Last summer, after the Washington NFL team announced it would be changing its name (and for now, it’s the “Washington Football Team”), baseball’s Cleveland Indians said that they, too, would consider a name change.
Sunday, David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reported that the Indians are, in fact, going to rebrand:
Cleveland could announce its plans as soon as this week, according to the three people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
It is not immediately clear what Cleveland’s exact steps will be beyond dropping the Indians name. The transition to a new name involves many logistical considerations, including work with uniform manufacturers and companies that produce other team equipment and stadium signage.
One of the people said Cleveland planned to keep the Indians name and uniforms for the 2021 season while working to shift as early as 2022.
Or, perhaps, they could be known as “Cleveland Baseball Team” for 2021 while they choose a new name.
The purpose of this article is to ask what name you, the BCB reader, would consider the best choice going forward in Cleveland.
Here are some possibilities.
Per baseball-reference.com’s Indians franchise page, the team was known as “Blues” for its first year in the American League in 1901.
This would seem to be a non-starter in 2020, though, largely because another professional franchise — the St. Louis Blues of the NHL — have that name. Sure, there are other pro team names that exist in multiple sports (Giants, Rangers, Jets, Cardinals), but it would seem to me that the Indians would probably rather create their own new identity, even if “Blues” has a history in Cleveland. It was also the name of a National League team in Cleveland from 1879-84.
This name would honor the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is located on the lakefront in Cleveland. Incidentally, if you’ve never been there, it’s definitely worth a visit once things like this are safe to do again.
The team and MLB gave a nod to this in the logo used for the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, shaped like a guitar with baseball-like “stitches”:
“Cleveland Rocks” is also the name of a song:
I dunno. Catchy, clever, might not work for a baseball team.
Back in the day when team nicknames were more casual, the late 19th Century, Cleveland had yet another NL franchise that ran from 1887-99 known as the Spiders. Famously, this team went 20-134 in 1899 when its owners, who also owned the St. Louis NL franchise (“syndicate” ownership, as it was called, was allowed back then), transferred all of Cleveland’s best players to St. Louis. (It didn’t help. St. Louis finished fifth in a 12-team league.)
Anyway, you might not think that renaming the Indians after a team that is still the gold standard for baseball failure would be a good thing. However, I’ll remind you what I wrote back in July:
Now that would be cool baseball branding. It would keep some of the look of the current Cleveland uniforms and colors (the block “C”, the “CLEVELAND” road unis) while giving them a spider as a cap and alternate jersey.
“Spiders” would be my choice. What’s yours?
NOTE: This is not the place to make the Indians name change a political statement. Per BCB rules please keep your political opinions to yourself.
What’s the best new name for the Cleveland Indians franchise?
This poll is closed
Something else (leave in comments)