It’s not all that surprising after the Washington Football Team, belatedly, saw the light of the indecency of its name. Cleveland’s MLB team had been moving toward changing its name for a while now, as they began to de-emphasize their Chief Wahoo logo with hats and jerseys that just featured the block “C” or the Cleveland name. So the news that they will be announcing this week that they will be dropping ”Indians” is really just a logical next step.
And yet, it feels momentous. After 105 years, it’s long overdue, but it never felt like it would happen, no matter how simple it seemed. Washington dropping its slur of a nickname certainly made clear what should happen across the board. There will be blowback as there always is, mostly from overweight white men. But it’s not like that many people go to Progressive Insurance Field as it is, so how much of a hit Cleveland will take is a real debate. And just as the Washington Football Team found out, these things tend to blow over quickly (though there will be a slight revival when fans return to FedEx Field, but that will also quickly blow over).
There’s no word on what Cleveland will switch to, but it seems like “Spiders’’ is right there. It has history in Cleveland, is really cool, and the logo possibilities are endless. Most everyone who ends up bloviating about the change will also be the first in line to buy the new gear, especially if it rocks. And yes, “Rocks” is the jokey name that also feels like it’s right there.
Cleveland also might do the nameless thing for a year, like their football counterparts, because of the “logistics” of changing a name and logo, which sounds strange for a league that just threw together a 60-game season and neutral site playoffs on the fly amongst a pandemic with (almost) daily testing and protocols. Somehow, we think all of Cleveland’s opponents will figure out a way to make a new on-deck circle.
It should heap a little more pressure on the Braves, Chiefs and Blackhawks, who both have been defiant in the midst of calls for them to follow suit. Especially if sales of new gear go through the roof, because who can turn down a buck?
Change comes slow, but it tends to bend in the right direction.