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Miller Park will become ‘American Family Field’

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As we wrote last year, this year will be the last year the Milwaukee Brewers play in Miller Park. No, they’re not getting a new building. The old building is getting a new name, as the naming rights deal MillerCoors (or whatever they were called then) bought when the park opened expires following the 2020 season. The new name as of January 1, 2021:  American Family Field.

From yesterday’s official announcement:

“The name American Family Field incorporates what we learned from fans, the Brewers and marketing research that included analysis of our brand and other sporting venue names.”

That’s rather corporate-speaky, but at least “American Family Field” sounds at least kinda organic if you forget for a moment that it’s an insurance company. Kind of how like Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati or Progressive Field in Cleveland work as both corporate names and descriptors that, at least arguably, sound organic. Really: I have met people who didn’t realize the Reds pay in a park named after an insurer. They just assumed it was a really great, totally American ballpark. It’s almost quaint in this day and age. Certainly better than some other really, really ridiculous ballpark names I could mention.

At the risk of further romanticizing corporate naming rights, I’ll say that I’m at least a little sad to see the moniker “Miller Park” go.

The big beer company that was once based in St. Louis no longer owns the Cardinals, but it’d be weird for them not to play in “Busch Stadium.” Coors Field, likewise, seems appropriate for the Rockies, partially because it’s the only name that ballpark has ever had, partially because both the Rockies and Coors are so strongly identified as Colorado institutions. The same could be said for Miller Park. Miller is no longer a Milwaukee company — it’s based in Chicago — and none of these other beer companies have been local concerns for ages and ages, but Miller was the name of the stadium housing the only baseball team which is specifically named as a nod to the brewing industry. It just seemed right somehow. Baseball goes with beer and beer goes with Milwaukee, ya know?

But that’s just me romanticizing water, hops, yeast and barley. Beyond that, the march of time — and the payment of millions by other entities — goes on.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.