We knew this day was coming, San Francisco Giants fans. So why all the fuss?
Last week, the team announced Oracle is the new title sponsor of their ballpark they’ve called home since the 2000 season, replacing the variously-named phone companies that have put their name on the stadium in a 20-year deal worth at least $200 million, per Bloomberg.
For all three parties, it’s business. The Giants get some cash, AT&T gets to readjust its focus elsewhere as desired and Oracle gets back some of the attention it’ll lose starting in the fall when the Warriors move across the Bay to the Chase Center.
Yet to some fans, after reading some of the posts on social media, you want to step outside for a few minutes just to confirm the sky has not fallen down.
To wit, or perhaps lack of wit: “Why can’t they still call it AT&T? Does Oracle have to have its name on everything? Can’t they just call it Willie Mays Field? Or Willie McCovey Park? Or Felipe Crespo Stadium?”
The deal with AT&T. which already sponsors sporting venues in San Antonio and Arlington, Texas, was slated to end after this coming season. So there’s that.
Oracle isn’t spending millions to not put its name on the yard.
And the Giants? Hey, maybe they’ll finally do more than pick up players off the waiver wire or Rule 5 draft or re-sign players from a team that hasn’t gotten the job done the last two years.
The fans? Get used to it.
The days of a stadium going by one name, such as Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium, are long gone in today’s anything-for-a-buck sports culture.
Even venerable Wrigley Field has not been immune from this, opening in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. It became Cubs Park in 1920 before the Wrigleys put their name on in in 1927.
And while San Francisco fans have seen Pac Bell Park morph into SBC Park, then AT&T Park, it’s been a gentle ride compared to other cities.
Fans in Miami first went to games at Joe Robbie Stadium when the Marlins came to be in 1993, only to see the name change to Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium and Sun Life Stadium before fleeing for Marlins Park in 2012. But that did not stop the latest change, to Hard Rock Stadium, in August 2016.
And while the name is new, the things we’ll always remember about the yard are still there: Three World Series titles, an All-Star Game, balls taking crazy bounces off the arches in right field, a game to remember by Matt Cain, a historic hitting display by Pablo Sandoval, and all the balls hit into McCovey Cove, to name a few.
Let’s just hope this history does not include the Raiders in their lame duck season in the Bay area.