That’s a photo from ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla of the changes the White Sox have made to the facade of the stadium behind home plate. The retired numbers have been moved, and the first thing I notice when I look is that space between Luis Aparicio’s 11 and Ted Lyons’ 16. It’s as if they’re saving that spot for a certain 14.
There’s another change that’s not so obvious, though.
While looking at the photo, did you notice that it doesn’t say US Cellular Field anywhere? It says “Home of the Chicago White Sox” and then the level below doesn’t say anything between a few mentions of the Home Plate Club.
You may remember, or you may never have known, that US Cellular announced it was leaving Chicago and other midwest markets near the end of 2012. Sprint was going to take over what it had.
Now, at the time the company said the name of US Cellular Field would remain, and US Cellular signed a deal in 2003 that gave them naming rights for 20 years at the low, low price of $68 million.
But wouldn’t you think those naming rights include having the words US Cellular Field in as many places as you can? It’s always been there before.
And I can’t help but think The Cell will have a new name soon enough. Not putting the name of the park behind home plate is a conscious decision, obviously, and if you’re US Cellular, it would make sense to end the deal.
What exactly is the point of spending all that money to advertise your product in a market that doesn’t have access to your product?
I believe a change is coming.
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