Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Mark Shapiro: Chief Wahoo “was troubling to me personally”

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Mark Shapiro ran the Cleveland Indians for years. Now he runs the Blue Jays. Upon the Jays’ trip to Cleveland for the ALCS, the topic of the Indians name and mascot, Chief Wahoo, came up. Shapiro says that he was troubled by Wahoo when he worked for Cleveland:

“The logo — Chief Wahoo — is one that was troubling to me personally,” he added. “So when I was an official spokesman for the Cleveland Indians, I distanced myself from the fact that it personally bothered me. But we as an organization with strong support from ownership came up with the ‘Block C’ that you’re wearing on your credentials right now. We built equity in the ‘Block C.’ . . . We gave that alternative for people and I think that we established that as an important logo and now the primary logo for the Cleveland Indians. And so I’m proud of that.

We’ve written for some time about how the Indians seemed to be making efforts to distance themselves from Wahoo in certain respects. It’s most evident at their spring training facility, which sits in a state which has a much larger Native American population than does Ohio. Administratively speaking, Major League Baseball considers the Block C the “primary” logo of the Indians, not Chief Wahoo.

But that’s fairly meaningless, of course. Because for all that they have done with the Block C logo — and for as much as they want to claim that Wahoo is their “secondary” logo — they continue to sell millions of dollars of merchandise with that ugly, racist symbol emblazoned upon it. Their Block C-centric alternate jerseys are used less and less than they were when first introduced in 2008.  Block C appears on placards at official MLB functions and in graphics packages at various places on MLB websites and broadcasts, but Wahoo is on every jersey their players wear, including the Block C alternates, and it appears on their most used caps and helmets. It’ll be all over national TV during the ALCS and the World Series if the Indians advance.

The Indians have always wanted to have their cake and eat it too, both when Shapiro ran the club and now. They want credit for making symbolic nods toward distancing themselves from what even their top officials agree is a troublesome symbol, but they want to continue to make money, to boost their brand and to foster fan loyalty via its continued use.

I suppose Shapiro feels better having publicly said that he doesn’t care for Chief Wahoo, but neither he nor those associated with the club today get points for “minimizing” Chief Wahoo while continuing to employ him liberally in any number of ways. As I’ve argued many, many times on this website, there is no reasonable case to be made that Chief Wahoo is anything but an ugly, racist caricature. If it “troubles” Indians executives, they have one choice: get rid of it entirely. Anything less than that renders their concern meaningless and empty.

League Championship Series Umpires Announced

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Umpires: Beacuse someone’s gotta call the balls and strikes and the safes and the outs. And someone’s gotta serve as a punching bag for the collective frustrations of the fan base of whichever team is losing at the time.

Major League Baseball just announced the umps for the NLCS and ALCS. They are as follows:

ALCS:

Brian Gorman — Crew Chief
Laz Diaz
Mike Everitt
Jeff Nelson
Jim Reynolds
Jim Wolf
Mark Wegner — Replay Official
Tripp Gibson — Replay Assistant

Diaz and Wegner will switch places after Game 2. Diaz will be the home plate umpire for Game 1.

NLCS:

Gary Cederstrom — Crew Chief
Ted Barrett
Eric Cooper
Angel Hernandez
Alfonso Marquez
Paul Nauert
Bill Welke — Replay Official
Tripp Gibson — Replay Assistant

Nauert and Welke will switch places after Game 2. Nauert will be the home plate umpire for Game 1.

Curt Schilling has had an unhinged 24 hours

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Donald Trump is in hot water for any number of things this week, but one of those things are comments he made about girls back in the day. Once, in the early 1990s, he attended a youth choir concert and asked two of the girls in the choir how old they were. When they said they were 14, Trump said, “Wow! Just think — in a couple of years, I’ll be dating you.” Around that same time, CBS News reports, he was recorded in an “Entertainment Tonight” segment talking about a 10-year-old girl, saying “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?” The dirty old man schtick may not have raised too many eyebrows back in the day but it’s obviously not going over too well now that Trump is a presidential candidate.

For reasons known only to them, yesterday Fox Business Network brought on Curt Schilling to comment on all of this. Schilling, not surprisingly, defended Trump, going all-in with the notion that it’s totally normal to see underage girls and to form opinions about their sexual attractiveness:

Here’s the video of his appearance:

The key passage: “I’ve seen my daughters friends, I’m a man, ‘Wow, she’s a beautiful young lady.’ I don’t immediately jump to molesting her.” Then he tweeted this:

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It’s probably worth noting at this point that last year Schilling went after a couple of guys who said crude and threatening things about his daughter on social media, leading to them getting fired from their jobs. Those guys went way beyond anything Trump or Schilling said, of course, but in light of Schilling’s vehement (and righteous) response to that, it’s somewhat surprising to see him finding all kinds of nuance on the topic of what is or what is not OK to say about another person’s underage daughter.

But wait, there’s more!

This morning Schilling was on WEEI radio and got into it with Boston Herald columnist John Tomase, who was on the show and who was critical of Schilling and Trump’s comments. Schilling called Tomase a “f***ing coward” and “a piece of garbage.” When Tomase called Schilling “unhinged,” Schilling replied, “When people like you think I’m unhinged, I’m doing something right because you’re what’s wrong with this country.” You can hear all of that here.

In other news, Schilling still says he’s running for office in 2018 or 2020. So we have that to look forward to.