Major League Baseball issues a statement on Chief Wahoo

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A court in Ontario is hearing arguments today on an attempt to bar the Cleveland Indians from using their team name and Chief Wahoo logo during tonight’s playoff game in Toronto. This based on a legal challenge by indigenous activist and architect Douglas Cardinal, who claims that the logo and team name violate human rights laws in Ontario.

The hearing is ongoing at the moment. Based on the comments coming out of the hearing — in one the judge asked how the game would be played if the Indians were not allowed to wear uniforms with their name and/or the Wahoo logo — it seems likely that the injunction will not be granted. We’ll update you if and when that changes, of course. UPDATE: The judge has dismissed the application for an injunction. The Indians can use their name and logo in tonight’s game.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball has issued a statement about the matter and about Chief Wahoo in general:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the concerns of those that find the name and logo of the Cleveland Indians to be offensive.  We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation. Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”

It was a ready-made statement that other media outlets are carrying, but I’ll note that it was given to me in that exact form based on specific questions I posed to MLB this afternoon that did not deal specifically with the Ontario litigation. It makes one suspect that Major League Baseball has no desire whatsoever to weigh in on Chief Wahoo one way or the other, despite the fact that it and all of its clubs make money on the racist caricature via MLB’s shared revenue for merchandise sales. And, of course, despite the fact that the Indians and their mascot stand a good chance of representing one of its leagues in baseball’s most important event, the World Series.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.