Pac Bell? SBC? Take your pick

Pac Bell Park recently changed its name to SBC Park, much to the dislike of many Giants fans.

Originally Published: January 26, 2004
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

The name of San Francisco's stadium recently changed from Pacific Bell Park to SBC Park and many Giants fans are so upset you would have thought it was being changed to Dodger Stadium. There have been columns complaining about the name change in the local papers and a website has been created to rally support against the change.

Apparently, these fans really liked the name Pacific Bell, which the SBC telecommunications company acquired a couple years ago. Personally, I don't understand why one corporate name is more or less offensive than another. Some say the word "Pacific'' just fits with San Francisco's location, but I don't buy that, because fans rarely call it Pacific Bell. They almost always shorten it to Pac Bell, which far from evoking images of the Pacific waves crashing through the Golden Gate, sounds like just another corporate name.

Pac Bell Park
Getty ImagesPac Bell Park became the Giants' home ballpark in 2000.

The name of Anaheim's stadium also is changing, from Edison International Field to Angels Stadium of Anaheim. This is welcome news, partly because I never could understand why a utility company felt the need to advertise in the first place. Did anyone really watch an Angels game, hear the name Edison International and suddenly say, "You know what? I'm going to get me some of that electricity I keep hearing about.''

I never called it Edison Field, anyway, instead always referring to it as the Big A (much to the irritation of my copy editors). And that's what Giants fans need to remember. They can still call the stadium anything they want.

Although, in the Giants case, I would suggest calling it whatever the Giants want because it is their stadium. They built it the way they should, the old-fashioned way, by paying for it themselves. They should be rewarded, or at least obliged for not sticking the cost to the taxpayers. As one Bay Area reader wrote to me of the new name, "I hear people everywhere complain, 'It's soooo commercial.' And yes it is. Very commercial. But hello? Someone had to answer the call for a privately funded ballpark. ... Better that SBC put up the bucks than the taxpayers.''

But what about the other stadiums? What about all those stadiums that were built with public funds? What about the ballparks where the team's major financial contribution was limited to taking a huge check from a local corporation with too much money in its advertising budget? What about stadiums built by citizens that are named after companies that prove themselves to be both morally corrupt and bankrupt?

In those cases, I say to hell with the name on the stadium walls. It's time for fans to take back the names of their stadiums.

I've written screeds against corporate names before, but this time I want to hear from you. I want to hear from fans who hate the corporate name attached to the stadium they paid to build. I want to know what name you would rather call your ballpark instead of what some corporate suit in a luxury suite says you should call it.

Safeco Field
Safeco Field is named after a Seattle-based insurance and investments company.

If you think Tiger Stadium is a better name than Comerica Park, let me know. If you prefer Three Rivers to PNC, let me know. If you think Miller Park should be Robin Yount Field, let me know. Or if you're perfectly happy with Great American Ballpark or Coors Field, I want to hear from you, too.

I'll kick it off with some suggestions for the stadium in Seattle: Rainier Field (because of the nearby mountain), Cascade or Olympics Stadium (because of the corresponding nearby mountain ranges), Evergreen Fields, Seattle Park, Pioneer Diamond (playing off nearby Pioneer Square) or even, as one suggested to me four years ago, the Nie Haus (in honor of Seattle's superb broadcaster, Dave Niehaus). Don't like any of them? Feel free to send in your suggestions.

I'll sift through the responses for all the stadiums and pick a winner for each, then put them out there as possible alternative names.

Maybe the alternative names will catch on, maybe they won't. But the point is, you should feel free to name these stadiums anything you want. Because you paid for them.

Send your suggestions to cuffscaple@hotmail.com. I may use some responses in the column, but time constraints will restrict me from answering many e-mails personally.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com