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Naming Ballparks | jonmower.com

Naming Ballparks

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From an editorial of the same title in the November 17, 2006, issue of The Week by Thomas Vinciguerra:

For as long as I can remember, the New York Mets have played at Shea Stadium, gratefully named after the man who helped bring National League baseball back to the city. Not anymore. In return for paying the team $20 million a year for 20 years, Citigroup gets to dub the team's new stadium Citi Field. (Some New Yorkers lobbied for "Jackie Robinson Stadium," but the man who broke baseball's color barrier isn't around to pony up $400 million.) Other baseball towns, of course, have already been subjected to this kind of crass commercialism. In Chicago, the home of the White Sox has been transmogrified from Comiskey Park to U.S. Cellular Field. In Philadelphia, the Phillies no longer play in Veterans Stadium but in Citizens Bank Park. Stadiums, Broadway theaters, university buildings—their names are now all up for sale to the highest bidder. One of my alma mater's oldest dormitories, Livingston Hall, was christened after Robert Livingston, one of the nation's Founding Fathers. But when a well-heeled alumnus donated the cash for a renovation, guess whose name replaced Livington's?

Perhaps a rebellion is in order here. Back in 2001, when the Broncos were forced to endure Mile High Stadium being dubbed "Invesco Field at Mile High," the editors at The Denver Post refused to acquiesce. They simply went on using the old name in their pages. When a new editor came aboard the next year, unfortunately, he reversed the policy. But what if all of us who resent having great buildings named after banks and billionaires, instead of heroes and altruists, simply refuse to use the ugly new names? Would the naming rights still be worth $20 million a year? Just asking.

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