Rename Memorial Stadium at PSINet

City Diary

November 21, 2001|By John Dailey

MONTHS AFTER demolition began, many in Baltimore are still debating means for preserving a part of Memorial Stadium.

While some may think that people are debating the fate of bricks and mortar, much more is at stake: the commitment of a community to honor its war heroes.

As many know, the PSINet Corp. filed for bankruptcy and began selling off assets. In light of its demise, PSINet's naming rights likely will be sold or forfeited and its namesake stadium renamed.

That's an opportunity to preserve the essence of Memorial Stadium, and the Ravens organization should see to it that any new name for their PSINet facility includes the word "memorial."

As marketers can attest, shared and co-branded identities can prove valuable to the sponsors.

Had the purple stadium in Camden Yards been named "PSINet Memorial Stadium," it would have been accepted by the community quicker than the PSINet Stadium identity was by itself.

And it likely would have been equally, if not more, effective from a marketing standpoint.

Memorial Stadium still possesses a powerful and marketable identity that is fresh in Baltimoreans' minds.

It developed over 50 years and became part of the region's sports vernacular.

As home to the Colts and Orioles, Memorial hosted thousands of professional, college and high school competitions. Teams that played there were the subject of broadcasts, articles and conversations between friends.

Millions of fans streamed through Memorial's gates and shared in the excitement of competitive sports there.

And it is this good will that we should capitalize on.

In a ceremony that renames our purple stadium, we could recognize veterans of both world wars as well as those who fought in the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars and in the current Operation Enduring Freedom.

The taxpayers, who paid for the stadium's construction, would view the move as an important gesture and would establish the Camden Yards facility as the legitimate successor to the one on 33rd Street.

Communities need to honor their war heroes and the commitments of previous generations.

That's why the essence of Memorial Stadium must be preserved for those who follow us.

We need a creative solution that goes beyond simply erecting another wall; we need to keep the facility as part of our consciousness.

For the benefit of our veterans, we need to act now so "time will not dim the glory of their deeds."

Today's writer

John Dailey is an attorney and healthcare management consultant. He lives in Columbia.

City Diary provides a forum for examining issues and events in Baltimore's neighborhoods and welcomes contributions from readers.

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