Yesterday was the home opener at Progressive Field. The Indians home opener is one of the biggest days for protesters opposed to the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo, and yesterday was no exception. Their protests this year are aided, however, by commissioner Rob Manfred.
While Manfred has been on record for months saying that he acknowledges the issues many have with the antiquated and offensive racial caricature, and while he has said that he would engage in a dialogue with team owner Paul Dolan about it, he has never actually voiced his own opinion on the matter. Now he has, in the form of a statement from Major League Baseball’s spokesman Pat Courtney, given to David Waldstein of the New York Times:
In a statement to The New York Times, Pat Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said Manfred, in his talks with the Indians’ owners, had made clear his “desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo. We have specific steps in an identified process and are making progress,’’ Courtney added. “We are confident that a positive resolution will be reached that will be good for the game and the club.’’
What those steps are is a mystery — MLB blew its chance to extract concessions from the Indians when it recently awarded them the 2019 All-Star Game — but Manfred officially stating his desire for the Indians to dump Wahoo is news. I fully predict that this will drag on for months if not longer, but Manfred is notorious for being non-committal and offering guarded support for nearly all sides of every remotely controversial matter. He, like Bud Selig before him, is a politician, and politicians aren’t famous for taking principled stands.
But now Manfred has. And those who do not wish to see Chief Wahoo go can no longer say that it’s just bleedin’ heart liberal snowflakes like me who want to see him banished to the dustbin of history. The Commissioner of Baseball himself does. And, as we almost always see, when the Commissioner wants something, the Commissioner gets it. Eventually.
Start hoarding your officially licensed Wahoo merch, Wahoo Deadenders. I suspect they’re going to become scarce at some point in the not too distant future.