As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Cleveland Indians are beginning conversations about changing the name of the team. And everyone on Twitter, including the President (yes, of the United States) seems to have an opinion on it.
Let me start by saying, I love Cleveland baseball.
When I was in high school, I worked at Jacob’s Field in the Team Shop. This was during the height of the mid-to-late-90’s winning seasons and the sell-out streak. It was a glorious time to be a baseball fan in Cleveland.
My favorite mid-90’s Cleveland baseball memory is my mom making up some reason to get me out of school early to take me to a playoff game. The entire time I was hoping a camera wouldn’t catch me, since goodness knows those Magnificat nuns loved their baseball too.
Now, I love taking Jeffrey to games.
I love everything about the field and the beer guys and the hot dogs and the fireworks. I love how you can savor baseball. Revel in a full count. Listen to the crack of the bat and have enough time to really get in a prayer that the ball is out of here. I love Tom Hamilton’s voice. I LOVE Cleveland baseball.
But what I love about it isn’t about the name of the team. Cleveland has been told for years that the team name is offensive, by the very people it’s offending. If you’re against changing the team name, think about it this way: if someone tells you that something offends them, you don’t get to tell them it doesn’t. Rather, you should take that information and make a positive change to stop offending people.
What we all love about Cleveland baseball will still exist with a different team name. Personally, I’m all in on the Cleveland Guardians at the moment, but there are a lot of great suggestions that incorporate the history of both the team and the city. (Please don’t let it be the Cleveland Rocks, guys. Please. All I can think of is Charlie Brown saying, “I got a rock” in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”)
And don’t let this be like the change from Jacob’s Field to Progressive Field. While “it’ll always be the Jake” is basically my geotag any time I’m there, this one is different. This change needs to happen and actually stick with the fans.
When fans return to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, you know I’ll be there. And I’ll be cheering for the home team, the one I’ve always loved, whatever they might be called.