Get ready for an overload of the Block C, because the ongoing debate about the Indians’ smiling caricature has finally hit home. The Plain Dealer has cannonballed into the debate by saying it’s time to move on.
We all know it’s was going to happen someday, regardless of what side of the debate you sit on. I think we’ve all come to accept it, but we never really felt that it would be truly visible on the horizon. Until now.
Even though the organization has quietly begun the steps to distance themselves from Chief Wahoo, it’s easy to wonder if the slow trot will ramp up to an all-out sprint now that the city’s largest newspaper has spoken up about it.
But here lies the rub: Though we (Indians fans to Cleveland as a city) may not have a problem with him, the rest of the baseball nation clearly does. Chief Wahoo is ours, but the rest of baseball doesn’t –nor can they– feel that sense of attachment no matter how often they watch Major League. I don’t like that they’re focusing on something I find to be a much smaller thing to complain about when the Redskins are on a much slower pace at being changed, if it ever will be. But we’re number two on the list, and the Indians just lost a pretty big ally.
It’s just amazing how it took just a handful of people in the stands at the Wild Card game with a keenly sharp TBS director to turn what was once little more than a simmering complaint into a full-fledged volcano of bad publicity. Something that wasn’t at all a big deal when the Jake was packed and rocking night in and night out is now a full-scale racial assault.
This tells us three things: How long ago that actually was. And how much the world can change in two decades. And how 34 now seems a heck of a lot older than it should. With the Plain-Dealer being the first media form to be on home base to really put the screws to the whole debate, it has now become a real “thing.”
We pride ourselves on being a progressive society in every sense. With the public becoming more and more vocal, we’re slowly being drawn out of the social stone age. From once-small peccadilloes like the Chief Wahoo debate to sea-changing statements like Michael Sam’s, for better or for worse, everything is seen now. Everything is known. Everything has…changed. The times. The perceptions. You name it.
It doesn’t matter how Indians fans see our beloved Chief, because we’re outnumbered. To be perfectly blunt, when you’re a fanbase that doesn’t draw well at all, our kicking and screaming over a logo rings awfully hollow. To Joe Cardinalsfan, we’re a very annoying minority with no real recourse anymore. We don’t even show up for the games, but we’ll fight like hell for a logo!
So yeah, I get it now. Again, I don’t like it, but I understand it. If it reflects on the team, city and even us fans in a better light, then let’s go all the way. The squeeze is getting harder and closer than ever before.
And let’s be honest, we’re talking about cosmetics here. It probably won’t be as painful to let the good Chief pass on as we’d think.