Mike Lupica reflects on the End of The Jeter Era and he has some hard truths to tell you all: the party is over. When Jeter is gone, so too is everything great about the Yankees. And, while all of those championship rings were great . . .
. . . once Jeter is gone, there is no one who connects to any of that. There really is no one. It is why the notion that Jeter got too much money in that last contract scrum he had with the Yankees a few years ago was always so chowderheaded, and short-sighted. Or it was just people just thinking and saying what the people running the Yankees wanted them to think and say. You could never properly quantify what Jeter has meant to the brand, and still means . . . The Yankees will go on, and will win again. It just won’t be like the winning they got from Jeter and Bernie and Mo, Pettitte and Posada. And Paul O’Neill. There will never again be a time like this. Jeter takes that with him. They can buy a lot at Yankee Stadium, maybe even one more postseason for Derek Jeter.
But when he goes, in all the ways that matter at the Stadium, there is no one.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be digging into the microfiche to find those columns about how “it’s all over, there is no one” following Babe Ruth, Lou Gehirg, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle’s retirements. About how, once Reggie left for Anaheim, the Yankees ceased to be. Or maybe I’ll find a bit less maudlin sentiment and a bit more perspective. Who knows until I look!
Or maybe I’ll just note that A-Rod was the driving force behind the last Yankees championship and that he’ll still be around next year. And, before you say that Lupica isn’t considering that, oh baby, he is:
What does Alex Rodriguez think about when he watches the reception Jeter got in Minneapolis the other night?
What does Rodriguez think about when he watches the All-Star Game?
Does he finally have some awareness that he did this to himself, or is he still blaming everybody else — including the lawyers he hasn’t paid — for everything that has ever happened to him?
I’m assuming he’s thinking far less about it than Lupica is.
Everyone talks about getting rid of Chief Wahoo but nobody does anything about it.
Well, that’s not totally true. As we’ve noted, Major League Baseball and the Indians are slowly doing something about it. But the thing they’re doing — a slow phase-out of Wahoo, hopefully in a manner no one really notices — is likely going to anger just as many as it pleases. Such is the nature of a compromise. Such is the nature of trying to do the right thing but being afraid to state the reason why they’re doing it.
A bold move would be a lot more interesting. Not just getting rid of the logo, but totally rebranding the Indians in a cool and exciting way that would inspire people to buy in to the new team identity as opposed to merely lament or accept the abandonment of the old one. To that end, a man named Nick Kendall came up with a super fun and super great-looking redesign and rebranding of the Indians over the weekend.
Kendall, who is not really a big baseball fan but who has spent a lot of time thinking about uniforms and design, went back to 1871 and Cleveland’s first professional baseball team, the Forest Citys (yes, that’s how it was spelled). He took their logo — an interlocked F and C — and built an entire set of uniforms out of it and some aesthetic choices of his own. The new color scheme is a dark green and white. He even includes two alternate, solid-jersey designs. All of it is done in a great looking mockup. Really, go check it out and tell me that’s not cool.
I like it for a couple of reasons. Mostly because the uniforms just look fantastic. I love the design and would love to see a team with that kind of look in the game. We have too many reds and blues. Green is woefully underused in Major League Baseball and it’d be good to see some more green around.
Also, as Kendall notes, and as soccer shows us, the “[city] [mascot]” name construction isn’t the only way to approach team names, and so the name — Forest Citys, or some derivation of it — would be unique in baseball. Maybe it’s be “The Cleveland Forest Citys/Cities.” Maybe “Forest City B.C.” would be a way to go? Maybe, as so often happened with baseball teams in the past — the Indians included — the nickname could develop over time. It’s certainly preferable to the option a lot of people point to — The Cleveland Spiders — which (a) evokes the worst baseball team in history’ and (b) sounds like something a 1990s NBA marketing team would come up with.
If the Indians are going to get rid of Chief Wahoo — and they are — why not do something fun and new and exciting?