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Taking Back the Ballparks . . . at least in name

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Over at Baseball Think Factory and at his own website — a longtime web acquaintance of mine has announced a fun little campaign to informally rename all 30 big league ballparks.

The idea: just because some company called “Guaranteed Rate” paid the White Sox a lot of money to give them naming rights doesn’t mean that we’re bound to call the park in which they play that silly name. Same with Chase and the Diamondbacks or any other corporate entity. Sure, if we identify them in a legal document we’re obligated to use the legal name, but there is nothing obligating us to give these businesses free advertising via our daily conversation about baseball.

So he’s asking for nominations for alternative, non-corporate names:

Both here, and at my primary home for online baseball activity, Baseball Think Factory, we’re going to establish new names, or at least validate the old ones, for all 30 ballparks. If you think Houston can do better than Minute Maid Park (and who doesn’t?), then let’s find a better name for the joint. Or, if you think the park at Clark and Addison can be known as nothing but Wrigley, that’s cool too.

I’ll introduce a new team, and solicit suggestions for a new name for the team’s ballpark. Perhaps the park is located adjacent to an interesting geographic feature of its host city, or near the site of an important event in history. Maybe there’s an interesting baseball connection, either with the home team or a ballplayer from the past. A significant local industry might have called that area of the city home at one point in time. I’m looking for the kind of name that will be unique to its home city, and one that can stand the test of time.

Some parks — Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Fenway and Wrigley — could never be anything else, of course, even if the origin of the name was commercial. It’s also worth allowing that some corporate names are better than others. If the park — like Citi Field or Sun Trust Park — had never existed without a different name, sure, it has as good a claim as anything else. But can we not agree that Shea Stadium II or Henry Aaron Park would be better?

It’s a fun thought exercise if nothing else. If you feel like exercising your thoughts along these lines, go submit some nominations. They’ll eventually be narrowed down and voted upon.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.