On Monday, the Indians and MLB announced that they would be phasing out all on-field and in-game usage of the racist Chief Wahoo logo that has come under fire for years now. That’s a great and long-overdue step forward for the team, even if fans will still be able to buy Chief Wahoo merchandise and wear it at games and generally act as if it’s still a major part of the team’s branding.
As part of the announcement, the league and the team made clear that the franchise’s name would not be going anywhere as part of the change. Which is admittedly a much more complicated switch but also something that should probably happen eventually.
The New York Times report on the change notes that the team name supposedly stems from “Louis Sockalexis, a member of the Penobscot nation in Maine, who played for a different Cleveland team in the National League from 1897-1899.”
If that’s truly the case (and it’s entirely possible that that’s a retconned origin story to make the team look better) then the team is still named after a Native American who probably didn’t assent to being the team’s namesake and probably wasn’t fine with that name then being the Indians.
While any sort of name change isn’t on the horizon right now, it’s something the team should pursue. To make things easier for their eventual swap, we came up with some alternate names that they can choose from.
The Cleveland Spiders
The 1887 Cleveland Blues went 39-92, finishing with a .298 winning percentage. It remains one of the worst baseball seasons ever recorded by a professional team in North America. Just 13 years later, the Cleveland Spiders were even worse. They were 20-134. The best part might be that they had only 42 home games and drew 6,088 fans. That’s 145 fans every game.
I’m sure they were all respectful and kept their opinions to themselves.
Hey, let’s party like it’s 1899. Specifically, September, 1899:
It’s time for Cleveland baseball to reclaim this franchise name and return it to respectability. If you can’t win a World Series with a racist logo and questionable name, reclaim the past and make old wrongs right.
Think about all of the sports team names that strike fear into your heart. The Heat? That’s what you turn up in the car on a chilly day. The Dolphins. C’mon, let me pet you and hear your song.
But THE SPIDERS. Oh, hell no. Those are the things that hide under the roll of toilet paper, the things that bite you in your sleep and make you scratch like an idiot the next day. You should fear spiders. They’re like snakes but with the ability to climb glass.
Bring back the Cleveland Spiders, then. The name is badass. The history needs to be reclaimed. We can do this together. Thank you. - Grant Brisbee
The Cleveland Dions
There’s a decent chance that one of the team’s excuses will be how hard it would be to change the name throughout their field and offices, as well as re-doing all of the merchandise and branding on top of that.
And they’d be right! It would take a lot of money to change everything over. But that effort would be worth it if the team could have a less offensive name. However, it would be a lot cheaper and easier if the team could change the name to something with a similar spelling as their current name. Like when you want to change a dog’s name from “Joey” to “Sir Fluffy McStuffer” but you have to do it gradually.
So the Cleveland Dions — named after queen Celine, of course — could use four of the seven letters currently in “Indians” and the “o” is close enough to an “a” so let’s call it five. Fans wouldn’t even have to learn new syllables! So much simpler.
Not only would they get to basically keep half of the name, but it would also open up an entire world of branding opportunities! Celine Dion night could be every night, the Friday night home game alternate jerseys could be metallic with sequins, and whenever someone hit a walk-off home run the entire team could perform a choreographed routine to “My Heart Will Go On.” This is a money-making opportunity just waiting to happen for Cleveland. - Whitney McIntosh
The Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Famers
No I can do better than that hold on — Marc Normandin
The Cleveland Polka Hall of Famers
Wait I got this just give me a second — Marc Normandin
The Cleveland Botanical Gardeners
Scrolling through Cleveland’s Wikipedia page is not going to help me here at all think Marc think — Marc Normandin
What about this
so i hear the cleveland baseball team is getting rid of the racist logo and well i think they should re-brand entirely. here is an initial concept for the new team name and logo: pic.twitter.com/vQ11JIoSKE— PubicZirconium (@PubicZirconium) January 31, 2018
It will take some getting used to, but it’s a real improvement. — Marc Normandin
Ugh fine just go with Grant’s idea, he already took the good one, call them the Cleveland Spiders
— Marc Normandin