View Full Version : Nuevo Nombre?

12-19-2001, 07:59 AM
From Today's Sun-Times

Fall of the Old Roman Empire?

December 19, 2001


Comiskey Park is a household name in baseball circles. Soon, White Sox fans might have to get used to another household name--literally.

The confidential Comiskey makeover that Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf shared with Mayor Daley last week includes a center-field scoreboard that reads, ''Welcome to Household Field.''

That's ''Household'' as in Household International, the 123-year-old financial company headquartered in Prospect Heights and better known to consumers as HFC. Sources close to the Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority acknowledge the team has discussed a potential naming-rights deal with Household.

They insist that no agreement has been finalized, that two other near-deals have fallen through and that premature publicity might kill this one, too. But if a naming-rights deal isn't in the works, why would the Sox show the mayor a rendering that says, ''Welcome to Household Field''?

''It was just to give the mayor some idea of what the stadium would look like with somebody else's name on it,'' said a team source, who asked to remain anonymous. ''You've got to put someone's name on it. So you take a shot on somebody who's a possibility.''

Household spokeswoman Megan Hayden did not return phone calls about the potential deal. Pressed about the status of talks with Household, the Sox official said the team should know more by the end of January.

''I'm not going to lie to you,'' the source said. "We have had discussions with a couple of people in the company. [But] there's been no discussion of [naming-rights fees]. There is no deal, and nothing is imminent.''

Three years ago, Reinsdorf raised the possibility of selling naming rights to increase the team's payroll and raise the $50million he needs to soften Comiskey's much-maligned upper deck. He called naming rights ''the trend these days'' in professional sports and said if the Sox ever do it, ''we'd like it to have a Chicago flavor.'' Reinsdorf also told the Sun-Times, ''If we had any intention of changing the name, [grandson] Chuck Comiskey would be the first person we'd call.''

Since then, the Sox have run the idea past Charles Comiskey III, and the reaction was one of resignation, if not approval.

''He understands,'' a team source said this week. ''He also knows that, somewhere in the facility, there'll be an appropriate tribute that recounts the history of the Comiskey family and the ballpark.''

Charles Comiskey III could not be reached for comment. Charles IV, great-grandson of Charles A. Comiskey, ''the Old Roman" who founded the team in 1900, didn't like the idea one bit.

''I would feel absolutely horrible, and so would half of Chicago,'' said Charles IV, 20. "The half that doesn't like the Cubs would be in a state of uproar.

''This is not some expansion team that's being sold for the highest dollar. My great-grandfather was one of the founding fathers of the American League. There's so much tradition in that name. I'm still upset that we don't own the team. The only thing we have left standing is our name on that national monument. The White Sox play at Comiskey Park. The Cubs play at Wrigley. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way we always thought it would be. Changing that name would be a sacrilege to baseball.''

It wouldn't be the first time, though. When Arthur Allyn Jr. purchased controlling interest of the Sox from Bill Veeck in 1962, Comiskey Park was renamed "White Sox Park,'' though it still was commonly referred to as Comiskey. The name officially was changed back to Comiskey Park when Veeck bought the Sox again in 1975.

Mayor Daley, a lifelong Sox season-ticket holder, reportedly was not thrilled when he saw the new name on the stadium rendering. But he also knows that without the tens of millions of dollars from corporate naming rights, the Sox have no way to finance Phase III of the Comiskey makeover.

It calls for lopping off eight rows of the upper deck, flattening the stadium roof and creating a home-run porch in right field that hearkens back to the days of old Comiskey Park. A grand entrance would be created on Wentworth in response to complaints that Comiskey lacks the glamorous entryway that's a fixture at other new stadiums. A center-field restaurant might be part of the mix.

''It's not preferable, it's not an ideal situation,'' said a top mayoral aide, who asked to remain anonymous. "But how else are they going to finance it? This plan needs to be financed.''

Twice before, the Sox were on the verge of selling the naming rights to Comiskey, only to have the deals fall apart. In one case, the CEO of an undisclosed corporation resigned two days after reaching an agreement with the Sox. In the other instance, the stock of an undisclosed company took a nose dive, dooming the naming-rights arrangement.

Sixty-two major-sport arenas have sold their names to private companies that collectively have coughed up $3.4 billion for the steady stream of publicity, according to records compiled by consultants who specialize in naming-rights deals. The Bears recently bowed to pressure from veterans groups and agreed to forfeit the $300 million they could have earned by selling naming rights to the renovated Soldier Field.

Earlier this month, the demise of Enron Corp. prompted a Wall Street Journal article about the ''naming-rights jinx''--a curious string of bankruptcies, stock plunges and corporate takeovers involving companies that affixed their names to sports stadiums.

That, coupled with a recent Barron's story that questioned whether aggressive accounting at Household International perhaps painted too rosy a picture of the company's finances, might spell trouble for the prospects of ''Household Field.''

Despite the stoic front Charles Comiskey III apparently has put up for Sox brass, Comiskey descendants hope the deal falls through.

''My great-grandfather would be rolling over in his grave,'' Charles IV said.

12-19-2001, 10:06 AM
You should have named this thread something else -- we non-Spanish speaking folks may see the thread as being "new number?"

Anyway, I'm not wild about the name "Household" anything, to say the least. But getting $ for changing the name to put in the changes that they need to put in is a necessary evil, it sounds like. It's just too bad the damned stadium couldn't have been built "cooler" to begin with. Our timing was awful.

12-19-2001, 10:13 AM
Does "Household Field" really have a Chicago flavor?

One other question, is the name Comiskey gonna be included somehow?

12-19-2001, 10:22 AM
The place should have been called Veeck Field IMO.

