In 1947, Cleveland Indians brass decided they needed a new logo/mascot to “convey a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm”. Out of that decision, “Chief Wahoo” was born. The “Chief” has been a part of Indians’ marketing and uniforms ever since. From 1962 through 1994, a 28-foot-tall, neon-lit sign of “Chief Wahoo” at bat stood above Gate D of the Indians’ former home, Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Yes, “Chief Wahoo” has been a storied part of Indians’ history. Fans of the Tribe seem to be, for the most part, very supportive of the logo. The call has arose again though to ‘eject’ “Chief Wahoo” from the team and the game. Cleveland’s newspaper, The Plain Dealer, has called for the Indians to retire the logo. Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed has called for the removal of “Chief Wahoo”.
I am a baseball fan. I am a sports fan. I understand the ties to a team’s history and tradition. But do I think the Indians should get rid of “Chief Wahoo”? Yes, I do. Just look at the caricature; a smiling, toothy red-skinned cartoon. Of course that is offensive. If a team today were to adopt a similar logo/mascot of another race for marketing purposes, the outrage would be rightfully huge. So yes, the Cleveland Indians should retire the character for good. What say you?
I have lived in Columbus since birth and for all of my 48 years (yes Sabie, I am THAT old) of life, I had never had the privilege of attending an Arnold Classic, Arnold Challenge, Arnold Fitness Event or whatever the hell they call it these days. Thanks to a facebook friend, that changed. I will admit some trepidation about heading down to the “Arnold”. I am horribly out of shape and feared I would stand out like Roseanne Barr at the Playboy Mansion. Those fears were unfounded. Never at one time did I feel out of place. It was a very ‘cool hang’; all attendees, athletes and exhibitors seemed genuinely happy to be there.
First of all, the event is so packed with people you have no chance of sticking out. Vendors of all types of bodybuilding and fitness products fill every square inch of the Columbus Convention Center. It is a trade show on steroids….oops, wrong choice of words. It all isn’t centered around bodybuilding either. Sports and fitness activities of all sorts are on display. From painting (yes, art work) to fencing to rope jumping to even table tennis.
Of course, there are ‘celebrity appearances’ throughout the weekend to get fans excited. And of course, I couldn’t resist,
Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle & World Famous Bodybuilder Andy Haman were on hand. I did a ‘before & after’ photo with Andy….
The emphasis though is on fitness….and there are lots of attractive, physically fit people on hand. I did some ‘research’ with these two very physically fit specimens….(ok, I creepily asked for a picture and then got nervous being around such attractive women….)
I also was asked to ‘compete’ at the Arnold Fitness Classic….as you can see, my ‘posing and form’ won much applause and many medals….
sorry ladies, if I took my shirt off, you couldn’t handle it. Arnold was so impressed, I was asked to ‘pose’ with him….
So, as you can see, even a morbidly obese man can have fun at the Arnold Fitness Classic. I celebrated my day of fun with some ‘furry friends’. The “Arnold” brings out all types…and looking at these final pictures, I really need to ‘get a life’.
Major League Baseball Spring Training has begun and the Reds have returned to Goodyear, Arizona to get ready for it. The Queen City Redlegs began 2013 with a lot of optimism. They added Shin Soo Choo to play CF and looked forward to full, healthy seasons from perennial MVP Candidate Joey Votto and pitching staff ace Johnny Cueto. Quite frankly, 2013 was a “World Series or Bust” year for them. Unfortunately, it was a bust. Votto played a full season at 1B, but seemed to change his approach at the plate and on the field after dealing with a injured left knee in 2012. Joey hit .305, but dipped to 24 HRs and 73 RBIs, numbers that don’t warrant $25 million a year. Another blow was suffered as LF and five hole hitter Ryan Ludwick tore the labrum lining in his right shoulder on a slide Opening Day. Cueto continued to struggle as well with muscle issues. Still, the Reds remained in contention and finished with a 90-72 record even with a dismal end to the regular season that saw them totally flame out against the Mets and division rival Pittsburgh. A third place finish in the NL Central gave them a Wild Card playoff berth vs. the Pirates at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. That game was an epic fail as the hungry Pirates and a rowdy Bucs crowd put an end to the Reds’ season.
