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Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

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#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:55 AM

The Ford Motor Company built a model named Edsel. It didn't go over well, and became a laughingstock name - sort of a "name brand" for the worst product of its kind (even if it really wasn't).

Well, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders were kind of the name brand Bad Baseball Team. Or, should be. When people in 1962 made jokes about how historically bad the brand-new Mets were, at 40-120, knowledgeable old-timers could smile and say, "that's because you're ignoring the '99 Spiders".

They went 20-134 for a .130 winning percentage. The only teams before them who did worse than that were in abbreviated seasons where they would fold and simply not show up for scheduled games after 20 games or so. No team since them has come within .100 points of that "winning" percentage.

These poor guys (or a parade of them) slogged through a full season. They finished in 12th place out of 12 teams, 35 games behind.... the 11th place team. 84 games out of first. They drew 6,088 fans... for the season. (Pennant winner Brooklyn drew 269K.) They finished their season as basically a road team, since other teams in the league would no longer travel to League Park and find their expenses not covered.

There were scoundrels in league ownership back then, point well taken, but as with our discussion about Landis, you would still find wide variations within any given era. Stanley and Frank Robison were outliers - they didn't bother to hide their intentions when they bought a second team and termed their Cleveland franchise a sideshow.

After that season, the Cleveland franchise was folded - the National League itself contracted to 8 teams, and the Spiders had no continuation. Cleveland started fresh with the American League instead. So the Spiders' reasonably lengthy run ended in ignominy, with no opportunity for quick redemption.

That's what's so bad.

You wouldn't introduce a new line of cars called "The New and Improved Edsel." You wouldn't name a baseball team you cared about the Spiders. It would feel like you had doomed it.

Yet Washington, the laughingstock of baseball for literally 5-6 decades, turned around and named another team the Senators the NEXT SEASON after the original Senators left. The Cleveland Browns, a team with a legacy of sucking and/or heartbreak left after some really sleazy owner behavior and yet the city named the next team the Browns, too.

I think you’re putting way too much stock into events that happened 121 years ago. Does anyone honestly care about what the 1899 Spiders did? The only connection would be the city, name, and logo. I think it’s a little silly to think too hard about ownership legacy on a franchise that dissolved in the 19th century before the American League even formed.
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#22 Nine of twelve

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:27 PM

Considering that this is a "rather pointless debate" I have enjoyed reading the extended posts.

I thought Rockers would be a good name but I had forgotten about John Rocker. It may still be a good name but Ash ruined it for me by reminding me about him. I think Rock And Rollers would be more accurate but that's pretty clumsy.

If the team's management does indeed decide to discontinue the current name they'll probably want a name that is as new and unique as possible. I expect they'll follow a process in the manner of modern corporate culture. They'll call on their advertising department and probably hire a consulting firm. They'll use many sources to come up with suggestions. They'll do trademark research. They'll do marketing research. I hope for their sake they get a better result than the Minnesota Wild got.

And by the way for as long as I can remember I have wanted to own an Edsel. I think they look cool.

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#23 Craig Arko

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:46 PM

Given the tight relationship with Progressive, I’ll go for Cleveland Underwriters. 
 

Terry Francona can be called the Risk Manager. 

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#24 ashbury

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 01:17 PM

 

Yet Washington, the laughingstock of baseball for literally 5-6 decades, turned around and named another team the Senators the NEXT SEASON after the original Senators left. The Cleveland Browns, a team with a legacy of sucking and/or heartbreak left after some really sleazy owner behavior and yet the city named the next team the Browns, too.

I think you’re putting way too much stock into events that happened 121 years ago. Does anyone honestly care about what the 1899 Spiders did? The only connection would be the city, name, and logo. I think it’s a little silly to think too hard about ownership legacy on a franchise that dissolved in the 19th century before the American League even formed.

It's not a hill I would die on. Call them the Spiders if that's what the city wants. I was explaining someone else's joke, using some hopefully interesting historical points. The team that year really was one of a kind. WAR doesn't reveal one single pitcher with more than a handful of innings who was even replacement level for the day. That's hard to accomplish unless you actually try; apparently that's what the owners did.
 

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#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 01:28 PM

It's not a hill I would die on. Call them the Spiders if that's what the city wants. I was explaining someone else's joke, using some hopefully interesting historical points. The team that year really was one of a kind. WAR doesn't reveal one single pitcher with more than a handful of innings who was even replacement level for the day. That's hard to accomplish unless you actually try; apparently that's what the owners did.

It’s an interesting footnote because, like you said, it’s basically impossible to be that bad without actively trying.

And it’d be hard to do without the specific environment where someone owns two teams and intentionally shuffles all good players to one team. I don’t even know if a team could be that bad solely through trades.
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#26 adjacent

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 01:38 PM

The Cleveland Native Americans... :) sarc/

 


#27 Dantes929

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:12 PM

 

Native American here and the names do not bother me.History is history and a name change isn't going to change anything.  

Its not going to hurt anything either.Just curious. How do you feel about the name Redskins? When this whole name change movement started years ago I kind of pushed back but then took a step back and asked myself why.Why would I care? The push to change the name came from somewhere. You are not offended and you are not alone but there apparently are lots that are offended so changing the name seems like a small thing to do.

