Part of those experiences is sharing them with other fans, being able to say, "I've been to Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium, the Oakland Coliseum." Except, wait, what was that last one? That's right, it's now called McAfee Stadium. And when I go visit my friends in Seattle I can't visit The Kingdome, it's Safeco Field. And if (really big if) I ever visit Houston, I would go see the Astros play in Minute Maid Park, not the Astrodome. If (OK, never will happen) I visit Detroit, I'd have to go see the Tigers play in Comerica Park, not classic Tiger Stadium.
Advertising has always been a part of sports, but I clearly recall in my late teen years when it seemed like every ballpark suddenly had a corporate name. My stomach did turns when a power company bought the rights to Angel Stadium, home to my favorite team, calling it for a time Edison International Field of Anaheim. Fortunately, the name has since reverted back. What happened to simply naming the stadium after the team?
But this week I discovered that corporate sponsorship might actually be our savior from this economic funk we've been in. I credit the city of Sparks for giving me the idea when Mayor Geno Martini announced that the summer staple of the Sparks Hometowne Farmer's Market would now be sponsored by Cullen Dillard and Associates Wealth Management Co.
It's genius! All we have to do is find sponsors for all the various aspects of the recession and BANG! Before you know it, our troubles will be over. Allow me to make a few modest suggestions.
We'll need an overall sponsor, and rather than try to pin it all on one company let's just say this recession is brought to you by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Next, layoffs. Any time a company has to cut workers, they'll get Kinko's to print the pink slips and put the company logo in big letters on the bottom. Maybe even turn the back of the pink slip into a coupon so the jobless person can redeem it for 20 percent off all resume-printing services.
Next, the jobless people will be filing for unemployment, which lends to a couple of possibilities. Unemployment can lead to depression, so they can get the Zoloft or Prozac girls to set up a booth at the unemployment office and hand out free samples. Naturally, they will be dressed in wrinkled pajamas with bed head and won't have showered in two days. Also, people have to search for jobs while they receive benefits, so they can get Monster.com or Apple One or other job-finding companies to do recorded commercials to play on the phone when people call the unemployment hotline each week. And mobile phone providers like AT&T and Sprint can come up with the Jobless Package of wireless service, which includes free calls to the unemployment hotline.
For those lucky enough to get job interviews, the drive to the potential employer can be sponsored by Goodyear tires or Chevron gasoline. Jobless people can get their transportation subsidized by painting the company logo on their hood. When the person gets hired, the celebration can be sponsored by Brut champagne or by Miller, the champagne of beers. For all the rejections, have Everlast give out free punching bags so people won't take out their frustrations on their spouses or kids.
In the midst of all this, surely there are some opportunities for tourism dollars that the city of Sparks won't want to miss out on. Scheels can sponsor a race in which the winner gets a job. Maybe the Nugget and Western Village and other casinos can hold poker tournaments for people on unemployment, giving them a chance to double their weekly benefit. And hey, the city of Sparks' new tagline is perfect for recession sponsorship: "It's happening here."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to buy tickets to a game at Edison ... I mean the Big A.