Cleveland’s MLB franchise announced last week that it’s going to drop its longstanding Indians nickname. The team had previously moved away from its ghastly logo, which made this move feel like only a matter of time.
Bravo, I say. “But it’s only a name!” I’m sure others are saying. And that’s exactly why it should be changed: the history and tradition behind a name that exists entirely for marketing purposes does not matter one iota in comparison to its place within the current zeitgeist. It’s offensive, dumb, and doesn’t work anymore. Get rid of it.
Which brings us to the fun part: what’s the new name going to be? This happens so rarely in professional sports that when it does I get beyond excited. Will the team draw from something in its history? Will it focus group the shit out of the nickname in a gross attempt to generate the most jersey sales possible? Will it embrace meme culture and go full Seattle Kraken? I’m laying out the odds.
Cleveland Spiders, 2-1 – The nickname of Cleveland’s National League team back in the 1800s could be poised for a comeback thanks to its combination of history and uniqueness. And just think how amazing the mascot would be.
Cleveland Naps, 5-1 – The team’s name for twelve seasons before they adopted the Indians moniker in 1915 has history, sure, but Joe Blow on the street isn’t going to understand it’s an homage to former manager Nap Lajoie. Then again…there’s a lot of potential here for branded pillows and blankets because baseball is so boring it makes everyone want to take a nap.
(Kidding! Baseball is wonderful…at least until it’s 12-3 in the seventh inning and the color commentator has decided it’s time to talk about the process he went through to pick out his new house paint.)
Cleveland Midges, 7-1 – Remember that playoff game when a bunch of aggressive flies swarmed Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain? Pepperidge Farm remembers, and they agree with me it was frickin’ awesome.
Cleveland Rocks, 10-1 – A shout out to Cleveland’s local hall of fame this is their best option, and I’d give it much higher odds if it weren’t for the existence of the Colorado Rockies. Then again, this is a league that already features the White Sox, the Red Sox, and the Reds, so maybe the similarity with Denver’s squad isn’t a problem. How many fans remember the Rockies exist anyway?
Cleveland LeBrons, 15-1 – Because the city’s only sports-relevant when the King is involved.
Cleveland Careys, 30-1 – Drew’s probably the most relevant Clevelander not named LeBron and his face would look pretty decent on a hat.
Cleveland Swingers, 40-1 – You know, because Ohio’s a swing state and that’s how you use a bat. What? There’s another connotation? Eh, I bet that’s pretty relevant to Cleveland too.
Cleveland Stupid Cheap Bastards, 50-1 – Yo, you guys really gonna trade Francisco Lindor? I know I shouldn’t talk because of what just went down with Mookie Betts, but come on.
Cleveland Steamers, 10000-1 – I will be so sad when this isn’t the solution.