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A Letter To Major League Baseball

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Dear Baseball World:

The recent name change by the Tampa Bay Rays (formerly “Devil Rays”) prompts me to write to you regarding the controversial name of another team, the Cleveland Indians.

I don’t know the full reasons for Tampa Bay’s change, but I suspect they came to consider the Devil a potentially negative force and image. They may even have been pressured by religious groups. Whatever the reason, they’ve demonstrated the ease with which a baseball team can make a name change; in fact, they’re treating it as part of a fresh new start.

I am not alone in my dislike of the Cleveland team’s name. I don’t think I need to present a history lesson here: I’m sure everyone is aware of the reasons for my position. The title Indian by itself might not be so offensive were it not for the team’s horrendous logo. That cartoonish drawing of a grinning red-faced

creature insults an entire group of human beings. Every time I see it, I literally cringe.

I am not demanding “political correctness” and suggesting that Cleveland re-name the team “Native Americans”—that would just be a mockery. I’m saying—no, I am begging—that someone in the world of major league baseball take this matter seriously, open up a dialogue with Cleveland, and get them to switch to any name at all, as long as it’s not denigrating to any ethnic group. It would even be acceptable to me, though perhaps not to everyone who finds the name objectionable, if the team kept the name but replaced the logo with something more respectful, perhaps a portrait of a famous Native American leader.

While MLB is at it, maybe they could also persuade the Atlanta Braves to cease and desist with their idiotic, annoying and, again, insulting “tomahawk call.”

With great love and respect for baseball,

Marcy Sheiner


2 responses »

  1. They get complaints all the time. It isnt going to change.

    The team was named after an actual Indian that played for the team

    Interesting. So why don’t they use a picture of that “actual Indian” as their logo?–MS

  2. They are not going to change. First off, MLB would not allow it. The Cleveland team stands to cause a much bigger fiasco in marketing costs than the Tampa Bay team ever could.

    By the way, my grandfather was Native American, and he WAS an Indians fan, partly because of the name. Whenever someone would jump on a soapbox about this issue, he would tell them to go complain about something of value, like famine, etc.

    Dismissing concerns about an issue by telling people to “go complain about something of value” isn’t a valid argument, IMO. It’s all part of Fighting the Good Fight. Someone who cares about baseball, who pays attention to it, who is subjected to Cleveland’s offensiveness over and over, may not be conscious about or involved in other issues. And the way groups of people are portrayed connects to their ultimate quality of life, for instance, whether or not they have enough to eat (“famine”).

    I don’t know why it would cost more to change the little red Indian than the little red devil, or why MLB won’t allow it–but I sent my letter off to them anyway.–MS

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