There is an upside to Tuesday’s official re-naming of the Braves’ home field, even if that name is complete gibberish and will be auto-corrected to something else each time you try to text a friend about going to a game.
While Tuesday was a setback for the English language, it was a victory for all who believe in fresh starts.
For today we can say with certainty that the Braves never have given up 10 runs in the first inning of a decisive postseason game at Truist Park. No other celebrating team has soiled the visitors’ clubhouse at Truist Park with spewing champagne and beer. Not yet. The Braves are unbeaten at Truist Park, whereas they lost 47 percent of the time over three regular seasons (130-113) at SunTrust Park.
Who knows? Maybe Josh Donaldson always dreamed of playing somewhere called Truist Park, and this will be the clincher in getting the third-baseman re-signed. Whoops. Seems like he just agreed to terms with the Twins, according to reports Tuesday evening. Guess he was more of a Target Field guy.
There is no history – good nor bad – associated with this quirky name shared by the financial institution that pays somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million annually to fly it over the Braves heads. This is what you get when SunTrust and BB&T banks merge, and some marketing company is paid ungodly sums to throw out random Scrabble tiles and arrive at a new brand name.
Truist is not a word. Truest is the superlative of true. A truism is something spoken at the ballpark when Brian Snitker is talking about the importance of moving a runner from first to third. A truant gets to the park really early at mid-week. And a tryst is something better engaged in at the hotel beyond center field. Don’t know what a Truist is.
But Truist is where you’ll be watching Braves home games this season. Tourists will still flock to Truist in the summer. Your Uber driver will get you as close to Truist as the authorities will allow.
Fans have between now and the April 3 home opener against the Marlins to become accustomed to the new name. They have months to get comfortable with it, the whole rest of the winter to recalibrate their gag reflex.
Honestly, it’s not like “SunTrust Park” was any kind of warm, fuzzy name upon which to cling. They’re just subbing one business handle for another, like switching out a strip-mall storefront from tattoo parlor to vape shop.
“It has a nice ring to it,” a Truist officer with a three-paragraph title said during Tuesday’s announcement. Thus did the man disqualify himself from any side hustle as a music critic.
In this “rebranding of the ballpark,” as Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller official termed it, nothing really changes, naturally. Those going to Truist Park are just as encouraged to do the chop as were those at SunTrust or Turner Field. Even if it might be time to come up with a new schtick.
Tapping into social media, it would seem a good number of people have jumped to the conclusion that this is a terrible thing and they will do everything possible not to utter the given name of the park until the next merger and another sign rises above it. Which could be momentarily.
Some sentimentalists wondered why Hank Aaron’s name didn’t somehow get folded into the renamed Braves park. But would it really be fair for such an icon to cough up $10 million a year for such an honor?
Oh, you meant the Braves would do this for free? C’mon, seriously? The current naming-rights agreement has 22 years left on it, perhaps we can revisit the topic around the 2040s.
One fan, who had an affection for the way Turner Field became semi-lovingly known as “The Ted,” even started an online petition to informally call the Braves current address “The Bank.” The never-Truist movement has well and truly begun.
(And no one can call this place “The Truth,” given the history of how it was smuggled into Cobb County to begin with.)
Classic baseball parks have classic, unchanging names. Yankee Stadium. Dodger Stadium. Fenway Park. Such historic place names are in dwindling supply, victims of corporate money grabs and the necessity to pay middling middle relievers several million a year. Today, so many stadium names just don’t resonate, no more than the average listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Atlanta, of course, is a hub of naming rights. There’s the stadium named after a luxury car company, the arena named after an insurance giant and now a ballpark that goes by whatever a Truist is.
In the compendium of modern awkward ballpark names, Truist Park now slides easily between Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland.
Rest easy in the knowledge that a park by any name is still a park. Call it whatever you want to; just enjoy the park part of it.
There is one horror to consider here, however. Should the Braves win a World Series anytime soon, are we really prepared for the wave of children born in the South – both boys and girls – who will bear the given name Truist?
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