“Didn’t they change their name to the ‘Guardians?’” I wondered. Yes they did, but only after this season. Ah.
Sure, I could get all sentimental about a century of baseball tradition being scrapped. Weep how I loved Chief Wahoo as a child and, to be honest, still do. How my mother was an Indians fan, my grandfather before her.
But you know what? Truth is, I’m an adult now, and understand the world is not all about me. I have my own sense of self-worth, one not dependent on the icons of my youth being carried into perpetuity on the shoulders of the public, like plaster saints borne aloft in some dusty village procession. Times change. Certain stereotypes fly in 2021 while others do not. I can’t explain why the Fighting Irish Leprechaun is OK while Chief Wahoo isn’t.
Though I can try: It has something to do with the Irish coming here and doing pretty well, eventually, while the Native Americans already were here and didn’t do well at all, not once the white newcomers were done with them. I bet if no Irish Catholics actually attended the University of Notre Dame, its pugnacious mascot would be seen in a very different light.
Still, when I heard Cleveland is changing the name to “Guardians,” I winced. Leave it to Cleveland to pick a dud. I had been pulling for “Spiders.” It’s such a cool name, with roots — Cleveland was the Spiders before it was the Indians. And I’d been to the University of Richmond, and was so impressed with its way-cool Spiders mascot I almost bought a Spiders t-shirt.
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