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.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.