As most people know by now, Major League Baseball and its clothing and cap partners print up “World Series Champs” gear for both teams in the World Series. That way they can break it out for the on-field celebration and get it quickly into stores. When one team wins, MLB quickly gathers up all the erroneous championship gear.
Since 2005, that erroneous gear has been donated to the poor in other countries via charities such as World Vision. Why waste perfectly good clothing, right? Welp, this year MLB has changed tack with respect to the would-be Indians World Series items: The Huffington Post reports* Major League Baseball is asking retailers to give back Indians championship gear so it can be destroyed.
“In past years we have used World Vision, but we have moved our policy to destroying the merchandise,” MLB’s Matt Bourne told HuffPost. “The reason is to protect the team from inaccurate merchandise being available or visible in the general marketplace.”
No word on how, say, 2015 Mets championship caps or 2011 Rangers championship shirts have created marketplace chaos, but it’s worth noting that we’ve seen . . . exactly zero reports suggesting this has ever been a serious problem.
My first thought when I saw this was that maybe MLB did not want to send a bunch of shirts with Chief Wahoo on it to foreign lands — what is acceptable in Ohio is not necessarily acceptable elsewhere — but I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case. For one thing, MLB would presumably sell Chief Wahoo stuff to people in other countries, so it’s not like it’d be letting the secret of its racist uncle out of the closet. More generally, most of the initial merch available following the ALCS — especially the stuff the team wore on the field during the celebration — was Block-C merch, not Wahoo merch.
For now this remains a mystery.
*Note: This is an old story — from last week — but it’s just surfacing to many of us now due to ESPN and the Associated Press picking it up.