Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader
Cleveland Indians changing their name isn’t news, but it makes winter harder for fans – Terry Pluto

A look at the Cleveland Indians logo in the upper deck seating during summer camp practice at Progressive Field, July 7, 2020. John Kuntz, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio – From the moment the Indians announced they were “considering” changing their name, you had to know the nickname was gone.

They weren’t going to wait a few months and say, “OK, never mind. We’re still the Cleveland Indians.”

The franchise wanted fans to believe they were considering various options when talking to various Native American groups along with business and civic leaders. Among the groups contacted were the Cleveland Indigenous Coalition and the National Congress of American Indians. Is it a shock they wanted a new nickname?

A lot of discussion wasn’t need to draw that conclusion.

In the political climate of 2020, the name was not going to survive. The Indians made the formal announcement Monday.

On July 10, I wrote a story saying just that. I also reported they’d be the Indians for the 2021 season, then have a new name in 2022.

At least they didn’t go the “Cleveland Baseball Club” route for 2021, as was suggested elsewhere.

I was told the Tribe will continue to sell things with the Indians name, but the profits would go to Native American causes.


I first lobbied for a new logo in a 1996 column in the Akron Beacon Journal. Over the years, I suggested the team hire artists from various natives tribes and have them submit what they thought would be a good logo.

The team could have picked four, then had a contest with the fans to pick a winner. The various artists and their native tribes could have been paid. I suggested this to Tribe owner Paul Dolan a few times. He called it “interesting,” but I knew it was never going to happen.

I didn’t favor a name change. I’ve spent time on various reservations, especially the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The two Tribes there (Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho) sometimes call it “Indian country.” A local newspaper is still called “Indian Country Today.”

It doesn’t matter. Change was coming.

Major League Baseball has been pushing for a name change for a few years. It began before MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred publicly put pressure on the Indians to drop the Chief Wahoo logo before the 2018 All-Star Game.

The Tribe never seriously discussed the name change until the death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25. Then much in the country seemed to change. There had been several key members of the Tribe front office who had favored a logo and name change for years. Now, their opinion took on more weight.

The Indians not only received political pressure, but also they were concerned their corporate sponsors would take heat from various interest groups. That happened with the NFL team in Washington, leading the a quick decision to simply be called the Washington Football Team in 2020.

In fact, the Tribe’s tweet about considering a name change came about 30 hours after Washington made its announcement to drop the Redskins nickname.


I was surprised at the outrage of fans, some of whom seemed to believe the name wasn’t going to be changed. Or at least, they were hoping it would be changed to “The Tribe.”

That was never a possibility as the team was distancing itself from anything with a native people connection.

It will be fun to look at various nicknames: My wife likes Walleyes. I recently have embraced Tugboats...or The Tugs.

Or maybe not.

But the big issue looming over the franchise is many fans are angry about losing the logo and name. Now, the team is drastically cutting payroll.

Tribe president Chris Antonetti said in a postseason press conference: “The reality of the finances in baseball in 2020 (the pandemic) is the industry lost billions of dollars and as a team, we lost tens of millions. That puts us in a really difficult financial position that will take years to recover from.”

Because the Indians have a young talented starting rotation and a smart front office, they have a chance to remain respectable despite the roster changes coming.

Nonetheless, the name change combined with the likely trade of Francisco Lindor and the financial problems will make this feel like a very dismal winter for a number of Tribe fans.


Scribbling about Baker/Browns and a HUGE game

Did the Browns finally get it right with Berry & Stefanski?

Talking to myself about Carlos Santana, John Sherman and the Kansas City Royals

Hey Terry: Browns better without Odell? What about the defense?

Browns Postgame Scribbles

This wasn’t just a win, it was a WOW for the Browns!

Terry’s Talkin’ Tribe, Lindor rumors, outfield

Talkin’ to myself about the Browns, Baker, Titans & a big game

Hey Terry, what about Baker, the kicker, the line?

Browns Postgame scribbles: Finally, no firing season in Cleveland!


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post