Following in the wake of the former Washington Redskins doing away with that controversial nickname ahead of the 2020 NFL season, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians will no longer go by that nickname with a new one possibly announced as early as this week -- but not necessarily implemented immediately. SportsLine has put out MLB odds on what the new full-time nickname will be.
It's not all that easy for major professional sports teams to just up and change their nickname for marketing reasons, signage in the ballpark, etc. – i.e., it's not simply like changing your Fantasy league team in the middle of a season. The Chief Wahoo logo was officially removed last year as Native American groups and others have protested against Cleveland's use of the nickname for years.
Thus, it's likely the Indians have a one-year transition nickname for 2021 -- and it may stay as Indians just for next season. The Redskins of course are known as the Washington Football Team currently and that has gone over so well the team is considering making it permanent.
Cleveland had been known as the Indians since 1915. Prior to that, it was known as the Naps after Nap Lajoie, the franchise's star player and manager. Club owner Charles Somers changed the name from Naps when Lajoie left after the 1914 season.
From 1879-84, the Cleveland baseball team was nicknamed the Blues. The Cleveland Spiders were a team in the now-defunct American Association and the National League in the late 1800s; the University of Richmond uses Spiders, but that doesn't matter as it's not like Richmond has a national profile.
The Cleveland Buckeyes were a Negro League team, but it seems hard to imagine the Tribe would go that route and "compete" in state with Ohio State.
As for Rocks/Rockers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland. The city's former WNBA team was called the Rockers. Guardians? The Hope Memorial Bridge, which sits just outside Progressive Field above the Cuyahoga River, is known for its "Guardians of Traffic" statues.
Crows? American Crows are abundant in Ohio, and it's a very unique nickname. Dobys? Hall of Famer Larry Doby was the first black American League player in 1948 for Cleveland.
Hey, maybe a nickname change is just what the doctor ordered here as Cleveland hasn't won a World Series title since 1948, the longest active drought in the majors. It probably won't happen in 2021, either, as the Tribe are +1800 at William Hill Sportsbook to win it all and likely to trade superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor before the regular-season opener April 1 for financial reasons.
There has been no indication that other teams with Native American nicknames like the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs or Chicago Blackhawks are remotely considering a change.
Via SportsLine MLB oddsmakers: What will the Indians' new full-time nickname be (starting in 2022)?
- Spiders +200
- Baseball Team/Club +400
- Guardians +500
- Rocks/Rockers +800
- Crows +900
- Blue Sox +1000
- Naps +1200
- Blues +1500
- Dobys +1800
- Buckeyes +2000
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