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#28 DocBauer

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 06:28 PM

Native American here and the names do not bother me.History is history and a name change isn't going to change anything.


THANK YOU BBAM for your contribution! And that is heartfelt from me!

I really hate to get serious here, but I am finding myself in a personal conundrum in regard to Cleveland and other mascots scattered across professional baseball and college athletics. To be 100% clear to everyone here and any future discussion involved the onky prejudice I have is against...ummm...lets's say anal holes to keep my perfect record in place. :)

I am no history scholar, I have no PHD in anything. But I am a highly intelligent, Christian, loving, sensitive middle class white man who has grown up and lived in the Midwest my entire life. I grew up right and raised my children as good or even better than I was raised. But my perspective will always be tainted. It only takes an open minded and intelligent person to look at the history of this country to understand the place of Native Americans in historical perspective. And if anyone knkws anything about history, and the Native American culture, you would also know and understand that just as there were many differences between the European cultures, and others, that "settled" this continent, there were also many differences between the tribes native to this land.

I have a TREMENDOUS respect for the culture of Native Americans at large and their place in history, as well as many of their philosophies regarding life And the world. And we all know the term "Indian" was established over 500yrs ago when explorers reached this continent thinking they had somehow circumferenced the world.

Let us be 100% honest here. Until a few years ago, as sports fans, none of us really considered the Washington Redskins as being offensive. It was just the name of a pro football team. In fact, professionally speaking, they had a proud heritage and a pretty majestic looking mascot. I doubt any insult was originally intended. Reflection now tells us innocuous intent does not equal reality with a renewed consciousness and perspective.

500 yrs after the fact is "Indian" now considered offensive? I don't know. I'm white, Caucasian, European, I guess. I just figured I fit in to a certain category, even if it meant nothing at the end of the day. I'm also 3/4 German and 1/4 Norwegian. My kids are a larger mix. So are my friends and co-workers. My best friend and brother of 42yrs is 1/4 Cherokee.

After 500yrs is the term "Indian" offensive or descriptive? I'm just asking. If offensive, I agree with changing the name.

Do names like "Braves" or "Seminoles" really bring out negativity or racism? Again, I don't know. I'm asking. There may be some in history that don't like the "patriots" of early America or despise the history and culture of the "vikings" of Europe who have the name of a certain NFL franchise. Do we despise the USC "Trojan" name because history has taught us they were the greatest empire the world has ever know but also are guilty of perhaps some of the greatest atrocities the world has ever known? I never understood ND changing their name from the Fighting Sioux because I always thought they were paying homage to the proud Sioux Nation who roamed the plains as their home. Maybe my perspective was wrong, but I'm asking here.

Am I rambling a bit the way I'm known to? Absolutely! But if you aren't paying attention then shame on you. Change for the sake of change means NOTHING. If "indians" is offensive, change it. I get it. I like the Rock angle. But before we re-write everything and knee jerk, can we at least converse and learn and gain perspective?
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#29 Nine of twelve

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 06:51 PM

 

I never understood ND changing their name from the Fighting Sioux because I always thought they were paying homage to the proud Sioux Nation who roamed the plains as their home.
 

 That may be what you thought. And that may be what the people who chose the name thought. But that is of little to no importance.

I'm reminded of something that the character Borat (as portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen) once said. I'm not going to use quotation marks because I don't remember the exact quote but this is close. (Disclaimer: keep in mind this is not real. It's a line said by a fictional character.)

 

I don't understand people saying I don't respect women. I love and respect women! In fact, just the other day I complimented a friend of mine on the size of his wife's breasts!

 

Even though a tribute may be well intended it may not be well taken.

 

 

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#30 DocBauer

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 07:21 PM

That may be what you thought. And that may be what the people who chose the name thought. But that is of little to no importance.
I'm reminded of something that the character Borat (as portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen) once said. I'm not going to use quotation marks because I don't remember the exact quote but this is close. (Disclaimer: keep in mind this is not real. It's a line said by a fictional character.)
 
I don't understand people saying I don't respect women. I love and respect women! In fact, just the other day I complimented a friend of mine on the size of his wife's breasts!
 
Even though a tribute may be well intended it may not be well taken.


The quote is funny and appreciated. But it's also why I made the post I did. I'm asking questions for honest dialogue.
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#31 Nine of twelve

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:00 PM

 

 I never understood ND changing their name from the Fighting Sioux because I always thought they were paying homage to the proud Sioux Nation who roamed the plains as their home. Maybe my perspective was wrong, but I'm asking here.
 

I should have expanded a bit on my previous response to this post.

 

Is choosing Fighting Sioux as the sports mascot for a school really a good way to pay homage? It seems to me that if paying homage was truly what the school wanted to do there would have been a concerted effort to learn and thoughtfully present the history and lives of people of the Sioux Nation. It seems to me that a proud people, as you called them, would probably have felt hurt and demeaned to have been reduced to a caricature at football and hockey games.

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#32 IndianaTwin

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:39 PM

 

To help modernize it, it should be Spyders. 

