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Clearing the Decks, bitchy edition.

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Minor gripe session this morning.

I try hard not to be “that blogger.”  Bitch, bitch, bitch.  “You know what grinds my gears?”  All that stuff.  I did What’s Great about Cleveland and Adopt a Brownie.  Pointed out the good side of Dan Gilbert.  Hell, I’ve even got a “What if SUNY-Stony Brook got serious about football” piece in my drafts.

I try to bring more than bitch.  For example, you won’t see me saying:

  • It’s Pronounced “Lajaway” is a horrible name for a blog; just feels unfriendly.  I deliberately avoid the site because it’s already presumed to talk down to me before I’ve even clicked on it.
  • Cleveland-focused SBNation sites are absurd with their ‘no-use-of-the-subject-line-in-the-forum’ rules and the self-policing of the silly rule is consistently petty and unfriendly and actually dickish to any hapless newbie who makes that blunder.  “IT MAKES IT HARD TO READ!  ALSO: NO GIFS!!!!”  Geez, lighten up Francis.  Go check out EDSBS, they seem to be doing alright.  Not for nothing, some (all?) of us scan before reading.  Your Asik post has 700+ comments… sure would be nice if I could scan subject lines instead of [not] reading 700 comments.

Disclaimer now out of the way, I’ve got three bitchy items to bring up.

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“The Official Energy Partner of the Cleveland Browns.”

FirstEnergy Stadium is now the home of the Browns.  The signage went up last week.  It’s a “meh” item until you stop and think about it.

My understanding on stadium naming rights is that it’s basically a high-profile billboard and, like any advertising, intended to help companies gain share or increase sales.

So why does a regulated monopoly need to advertise?  Here’s what FE says:

By joining two Ohio traditions, this partnership and regional branding opportunity makes good business sense,” said FirstEnergy’s Alexander. “FirstEnergy and its predecessor utilities have been serving the energy needs of customers throughout northern Ohio for more than a century, while the Browns’ rich legacy in the same regional footprint dates back to 1946. It is clear the team is headed in the right direction and we look forward to being part of the new energy in FirstEnergy Stadium.

But how does this “regional branding” improve your captive customers’ service or make that service more cost-effective?

If this is a ‘giving back to the community’ thing, is giving $100,000,000 to a billionaire the best idea you could come up with?

Don’t ask questions Kanick.  The Browns now have an official energy partner.  Here’s what Joe Banner says:

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If you’re in a shaded area, you’re a First Energy customer.
I.e., not cell phone service; you don’t choose.

Having a stadium naming rights deal in place was extremely important for us as we look toward the future, and it was just as imperative to accomplish this with a strong, regional company such as FirstEnergy,” said Banner. “We are excited about what this long-term partnership means, allowing both the Browns and FirstEnergy to derive many benefits from this association. This deal is a great example of why we feel very good about the direction our organization is headed, and we believe it can serve as a catalyst for many other positive developments moving forward.

[Ugh.  What utter gobbledygook.]

Terms weren’t disclosed, but reportedly FE will pay about $6 million a year for 17 years.  Call me crazy, but public monopolies with $6M x 17 = $102M cash on hand should be plowing that into the physical plant or rebating their customers or cutting their rates.

If you’re stroking a check to FE from Pennsylvania or New Jersey… are you not even more in the WTF boat?

The Official Energy Partner of the Browns.

Cripes.

Update:  here are some comments from the ABJ readers who observe many of the same problems with this arrangement.  (Thanks Titus!)

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The Mayor of Akron since 1987.

Mr. Mayor.

If you missed it, Don Plusquellic showed up on the Baskin-Phelps Show Wednesday to address a perceived slight from Andy Baskin.  The Mayor had made demonstrably wrong, borderline stupid, obviously uninformed comments on Dan Gilbert’s lack of spending causing LeBron to leave:

I wish Dan Gilbert would have spent some of his money and gone out and bought a couple of all-stars and then said to LeBron, ‘Hey, I’m giving you a team that you can win a championship here.’ Instead, everybody waited, held their cards close to the vest and said, ‘OK, LeBron please sign.

Baskin responded with a very strong piece that rebutted Plusquellic’s misinformation point by point.  Seriously, good work by Baskin up until he closed with a cheap shot:

The Mayor of Akron needs to be worrying about jobs and economic growth in his Summit County city.

I set out to write a piece defending Plusquellic.  After all, being mayor and making stupid sports talk are not mutually exclusive.  As dumb as Plusquellic’s comments were, he’s not the only one getting the Lebron-Cavs era wrong.

But after listening to the radio interview, I was moved to write a j’accuse screed directly toward the people of Akron.

You elected this guy your mayor seven times? (more…)