Days after news arose of a potential Cleveland Indians name change, the team wore their blue road jerseys for their home opener last night. The jerseys, which say “Cleveland” on the front rather than “Indians,” were worn as a statement of solidarity for minorities as the team contemplates a name change.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said the players decided to switch to the jerseys after meeting with team owner Paul Dolan earlier this week to discuss the potential Indians name change, race relations and social justice. He said the move was meant to be an acknowledgment to all minorities:
Shining the light on those minorities and people who are in need, it’s extremely important. That’s what we’re doing out there — bringing the spotlight on those people, minorities that need the spotlight on them so their voices can be heard. Positive change can happen. We’re due for it.
Manager Terry Francona supported his players, saying, “the idea is to make a point, and I think this is a good way to do it.” He noted, however, that there are league rules about approved uniforms for home and road games that may prohibit the club from wearing the jerseys again at home. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, Major League Baseball has to say about it.
The team may want to continue to wear them at home for more than just racial justice reasons, because they were pretty good luck. Starter Shane Bieber struck out a staggering 14 Kansas City Royals batters in only six innings to pick up the win as he and three relievers combined to shut out the Royals on only four hits.