 

I’m thinking SPYders would be a better name for Houston. 

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#33 Shaitan

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 10:12 PM

 

Let us be 100% honest here. Until a few years ago, as sports fans, none of us really considered the Washington Redskins as being offensive. It was just the name of a pro football team. In fact, professionally speaking, they had a proud heritage and a pretty majestic looking mascot. I doubt any insult was originally intended. Reflection now tells us innocuous intent does not equal reality with a renewed consciousness and perspective.

 

No. Most teams got rid of similar names in the 1980s or earlier. Which is nearly 40 years ago. More than a generation ago.

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#34 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:34 PM

 

Let us be 100% honest here. Until a few years ago, as sports fans, none of us really considered the Washington Redskins as being offensive. It was just the name of a pro football team. In fact, professionally speaking, they had a proud heritage and a pretty majestic looking mascot. I doubt any insult was originally intended. Reflection now tells us innocuous intent does not equal reality with a renewed consciousness and perspective.

A hundred percent honest? None of us, really? Which is it? I knew the R-word was bad word since growing up in Farmington NM 30 years ago when it would be used among the construction workers my dad worked with.I saw him cringe; I saw the way he looked at me that said don't say that word.Maybe you didn't know, but ain't that white privilege for you. 

 

Offense isn't really the issue, Doc.It's that we name sports teams after an ethnic group.It doesn't matter if it's positive or negative.What other current ethnic group do we deem mascot worthy? You're literally talking about First Nation people as if they no longer exist.Imagine growing up Sioux and seeing the only representation of you as Fighting (not as doctor or lawyer, but infantry) and none of you on the damn team?It's just that bad. 

Edited by PseudoSABR, 04 July 2020 - 11:44 PM.

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#35 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:12 AM

 

Am I rambling a bit the way I'm known to? Absolutely! But if you aren't paying attention then shame on you. Change for the sake of change means NOTHING. If "indians" is offensive, change it. I get it. I like the Rock angle. But before we re-write everything and knee jerk, can we at least converse and learn and gain perspective?

Good god. Do any of you seriously think names are being changed just the sake of change?

Doc, pick a side here. You literally wrote a dozen paragraphs, said little, but then basically declared your position that you think people are possibly changing a name in a knee-jerk reaction.
 

Think about that for a second. People have been calling for a name change in Cleveland for two decades but it's a knee-jerk reaction?

 

Where is the knee jerk reaction?

 

(it's not them, it's you, and you should probably think about why)

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#36 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:25 AM

Instead of thinking about whether your mascot, name, or whatever, is defensible, think about why you need to defend it and why.

 

Why would I defend a name like the Twins? What emotional investment do I have in that name beyond its literal name?

None.

 

I'm invested in the Minnesota team that plays baseball. 

 

Now change that name "Twins" to "Redskins" or "Indians".

My investment is not in the name, it's in the city, the franchise, and the history.

Change the ****ing name of these teams because they're ****ing racist. I'm a grown ass adult and can deal with it. 

 

Instead of thinking about how much a name change might insult your weird historical investment in a team, think instead of how much it sucks for everyone who isn't you to see a team name and feel ridiculed every time you see it.

 

Inclusion over "history".

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#37 SQUIRREL

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:04 AM

Am I rambling a bit the way I'm known to? Absolutely! But if you aren't paying attention then shame on you. Change for the sake of change means NOTHING. If "indians" is offensive, change it. I get it. I like the Rock angle. But before we re-write everything and knee jerk, can we at least converse and learn and gain perspective?


I’m with Brock here. Nothing is being changed for the sake of change (if Cleveland even goes through with it). And this is not knee jerk because these discussions have been ongoing for as long as I can remember. And Cleveland’s announcement was that they will be discussing it, so it’s not exactly this out of the blue ‘We’re changing it.’ And, remember, they phased out the Chief Wahoo logo a couple years ago, so this change is already underway incrementally. This just isn’t a new thing. And there are a lot of people on this site who refuse to say ‘Indians’ or ‘Redskins’ when discussing these teams; they say Cleveland or Washington to avoid it. Perhaps these names are meaningless to you and to many, maybe some are just ambivalent or don’t care, but it does mean something to many. Do you recall the protests at the Dome in ‘91 over the chop? (And please, everyone, let’s not sidetrack down that discussion wormhole.) And what exactly is being rewritten by changing a name? Lots of teams through the years have changed their names, usually when a franchise moves, but still, sports team names have changed. A rose will still smell as sweet ... Perhaps think of it as re-righting things vs rewriting.
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#38 Craig Arko

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 05:16 AM

For once I’m grateful for Golden Gophers.

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#39 gunnarthor

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:08 AM

It's about time this happened.

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#40 nicksaviking

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:38 AM

Disagree that people weren’t offended by these names until a couple years ago.

Disagree that any of these names were picked to honor anyone.

At what point in our history did changing a team name become such a crisis level event? Teams used to change names ALL the time. Most of the original AL/NL teams had different names, all the pro sports used to flip names regularly. Frankly, with all the hype it will bring and all the new merchandise that will be sold, I’m surprised losing, stale teams don’t do it more often.
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