Perplexed. Bewildered. Confounded. These are how the masses are feeling after learning that the Chicago White Sox renamed their stadium from US Cellular Field ━a moniker that earned it the adorable nickname of “The Cell” ━ to the slightly less inspiring Guaranteed Rate Field.
It has become commonplace in the sports world to hear of venues being renamed, with their rights auctioned to the highest bidder.
Often ━ especially lately, with the christening of stadiums such as the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and Jobing.com Arena in Glendale ━ that new name turns a few sorrowful heads from fans who yearn for the days of venues like Candlestick Park and the Montreal Forum.
This week’s news that the erstwhile Comiskey Park (which it was named before the switch to US Cellular), that famed diamond on Chicago’s South Side, would be known as Guaranteed Rate Field for the next 13 years drew ire from both professional journalists and Twitter users (rd: everybody).
We toned a sample of the nearly 800 relevant online news items that appeared over the past two days, and a few things stand out.
The first is that not a single article viewed Guaranteed Rate Field as a good name. The closest the online media came to that was one article, run in such accredited outlets as The New York Times, USA Today, and the San Francisco Chronicle, which included multiple quotes from key stakeholders from the team and sponsoring company praising the renaming.
Negative press, on the other hand, was much more direct in how it shared its feelings:
“Stadium names don’t get much clumsier…” – Deadspin
“You Don’t Have To Call It Guaranteed Rate Field” – Deadspin
“That’s Guaranteed Rate as in Guaranteed Rate Inc., a mortgage company whose headquarters is located in Chicago. Whether that local flavor helps offset the oddness of the name … well, no, it almost certainly doesn’t. Sorry, folks.” – CBS Sports (Online)
“Stadium name will make you laugh, guaranteed” – CBS Sports (Online)
“Guaranteed Rate’s logo has an arrow pointing down, a direction teams try to avoid.” – Boston Herald (Online), San Diego Union Tribune (Online), The Washington Times (Online)
“Shields gives up 2 homers, White Sox lose to Phillies 5-3” – Boston Herald (Online), San Diego, Union Tribune (Online), The Washington Times (Online)
“There are some bad stadium names out there…but the White Sox may have just topped the list.” – Yard Barker (Online)
“White Sox have a new and very bad stadium name” – Yard Barker (Online)
“The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…” – Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch (Online)
“5 Stadium Names the White Sox Should’ve Chosen Instead of Guaranteed Rate Field”– Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch (Online)
Even the city’s premier newspaper couldn’t bring itself to take the diplomatic approach:
“Whatever national mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate paid to replace U.S. Cellular Field as naming sponsor, it couldn’t have been enough for what looks to be the clumsiest venue name in major American pro sports…The White Sox used to pride themselves on “winning ugly.” Now they’ll have an unattractive ballpark name to match. Guaranteed Rate Field is both generic and way too specific.” – Chicago Tribune (Online)
“Low interest at Guaranteed Rate Field? OK. Now I get White Sox park name” – Chicago Tribune (Online)
Sentiment toward the White Sox and the Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Company haven’t been any better on Twitter.
Wait they actually changing it to GUARANTEED RATE FIELD?!?! Lmfao that’s a terrible name ?
— mama laila (@LaiL0VE) August 25, 2016
Do sports owners/organizations have no shame? How do you agree to name your park Guaranteed Rate Field and not hate yourself inside?
— Mike Fagan (@ItsMikeFagan) August 24, 2016
Every morning I wake up and thank the Lord and my parents that I was raised a CUB fan!! Guaranteed Rate Field????? Oh my!!
— Greg Kowieski (@gkowieski) August 25, 2016
Things reached such a pitch, that #BetterSoxStadiumNames actually started trending. Our favourite?
— Howard Riefs (@hriefs) August 24, 2016
When the din dies down, as it inevitably will, Sox fans will no doubt learn to live with the name.
They’ll have to, since it’s not changing until at least 2030. ?
photo credit: pantagraph.com