Power to the People

What if corporate stadium names were outlawed?

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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!

Chicago woman pledges money to a domestic violence charity for each Aroldis Chapman save

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Though never charged with a crime, Aroldis Chapman was involved in a domestic violence incident that involved the intimidation of his girlfriend. He allegedly smashed a window of a car in his garage and then fired a gun, sending his girlfriend cowering into the bushes. He admitted to that much anyway, saying he used bad judgment, particularly with the gun, and apologized as he accepted his suspension from Major League Baseball.

But though he apologized, Chapman has declined to make any efforts to combat or to raise awareness of domestic violence. He is not required to do so, of course, but his peculiar dismissal of the topic in the press conference introducing him as a Chicago Cub the other day continues to make many uneasy with rooting for a team which employs him, even if he makes them better and even if his talent is undeniable.

One such person is Cubs fan Caitlin Swieca. She decided to do something about it, however, and has found a way to at least begin to make Chapman’s presence on her favorite team at least a little less uncomfortable:

Swieca selected the Domestic Violence Legal Council of Chicago, which provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence. Chapman got his first save last night and her first pledge was made. Many others have taken her example as her pledge has been publicized. If you’re interested in getting involved, she has provided some additional domestic violence charities in the Chicago area:

If a young woman who is, presumably, not making $11.325 million this year can make such an effort, I wonder if Aroldis Chapman might see clear to do so too.

The names and teams to watch between now and Monday’s trade deadline

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 3: Jonathan Lucroy #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks to the dugout during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on July 3, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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We already saw a big deal go down today, with the Padres trading Andrew Cashner to the Marlins. Between now and Monday afternoon, however, there will be many, many more. Keeping track of them is not always easy, but we can contain the chaos a little bit by ticking off the big names with the most heat around them.

Here, as of this morning, are the most significant players with rumors attached:

Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

Linked to: Mets, Red Sox, Indians and Rangers
Likelihood of being traded: Seems highly likely. We’ve seen no reports saying the Brewers truly plan on keeping him.
Most likely destination: Beats us, though the Red Sox have the most to trade from and the GM with the history of the boldest moves. The Indians may be the most desperate for catching, however.

Chris Sale, White Sox

Linked to: Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. Rangers could certainly use him. Obviously, tons of teams would love to have him.
Likelihood of being traded: Less than 50-50, but certainly not zero. Sale’s recent uniform shredding antics and his clashes with the front office are frequently cited, but the real calculus here is whether the White Sox honestly think they can contend while Sale is still under team control (he has club options which keep in Chicago through 2019). Even if he was a model citizen, there are just as many good arguments for dealing him as there are for keeping him, mostly surrounding his undeniable status as one of the game’s top starters and his team-friendly deal for that ace performance. That combination equals a heavy package of prospects in return. If we ran the Sox we’d probably deal him, with the recent controversies as a cover for what is really an admission that, nope, we’re just not a good enough team to compete and, yep, we could get a king’s ransom for him.
Most likely destination: The Dodgers make all kinds of sense. They have young pitching which can help the White Sox win later and can deal it to get Sale who can help them win now.

Andrew Miller, Yankees

Linked to: Rangers, Nationals and Indians, all of whom need bullpen help.
Likelihood of being traded: Low to moderate. He’s under team control through next year and The Yankees like to talk about they don’t rebuild, they just reload. After seeing the haul they got for a rental of Arolids Chapman, however, it may be hard to say no to the sort of package a club may offer for Miller.
Most likely destination: The Nationals have had several scares late in games lately. If they can get over their tendency to hoard prospects rather than truly go for it, they could probably get a deal done.

Jay Bruce, Reds

Linked to: Mariners more than anyone. Indians and Rangers have been mentioned.
Likelihood of being traded:  Almost certain. The Reds are gonna be bad for a while and the often uneven Bruce is enjoying his best year. Time to strike while the iron is hot.
Most likely destination: The rumors about Bruce fall into two categories: legitimate stuff about the Mariners’ interest and general noise which sounds a lot like the Reds trying to pretend there are more teams interested in Bruce than there really are in order to get the Mariners to raise their price. Anything can happen, of course, and one should not bluff unless one is willing to carry through with what one is threatening, but I still think Bruce is a Mariner by Monday evening.

Chris Archer, Rays

Linked to: Dodgers, but no one else super seriously.
Likelihood of being traded:  Seems low. The Rays will certainly entertain offers, but Archer’s value is lower than expected during this subpar year for him and he’s under team control for a really long time. If you overwhelm the Rays they’ll deal him, but it will take a big, big offer.
Most likely destination: We think it’s more likely that he’s still a Ray next week, but if he goes anyplace it’ll likely be Los Angeles if they cannot pry Sale loose from the White Sox.

Wade Davis, Royals

Linked to: Dodgers
Likelihood of being traded:  Less than 50% in our view. The Royals may have been intrigued by the Chapman deal with the Cubs, but they are rumored to want to package Davis with teammate Ian Kennedy in a salary dump situation, suggesting that they’re less interested in maximizing the return for Davis than they are in dumping Kennedy’s salary. It’s hard to see why someone like the Dodgers, who are apparently enamored with Davis, would want to do that. It suggests that the Royals are just sort of messin’ around.
Most likely destination: He’ll probably still be a Royal unless the Dodgers make a strong take-it-or-leave-it offer for a standalone Davis deal.

Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies

Linked to: No one specifically yet, but obviously tons of teams want starting pitching. The Rangers, Orioles and maybe the Giants are all teams which have been mentioned in passing.
Likelihood of being traded:  50/50, driven by the Phillies allegedly high asking price — Jayson Stark has reported that they want a top, top prospect for a Hellickson rental — and driven by the fact that the Phillies could just wait until November, give him a qualifying offer and take a pick for him.
Most likely destination: Hard to say, but he’s going to look a lot more attractive to teams like the Rangers the harder it is for them to get one of the top line guys.

Rich Hill, Athletics

Linked to: Same suspects as Hellicskson and the other starters.
Likelihood of being traded: High. It’s the A’s, they make deals.
Most likely destination: No clue. He’s no one’s top choice, but everyone is going to get more desperate between now and Monday afternoon.

OTHERS:

  • Edinson Volquez of the Royals, Matt Shoemaker of the Angels and Julio Teheran of the Braves are mentioned as pitching targets, though it’s not at all certain those clubs are inclined to make a deal. This is especially true of the Braves who did quite well trading starting pitching last winter and may wish to wait until the offseason once again;
  • Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran are the top non-Lucroy/Bruce bats which have been mentioned. The Cubs and Orioles have been mentioned as possible suitors for Reddick. Gonzalez hasn’t been linked to any specific teams strongly, though he has reportedly asked to be traded. The Rockies winning more lately may make them hesitant to deal him, however. The Yankees still haven’t signaled that they’re waving the white flag. Trading Beltran means they’re waving the white flag.
  • Any reliever not pitching for a contending team is fair game. More relievers will likely change teams than anyone. So many that we’ll lose track of ’em.

We’d love to be more specific than that, but this is our eighth year of tracking the trade deadline at HardballTalk. That experience has taught us to expect the unexpected.