Optical/IP Networks

Two Strikes on Cisco

5:00 PM -- Well, I don't have to go down to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and set anything on fire yet.

My biggest fear in the whole Cisco/Oakland A's deal is that they'll call the team the "Silicon Valley A's." But the A's are being smart by not announcing anything yet.

The name is "a consideration that's way down the road, except for one item: In the name will be 'Of Fremont,' " A's owner Lew Wolff said during today's press conference announcing Cisco Field. "That's a decision we're not gonna make for at least two or three years."

So, we're not out of the woods yet. "Oakland A's of Fremont" is dumb but liveable. "Silicon Valley A's of Fremont" would be just wretched.

I'm not the only one ranting, by the way. "Of Fremont" got an immediate thumbs-down from the folks at Athletics Nation, with comments like "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

The plan announced today would have the A's buying the Fremont land from Cisco for a stadium and retail complex; some of the land would also go to residential. Cisco would get a 30-year naming rights deal for Cisco Field.

Cisco CEO John Chambers got to speak, and he was, amazingly, exactly the same as he is during Cisco keynotes. Baseball press conferences are as formal and stiff as any other type, but Chambers really sank it with Silicon Valley jargon about things like "catching market transitions" -- who else describes a baseball field that way?

Asked how the deal benefits Cisco, his first words -- first words! -- were: "If you really look at where technology is going to go, it's going to be data, voice, and video combined..." John, it's baseball! Live a little!

Could Cisco be powerful enough to suck all the fun out of a ballgame? I doubt it, but you gotta wonder.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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