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Native American group planning $9 billion lawsuit against Cleveland Indians

Chief Wahoo logo

The Washington Redskins have been under attack for their team nickname, and now the Cleveland Indians are finding themselves in a similar position.

Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache and director of the American Indian Education Center, is planning to file a federal lawsuit in late July against the Cleveland Indians organization. Roche leads the People Not Mascots activist group and says the lawsuit will challenge the team’s name and Chief Wahoo logo for being racist.

“We’re going to be asking for $9 billion and we’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” Roche told ABC 5 in Cleveland.

The Indians have drifted from using the Chief Wahoo logo to the block C, but Roche still sees problems.

“What they’re doing is using the C, but for the most part, they’re still selling it. It’s still the Cleveland Indians. It’s still using the racist logo, and they’re making well over $200 million a year,” Roche says.

The Indians had no comment on the story at the time.

If Cleveland wants to maintain the feel of their nickname, they should probably just call themselves the Cleveland Tribe. That’s a general enough nickname that should not be considered offensive, and it still would have ties to the old nickname.

Like Washington, they probably will end up changing things.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Indians make block C primary logo replacing Chief Wahoo

Cleveland Indians logo

The Cleveland Indians are one of the prominent remaining professional sports franchises to have an offensive logo. Though they don’t receive as much pressure as the Washington Redskins do for their nickname, they still are heavily scrutinized for their “Chief Wahoo” logo, which many feel is a derogatory depiction of Native Americans.

The Indians still have the Chief Wahoo logo, but UniWatch’s Paul Lukas says the team is making the block-C logo seen above their primary logo. Lukas says the team’s uniforms still won’t be changed and that Wahoo will remain on the home cap and sleeves.

Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk believes this is a sign the Indians are gradually working to phase out the controversial Wahoo logo. He says when he visited the team’s spring training complex, the block C was most prominently used.

Though Chief Wahoo has long been a part of the Indians’ history, it probably is time to make the change.

Terry Francona on Indians’ September success: ‘We stayed away from chicken and beer’

One month ago, the Cleveland Indians may have seemed like a longshot to make the playoffs. Things changed in a hurry. Terry Francona led his team to a 21-6 record over the month of September. The Indians have clinched one of the two American League wild card spots by getting hot at the perfect time. So what was the secret, Skip?

Terry Francona IndiansAh, yes — it was only a matter of time. The September Francona enjoyed with his new team this season was one that ended with 10 straight victories. It was the complete opposite of what happened in his last season as the manager of the Boston Red Sox, when Boston’s pitching staff was accused of caring more about beer, fried chicken and video games than winning. Some even blamed Francona for losing control of his team.

Most people believe the Red Sox tried to smear Francona’s name on his way out the door, and it’s hard to disagree with that. He was one of the most successful managers in franchise history and he had his name sullied by a few morons who obviously didn’t care about anything other than their paycheck.

Good for Tito. He inherited an Indians team that went 68-94 last season and led it to the playoffs in his first season in Cleveland. John Farrell did the same in Boston with a team that had 69 wins in 2012. The situation appears to have worked out for everyone. It’s now officially safe to joke about it.

H/T CBS Boston

Indians and Reds taunt each other with trophies on Twitter

Like many other interleague rivalries across Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds are squaring off on Monday for their annual Memorial Day rivalry. They call it the Ohio Cup. The teams split six games last season, but Cleveland won the Ohio Cup two years ago by taking five of six games against the Reds.

Before their meeting on Monday, the Indians official Twitter account bragged to the Reds by posting a photo of the Ohio Cup trophy.

The Reds official Twitter account refused to sit quietly. Winning the Ohio Cup is a bonus and allows for intrastate bragging rights, but there’s a much more highly-coveted trophy that the Indians have not gotten their hands on in over 60 years. Cincinnati  on the other hand, last won a World Series in 1990.

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Joe Girardi rips MLB scheduling after second-straight rainout

Joe-Girardi-YankeesThe New York Yankees have not played a game since Tuesday, as their last two games against the Cleveland Indians have been rained out. Playing baseball in April can be challenging, with unpredictable weather lingering throughout many northern states. Joe Girardi thinks the MLB needs to start accounting for that.

