Taking a walk around the Nationals' stadium yesterday, I was struck by something other than the nice improvements around that section of town. (Had I taken the walk ten years ago, I would likely have been struck by a broken bottle) Despite being a relatively new ballpark smack dab in the middle of a large and prosperous metropolitan area, the stadium has not been named for some corporate behemoth.
Stadiums all around the country have taken the names of sponsoring overlords--Progressive Field, 3 Comm Park, FedEx Field (no surprise that a whore like Dan Snyder would sell off naming rights to the Redskins stadium as soon as he could). Sometimes this proves an embarrassment, such as with Enron Field, which has all the forsightedness of Saddam Hussein Stadium or the Nazi Bowl. Other times the corporate name gets replaced when someone else buys out the rights.
What makes it "acceptable" to name the playing arena after a sponsor, but not do the same for the team name? We could be seeing the New York Citigroups playing against the Seattle Microsofts, hoping to make it to the TidyBowl Bowl (formerly the Super Bowl) on the first Sunday in Hertzruary. Clearly that's the direction things are going. Why not just make everything for sale, and stop trying to pretend we have any class left? And don't pretend any of this keeps ticket prices down. The team owners might laugh so hard they'll choke on their endangered quail eggs and caviar.
Fortunately, there are some holdouts still, such as Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, and with luck the Nationals will either keep their stadium name or name it after a Civil War hero or something.
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