Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 3/9/12

After Camden Yards, the second ballpark to really usher in the new era of baseball stadiums was Jacobs Field in Cleveland. The move away from cookie-cutter to retropark began in Baltimore, but Cleveland wasn’t very far behind. And I finally made the trek to Cleveland in July to see “the Jake” or “Progressive Field” as they now call it. But the trip wasn’t as much about the game, or Alex Rodriguez’s quest for 600* on that night, it was much more about the “social deck,” in left field.

And this game just also happened to be the same exact one in which a fan wore a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey to the game, acted like a douche to egg on the crowd, and got kicked out after causing a riot. So that was a story in itself.

Like my friend Peter Pattakos of Cleveland Frowns said “here, it’s not about this (pointing outward), it’s about this (points inward)” It’s true, in Cleveland it’s not about where you go, but who you’re with that matters.

That obviously led to his doing an imitation of the famous LeBron “we are all witnesses” billboard. Which I LMAO when I saw a radio station billboard takeoff of it “we are all listeners.”

Before we go any further though, in case you haven’t seen Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video one and two, click the highlighted words. I know you’ve seen it already, but believe me some people actually haven’t yet. I met a few locals who got a kick out of it, and find the videos to be very clever; not offensive.

-Back to the LeBron jersey guy, I’m pretty much talked out about it. Go here for more on that, and here for my thoughts on the insane reaction I saw from the fans that night.

-For more on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame go here

-For Canton, football hall of fame go here

-Every time I see New York Yankees fans, they remind me of how they fit into the gene  pool; they’re what gets caught in the skimmer.

-In 2001 The Jake ended its streak of 455 consecutive sellouts, starting on opening day. On this day, I bought a $44 seat for $10. But that’s everywhere in this economic depression. Baseball just seems to be hurting a little more. Even Cubs tickets, I can get those for literally about $5 all the time these days.

The Cleveland Indians’ history is rather interesting if you note all it’s contradictions. In 1975, they hired MLB’s first black manager in Frank Robinson. They also had the first black player in American League history in Larry Doby (1947). On the other side, you have that exceedingly racist mascot, the smiling imbecile that is Chief Wahoo. And you should have seen the earlier logos, they even more offensive and cartoonish. I hate the Indians’ logo, perhaps thats why I posted this pic above of Pete in his “Caucasians” t-shirt. I’m glad he’s spreading that message.

On the field, this is franchise synonymous with losing and championship drought. Yet they can also boast a resume of all-time players featuring some of the most legendary names in baseball including Cy Young, Joe Jackson, Tris Speaker and more.

Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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