I don’t think the government has a role in making the Indians drop Chief Wahoo or change their name. The team is a private business and it can do what it wants to. But I have no problem with it passing non-binding resolutions as a means of attempting to move public support. That’s what one Ohio senator has done in the state legislature:
Eric Kearney, a Democrat from Cincinnati, introduced a resolution Wednesday that would encourage the baseball team to adopt a new name and mascot, citing racial insensitivity. He also sent a letter to Indians owner Lawrence Dolan urging a change.
The legislature is on summer break, actually, so no one is gonna do anything with this. And it seems that the Indians are in no mood to do anything with Wahoo. Team president Mark Shapiro — not responding to this resolution, but speaking in an unrelated press conference yesterday — said this:
“[Chief Wahoo] represents the heritage of the team and the ballpark” and will remain in place. He added that the team will continue to build and promote the use of the block “C.”
I guess you can try to have it both ways — minimizing Wahoo’s presence officially, promoting the block C but still selling merch with Wahoo on it and not alienating fans — as long as you want. But at some point it’s even worse to take this tack, isn’t it? To essentially lie about the racist mascot as officially representing the team when it does so less and less but being happy to cynically use it for marking purposes among fans who would chafe at its removal.
Maybe someday the Indians should take a stand and either give the thing the organization’s full-throated endorsement or else get rid of it altogether?
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.