Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For God's Sake, Retire Wahoo! (Season & Decade Over)


I haven't had much to say about the malingering mascot Chief Wahoo for some time. Longtime readers may recall my anguish: a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, I also seek to avoid cognitive wreckage in my personal and professional life. Chief Wahoo is an affront of fantastic proportions, about whose history I have written before. I ascribe many (all?) failures of the Indians to the fiendish karmic vortex created by his presence on hats and jerseys.

The American League won the All-Star game again tonight, in St. Louis. I haven't been paying a lot of attention to baseball this year, though the Cards are leading the NL Central division at the break. I will probably tune in down the stretch.

At the halfway point of the season I can certainly say that I have lost all interest in my boyhood ballclub this year. Which, though stocked with decent talent and some stars (Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, others) has disappointed. At the halfway mark, the Tribe has the worst record in the American League at 35-54. Nineteen games under .500.

Memorandum to Mark Shapiro, Indians GM and VP: now is the time to do it. People are starting to think about the Browns already. The 2009 Indians are toast. Quietly engage a group to rework the Indians' identity. (I'm available.) Wahoo goes. Look through the historical record of Native American iconography from the northeastern United States in the 18th century–at the very end of which Cleveland was founded. Work something up that at the very least makes a pretense of honoring the culture. Then unveil the new look to great fanfare next winter. Understand: this is your sole option. Only at this point will you have a prayer of reclaiming the World Series title, last won by the Indians in 1948, the year after Jackie Robinson (and Larry Doby) integrated the sport. A crappy civil rights record was representative of baseball in the 1940s: Wahoo fit right in. But at this late date, we're overdue for a change.

Alas, I am too embarassed to wear an Indians' jersey, so I will never contemplate buying one. But when you give Wahoo the boot, I promise, I'll fork out the dough for a jersey the next day.

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