There is a move afoot for newspapers and other news organizations to refer to the Washington Redskins as “Washington,” or to otherwise avoid using the name of the team which many people consider to be an epithet. Now at least one newspaper is extending that practice to racist imagery as well. The New York Daily News:
Yesterday, the News published this great editorial about the Washington team name. Today, we can also tell you that the paper will no longer use the Cleveland Indians’ logo, Chief Wahoo.
Another obvious and positive development, and one that won’t prevent us from continuing to call on the team and others in media to do the same. In reporting on this issue in the recent past, it became clear to me that Native American groups consider Chief Wahoo offensive, which is enough for the rest of us to deem it inappropriate.
We at HBT have refrained from using Wahoo in stories about the Indians for several years now (it’s still used, occasionally in stories about the logo itself). It seems like an easy decision, especially considering the team itself no longer considers Wahoo its primary logo. Just because the Indians still put it on hats, uniforms and merchandise doesn’t mean anyone else has to go along with it. If a team put a picture of a guy in blackface on its caps, no one would run it. Why Wahoo?
Here’s hoping that more news outlets make the same choice the Daily News does.
In other news, I put the number of comments before we see someone making a dumb argument about this somehow violating the Indians’ First Amendment rights at, oh, 8.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.