After the Yankees’ second-straight rainout in Cleveland on Thursday, Girardi ripped the league for sending teams to places like Cleveland and Minnesota in April when you are only visiting them once.

“I don’t think you can go to cold-weather cities if you only go there one time,” Girardi told reporters, via the NY Daily News. “I think you have to stay within your division the first month. Or, I know teams want night games, but if we would have had a day game today, it gives you a longer window to play the game.

“I mean, it’s snowing in Minnesota and the Mets are there. I don’t know who can make the best snowman.”

Girardi’s argument is that it is much less of a hassle to make up games when you are going to visit a team at least one more time during the remainder of the season. Now, the Yankees and Indians will likely have to play a doubleheader in Cleveland on a mutual off-day. You can see why that would be annoying, but the problem is impossible to avoid around this time of year. The league wants teams to have division games late in the season to create playoff drama. In order to achieve that goal, they’re willing to risk having to put up with some nasty weather.

Cleveland Indians mean business: reportedly sign Michael Bourn

Michael BournThe Cleveland Indians have signed the remaining big free agent name left on the market, reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $48 million deal with centerfielder Michael Bourn.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the deal has a vesting option for a fifth year at $12 million if Bourn reaches 550 plate appearances in 2016.

The timing of the signing is noteworthy: Bourn had gone well into the offseason without agreeing to a deal, and he signed for less money than many people expected. The New York Mets were said to be interested in Bourn, but as a rebuilding team they might not have felt the signing was right. The Atlanta Braves also signed BJ Upton and traded for his brother, Justin, so they had little need to bring Bourn back. With a diminishing market, Bourn ended up receiving less money than Nick Swisher, who entered the offseason as a less-desirable player on most free agent lists. Interestingly, Swisher also signed with the Indians. He received a four-year, $56 million deal with a $14 million option for 2017.

The Bourn signing gives the Indians a crowded outfield, but also more roster flexibility and trade possibilities. Michael Brantley is their projected starting left fielder, Swisher is the right fielder, and now Bourn will likely start in center field over Drew Stubbs, who was acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. Swisher can also play first base or DH. Alternatively, the Indians could platoon Stubbs and Brantley in left. The left-handed Brantley OPSd .785 against right-handers last year and .680 against lefties. Stubbs posted a .788 OPS against lefties and batted .541 against right-handers.

In addition to signing Bourn and Swisher, the Indians signed pitcher Brett Myers to a one-year, $7 million deal and plan to have him start. They signed Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $6 million deal and plan to have him play first. Their most beneficial move may prove to be their acquisition of potential ace pitcher Trevor Bauer in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I don’t care for the Bourn signing because I think his batting and fielding will decline, but the Indians are at least spending money and bringing in some quality players who should improve the team.

Indians president Mark Shapiro: If you only care about winning, don’t renew your season tickets

Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro has been facing some criticism over comments he made on a local TV station recently in response to an angry season ticket holder’s email. The fan asked Shapiro to give him a reason to renew his tickets for 2013, and Shapiro told the fan “don’t come” if his only reason for going to games is to see the team win.

Not exactly the brightest thing a team president can say to a frustrated customer, so Shapiro attempted to clarify his response on Tuesday. He did not do a very good job.

“I told him if the sole reason, the only reason, for renewing is predicated on us winning, then they shouldn’t come,” Shapiro said according to Bruce Hooley of ESPN Cleveland. “I stand by that. Baseball has to mean more than just being a fan when you win.

“No where are we spending more of our time, more of our energy or more money in trying to win. We all understand that the single-most important thing in baseball is winning and losing. But we are always going to have cycles to when we can win.”

Once again, not the brightest thing for a team’s president to say. Some personal seat licenses belong to people with businesses who don’t care about the team or rich people with so much money they need to find ways to spend it. But many season tickets are sold to people whose sole reason for opening up their wallets each season is that “this could be our year.”

Is there more to going to a ballgame than seeing your team win? Of course, and season ticket holders know they are going to see plenty of losses each season no matter how good there team is. That being said, the idea is to win. If you don’t think your team has a shot at the postseason and you aren’t made of money, why not save a few grand?

Fist pound to Hardball Talk