ponied up the cash, which means he can name his baby whatever he wants.

Me, I would have crowned it King James Arena. There’s no such thing as too much groveling to keep what’s-his-hat in Believeland.

Now comes word that Progressive Insurance will spend $58 million over 16 years for the right to rename Jacobs Field, “Progressive Field.” The 300-plus people laid off from the company last year must be thrilled to hear their former employer is dropping that kind of cash for what essentially

amounts to a commercial.

Alphabet soup

Loyal Cleveland Indians fans who supported the team when no one else did are right to be grieved. It was their tax dollars that helped to build Jacobs Field, but no one asked them for their opinion. Certainly, any of them -- even that guy who pounds the drum in the cheap seats -- could have come up with something better.

Some fans are circulating Internet petitions protesting the renaming, but unless they have $58 million, they may as well not bother.

Quicken Loans Arena is nicknamed the “Q.” Don’t be surprised if Progressive Field gets tagged “P-U.”

In recent years, some stadiums and public institutions have had to yank down the names of benefactors whose careers ended in a perp walk (Enron Field, Bob Ney Gymnasium).

But a professional sports team’s need for money is endless, so if it’s a choice between $58 million and history -- money talks, history balks.

Reach Repository Writer Charita M. Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail