It’s time to rename Nationals Park

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The name “Nationals Park” was supposed to temporary–a placeholder before some corporate behemoth threw millions of dollars at the Lerner family to rename it.

Well, timing is everything in life. When the stadium opened in 2008, corporate behemoths didn’t want to spend any money, much less the tens of millions it would cost to rename a stadium. And since then, the momentum to advertise on stadium names has somewhat slowed as corporations rethink the wisdom of naming rights.

So, here we are. Five years later and the home of the Washington Nationals is stuck with a bland and generic name. It’s well past time to rebrand and give the park a distinctive name–something known and associated with the team throughout the country.

Fenway Park is nationally known as the Red Sox home. Same with Wrigley. The words Camden Yards are immediately associated with the Orioles. Even the bland sounding Yankee Stadium is so established its distinctive; people just call it The Stadium.

Corporate names are not necessarily bad things, as long as they’re long term (example: Wrigley). It’s an added bonus if the corporation is uniquely associated with the city, like Busch Stadium in St. Louis or Target Field in Minneapolis. The worst case scenario is a short-term corporate name or a name forced to change due to bankruptcy or corporate buyouts (examples: Enron Field or Bank One Ballpark). Banks should be avoided.

In Washington D.C., the biggest “corporation” is the Federal government, and I don’t see them buying the naming rights to a baseball stadium. There are no other obvious corporate candidates associated with DC like Coors Brewing is associated with Denver, for example.

Nor am I hoping for a corporate name. Target Field sounds kind of cool, but most corporate names are lifeless like AT&T Park. I doubt the Indians fans enjoy the name Progressive Field, even though the company is based in Ohio.

The Nationals could opt for something distinctive to the city or location of the stadium. Capitol Park sounds cool. So does South Capitol Park, since the stadium is located on South Capitol Street.

My favorite idea is to simply rename the stadium National Park. It’s sounds cleaner and rolls of the tongue easier than Nationals Park. It also plays to the idea that the stadium is the home of the team playing the national game in the nations capital. It also honors history. Boundary Field (below) the home of the the Washington Senators from 1891-1911 was referred to as “National Park”. Dropping the plural from a stadium name isn’t unusual. The Orioles use Oriole Park in the name of their stadium.

Detractors might say a change is unnecessary, especially a small one like dropping the letter “s”. But sometimes the best changes are the simple ones. Doesn’t “Facebook” sound better than “The Facebook”?

We have Justin Timberlake to thank for that.

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6 thoughts on “It’s time to rename Nationals Park”

  1. Unfortunately, naming a baseball stadium in the middle of DC “National Park” will confuse tourists….who came to see the Jefferson Memorial… in a National Park.

  2. rookie has so much respect for the game u can see it. it doesn’t mettar if he trash talks or does bad calls in any game.. some of the up coming players need to learn a lot from rookie. not the way he plays but how he respects it..ps. BrooklynHandBall10 hey i dont know if ur the one recording the video but next time can u reserve a lot of battery just for the final it would be really appreciated.

  3. It’s hard to imagine where Lee County will come up with the money to make the Nats happy. Maybe some kind of “we’ll do things a little at a time over a few years” arrangement? Guess it depends on how badly the Nationals want out of Viera. I wonder who really has the leverage here. If the Nats REALLY want out of Viera, there aren’t a lot of apparent options that wouldn’t require building a new ballpark from scratch. But if Washington is willing to say they’ll just stay in Viera as long as it takes to get Lee County to give them what they want, it becomes Lee who’s got a poorer negotiating position as they sit there with a stadium that’s pretty much completely idle and really no other MLB franchises even reported to be thinking about moving at this point.It would make ST games dicey for the Cardinals, Marlins and Mets, for sure, but it would also do the same for the Gulf Coast League rookie teams. Those teams already just play teams within their division (East, North, South) and it would leave the East Division with just 3 teams. Maybe who you play isn’t as important as just getting innings in at that level, though.

  4. Reblogged this on Half Street Heart Attack and commented:

    The subject of the naming rights to Nats Park was raised in the Washington Post today. Last May, I advocated changing the name from “Nationals Park” to “National Park”. Eleven months later, I still feel that way. It just sounds better.

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