In the current climate of America, political correctness has become par for the course. Every waking moment of our lives we are bombarded with messages and images intended not to offend any single person or group. It’s a fine line that needs to be tiptoed, especially for celebrities, high ranking executives, and whole organizations. Because of that, it’s almost a miracle that the Cleveland Indians have been able to survive for as long as they have.
Let me first start off by stating two things. First off, I don’t get offended by anything ever. I’m not entirely sure what that emotion actually entails. I don’t know if it’s my age, or lack thereof, or the fact that I’ve become so desensitized to things throughout the years, but nothing seems to bother me enough to feel offended. Second, Chief Wahoo and the “Indians” nickname don’t bother me. However, I understand why it bothers some people and they have every right to feel how they feel. I’m able to separate the two. I hope that makes sense.
Moving on, it’s time to ask ourselves an important question: Is it time to rebrand the Indians? I’m not talking about changing the Chief Wahoo logo to something less offensive or slowly killing him off by giving him “The Big C.” I’m talking about a complete rebranding that includes the name, logos, colors, word marks…everything.
Of course, it’s easy to say the Indians should be rebranded, It’s a whole other story to come up with legitimate ideas that respect the history of both the team and the city. Luckily, the Indians and professional baseball have existed in Cleveland for well over 100 years meaning there is a substantial amount of material from which to draw a few decent ideas.
- 1. Cleveland Municipals: The Indians began playing baseball at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on July 31, 1932 and made it their home until the final day of the 1993 season. What better way to honor their past while moving towards the future than by adopting the name Municipals? It would be an easy transition as the team could retain the red, white, and blue color scheme to honor the city and simply change the Indians script on their uniforms to Municipals. For the logo the team could fully institute the block C.
- 2. Cleveland Spiders: Before we had the Indians, we had the Cleveland Spiders. From 1889 to 1899 Cleveland’s professional baseball team was known as the Spiders. They had a small amount of success and their most notable player was the one and only Cy Young. As for the colors, they could adopt the colors kelly green, forest green and white. Green is drastically underused in Major League Baseball (Currently the A’s are the only team utilizing green) and would help tie in to the team’s new identity. Cleveland is often referred to as the “Forrest City” and the Spiders were referred to as the Cleveland Forest Cities for the two seasons prior to the 1887 season. As for the logos, mock up some cartoon spiders and some webs and we’re all set.
- 3. Cleveland Rockers: There is some trepidation using this name since it was once used by Cleveland’s failed NBA team. That being said, it’s a solid name the recognizes Cleveland’s status as the “rock and roll capital of the world.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a few blocks down East 9th St. and would help tie the identity together. As for logo’s and colors, there are any number of possibilities from the world of rock and roll from which to draw inspiration.
- 4. Cleveland Coasters: The Northeast Ohio area is rich with tradition when it comes to roller coasters and amusement parks. From the historic Euclid Beach Park and the Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn to Geauga Lake and the iconic Cedar Point, we’ve all grown up with our fair share of thrill rides. Why not then embrace this distinct characteristic of Northeast Ohio and make it the new identity of Cleveland’s baseball team? Throw in a potential lucrative sponsor partnership with Cedar Point and there’s a lot to like about this idea. This could also be the one potential new identity that opens itself up to a radically extreme color scheme like the one’s you typically see with roller coasters.
- 5. Cleveland Warriors: OK, so maybe we don’t need to completely abandon the past. While the thought of Indians going into battle was the motivation for naming a professional sports team with the moniker, Warriors could be just as effective but also less offensive. There have been warriors though out all civilizations in every era so it would be hard to pinpoint it’s origins. This also means there are any number of less offensive historical images that could be used for logo inspiration. Perhaps the Romans or Greeks, or maybe even “The Ultimate Warrior.”
- 6. Cleveland Melting Pot: Admittedly, this one isn’t nearly as catchy as some of the others, but it would certainly encompass the very thing that makes Cleveland so great. Cleveland is a mish-mosh of cultures from various ethnic backgrounds. There is the Italian community and Little Italy. Old world ethnic groups like the Polish and Slovaks are a staple of Cleveland. Then there is the hardcore Irish community that makes itself know each and every St. Patrick’s Day. The African American community represents with the soul food restaurants and barbecue joints that scatter the city. Cleveland is a melting pot within the melting pot of America. The Cleveland Melting Pot makes everyone happy.