Locals may gaze across the landscape past the inexplicably lit-up-all-day-and-night Qwest sports facility and see that other Elysian field: Safeco, where the Mariners play. This week, in reference to the latter, we hear or read: "You will not be going to Liberty Mutual Field, I can assure you of that."
The assurance is courtesy of one Ted Kelly, chairman, president, chief executive and, for all we know, actuary-for-as-long-as-he's-expected-to-live of the above-mentioned company. Kelly was quoted thusly because Safeco Corp. has been purchased by his Boston-based group. Those of us who heard/read the insurance-oriented assurance may have accepted Kelly's claim. But maybe we also immediately wondered what Safeco Field will be called when it inevitably isn't Safeco Field anymore.
We wondered because, despite assurances (even insurance assurances), sports facilities, with certain exceptions, always seem to be renamed. Consider Minute Maid Park, formerly Enron Field, formerly Astro Field. Think of McAfee Coliseum, aka Network-Associates Coliseum and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The question that remains, then, would seem to be: When there no longer is a Safeco, what will we be calling Safeco Field? Certain opportunities clearly are gone. Nobody expects Chubby and Tubby Field, Twin Teepees Park or Herfy's Stadium. Amazon Field? Microsoft Park? Tom Douglas Stadium?
Some have thought since the stadium was imagined that "Dave Niehaus Field" would be appropriate. This was long before the from-night-one Mariners announcer was tapped for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The only problem: no apparent corporate payout for such a sentimental gesture. Even if it were to be a tear-stained decision, maybe "Ken Griffey Jr. Field" would be more appropriate, since the M's all-time greatest player often is cited (along with former Sen. Slade Gorton) as an indispensable entity in saving baseball in Seattle and spawning what announcer Rick Rizzs is fond of calling "the best stadium in baseball."
Offer your suggestion if you're willing. I don't actually have a favorite. A generic "The Yard" works, though it wouldn't surprise me to be sitting on my press-box perch someday soon and facing, from above the bleachers, a bright sign indicating . . . Liberty Mutual Field!