UPDATE: The whole marginalization idea has always been my gut feeling, not some fact I’ve heard from anyone. And if there was any doubt about that, I was just contacted by the Indians who quite politely told me that I’m reading way too much into this (shocker, because, like, I NEVER do that. Ahem):
We wanted to reach out to clarify something, re: Chief Wahoo, about which we saw your post this afternoon. There are absolutely no plans to phase out Chief Wahoo, as some folks have speculated on social media. The details:
Nothing is changing on our 2013 uniforms except for the batting helmets. By MLB rule – with the new helmets being universally adopted – teams were only allowed one logo and not a different helmet for home and road.
Secondly, Chief Wahoo remains on our traditional home cap, our alternate road cap and every uniform sleeve.
5:20 PM: I’ve said for years that the Indians will never issue some press release announcing the end of the ugly and racist Chief Wahoo logo. They’re too savvy for that and don’t need the blowback. But they will, I have predicted and in some cases observed, marginalize Wahoo. They’ll do a long, slow phase-out to the point where he’s not the face of the franchise and where, if he is ultimately eliminated, it won’t be a big deal.
Is this the latest datapoint to that effect?
Nice move, Cleveland. Taking him off the one TV shot — isolation on the batter — which probably gets more screen time than any other.
Next move: take him off the sleeves of those home and road alternate jerseys, which clearly don’t need them. Then you’re poised for home caps.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.