I was startled but not surprised when I saw the news on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon:
NEWS: @MizzouAthletics Unveils Premium Seating Area Left Field Lounge Club at #Mizzou Baseball https://t.co/9GKWAeAa31#MIZ #C2E ⚾ pic.twitter.com/WTFk10tahv— #MizzouBaseball (@MizzouBaseball) January 11, 2017
Yes, hidden in lower case italics amid the ALL CAPS in that line at the bottom of the graphic is the most important part of this announcement:
Mizzou Baseball and the Mizzou Department of Athletics is happy to announce the unveiling of a new premium seating option at Taylor Stadium, which will officially open March 3 in Mizzou's home opener against Illinois-Chicago. The area will be known as the Left Field Lounge Club and will offer premium menu items and the ability to purchase alcohol.
Season membership to the Left Field Lounge is just a $100 donation to the Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF). Those looking to purchase access on a single-game basis will donate $20/game to TSF to enjoy the Left Field Lounge. Fans also must have a ticket to each game regardless of having a season or single-game membership to the club.
Is this a good thing? Probably.
I’m not the target audience. Despite my somewhat prodigious beer-belly (it’s actually a Coke belly), I’m a tee-totaler.
But I’ve been told my many, many folks - including the numerous beer aficionados among the RMN crowd - that a baseball game without beer is a crime. Attendance at Taylor Stadium, they say, would be greatly improved if a fan could get a beer.
And I like that the libations will be limited to a specific section.
I like this. More people at the ballpark...and the beer guzzlers are somewhere besides Section E #winwin https://t.co/jCCW9IXoWi— TR Robertson (@trripleplay) January 12, 2017
There were some instant responses from some Mizzou fans, including a practical question.
It's finally happening. Beer at Simmons Field! https://t.co/Xd3AJrFuI9— MU on the Diamond (@mizzou_hardball) January 11, 2017
January 11, 2017
But wait, isn’t there already a well known Left Field Lounge in college baseball?
Yes, Mississippi State’s Left Field Lounge is well known throughout college baseball. And fans of the Bulldogs are not happy with Mizzou “borrowing” the name.
Judging by my mentions Miss St fans don't approve of Missouri using same name for beer lounge.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) January 12, 2017
@Dave_Matter plz educate anyone who will listen @ the institution you cover w/ this picture and kindly explain there's only 1 LFL. pic.twitter.com/qDIWZhbvBE— William Jackson (@wlmjackson) January 12, 2017
@Dave_Matter imagine if we started a rowdy basketball group called the Antlers....— missouridawg (@missouridawg3) January 12, 2017
@MizzouBaseball @MizzouAthletics THIS IS THE LEFT FIELD LOUNGE and Just because you add "club" to the end of it, doesn't make it yours. pic.twitter.com/keGJDayxnv— Stefan Balcer (@skbalcer) January 12, 2017
@MizzouBaseball @MizzouAthletics best of luck. The real Left Field Lounge reigns supreme. #carnegiehallofbaseball #DudyNoble #HailState pic.twitter.com/f2ZGIarCYE— Jessica Blair Golden (@jblagolden) January 12, 2017
@Tyler_Greever Ms States The Left Field Lounge started out in the 1960s.— Mike Walker (@MikeWalker03) January 12, 2017
Left Field Lounge? Next thing you know they will be the Missouri Tigers and copy LSU and Auburn https://t.co/plq3xy2MrQ— SixPackSpeak (@sixpackspeak) January 12, 2017
One Mizzou fan and RockMNation regular had this to say about all that:
@charlespcoutts Yes it would be rude. And yes they're quite proud of that fact— TR Robertson (@trripleplay) January 12, 2017
RockMNation’s sister site, For Whom the Cowbell Tolls, jumped into the fray, with (cow)bells on:
HEY @MIZZOUBASEBALL IS COPYING THE LEFT FIELD LOUNGE AND THEY CAN CATCH THESE HANDS RIGHT NOW https://t.co/6erohm1ZuD— FWtCT (@mstatesports) January 12, 2017
From the FWTBT article, subtly entitled Mizzou is Openly Copying the Left Field Lounge from Mississippi State Baseball:
The Left Field Lounge is something that is unique to Mississippi State baseball. It is a well known tradition and is something that is sacred to Bulldogs everywhere. It’s something that is unique to the “Carnegie Hall of College Baseball.” Sure, there are imitations elsewhere, and that’s fine. But nobody has outright copied in name.
Until, well, Missouri. Missouri is outright copying the Left Field Lounge. And they’re pretty damn proud about it.
Ever the voice of reason, I tried to inject some common sense into the donnybrook.
@Dave_Matter it's in the left field. Calling it the Right Field Lounge would make no sense— TR Robertson (@trripleplay) January 12, 2017
The final word, though, may be something like this:
Last tweet got me thinking what Mississippi State has trademarked. Here is a list. pic.twitter.com/1S2WMdTgwf— Jason Edwards (@JBE00) January 12, 2017
Later today, though, there were some hints on Twitter that perhaps Mississippi State doesn’t actually have a trademark on that name. We’ll see.
I can sympathize with the argument that Mizzou has ripped off the name. The promotional brain trust at Mizzou Athletics - and Mizzou Baseball in particular - have not been renowned for their cutting edge creativity in the area of naming things. But surely they could have found some rich donor to subsidize this thing and slap it with the name of their daughter or dog or a thinly veiled reference to their beverage company.
It’s unbelievable that whoever at Mizzou decided to go with the name “Left Field Lounge” wasn’t aware this wouldn’t go over well in the land of cowbells. Or that they didn’t check to see if it was trademarked.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter,
From what I understand, Mizzou submitted a handful of ideas to the powers that be and that's the one the decision makers liked, most likely without any idea that the name already exists in Starkville. (Let's be honest, it's not like Left Field Lounge was all that catchy and clever to begin with.)
Since it appears the lawyers at MSU may be telling the lawyers at MU to cease and desist and rename, I have a few ideas for better names for the new den of iniquity:
- The Lance Edwards Memorial Lounge. Anyone who was at Taylor Stadium in the early to middle 2000’s will recognize that name and understand why it’s appropriate. The denizens of the Lance Lounge could develop a tradition in his honor, shaving the jersey numbers of their favorite players into their back hair. Extra points for conducting the shaving ritual during the game.
- Zou Brew, a name recommended by an incensed Mississippi State fan on Twitter
- Or better yet, #HailZou, as tweeted by @mizzou_hardball
- Seriously, though, I’d vote for Norm’s Place, an idea I floated a few years ago, in honor of former Mizzou pitcher Norm Stewart.
I’m sure you can come up with some suggestions of your own.
Call it what you will, it may indeed succeed in bringing larger crowds to watch the new Steve Bieser brand of Mizzou Baseball.
I’m wondering, though, if those beer-loving fans are expecting too much.
Jack Peglow waxed poetic about beer and baseball on RockMNation earlier today:
There are few things in life better than taking in a baseball game on a warm, sunny day with an ice cold drink in hand. For Mizzou fans, this beautiful scene could only be experienced off campus. Away from the friendly confines of Taylor Stadium. It was truly a sad time. But now, that’s all about to change.
Mizzou fans need to realize this isn’t going to be like enjoying beer and baseball at Busch or Kauffman in June and July. Taylor Stadium is still going to be at least 10 degrees colder than anywhere else in town, especially during the long March homestand.