After 105 years, the Cleveland Indians are changing their name. According to multiple media outlets, the Indians have been talking about a name change for months. At this time, there is no immediate comment from the baseball franchise; however, the Indians are appearing to be no more. This would be the first name change by an MLB franchise since the Tampa Devil Rays changed their name to the Tampa Bay Rays after the completion of the 2007 season.
According to the New York Times, there should be a formal announcement later this week. It is not known at the time when the name change will take effect, or if the team has a new name at this time. All we know is that the Indians, who have held onto this name since 1915, will not be taking the field with this name any longer.
Following The Movement
Earlier in the year, the “Washington Football Team” was pressured to change its name from the Washington Redskins. For years, the term “Redskins” had been known as a derogatory term towards Native Americans. While the Indians had cited they would keep their name when baseball returned, it appears that betting online will never be the same. It’s possible that we could have seen this coming. During the 2019 season, the Indians spent most of the season phasing out the logos and imagery of the cartoon mascot Chief Wahoo.
For the time being, the new direction of the franchise is unclear. Beyond dropping the Indians’ name, the transition to a new name involved many logistical considerations. That includes working with uniform manufacturers and companies that distribute memorabilia. It’s possible that the Indians could keep the name and the uniforms for the 2021 season and work towards making a shift in 2022.
An option the franchise could take is moving forward without a replacement name. Just like the Washington Football Team franchise, the baseball team could go under the name Cleveland Baseball Team in 2021. Another idea could be the Cleveland Spiders. In 1887, the baseball team was originally the Spiders. It featured a scary logo and the uniforms would be pretty great. Along with the White Sox, Tigers, Twins, and Royals, how would you feel about the Spiders contending in the American League Central?
What is next on the chopping block? Could the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, and/or the Chicago Blackhawks be next? All three franchises, baseball, football, and hockey respectively, have said they have zero plans in changing their names. Many universities with Native American names and mascots have abandoned their names after efforts in the United States to replace these names have increased.
For Cleveland, retiring Chief Wahoo, a borderline offensive cartoon character of a Native American, was applauded. The trick for Washington to make a change was when their major sponsors were putting the franchise under pressure. Cleveland did not face this pressure right away, but it’s unknown if there were conversations under the table.
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