The Cleveland Indians, no doubt devoted ShysterBall readers all of them, are starting to ratchet back Chief Wahoo’s profile:
Observant visitors to spring training this year to see the Indians in their new complex in Goodyear, Ariz., may have noticed something missing. Outside of the Indians’ uniforms, caps and the bustling gift shop at Goodyear Ballpark, Chief Wahoo, the longtime symbol of the team, was absent from the facility . . .
. . . Team President Paul Dolan said, “I know there was some sensitivity involved on the outside of the complex,” regarding the use of the script ‘I’ as opposed to Chief Wahoo . . . As for Goodyear Ballpark, Dolan said: “It’s not our ballpark. I would expect some sensitivity was involved, but ultimately it’s the city’s ballpark.”
A city spokesperson said they followed the Indians’ marketing lead. Since the team used the script ‘I’ as its main “identifier” by putting it in front of the player development complex, the city followed suit at the ballpark . . . “We aren’t phasing Chief Wahoo out,” said Dolan. “We are introducing alternative trademarks – the script ‘I’, script ‘Indians’ and the block ‘C’. They may have had a diluting effect on Chief Wahoo, but we have no plans in place to eliminate Wahoo.”
Not that I would expect some formal announcement from the team along those lines anyway. My feelings on Wahoo notwithstanding, the Indians aren’t some public entity with a responsibility to set the tone in big capital letters and thereby risk alienating the folks who disagree with me on this point. What matters, in my mind, is not what they say, but how they behave, and if they are truly working to diminish the prevalence of Chief Wahoo, good for them.
If they want my advice — and I’m sure they don’t — the next step is to strike Wahoo from the sleeves of those sweet alternate home jerseys. Then replace the batting helmets with the new “C” logo. Last step will be to make the alternates the permanent home uniforms — which should be done for reasons separate and apart from Wahoo — thereby banishing Wahoo from the players’ duds.
That, combined with the already lower profile of Wahoo in recent years (e.g. scoreboard, etc.), will go a long damn way to fixing a damn big problem.
(Thanks to Pete Toms who shot me the link via Ballparks Digest)