Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the history of NFL teams playing in MLB ballparks, the cancelation of the annual MLB general manager meetings, the impending sale of the New York Mets, and a breakdown of the proposed Beloit nicknames on this week’s Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat.
In this week’s chat:
- Mick Gillispie is taking the week off: no power at Casa Gillispie because of Hurricane Sally.
- This is the first NFL season where this is the first year an NFL team is playing at an MLB ballpark, with the Raiders moving from the Oakland Coliseum to Las Vegas. Every team controls its own destiny; no more dirt gridirons, no more shared facilities, no more cookie-cutter stadiums. The days of the Chicago Bears sharing Wrigley Field was a different era, to be sure.
- A huge part of NFL history came about because of Major League Baseball. Witness Boston’s football history. The NFL Boston Braves played at Braves Field, but when the team moved to Fenway Park, the name was changed to Redskins—a name that survived a move to Washington. Now it’s the Washington Football Team. Similarly, the Boston/New England Patriots skipped between Fenway Park and the former Braves Field before building their own stadium in Foxboro, opening in 1971. It became the second NFL-only facility, after Lambeau Field.
- NFL facilities face a huge issue: the league plays on a limited schedule, but to address the economics NFL stadiums are now basically multiuse facilities, hosting a variety of events (like proms, weddings, and corporate gatherings) that have nothing to do with football. The same approach has been taken by MLB teams.
- MLB cancels the general managers meeting because of COVID-19 concerns. A surprising move: this is a limited event to begin with. The discussion then moves to the Winter Meetings and what this cancellation might mean.
- Steve Cohen finally lands the New York Mets in the most expensive-ever purchase of a North American sports franchise. Unlike the other bidders, who had explicit monetization plans, Cohen comes at the Mets more as a fan than as a businessperson. Look for a makeover of the team’s front office. Next season will be interesting, as Cohen’s purchase probably won’t be approved until November, so he won’t have a full offseason to make his mark on the team. The Mets could improve and still end up being last in the ultracompetitive NL East.
- We break down the five team names proposed for the Beloit Snappers makeover. Kevin and Jesse pick their favorites and also what they think the team will end up adopting—and they’re not the same.
- The Baseball Thesaurus term of the week: brass as a reference to the front office, and where it comes from: turns out it’s a military reference.
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and the author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus from August Publications. Mick Gillispie is the Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs. Kevin Reichard is publisher at August Publications and Ballpark Digest.