It’s something that would have been unknown just a few years ago, but the idea is growing in importance.
CLEVELAND – During our series on the upcoming Cleveland Indian name change, we looked at various identities with ties to Northeast Ohio, whether they were regional terms or previous old club names.
However, there is one option that we haven’t discussed yet. It’s a name that might have been considered radical only a few years ago, but has grown in importance as a legitimate practice: the possibility of not having a name at all.
“Cleveland Baseball Club” (or “Team” if you prefer) has been listed as a contender for the organization’s new nickname. It’s a term that some people already use to avoid using “Indians” at all.
White home jerseys with just “Cleveland” on the chest were spotted in the Progressive Field team shop during the home opening game to give fans at least a glimpse of what the name of the simple city might look like.
Came over these white “Cleveland” jerseys in the Indian team shop today. I’ve been told that this season they won’t be part of the team’s actual uniform rotation, just an option to purchase for fans. pic.twitter.com/gC5ROB4FL5
– Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) April 2, 2021
For more than a century, virtually all teams in America’s four major sports have had an official nickname, with the practice of playing as a nickname in the city of a club being more common in international football (think Manchester United FC or AC Milan”). The trend has become increasingly popular in major league soccer in the United States, including Los Angeles FC and Atlanta United FC.
There was even an attempt recently to rename Columbus Crew SC to “Columbus SC” before fan backlash forced the organization to turn around.
In Columbus we forge paths that others can follow.
– The crew (@ColumbusCrew) May 10, 2021
Some said this style would never find its way into other US sports. That all changed when the Washington Redskins announced to the NFL that the team was dropping its nickname, which critics had long classified as racist. Rather than changing its nickname in a short period of time, the club confirmed just weeks after announcing that it would be officially known as the Washington Football Team in 2020 and now at least until the 2021 season. The team’s famous burgundy and gold uniforms have been stripped of all Native American references.
Washington won’t change its color scheme. Burgundy and gold are still used. The Redskins logo on the helmet is replaced with the player’s number in gold. The Washington Football team will debut their home uniforms against the Eagles in Week 1. pic.twitter.com/8DpC6b0Tyj
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) 23rd July 2020
While some fans derided the name as boring and uncreative, others were intrigued, and the label has proven popular enough that the team is at least considering keeping it all day. It was included as one of 30 possible options in a poll that was distributed to fans last April.
So could Washington serve as a test case for Cleveland? There are several reasons why the nameless option might make sense. It would be impossible for the name to cause the same controversy that “Indians” have fought for decades. It’s also a relatively new strategy that might come up with some interesting ideas, and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to emphasize “Cleveland” in such a proud and unapologetic city.
in the 3News name change survey As of earlier this month, “Cleveland Baseball Club” was included as one of the six options. While it didn’t rank first, we were surprised that it came in a solid fourth place with 15.2% of the vote, which shows that fans are at least open to the prospect.
But there are also several reasons why it might not work. For example, without a real nickname or cartoon logo to go with it, it might be difficult to market or even establish the brand at all. There’s also the challenge of making a “clean break” with the old brand, and if the new identity is essentially just “Cleveland,” there will most likely be dozens of followers who will continue to refer to the team as “Team” Indians “or” trunk “. The only way to prevent this from happening is to get an actual name, good or bad.
It could also be a moot point as the Indians refused to take the temporary route and instead will keep their current name for at least this season. Owner Paul Dolan also stated that the franchise would prefer an actual nickname when the change was announced back in December.
“We don’t want to be the Cleveland Baseball Team or any other tentative name” he told the Associated Press back then. “We will continue to be the Indians until we find the next name that will hopefully lead us through several centuries.”
Could the team go nameless if enough fans support them? Maybe, but as we’ve learned, anything can happen in this highly complex company.