The incremental marginalization of Chief Wahoo continues

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Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I sorta think I’m not.  Check out the graphic from MLB.com’s draft page. Pay specific attention to the Indians’ avatar:

source:

Block C. When Wahoo is, as far as I know, still the team’s primary logo (The MLB Store calls Wahoo the “primary logo” anyway). None of the other teams have secondary logos as their avatar. It’s not like Wahoo wouldn’t fit, either. No, someone had to make the conscious decision to go with Block C and to do it for aesthetic reasons.

While it could simply be the work of a low-level web page designer with a conscience, I’m inclined to chalk this up to what I have chosen to believe is a subtle-as-all-hell, long-term move away from Chief Wahoo by the organization, designed to accomplish the bannination of his racist visage without ever triggering some sort of “you guys are a bunch of P.C. pansies” backlash.

My inclination may be delusional, of course. But if I’m not being delusional: bravo, Indians and MLB. And good luck with the stealth campaign, even if I am undermining it by mentioning it all the damn time.

(thanks to Dan Lewis for the heads up. Also: sign up for Dan’s Now I Know newsletter. It’s the best thing you’ll get in your inbox every morning)

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