Indians cave to MLB pressure on Chief Wahoo

by Cleveland Frowns on January 29, 2018

Today, the New York Times reported that the Cleveland Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms in 2019. According to a statement from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred that cited “Major League Baseball’s commitment to building a culture of diversity and inclusion,” the Indians organization “ultimately agreed with [Manfred’s] position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and [Manfred] appreciate[s] [Indians CEO Paul] Dolan’s acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”

Wahoo’s retirement has been widely viewed as inevitable at least since 2016, when Major League Baseball was stirred to eliminate the logo due to the national embarrassment it caused during the World Series. Dolan announced last fall that the franchise “would come to an understanding” with MLB on Wahoo “before the start of the 2018 season and maybe sooner than that,” and also said the Indians and MLB were “not aligned” on the logo’s future.


While the organization could have embraced this moment to completely rebrand and disassociate with the strain of white supremacy that insists on the right to make baseball mascots out of genocide victims, it has instead insisted on sustaining the impression that MLB has forced the issue. Instead of acknowledgment of the obvious wrong the logo represents, we’ll now have the disgrace of an entire season where the Indians will continue to wear a symbol that it and MLB have publicly agreed to be “no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball,” and contrary to “the goal of diversity and inclusion.” Also, Dolan has confirmed that the organization is “adamant about keeping the Indians name.”

The Times further reports that, “consumers will still be able to purchase items with the logo on them at the team’s souvenir shops in the stadium and at retail outlets in the northern Ohio market.” This only increases the likelihood that we’re in for a wave of revanchism at Progressive Field, where the same appropriative displays of Wahoo, redface, headdresses and the like—the very things that caused MLB to act on the issue in the first place—will only be more prevalent. Early returns on social media certainly suggest as much, with voters in a poll coming out at 90% in favor of keeping the Chief.

It’s hard to think that the Indians organization has done anything more here than endorse a message that it’s OK to embrace racism as long as we’re not too obvious about it. It’s even harder to think that such a half-measure could exorcise Chief Wahoo’s curse. While the removal of the logo from the uniforms is a good in itself, to have it come without a full rebrand is a lost opportunity. Those who insist that our institutions display a baseline level of decency toward all people should continue to reject an MLB organization whose branding is rooted in and inseparable from white supremacy, whether Wahoo is on the uniforms or not.


Baseball’s greatest curse wins again

by Cleveland Frowns on October 12, 2017

Now that the Curse of Chief Wahoo has done its thing yet again—and as brutally as ever with such an unceremonious first-round bouncing of such a historically great regular season team—hopefully more people will realize that the curse is something better to root for than an organization that engages in, enables, and encourages open racism and bigotry with its branding. As unfortunate as it is that the Cleveland MLB franchise forces Cleveland baseball fans into this choice, it’s long past time for this community to stop tolerating and enabling this trash by continuing to support this organization.


This isn’t a left vs. right issue, it’s about insisting that our institutions display a baseline level of kindness and common decency toward all humans. Change the name, change the logo, join the 21st century and stop worrying about revanchist low-lifes who might (but probably won’t) stop supporting a baseball team if it stopped being racist. Until then the Wahoo curse will surely live on and on and on.


Baseball’s greatest curse is about to be put to the test

by Cleveland Frowns on October 5, 2017

When the Chicago Cubs beat Cleveland’s Indians in last year’s World Series, they also vanquished the Curse of the Billy Goat, ending their 108-year championship drought. This left the Indians as baseball’s longest losing franchise, without a title since 1948, and Cleveland’s Curse of Chief Wahoo as the undisputed champion of baseball curses—having survived the more celebrated Billy Goat curse, as well as that of the Bambino, extinguished by the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

It probably shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Indians’ curse would outlast these more famous curses, which really were small potatoes in comparison. After all, [click to continue…]


With City Council’s efforts to suppress a referendum on the Q deal having failed, Dan Gilbert was finally faced with the prospect of a public vote on the proposed $100-million-plus subsidy to pay for discretionary renovations to Quicken Loans Arena. Rather than subject this project to scrutiny at the ballot, Gilbert decided to pick up his ball and go home.

