added 3/3/2002 by Raymond Desadier
I have no problem with advertising providing a large percentage of a major league team’s revenue. I find nothing wrong with billboards in the stadium and on the fences. If it weren’t for such ads the area where relief pitchers warm up would not have been dubbed a “Bullpen”.
But when it comes to the naming rights, this is where I draw the line. Let’s face it, who really likes it? I’ll bet Drayton & Co. don’t particularly care for the idea, but they like the additional revenue and lack the creativity to find it elsewhere.
For instance, why not increase efforts to build fan base. When I travel around Texas, I rarely see Astros merchandise selling anywhere outside of Harris County. I live in the East Texas piney woods, surrounded by baseball fans, but few of them root for the boys in black, brick and sand.
That silly excuse for a caravan they had about a month ago was a waste since it was secluded to Drayton’s backyard. What they should have done was hitch up and tour the entire state, touching the hearts of thousands of baseball enthusiasts in need of an affiliation. The net result would be more merchandise and ticket sales. I realize that this is merely pocket change compared to a naming rights deal, but why pass up on potential revenues?
Leaving the Astros Field label would be the first step toward gaining the good graces of the public by giving them what they want – an intimate, PERMANENT name. The naming rights game has proven disastrous on NUMEROUS occasions, so why make the same mistake twice?
Drayton McLane himself made the remark that back when the original agreement was made, they felt that Enron was “the perfect sponsor”. If the perfect sponsor ended up like this, what makes him think they will have better luck next time? I am a firm believer in the Law of Averages, but not when you’re using at as excuse to do something stupid.
There is no reason why that organization can’t stay afloat without a naming rights deal. If the management of the Houston Astros Baseball Club lacks the ability to do this, then it’s time for new blood – preferably some with common sense as well as business sense.
And when that time comes, be sure to send me an application.
Another name has suddenly joined the list of potential roster fillers. Alan Zinter has done well in the first two games of Grapefruit League play and his amount of playing time has to make one wonder if he has made quite an impression on manager Jimy Williams.
Sure it's still early and sure they needed somebody to play first base for the recovering Jeff Bagwell, but by my calculations, unless the Astros implement a platoon at both shortstop and third base, there is a vacant infield postition on the 25 man roster. I don't forsee the organization having any infield prospects wasting away on the bench, so that leaves a competition between Zinter and Tripp Cromer. Cromer has major league experience, but hasn't played pro ball since late 2000. Zinter clearly has the edge since he can play various positions and is also a switch hitter. Time will tell...