Are you ready for a new Cleveland Indians?
That is to say, are you ready for a new name?
As I covered in December, the ball club decided to ax the Indians for something less…ax-worthy.
Over the summer, the organization released a statement about responsibility:
We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality. Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.
We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice.
With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.
While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the excitement of an unprecedented 2020 season, we recognize our unique place in the community and are committed to listening, learning and acting in the manner that can best unite and inspire our city and all those who support our team
It wasn’t such a shock. In 2018, the Indians opted for — in the words of The Daily Wire — “a scaled-back (mascot) Chief Wahoo presence.”
This is a Dick’s Sporting goods in Beachwood. Chief Wahoo has definitely not gone away pic.twitter.com/aAnri9kcct
— Matt (@MattyAlew) July 3, 2020
And now, ultimate responsibility nears us.
As reported by ESPN, the franchise is narrowing its “final list” of superior monikers.
On Thursday, the Indians said it’s largely shaved down the initial batch of 1,198 proposals.
After months of research and conversation with fans, the end is nigh.
Per ESPN, following “feedback from meetings with community leaders, local influencers and staff members, the team concluded the new name needed to connect with the city, preserve the team’s history and unite the community.”
Team Vice President of Communications Curtis Danburg talked it up:
“We’ve engaged our fans and community on many aspects of our team name process. We felt it was important to share our research journey and what we’ve learned so far.”
The rebranding, of course, is due to ongoing criticism.
Last summer, I asked: If you remove from the American lexicon all references to the country’s tribes, have you honored them or simply thinned the evidence of their existence?
The Indians are going with “honored.”
And the Ohio club’s not the first.
Last July, the Washington Redskins ditched its mired mascot, favoring the blandest name in all of sports: the Washington Football Team.
As I previously observed, that’s zero levels above “the Washington Washingtons.”
Personally, I’d love to root for the Cleveland Clevelands:
Baseball is really woking up.
On Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants announced it’ll make history as the first Major League Baseball team to wear dedicated Pride uniforms:
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) June 2, 2021
And last month, I wrote about an Alexandria, Virginia Little League association sending its coaches to antiracism training.
It’s a new world.
And it’s a new world of sports.
The old one looked very different:
— TIME (@TIME) April 27, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner on the congressional baseball game tragedy "Liberals can't even shoot straight",now that's downright appalling Caitlyn really pic.twitter.com/u4uMWBWuWy
— Muckmaker™ (@RealMuckmaker) June 18, 2017
Upward and onward.
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