MLB

#SaveMillerPark

The newest phase in the ballpark naming rights saga...over a glass of spilled beer....and family insurance policies.

On January 22, the Associated Press reported that the home stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers will be getting a name change.

The stadium that has been known as Miller Park since opening in 2001 will now be sponsored by American Family Insurance.

Brewing company MillerCoors, with their headquarters located a mile or so from the stadium, had the naming rights, and it made sense. If you didn’t think about it, it didn’t sound like a beer company was sponsoring a baseball stadium.

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It could’ve been named after the Miller family, whoever that may be, much like Busch Stadium that’s named after the Anheuser-Busch brewing company. The Busch Stadium name has carried on from its inception when in 1953, Sportsman’s Park was renamed Busch Stadium after owner Gussie Busch.

With St. Louis, there is history there, but also, a beer company, like Milwaukee, holds the naming rights of the stadium. However, both don’t sound like such.

Stadium names change often. The former home of the Florida Marlins, known as Sun Life Stadium at the time of their departure, has had eight different names, including Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium and Dolphin Stadium. Apparently, it was tough to decide whether to use the plural or singular form of “dolphin”.

The Brewers are the third team this offseason to announce a stadium name change, joining the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. The Mariners announced that Safeco Field, its name since opening in 1999, would become T-Mobile Park.

The Giants announced that AT&T Park would become Oracle Park, the stadium’s fourth different name since opening in 2000.

Now, there are stadiums that will never change names: Dodger Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley, Yankee Stadium, Kauffman, Camden Yards, but for the rest of them, money is the name of the game and stadium naming rights is big money…except if you’re the Marlins and no one wants to sponsor your spaceship

It does get annoying when you’ve been calling a stadium one name and then you have to randomly call it something else.

I have a personal example of this.

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In 2017, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that they were changing the name of their spring training stadium, Bright House Field, to Spectrum Field after Bright House Networks was bought out by Charter Communications. It had been Bright House since the stadium opened in 2004.

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I’ve been going to Phillies spring training with my family for over a decade. The news was tough to take, so much so that it’s still Bright House Field to me. I even emailed down there to see if I could recover any part of the sign, but I was rudely rejected. Look at that new sign. It’s just so…boring and not inviting whatsoever.

I was very bummed. Then, it got worse when I found a blog post of a woman who went to the stadium on just the right day and left with actual letters from the sign. My heart sank after seeing that.

However, she didn’t take everything they had, which puzzled me because if this is the only time you will ever find an actual stadium name and letters from said sign, why wouldn’t you take everything? Turns out she lived in a small house nearby and taking everything would’ve been too much, but knowing me, I would’ve taken everything.

Also, the fact that the Phillies were literally throwing away history into a dump doesn’t make any sense either, but it is what it is.

But why even get attached to a stadium when you know it might change in a year, two years or a decade? It’s what happened during that time that people get attached to and with a name change, those memories fade away. And that matters…a lot.

With that in mind, Dane Zuchman created a petition on Change.org, Keep ‘Miller Park’ as the official name for the home of the Milwaukee Brewers”. Zuchman is asking for 50,000 signatures and as of right now, almost 42,000 people have signed it in about a day.

There has also been a GoFundMe page that was created by Peter Caldwell, “Keep Miller Park, Miller Park”, asking for $30 million to retain the stadium name.

If you are a Brewers fan and you support this cause, go sign your name and donate money. To see either succeed would be cool.

Side note: I spoke with the woman who got the letters. Her name is Betsy, or Baseball Betsy. Really nice woman. She still updates her blog, so look her up online when you get the chance.

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