Scenes from Spring Training: My annual Chief Wahoo observation

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That block C is on the wall outside of the front door of the Indians’ complex here in Goodyear.  Note: it’s not a Chief Wahoo.

Indeed, you have to look pretty hard to find a Chief Wahoo around here. There’s a picture of the 1995 ALCS celebration in the lobby, and there are Wahoos on those caps.  Fans who show up here for games wear the Chief.  But there is a conspicuous absence of Chief Wahoo on team property, on team employees’ clothes and that sort of thing.

The best explanation I’ve heard for that is that here in the southwest there is a much larger Indian population than there is back in Ohio and that not putting up a big racist, comically-exaggerated red-faced logo of an Indian is simply a matter of common courtesy.

My own theory — which I liked better a couple of years ago than I do now — was that the team itself was making a conscious effort to downplay Chief Wahoo, and that they were starting a slow effort of phasing him out here at the spring training complex. I like it as a theory less now because it doesn’t seem to, you know, be happening.

I know I talk about this once a year whether I need to or not — and I know it’s going to lead to the same get-us-nowhere arguments in the comments — but even after all of these years I can’t get over the fact that a Major League team still uses a blatant racist caricature as an official logo. And that so many fans tolerate it.

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Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.