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Braves will probably be playing in ‘Truist Park’ soon

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Back in February news broke that Charlotte, North Carolina-based BB&T bank was going to buy SunTrust Bank, creating the sixth largest bank in the country. Since then the people in charge of spinning all of that have cast it not as an acquisition but as a “partnership of equals” or whatever, and the upshot of it all was that the combined bank was going to get a new name.

Yesterda that new name was announced: “Truist.” No, that’s not a real word, but I suppose that’s nothing new in corporate America. If you doubt that, I have an Altria and an Accenture to show you. What does “Truist” mean, anyway?

The name underscores BB&T’s and SunTrust’s reputations for trust, transparency and honesty, Dontá Wilson, BB&T chief digital and client experience officer, told the Observer this week. “Truist really is conveying a message that we’re going to stay true to our legacy,” he said.

The name also reflects the new bank’s plan to provide better technology to customers, Wilson said.

OK. It’s your bank, dudes. Call it what you want. To me it sounds more like “truism,” though, which is a statement that is inherently cliched, obvious and banal and is thus almost not worth repeating, but what do I know? I just deal in words for a living.

I don’t much care about bank names, but this one is relevant for us because one of the bank names disappearing due to the new appellation happens to be the name of a major league ballpark.

While there has been no official announcement yet, it seems inevitable that the Braves, the current tenants of SunTrust Park will, eventually anyway, play in “Truist Park” or “Truist Field” or “Truist Stadium” or something, because that’s how naming rights work. Maybe the Braves were wise enough to ask for an out or a veto in the event of a name change when they negotiated their original naming rights deal with SunTrust, but given that they’re willingly calling their new spring training park “CoolToday Park” they don’t seem terribly hung up on, you know, not playing in ridiculously-named buildings.

At this point, let us review the history of ballpark names for this venerable franchise:

  • 1915-1952: Braves Field — Classic. Park named after the team. Doesn’t get any simply than that.
  • 1953-1965: Milwaukee County Stadium — This is good too. It’s descriptive. Illustrates who actually built, paid for and owned the park, too, which is a bit of honesty no one seems all that interested in today.
  • 1966-1996: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium — Same deal. Not flashy, but you knew where you were at least.
  • 1997-2016: Turner Field — Maybe you like Ted Turner, maybe you don’t, but he was the most important and influential owner in team history and that’s a common practice in baseball history.
  • 2017-?: SunTrust Park — Maybe “Turner Field” was also some corporate naming too, as Turner was the name of a company and a man, but this was the first foray into fully-blown corporate naming. Like most of them it was pretty inoffensive and, at the very least, had some sort of vaguely positive imagery in that corporate name. Sort of like how “Great American Ballpark,” “Progressive Field” and even “Citi Field” serve double duty as corporate names and basically passable words to say before “Field” or “Park.” Stuff you get used to quickly.

Before 1915 they played some games in Fenway Park and I suppose “Fenway” is not a real word either, but let’s let that go for now. Let us, for now, focus on the fact that the future now holds “Truist Park” or some such and I don’t care how many times Chip Caray or someone says it, it’s gonna sound kind of dumb as applied to a baseball stadium on both first, thousandth, and ten thousandth reference.

Personally I’d forego the middle-reliever salary the bank is paying each year for naming rights and name the ballpark after Hank Aaron. But hey, if the checks clear, why would the Braves care?

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.