It shouldn't surprise anyone that Clevelanders love to complain.
We certainly have just cause: with rampant unemployment and poverty, miserable weather, and heartbreaking sports teams, Forbes recently named us the most miserable city in America.
But as I listened to the increasingly drunk fans sitting behind me at Progressive Field the other night (they were pretty loud, it was kind of hard not to), I realized that some of their beefs really didn't hold water.
Some of their complaints were about things that were preventable, others were hypocritical, and the rest were simply stupid.
Here's a list of subjects to avoid whining about the next time you're at The Prog.
When the group of whiners behind me first sat down, one mentioned the newly raised $7.75-a-pop beer prices and moaned that they wouldn't be able to afford more than a couple rounds (a prediction that was proved inaccurate by the fourth inning).
Sure, beer is expensive, and yes, Larry Dolan could probably fund a decent free agent acquisition with just the profits from Miller Lites. But higher prices aren't necessarily a bad thing.
"Externality" is an economics term used to describe a side effect or consequence of a purchased good or service that makes the product's consumer value different than its social cost. For example, when you buy a candy bar, the cost does not include the price society has to pay when you can't find a garbage can and simply throw it in someone's yard.
The consumption of beer is loaded with externalities. Other drivers have to deal with your decreased motor control after the game. A new liver would cost a lot more than $7.75. And, of course, your fellow fans have to listen to your drunken banter.
Of course, beer prices wouldn't go up if profits didn't increase too. Complaining to the vendor as he pours your brew doesn't make you more than just another sale.
It can cost a lot of money to park downtown the night of a game.
For many fans, shelling out $20 before even walking into the stadium is considered normal, as is trying to maneuver through a noisy traffic jam on the way out of the garage or lot.
In spite of the expense and annoyance, I have no sympathy for these complaints because the whole mess is completely avoidable.
Street parking in Cleveland is completely free after 6:00 p.m. I won't divulge my secret spot, but there is ample available space just a couple minutes' walk past the paying lots.
Just think—the money you save by walking an extra block or two would be more than enough to buy another beer.
Being a small-market team sucks.
A monkey with a dartboard could manage a winning team with the Yankees' $206MM payroll; their infield alone costs more than our entire team.
That being said, we have it a lot better than most teams in our tax bracket.
The Indians kicked off our penultimate rebuilding project in 2002 and won 93 games in 2005. A three-year turnaround was virtually unprecedented.
Look at the Reds, who haven't finished above .500 since 2000, or the Royals, who've had just one winning season since 1995.
GM Mark Shapiro began our current rebuilding process in 2008. Assuming no major setbacks in our blue-chip prospects' development, there's no reason the Indians can't make a run at the division title before the end of the Mayan calendar.
If you're going to complain about not being able to compete every single year, you'd better hope there isn't a Pirates fan within earshot.
Fans all over Northeast Ohio cried foul when Progressive Insurance bought the naming rights to the former Jacobs' Field in 2008.
I admit, I was among the discontents; the Indians had played at Jacobs' Field for as long as I could remember, and the name was part of the nostalgia. Two years later, I still sometimes find myself accidentally referring to Progressive Field as "The Jake."
But aside from "The Jake" sounding slightly more appealing than "The Prog," there isn't a real practical reason to miss the old moniker.
Sure, naming a stadium arena after a corporation seems somewhat disingenuous. But is it really worse than naming it after a single rich guy?
Consider that Progressive is a successful national company based in Cleveland, there aren't many of those left.
Its chairman, Peter B. Lewis, is one of our city's most generous philanthropists. And he went to high school with my grandma.
If there's one thing I've learned from writing for Bleacher Report, it's that sports and politics don't mix. But of all the complaints the drunk people behind me espoused last week, this was the one that irked me the most.
The four excessively loud fans spent at least a couple innings collectively channeling Glenn Beck, whining about "Government Motors" and "that socialist bastard" Obama.
Now, everyone has a right to an opinion. I might not have agreed with what they said, but in most circumstances I wouldn't have given it much thought, and I certainly wouldn't have thought it worthy of inclusion in this article.
My biggest beef was not with their ideology, but with their hypocrisy. You can't complain about excessive government spending while sitting in a stadium built with Cuyahoga County public funds. "Socialized medicine" is something to be feared, but "socialized entertainment" is a-okay?
You might not like the bread, but you can't cry foul while you patronize the circuses.