Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thome celebration a big strike out to this guy

We've all seen and heard of silly promotions at both the minor league and major league levels of baseball. Everything from $1 hot dogs, to fireworks, to bring your dog to the stadium to draw a crowd. I can even accept transforming Progressive Field into a winter wonder land to bring in some cash while the stadium would normally be dormant.

With the Browns season starting, the fallen-out-of-play-off-contention Indians had all but been erased from my mind. But then I heard an advertisement for one of the most blatant, empty, money grabbing schemes I've ever heard of from a professional sports franchise - one that would make Bernie Madoff proud: The Jim Thome 600 Home Run Celebration.

Are you freakin' kidding me? 1) The guy didn't hit his 600th home run with the Indians and 2) he could have, but instead left us like so many other athletes, after saying it wasn't about the money. Maybe I'm being a little harsh on the Tribe organization, which is considered one of the most creative and innovative game promotion teams in the sport, but I find this particular late-September/how-do-we-fill-an-empty-stadium promotion to be as lame as Thome's "my wife is my rock" speech when he decided to leave Cleveland for Philadelphia.

If the Indians wanted to honor Thome, the team's all-time home run leader, once he retires, fine with with me. If they want to retire his number and put it up in the right field stands with other Indian greats, okay. I even hope Thome goes into the Hall of Fame as an Indian. But Friday night's "celebration", to me, seemed desperate, deplorable, and an insult to the fans' intelligence. Honor Thome's career when it's over and focus on what he did for the Indians, not for a milestone he reached while playing for someone else (by his choice).

If you cannot tell, I have a little problem with last night's Thome Celebration... and have lost some respect for the Indians for a sheepish attempt at selling tickets.