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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Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.