Power to the People

What if corporate stadium names were outlawed?

63 Comments

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!

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
6 Comments

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
8 Comments

In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
7 Comments

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.