Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chief Wahoo and the Old English D

Two of the Twins division rivals changing their look. One is purely aesthetic, the other is deeper.

Start with the aesthetic one. The Detroit Tigers have long had, in my opinion, baseball's best looking home uniforms. One oddity of the design was the use of two different versions of what they call the Old English D. The one on the cap has thinner lines and points on the top; the one over the heart on the jersey is drawn thicker and has a rounded top.

Or had. The two D's are to be standardized this year, with the points, and some reports suggest that the cap's D is thicker drawn, more like the jersey version.

Many (most?) fans never noticed the different D's, so this isn't a revolution. I preferred the cap's version, and apparently the polling agreed. The Tigers have tweaked the D numerous times over the years.

The more significant change: The Cleveland Indians are to dump their traditional "Chief Wahoo" logo after this year. Commissioner Rob Manfred said it's "no longer appropriate for on-field use."

Which is true, and has been for some time. Wahoo is clearly a racial caricature. My somewhat nuanced opinion is: There is nothing inherently offensive about the "Indians" nickname, unlike that of the NFL team that plays its home games somewhere in the vicinity of the nation's capital. But what you do with the nickname can be offensive, and Wahoo should be seen in that light.

Joe Posnanski, Cleveland native and great writer, wrestles with the Wahoo question here.

My guess is that the team was dragged to this agreement by its desire to host the All-Star game again. Manfred, who has been urging them to drop Wahoo, probably made it clear: Not with Wahoo around. My guess is that the majority of Cleveland fans would rather keep Wahoo. My guess further is that if Wahoo truly goes away, in five years or so nobody will really miss that logo.

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