- The Cleveland Indians are reviewing their long-debated nickname
- Naps (+150) and Spiders (+200) are the betting favorites if the MLB opts for change. Might they go for Wild Things (+500) as a tribute to the film Major League?
- A look at all of the options, along with analysis and predictions, follows in the story below
They’ve been the Cleveland Indians since 1915 but that situation may be about to change. Cleveland’s MLB team acknowledged Friday that they are in the process of reviewing the club’s long-debated nickname.
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the team said in a statement.
Washington’s NFL team is also undergoing a review of it’s long-standing nickname. Like Cleveland’s team, also frequently referred to as the Tribe, both teams have faced protests from Native American groups who find the nicknames to be offensive.
Already, there is a prop wager covering a variety of possible new nicknames for Cleveland’s baseball club. Naps (+150) is the betting favorite. Spiders, at +200, isn’t far behind.
Odds on New Name of Cleveland’s MLB Team
Odds taken July 4th
It’s the first time that the franchise has even entertained the notion of changing their nickname.
Cleveland Slow To Accept Change
There’s been pubic pressure on Cleveland’s MLB team to change its name for years. So far, though, the team hasn’t faced anything like the onslaught of corporations demanding that Washington’s NFL team make a name change.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 4, 2020
It could be that Cleveland is looking to get in front of this issue before the court of public opinion zeroes in on them again. In 2018, the the ballclub opted to drop its controversial Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms. It can still be purchased on other merchandise produced by the team, however.
Memory of Spiders Haunts Cleveland
Yes, Cleveland did have a team in the National League called the Spiders from 1892-99. And yes, the legendary Cy Young pitched for that team.
Still, going back to the Spiders is a bad idea and not just because it could lead to nightmares among Arachnophobes in Cleveland. The 1899 Spiders were the worst team in the history of MLB. They went 34-120, finishing 84 games behind the pennant-winning Brooklyn Supremos.
— Cleveland Scene (@ClevelandScene) July 3, 2020
Heck, the Spiders ended up 35 games out of second-last. Pitcher Jim Hughey (4-30) led the team in wins and losses.
Average attendance at Cleveland home games in 1899 was 145. The Spiders were contracted out of the NL following the season.
And Ode To Ricky Vaughn
The Wild Things is certainly a long shot. It would be a move paying homage to Major League, a 1989 film in which Cleveland makes the playoffs. Their success was owed in part to off-the-wall closer Ricky Vaughn. He was dubbed the Wild Thing due to his shocking inability to find the plate with his pitches.
that last heater is a
giant hi-five for @Cody_Bellinger !
— Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) February 17, 2020
However, portraying Vaughn’s character was real-life train wreck Charlie Sheen. Long before US President Donald Trump adopted the phrase, Sheen was all about winning.
It’s working out about as effectively for him as it has for Trump.
Tip Of The Cap To Naps
Cleveland joined the American League in 1901. The team was known as the Blues that first season and the Broncos in 1902. That year saw them acquiring reigning AL batting champion Nap Lajoie from the Philadelphia Athletics.
The next season, following a readers’ poll conducted by the Cleveland Press, the team was renamed Naps in his honor.
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) July 4, 2020
Future Hall of Famer Lajoie won four batting titles with Cleveland and managed the team from 1905-09.
Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good nap?
Pick: Naps (+150).