We’re not getting worked up over the new name for the Rangers ballpark, are we?

45 Comments

The Rangers’ ballpark has a new name: Globe Life Park in Arlington. It’s named after the Globe Life insurance company. Based on what I’ve seen from Twitter and the comments from the earlier post on the matter, it’s not going over too well. It’s either too dull, too lame, too corporate or too whatever else you can think of.

And I really can’t get too worked up over any of this.

The two most venerable ballparks in baseball are named after a gum company and an insurance company. Oh, you didn’t know that about Fenway Park?

[Red Sox owner John] Taylor claimed the name Fenway Park came from its location in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, which was partially created late in the nineteenth century by filling in marshland or “fens“,[10] to create the Back Bay Fens urban park. However, given that Taylor’s family also owned the Fenway Realty Company, the promotional value of the naming at the time has been cited as well.

How about all three iterations of Busch Stadium?

The brewery originally wanted to name the ballpark Budweiser StadiumFord Frick, then Commissioner of Baseball, vetoed the name because of public relations concerns over naming a ballpark after a brand of beer—an ironic stance, given all baseball clubs’ significant revenues from beer sales. However, the Commissioner could not stop Anheuser-Busch president August Busch, Jr. from renaming it after himself, and so he did . . .

Most ballparks have corporate names now or, like Fenway and Wrigley, have some commercial history to the name. The ones that don’t are Angels Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Marlins Park, Nationals Park, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Turner Field is named after Ted Turner, but his name was on the company which owned the team, so it’s hard to say which way that cuts.

The Angels had a corporate name in the past but reverted. They — and I presume Marlins Park and Nationals Park — would go corporate if the right deal came along. Maybe Orioles Park too. I’m guessing only Yankees, Dodgers and Kauffman would eschew a name-change on principle (or because their brand is bigger than any potential corporate partner’s brand). Turner Field only has a couple of years left and I’d bet my children that the Braves go with a corporate name for the new place.

But I don’t think the jokes made at Globe Park’s expense are because it’s corporate per se. Everyone knows most stadiums have corporate names now. Most people are just mad because it sounds funny. Or flat. But I can’t get too worked up over this either because just about every corporate-named ballpark sounded funny when we first heard it. We just got used to it.

We have Petco Park, which is frankly ridiculous when you think about it. There are two parks named after orange juice. “Comerica” is not a word. Do you know anyone who even uses U.S. Cellular? Really, only the parks named after beer and Great American Ballpark — which a lot of people probably don’t realize is named after an insurance company — sound sort of natural. The rest is just a mishmash of telecom and banking and stuff.

I predict people will joke about Globe Park in Arlington for a couple of days. And will make note of its awkwardness for the first two days of the season at most. And then we’ll just get used to it until the next silly corporate park name comes along.

Or, better yet, we’ll just keep calling it The Ballpark. Those guys at Globe aren’t paying us, after all. So why should we dance to their tune?

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
3 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.