Baseball Is Life: Do You Take That Deal?

They’ve finally done it, haven’t they– the neighbor of Great American Ball Park, Paul Brown Stadium, has up and sold out.

How many of you are going to continue to refer to it as Paul Brown Stadium? Or do what we’ve done for pretty much the last two decades, and simply differentiate with “the Reds Stadium” and “the Bengals stadium,” leaving the broadcasters to issue the ads?

The only surprising thing about this development downriver is that it took so long. We shrug and maintain that “Great American Ball Park” isn’t nearly as undignified as it could be– some poor minor league team in Colorado plays at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and the White Sox play not at Comisky, but Guaranteed Rate Stadium– but the point here is that we can comfort ourselves that no one really uses the official names anyway.

Absolutely no one but official sources refer to Riverfront Stadium as Cinergy, as well as it should be. But we saw this coming with our football team, did we not, seeing the need for protection for our quarterback, not to mention the outlay associated with keeping the quarterback himself? The problem with building a winning team, we have been reminded, is the high cost of maintaining the winning team.

Several suggestions were issued for the renaming of Paul Brown Stadium (my personal favorite: Harambe Field at Gorilla Glue Stadium) but these were all in jest, as we are all well aware that we’re going to do as we’ve always done before : They’re the Reds stadium, and the Bengals stadium, and that is that.

Quick: What’s the official name of Riverfront Coliseum these days? You don’t know. You don’t know because it’s The Coliseum, and you stopped keeping track of two name changes ago.

We’re going to wince seeing the lovely Art Deco PAUL BROWN STADIUM replaced with a corporate logo, but there’s no way around it. We keep the name or the winning team. We cannot have both.

Do you want the name or do you want the ring? Pick, sports fans.

It’s interesting that the Reds have managed to hang on to the Great American name this long; stadiums in larger cities have swapped one name for another several times, but there’s never been so much of a whisper of a stadium re-sell out in Reds Country.

This shred of dignity, which we do not appreciate enough, I admit, is precarious. It’s been with us so long that sometimes we forget that our ball park is a giant commercial at all. And maybe we don’t truly value the maintenance of the name because – well, we call it exactly what we did when we had Cinergy Field and Riverfront Stadium. It’s “the stadium.” Does it really matter?

But consider that Bob does, in fact, Sell The Team. This new owner upends his or her wallet, but the cash cascading down upon a revitalized Reds team comes at the price of one giant PURE ROMANCE FIELD AT CHARMIN TOILET PAPER BALL PARK sign looming over the cityscape.

Do you take that deal, Reds fans?

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