Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is clearly in the “building momentum” part of his new-stadium campaign: After making a nearly endless list of possible stadium sites (without discussing yet how any of them would be paid for, because that gets people thinking about price, and you always want to avoid that as long as possible), Rays execs have now launched a website called ballparkreimagined.com where fans can chime in on what they want to see in a new stadium.
The site offers two places to enter your comments, the first being the prompt “I imagine…” and room to write anything you want. Among the featured comments are “I Imagine An Intimate, Waterfront Ballpark That Will Be Here For Years To Come” and “I Imagine A Retractable Dome Because Of The Unpredictable Summer Weather,” which leads me to believe that the comments are being edited heavily, both to ensure that everyone uses proper initial-caps style and to edit out “I Imagine DEEZ NUTS.”
The second poll is a multiple-choice one: “What words describe the ballpark you imagine?” The options are:
Leaving aside that this sounds like a list of rejected Divergent factions, you’ll note that they’re all characteristics that a team owner would stress in their marketing materials — there’s no “Privately funded” or “Easy to get to” or “Affordable tickets” on the list. (Yeah, I know “Affordable tickets” isn’t an adjective, but neither is “Icon.”) And sorry, no write-in adjectives allowed.
Ultimately, this is a website-as-push-poll, where in the guise of soliciting fan opinion, the Rays ownership is selling how totally awesome it would be to have a new breathtaking, cutting-edge stadium. They might even eventually incorporate a couple of fan-submitted ideas — judging from the video on the site, something including a place to play catch on the beach, and a barbershop where you can get a Rays-colored mohawk — but the real point of this is what they’re selling you, not what you’re telling them.