That’s the opener to Murray Chass’ excellent analysis of yesterday’s commissioner vote. An analysis which should be the blueprint for how one approaches issues relating to baseball’s owners and the game’s governance.
Chass takes issues — MAJOR issue — with the narrative which holds that Jerry Reinsdorf’s propping up of Tom Werner as a protest candidate in the commissioner race was somehow a “success.” He does so my noting just how awful and corrosive a force Reinsdorf has been for the game of baseball in his more than three-decades at the helm of the White Sox. And how his Werner gambit was a cynical little cherry on top of that crap sundae. But it was a failed gambit and, Chass argues, Reinsdorf’s final act of consequence in the game as a power broker.
Along the way Chass provides an excellent tick-tock of yesterday’s vote, talking about who voted for and against Manfred and why and how the situation developed. It’s must-reading if you’re interested in all of this.
And it is no surprise that it came from Murray Chass. While he has his issues as a baseball analyst — and while he and I have our many differences, occasionally on a personal level — there is no one better when it comes to talking about the dynamics of leadership in Major League Baseball and the issues which surround it. Chass has had the Lords of the Realm’s number for nearly 40 years and rarely is he wrong about their motivations. Unlike so many others who write on the topic, he has both institutional knowledge of baseball’s power structure and, given how baseball’s leaders have behaved for the past century or so, the good sense not to be reverent of these men or to give them the benefit of the doubt they have never, ever earned. There’s a tendency among many to treat people of high station otherwise. I’m glad Chass doesn’t.
Anyway, a great read. Go check it out.
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?