Power to the People

What if corporate stadium names were outlawed?


The year is 2022. A socialist revolution has taken over the United States and most of the ruling, moneyed and elite classes have been put up against the wall in the name of justice. The only members — or fellow travelers — of the plutocratic class who are allowed to continue as they were are professional baseball teams and some of the corporate-backed media which covers them. The surviving media members are spared for their sympathy with unions and generally liberal causes prior to the revolution.

It’s not a bad setup for some of us, frankly.

But those of us who are left are put to work. A balding middle-aged scribe is tasked with renaming the stadiums in which the baseball teams play in order to remove the capitalist labels which have been applied to them. The People own them now and they shall be named to honor those persons, concepts and ideals which The People hold dear. Our hero submits his memorandum to the Central Committee of The Revolution for its approval:

From: Craig Calcaterra
To: The Central Committee
Re: New Ballpark Names

Comrades: please accept my suggestions for the renamed ballparks. I will note that these are just suggestions and that, if no consensus can be reached, the best plan should be for the park to be named after either the team which plays there or the city in which it sits. Simple is best.

  • Yankees: Yankee Stadium can stay. But no Yankees merchandise can be sold and their payroll must be made equal to other teams.
  • Red Sox: Fenway has tradition behind it and no one associates it with corporatism, but if they do, Ted Williams Park will suffice.
  • Orioles: Robinson Park. Brooks has the greater claim, but we can put Frank’s face on the logo too.
  • Blue Jays: TBD once the revolutionary forces complete the conquest of Canada.
  • Rays: Kommunalka Park, as the architecture of this structure harkens back to the glorious Soviet-era apartment complexes.
  • Tigers: It shall revert to Tiger Stadium, as it should have been to begin with.
  • Royals: Kauffman may remain, as it honors an important figure in team history. We should explore renaming the team, however, given how anathema the concept of a monarchy truly is.
  • White Sox: Certainly not Comiskey, as he swindled the working man. Southside Park, perhaps? Dick Allen Stadium?
  • Twins: Killebrew Field.
  • Indians: Obviously this is in flux given the coming name change to the Cleveland Spiders. Feller Field would honor a hero who fought fascism. Doby Park would be good too.
  • Rangers: Michael Young Park would be the classy choice, but if that is not acceptable we can go with what The People actually call it: The Ballpark.
  • Athletics: If Jerry Brown Field is unacceptable, I suggest Rickey Henderson Stadium
  • Angels: I am told that the Committee has agreed not to outlaw religion in the new People’s Republic. I agree, this is probably the best move for various reasons. As such, I presume the “Angels” name is staying. As for the ballpark, clearly, Trout Field is the only option.
  • Mariners: Griffey Park would be my suggestion.
  • Astros: Astros Park. Perhaps Biggio Park.
  • Braves: Henry Aaron Field is the only suitable option, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
  • Nationals: Since the People’s Republic’s Capital has been moved to the Midwest — where it should rightfully be — all allusions to the Washington team being “National” in any sense should be struck. The team shall be named based on geographic features of the region — I suggest “The Swamp Rats” — and the park should be called “The Nest” or something like it. If that’s too much, I offer Walter Johnson Stadium as an alternative.
  • Phillies: Ruben Amaro Stadium, named after the man who did so much to bring down capitalism with his brilliant anti-competitive, anti-capitalist moves over the years. If we only know what sort of hero he was at the time! Alternate: Mike Schmidt Park.
  • Marlins: Play has been suspended for this team until such time as we can remove the body of the Marlins’ owner from the gibbet above the entrance. Afterward we can change the name to Little Havana Stadium.
  • Mets: Seaver Stadium, perhaps?
  • Cubs: Ernie Banks Field, doubleheaders only.
  • Cardinals: Musial Stadium
  • Pirates: Clemente Park
  • Reds: The unfortunate downside of rule by The People is that, when it comes to the Reds, The People have an irrational love for Pete Rose. Let us allow him to be the opiate of the masses in this city and they can go with that.
  • Brewers: Yount Park beat out Molitor Park in a close vote among those on my staff. I will leave it to The Committee to decide.
  • Dodgers: Jackie Robinson Field is nice, but if people want to stay with Dodger Stadium there shall be no objections. Both are, ultimately, products of Brooklyn, but I will note that Robinson had a history of athletic prowess in Los Angeles before the Dodgers did.
  • Giants: Willie Mays Park is the obvious choice.
  • Padres: Tony Gwynn Field
  • Rockies: Rockies Park until such time as someone worthy of having a ballpark named after them surfaces.
  • Diamondbacks: I’d the same goes for the Dbacks. A lot of it depends on Randy Johnson’s relative feelings of loyalty to this club vs. the others for which he played.

Thank you for your time. Hail to the People! Hail to the Revolution!

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.