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!

Rob Manfred wants a new, unnecessary rule to protect middle infielders


Commissioner Rob Manfred is at the Cards-Cubs game this afternoon and the sporting press just spoke with him about the fallout from the Chase Utley/Ruben Tejada play from the other night. Not surprising.

Also not surprising? Manfred’s desire to implement a new rule in an effort to prevent such a play from happening again. Or, at the very least, to allow for clear-cut punishment for someone who breaks it:

Which is ridiculous, as we already have Rule 6.05(m) on the books. That rule — which is as clear as Crystal Pepsi — says a baserunner is out when . . .

(m)A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:

Rule 6.05(m) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.

That rule totally and completely covers the Utley-Tejada situation. The umpires were wrong for not enforcing it both then and in the past, but that’s the rule, just as good as any other rule in that book and in no way in need of replacement.

Why not just enforce that rule? What rule would “better protect” infielders than that one? What would do so in a more straightforward a manner? What could baseball possibly add to it which would make plays at second base less confusing rather than more so?

I suspect what Manfred is interested in here is some means to change this from a judgment call to a clear-cut rule. It was that impulse that led to the implementation of clocks for pitchers and batters and innings breaks rather than giving umpires the discretion to enforce existing pace-of-play rules. It was that impulse which led to a tripartite (or is it quadpartite?) means of determining whether a catcher impermissibly blocks the plate or a runner barrels him over rather than simply enforce existing base-blocking rules.

But taking rules out of the subjective realm and into the objective is difficult or downright impossible in many cases, both in law and in baseball. It’s almost totally impossible when intent is an element of the thing, as it is here. It’s likewise the case that, were there a clear and easy bright line to be established in service of a judgment-free rule on this matter, someone may have stumbled upon it once in the past, oh, 150 years. And maybe even tried to implement it. They haven’t, of course. Probably because there was no need, what with Rule 6.05(m) sitting up there all nice and tidy and an army of judgment-armed umpires standing ready to enforce it should they be asked to.

Unfortunately, Major League Baseball has decided that eschewing set rules in favor of new ones is better. Rules about the time batters and pitchers should take. Rules about blocking bases. Rules about how long someone should be suspended for a first time drug offense. Late Selig and Manfred-era Major League Baseball has decided, it seems, that anything 150 years of baseball can do, it can do better. Or at least newer and without the input of people in the judgment-passing business like umpires and arbitrators and the like.

Why can’t baseball send a memo to the umpires and the players over the winter saying the following:

Listen up:

That rule about running into fielders that you all have already agreed to abide by in your respective Collective Bargaining Agreements? We’re serious about it now and WILL be enforcing it. If you break it, players, you’re going to be in trouble. If you refuse to enforce it, umpires, you’re going to be in trouble. Understood? Good.


Bobby M.

If players complain, they complain. They don’t have a say about established rules. If, on the other hand, your process of making new rules is easier than your process of simply enforcing rules you already have, your system is messed up and we should be having a whole other conversation.

Anti-Chase Utley signs at Citi Field were brutal and hilarious

Chase Utley sign

Obviously Chase Utley was not the most popular figure in Citi Field last night. The fans booed him like crazy and chanted for him to make an appearance after the game got underway.

They made signs too. Lots and lots of signs. The one at the top of this article is the only one the Associated Press saw fit to grab a photo of, it seems. But there were more and, unlike that one, they were less than tame.

My favorite one was this one, held by a girl about my daughter’s age. It’s direct. It’s totally unequivocal. It gets the point across:

There’s no arguing with that. Utley could show up with a team of lawyers and after five minutes in front of this girl he’d be forced to admit, both orally and in writing, that, yes, he Buttley.

The New York Post categorizes many more of them here. Including one that didn’t make it into the park which said “Chase Utley [hearts] ISIS.” It was confiscated by Citi Field personnel. Why?

The sign, which actually used a “heart” drawing for loves, was confiscated by Citi Field security after she got inside Monday night. Culpepper was annoyed but gave a frank explanation.

“My guess is Isis doesn’t want to be associated with Chase Utley,” she said, calling him, “my least favorite player ever.”

Somebody call the burn unit.

NLDS, Game 4: Dodgers vs. Mets lineups

Clayton Kershaw

Here are the Dodgers and Mets lineups for Game 4 of the NLDS in New York:

CF Kike Hernandez
2B Howie Kendrick
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Justin Turner
SS Corey Seager
RF Yasiel Puig
C A.J. Ellis
LF Justin Ruggiano
SP Clayton Kershaw

With a left-hander on the mound for New York the Dodgers are stacking the lineup with right-handed bats, using an outfield of Yasiel Puig, Justin Ruggiano, and Kike Hernandez rather than Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Joc Pederson. Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager are the only lefty bats in the lineup. A.J. Ellis gets the start over Yasmani Grandal by virtue of being the personal catcher for Clayton Kershaw, who’s pitching on short rest.

RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Yoenis Cespedes
C Travis d'Arnaud
1B Lucas Duda
SS Wilmer Flores
CF Juan Lagares
SP Steven Matz

Obviously facing Clayton Kershaw is much different than facing Brett Anderson, but they’re both lefties and manager Terry Collins is using the same lineup as Game 3 with one slight change: Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda flipped in the batting order.