12-19-2001, 10:33 AM
Don't start me on Bill Veeck - he destroyed the Sox both times he got his hands on them.

I'm not as angry about this as I thought I would be - if they had tried to rename Old Comiskey Park, I'd be flying back to Chicago right now to protest. But the new park has no connection whatsoever to the Comiskey family, so it's not like we'd be destroying an old tradition. And if it makes the park a nicer place, then...

Although I will say that even the New Comiskey is a nicer place to watch baseball than the Oakland Coliseum, and the Coliseum's not too bad.

irish rover
12-19-2001, 12:40 PM
Household Field at Comiskey Park is do able. The whole area is changing now. The projects are coming down, they plan to redevelope the 35th and Halsted area, we need to get the city to approve out door seating Jimbo too

12-19-2001, 12:44 PM
I don't see what difference it makes. Nobody but Harrelson will call it Household anyway.

12-19-2001, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by Cheryl
I don't see what difference it makes. Nobody but Harrelson will call it Household anyway.

Whatever. If it puts some $$ on the table for the remodeling, it works for me. I like that a lot better than increased ticket prices...

12-19-2001, 01:15 PM
With all due respect to Charles the Fourth, the ballpark was officially known as White Sox Park for years. That's the name the Old Roman gave it the day it opened in 1910. The term "Comiskey Park" grew from a colloquiallism created by the sportswriters and fans. Comiskey himself coined the term "Comiskey's Baseball Palace of the World!" The sportswriters and fans simply shortened it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it Veeck who changed the name back to White Sox Park in 1960, after a feud with Charles the Second over control of the team? And wasn't it Veeck again who changed the name back to Comiskey Park in 1975 when be bought the team for the second time?

Household Field is fine with me. If 100 percent of the money goes towards fixing all of the mistakes in Reinsdorf's original design, it will be a beautiful thing.

12-19-2001, 01:25 PM
Anyone else think Chuck the 4th is just upset because his best pickup line got taken away before he is old enough to hit the bars?

I love it. Take the money and run...

Foulke You
12-19-2001, 01:41 PM
I thought it was Arthur Allyn who changed it to "White Sox Park". He also white washed the outside of the park, and put in artificial "Sox Sod" but that's another story. Veeck changed it back to Comiskey when he bought the team in the late 70s.

Personally, I'm kind've upset about the name changing. Seeing "HOUSEHOLD FIELD" on the big Comiskey scoreboard would just seem sacriligious to me. It just seems that they'd be stomping all over 100 years of White Sox history. We Sox fans don't have a lot of connection left from the team's first 90 years. A small little homeplate tribute to the old park in the parking lot, some nice photos and drawings in the concourses, and the name "Comiskey Park" is all we really have. Those architecture concept drawings did show some statues, so hopefully they'll do this. The Sox still have one of the most pathetic retired number displays in baseball. Put those numbers on the outfield wall or on the gridwork in the outfield on top of the billboards where they belong and where people can actually see them! I don't know, maybe I'm being nostalgic but they should exaust all avenues before selling out the name. Oh well, "Household" is better than "National Car Rental Center" like they have in Florida where the Panthers play. Also, didn't Reinsdorf say that they'd keep Comiskey in the name?

There goes that famous "Household" scoreboard going off after a homerun! Yuck.

12-19-2001, 01:53 PM
From what I've read of charles comiskey as a money-grubber, I would guess that if he had the opportunity to sell the rights for millions, Comiskey Park would have been named "GE Park" decades ago. I think it stinks though

12-19-2001, 02:02 PM
How long will it be before owners place ads on the back of the players ' shirts?

12-19-2001, 02:03 PM

Ahem, testing testing...

"And this is Mark Giangreco live from the empty seats at Household Field."

OK, gotta work on that delivery. I had it all worked out before they changed the name of this dump! Thank god the seats are still that familiar blue!

12-19-2001, 06:40 PM
I know Charles Comiskey is one of the founders of the American League and an icon to the Sox, but the guy was really cheap and did not treat his players well (which is partly why they threw the World Series in 1919 - to spite him).

I don't care about the name 'Comiskey Park' at all - I think the guy was a bum.

Household Field is fine w/ me as long as it means a better park, which means more revenue, which means we can get better players, which means we can finally win a World Series!

12-19-2001, 10:02 PM
It could be much worse: I remember when the Nooter Corporation was considering buying the rights to the TWA Dome (home of the Rams)

Can you imagine the NOOTER DOME?

12-19-2001, 10:21 PM
Originally posted by Paulwny
How long will it be before owners place ads on the back of the players ' shirts?

OMG! You had me rotflol at that one.


12-19-2001, 10:32 PM
How long will it be before owners place ads on the back of the players ' shirts?

What do you think the Champion logo is? Penn State gets all it's uniforms free from Nike because they went to Swish outfits.

12-22-2001, 06:37 AM
We aren't that far away from Baseball players looking like Nascar drivers...The idea was even floated a few years back...bad idea by the way...keep some dignity in the game....I saw the Washington Monument clear-up about 5 years ago was brought to us by Target, so if Target can get the rights to the Washington Damn Monument it probably won't be that long til some team is making a decent buck off the eight ads they can put on David Wells rear alone!

STP and Mcdonalds make fine products!

12-22-2001, 06:42 AM
Also, I have no particular attachment to the Cominsky name for the current park or to the Old Roman himself....Not a classy guy, so its tough to personify his name with class all these years later....People will still call it whatever they want, so you might as well take what they are giving...the White Sox need to be a middle reliever in this years FA crop and get way overpaid because people are willing to pay

Hey at least the press can stop bitching about that upper deck!