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?
MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that umpires Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce, and Tim Welke have retired.
Davidson, 64, was known as “Balkin’ Bob” for his tendency to call pitchers for balks. Davidson has also made a name for himself picking fights with players and managers, as well as unnecessarily escalating situations.
Hirschbeck, 62, didn’t quite have the reputation Davidson had, but he had a couple of notable incidents on his profile as well. Last year, when ejecting Twins slugger Miguel Sano, Hirschbeck said, “Get the [expletive] out of here.” In 2013, he threw a drum of oil on a fire that very easily could’ve been snuffed out with Bryce Harper.
Joyce, 61, was a well-liked and well-respected umpire who will go down in history for one mistake. On June 2, 2010, Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. Indians second baseman Jason Donald hit a weak grounder about halfway between first and second base. Miguel Cabrera went to his right to field it and flipped to Galarraga covering first base. It was a close call, but Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe, ruining Galarraga’s perfect game. To both Joyce’s and Galarraga’s credit, both handled the mistake with the utmost class.
Craig also wrote in detail about Joyce a few years ago. It’s worth a re-read.
Tim Welke, 59, actually announced his retirement last year, but I guess it wasn’t made official until recently. He underwent a left knee replacement procedure in January last year and then had his right knee replaced five months later.
CNBC, citing Reuters, reports that Facebook and Major League Baseball are in discussions to stream one game per week.
Streaming is becoming more and more ubiquitous as it’s a more convenient way for people to access media they like. MLB Advanced Media, which handles MLB’s streaming service, is worth several billions of dollars. Last year, Disney paid $1 billion to purchase a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, the independent company MLBAM launched for its streaming.
Millennials and “Generation Z,” in particular, are driving the streaming trend. Forbes, citing the Digital Democracy Survey in 2015, reported that 56 percent of millennials’ media consumption was done via computer, smartphone, tablet, or gaming device. Those 30 years and older rely on television to watch film and TV shows at a clip higher than 80 percent.
Twitter is already in the sports streaming arena. It streams MLB, NFL, and NHL games as well as the PGA Tour.