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December 6th, 2013

MegaloMart Stadium

I've said it before, though not as much as Dad, but it's something we agree on: corporate naming of stadiums, arenas, and fields often kind of sucks. How much does it have to do with the place where the team pays, I mean plays? ("Pays" was a typo, but it's so weirdly nigh-apropos a typo that hell, I'm keeping it.) How much do Staples or CitiBank -- or, I kid you not, Kentucky Fried Chicken -- have to do with sports, or the people who play them? It's a symptom of the attitude of "you only matter if you make lots of money." And there's so rarely any case where a company says "We'll pay to name it after someone, or some place," but I so wish that could happen.

Portland's last major bastion of "We call it what we want," the Rose Garden, is now the Moda Center; a friend of mine who works at Fox Sports Radio (AM 620) here in town has admitted that they use the name on air only because they have to. Though at least Moda Health has offices here. (By the way, Moda Health is formerly ODS, which I pronounced "Odious" partly because a friend worked for a deeply difficult boss there...and partly because "ODS"/"odious" sounds so right.) I kind of want to think it's a slight revolt that the arena's attempt to get people to chat "Mic-Key-Dees" when the Trail Blazers score 100 points and win everyone in the area free McDonald's Egg McMuffins has been greeted by people instead chanting "Cha-Lu-Pa!," which they used to chant when they'd get coupons for free Taco Bell chalupas instead, but replacing one fast food-ish corporate behemoth with another fast food-ish corporate behemoth isn't exactly, you know, punk.

One of the NFL's last named-for-someone places, Lambeau Field, is still named for Curly Lambeau. There is a plan to potentially sell the naming rights (and now I wonder how much corporate naming rights often sell for), though the Green Bay Packers do want and hope to keep it Lambeau Field. If the "a company pays to name a stadium after someone" thing happens, it'll most likely happen here.

However, I've also said this: I kind of like that the St. Louis Rams enclosed stadium is known as Edward Jones Dome, because there's a chance of something I like: that people shorten that to "The Jones Dome." AND I JUST LIKE THE SOUND OF "THE JONES DOME." Sounds slang-y.

And now I'm slightly sad that the "corporate naming rights" era didn't start early enough for a stadium to be named for the food-making behemoth with the ads that said "We're Beatrice..."