Friday, July 30, 2021

Columbus fans could learn from Cleveland

   Someone named Natalie at something called “SeatGeek” sent me an email offering White Sox tickets for Friday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. I blinked at it.
     “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.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. Guardians? The newest branch of the military, the Space Force, has selected "Guardians" to describe its members. Similar to "Airmen" for the Air Force, "Sailors" for the Navy etc. It is claimed that they reviewed hundreds of suggestions for a name before settling on Guardians.

  2. Neil! In your list of contemporary Guardians, how could you miss the Guardians of the United States Space Force, that proud branch of the military with a noble tradition, dating back to 2019, of helping Donald Trump look like he was doing something.

    I'm kind of disappointed, though, that they didn't go with "Space Cadets."

    Seriously, it speaks well of Joe Biden that he didn't reverse that decision, dumb as it was, and incur a lot of expense and confusion just to undo what Trump had done.

  3. I’m an Italian American who doesn’t spend even one second obsessing, or even thinking, about the once-removed statue of Christopher Columbus. Just sayin…

  4. I am thrilled with everything about the Cleveland baseball teams new choice of a name. especially the logo. my wife and her family are from Cleveland proper and have an affinity for the Guardians. none of them mentioned the full name of the statues.

    you still love chief wahoo? wow.

    1. Not all of us forge our souls from whatever is agreed upon at the latest faculty lounge meeting, FME.

    2. I began to love the Chief after I moved here in '92, and because I worked for the Tribe for a while, I acquired a lot of Wahoo gear. But now that it's become almost like the Confederate flag--so controversial, and even politicized--I'm having second thoughts about wearing it.

      Especially my "Extreme Wahoo" T-shirt. The grinning red face covers the whole front of the wearer's upper body, making quite a statement in the eye of the beholder. It would now be either loved or hated. Not sure I want some of the folks who love it to be loving me back. Some of them are probably also Storm Trumpers.

  5. Another nostalgic image from Cleveland in 2016. Thanks, Mr. S. I hooked up with that group of medical personnel in Public Square (they called themselves STAT...for Stand Together Against Trump), but I didn't march. Most of them didn't realize what a LONG trek they were in for. That bridge is over a mile long. Met some great people that day, many of them here on visas and green cards. I still have my yellow shirt.

    So relieved the name change has finally been announced. Clevelanders are sharply divided. It's like living in the South when the statues came down and the Confederate flags were no longer cool to fly. The unreconstructed die-hards are even more angry than they were when the Chief was retired, and swear they will never adopt the new moniker. They claim their "heritage" and "history" are being "stolen" by "cancel culture." Facebook is a bitterly-contested battleground.

    Other folks already like the new name, and are enthused about it, and will probably line up to buy all the new Guardians merch. But there will still be Indians gear on the streets and in the stands for years to come. The ballclub says they won't pull a Disney--it will not be banned at the ballpark.

    My wife, a fifth-generation Cleveland native, is very pleased with the choice...she's been hoping for Guardians for months now. I can take it or leave it alone. I do like the the way the lettering on the uniforms won't be that different: From In-dians to Guar-dians, in the same red script font. And the tie-in with the statues on the nearby bridge is marketing genius...a lot of Cleveland-themed T-shirts have been displaying the Guardians of Traffic for years, as a symbol of the city.

    I went with the Rockers, but without the overused guitar...or maybe the Blues, which was the team's original 1901 handle (short for Bluebirds). I was really starting to pull for the Grays, who were a 19th century Cleveland military unit that fought in three wars, and who were founded to defend Cleveland from a possible Canadian invasion in 1837. That's not a joke. The massive 1893 Grays Armory still stands, not far from the ballpark. You can look it up. Also, it would have honored our perpetually cloudy skies.

    My wife sneered at all three of my picks, but we both hated the possibility of "Spiders." No connection to Cleveland or its history, and probably the worst MLB team ever. But I'm repeating myself. Mr S. wrote at length about "Spiders" (and Wahoo) for EGD on 12-18-20, and I posted two long comments about the name change (and Wahoo) there. You can look all of that up, too. .

    Can't wait for the first time Cleveland plays Los Angeles in 2022. need a ticket for the Guardian-Angel game?


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.