CMGI Field

Joe Lavin's Humor Column

From The Boston Herald

Goodbye Foxboro Stadium, Hello Alphabet Field

January 26, 2002

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The New England Patriots have now played their last game at Foxboro Stadium, and I'm a little disappointed. It's not so much that I'll miss the stadium. By all accounts, the new one is impressive. I'm disappointed because next year, instead of playing at the simply named Foxboro Stadium, the Patriots will play at CMGI Field, which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Granted, it's their field, and they can name it what they want. Still, I cringe whenever I think of hearing Gil Santos have to say "Live from CMGI Field" next year, much as I cringe now when I hear announcers trip over such monstrosities as Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High or Florida's National Car Rental Center. Strangely, all these awkward names actually make one respect those owners egotistical enough to name their stadiums after themselves. I do realize these names are sometimes necessary to pay the bills. All I ask is that owners use common sense when choosing a company to sell out to. I didn't like it when Boston Garden was replaced by the FleetCenter, but at least Fleet is a local bank, and the name is reasonably catchy.

To prevent such clunky names in the future, I would like to present a few suggestions for owners to follow when naming new stadiums. Who knows? These might come in handy if a new baseball stadium for the Red Sox is ever actually built.

Your grandfather must have heard of the company and be able to explain what it does in one sentence or less. The new Ford Field in Detroit: Good. 3Com Park in San Francisco: Not so good.

It should be easy to give the stadium a catchy nickname for sportscasters to use. For example, Bank One Ballpark, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play, seemed like an awful name until I discovered it was nicknamed "The BOB." But what possible nickname can we give CMGI Field?

If taxpayers fund your stadium, you should have the decency not to sell the naming rights.

The stadium should be named after a local company that reminds one of the city. Busch Stadium in St. Louis, for example, is a good name. PSINet Stadium is not. (Quick, non-sports fans, where is PSINet Stadium?)

Hopefully, any new baseball park in Boston will be named after John Hancock insurance or Sam Adams beer or some other well-known company with a name that calls Boston to mind.

And, finally, please name the stadium after a successful company. It cannot be a good omen for the Patriots that CMGI stock has dropped 95 percent since the company announced that its name would go on the stadium. And I wonder how the Houston Astros now feel about playing at Enron Field after Enron's massive collapse.

Will they have to rename it Bankruptcy Field (not to be confused with Bankruptcy Court)?

Then again, this is just the sort of thing that might save Red Sox fans from some awkward ballfield name. Think for a moment about the frustrating history of the Red Sox. Will a major company really want to get involved with that?

If I'm a big-time CEO concerned with shareholder value, I'm going to think twice about putting my name on their park. After all, the Curse of the Bambino might be just strong enough to sink the company that names the stadium as well as the team. Will CEOs want to tempt fate like that? I think not.

Indeed, "New Fenway Park" is sounding increasingly realistic. And by the way, PSINet Stadium is in Baltimore.

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