Yesterday, Gilbert announced his “cancellation of [the Cavaliers’] participation in The Q Transformation Project” in a lengthy press release touting various hypothetical benefits of the renovations and blaming the sponsors of the referendum petition for killing the project. Leading elected officials—including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Kevin Kelley, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, and U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge—dutifully followed up with their own statements variously lamenting the death of the project and issuing their own accusations against the petition sponsors. Notably missing from these statements was any criticism of Gilbert himself—a man with virtually limitless personal resources—for taking the position that these renovations won’t happen at all if he can’t get a public handout to pay for them.

The whole thing has made for … Click here to continue reading at Cleveland Scene


This is a question that seems to be getting lost in the debate over the Q-deal referendum, which will now be moving forward thanks to yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his surrogates, both in their legal briefing against the referendum and in their related public-relations efforts, have repeatedly tried to blame opponents of the Quicken Loans Arena subsidy for costing Cleveland a chance at hosting the NBA All-Star Game. The Cavaliers went so far as to … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene


The NBA Finals could have been worse

by Cleveland Frowns on July 2, 2017

As tempting as it was for sports fans to think that the greatest basketball player of all time would be able to overcome the popular notion that the 2017 NBA Finals would be dictated by basic math, it was not to be. On one hand, adding Kevin Durant to a team with the previous year’s MVP and two more all-stars makes for boring basketball. On the other, good for Durant for asserting his independence from the NBA’s largely parasitic owner-class and exposing that the league’s salary cap is much less a way to ensure competitive balance than it is a way for owners to keep from sharing profits with players.

Of course, the player who’s worth more to his “owner” than any other is as aware as ever of the injustice in this state of affairs, as well as his “owner’s” responsibility for creating it. Remember, during the 2011 lockout, Dan Gilbert “led the charge of owners seeking supreme tax penalties on superteams, making them nearly impossible to maintain.” Not only do these penalties and related salary restrictions keep LeBron from recruiting or joining with enough stars to match the Warriors’ roster, they also keep him from earning more than a fraction of what he’s worth. And yesterday, in response to news that the Warriors are worth $2.1 billion more than they were when Joe Lacob bought the franchise only 7 years ago, LeBron tweeted that Steph Curry should be making $80 million per year. “Tell me again why there’s a cap on how much a player should get??,” he said. “Don’t answer that.”
LeBron on salary cap

Which makes for an interesting backdrop to whatever is going on between LeBron and Gilbert these days. Inequality wrought by the death of labor power has wrecked so much else in America, why wouldn’t it do the same to the NBA? If LeBron really wants to “strive for greatness,” there’s probably only one way. Increased awareness of these issues isn’t the worst thing to result from an NBA Finals series, even though the Warriors are still, in many respects, a disgrace. Nor, of course, is the fact that Eric Mangini’s 2009 Browns remain the owners of the greatest 4-game win streak in Cleveland sports history.

70 days of peace remain until the Browns kick off the 2017 season against the Steelers in Cleveland. Hope everyone makes the most of them.

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NBA Finals Preview

June 1, 2017

LeBron is a genius and the most gifted and dominant basketball player of all time and every player in the league already knows this. He’s also the best head coach and GM in the NBA, has taken control of his franchise like no other player has in history (basically owns the Cavs), inspires his teammates […]

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It’s burger time with Dan Gilbert, Frank Jackson, Marky Mark, and Donnie from New Kids on the Block

May 17, 2017

Let’s check in on Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who showed up last Thursday at a “VIP red carpet preview event” for a Wahlburgers location in some retail space owned by Dan Gilbert, across the street from Gilbert’s JACK Casino in downtown Cleveland and just underneath one of the most magnificent land-bridges to ever connect a casino […]

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Seventh Annual Cleveland Frowns NFL Draft Party: Thursday, April 27 at Map Room

April 14, 2017

This year’s draft party planning has been somewhat complicated by the fact that my wife is pregnant with our son, who’s technically due to arrive on April 28. But at this point my wife is confident that he’ll be here at least a week earlier than that, and regardless, our family prefers to abide by the wise […]

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Why is Armond Budish communicating absurd threats on Dan Gilbert’s behalf?

March 2, 2017

Last Tuesday afternoon, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish stood at a packed County Council meeting and emotionally pleaded for Council to approve the most recently proposed $70 million public handout to Dan Gilbert for upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena. Even though there is no legal obligation for the public to provide the proposed subsidy, the […]

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