Owner Bob Castellini decided change needed to be made at the top. Dusty Baker was great at getting the Reds to the playoffs, but just was unable to rally the team any further. Pitching Coach Bryan Price was chosen to take the helm and bring accountability to the clubhouse. Shin Soo Choo parlayed his .285, 21 HR, 54 RBI season into a huge payday with the Texas Rangers, C Ryan Hanigan became a Tampa Bay Ray and rock solid P Bronson Arroyo was not offered a new contract and moved on to the Diamondbacks. GM Walt Jocketty took a lot of criticism over the winter as he made no moves of significance to counter those losses. P Homer Bailey was resigned to a 6 year, $105 million contract; a move that caused some head shaking but needed to be made in today’s MLB salary world. To risk losing Bailey would severely impact the pitching staff in the future.
For the Reds to reach the playoffs again in 2014 and move past the first round, a lot needs to come from the current roster and a newcomer. Speedster Billy Hamilton has been tabbed to take over duties in CF and the leadoff spot. There is no doubt Billy can run. He stole 13 bases in 13 games during a late call-up to Cincy and provided energy every time he entered a game. But you can’t steal first base. Billy hit .256 at AAA Louisville last season. Joey Votto needs to quit trying to be John Olerud (google the name, kids) and return to his 2010 MVP numbers (.324, 37 HRs, 113 RBIs). RF Jay Bruce also needs to finally take the next step to stardom. Jay is a solid player, but like the team, seems unable to take the ‘next step’. And what type of season should Reds fans expect of “Dat Dude” Brandon Phillips? BP once again played stellar defense at 2B and had a decent season at the plate (.261, 18 HRs, 103 RBIs), but seems to have become a disruptive force in the clubhouse. He has questioned ownership’s truthfulness regarding finances, had a well publicized blow up on Cincinnati Enquirer sportswriter C. Trent Rosecrans and became even more disgruntled after news surfaced the Reds shopped him to the Yankees for a trade. Plus, a disturbing profile came out this winter about closer Aroldis Chapman. Will that be a distraction?
The starting pitching staff of Johnny Cueto (barring further injury), Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake should be more than solid and the Reds bullpen is also a plus. But with the lack of moves during the offseason, Joey Votto’s new approach at the plate, the almost certain drop off in production for CF/leadoff spot and change in leadership, I see an 84-78 finish which will lead to 3rd place and no playoffs for the 2014 Reds. The ‘window of opportunity’ has closed on this team.
As we headed into the turn of the millennium, NASCAR was at an all time high. It turned the corner of being just for ‘good old boys’ and had became second only to the NFL in terms of ratings and national attention on the sports scene. Fans took to the fast action on the track and the stories behind each individual driver. Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Sr. & Jr. among others became superstars. The stands were ‘stacked and packed’, ratings were high, sponsorships were being snapped up for the various teams and the TV money was rolling in.
Then on February 18, 2001 the unthinkable happened….NASCAR’s biggest star, Dale Earnhardt, died in what seemed like an uneventful wreck. That it happened on NASCAR’s biggest stage, the Daytona 500, made it even more painful for fans.
NASCAR began to fade. The economy crippled sponsorships and drivers who normally seemed safe scrambled for money to keep their teams afloat. And of course, greed reared its ugly head, the cost of going to a NASCAR race skyrocketed, making it nearly impossible for the ‘average fan’ to attend. The circuit also made the decision to take races away from smaller, traditional facilities like Rockingham and Darlington to larger 1.5 mile, newer tracks that make for boring racing. Races became longer as ‘suspicious caution flags’ came out to allow for more commercials. NASCAR also began to constantly tinker with car set-ups, race formats and rules (Who can forget NASCAR’s shoehorning of Jeff Gordon into last year’s Chase?) to try to appease fans and larger teams. Plus, going to a NASCAR race seems to have become a big hassle. I witnessed first hand the traffic nightmare that has killed the Sprint Cup race at the Kentucky Speedway. The argument can also be made that the season is way too long. Where as NASCAR may have held its own against the NFL 14 or so years ago, that is no longer the case. King Football will not be defeated. TV ratings are plummeting and it is no secret, just watch a race, attendance is significantly down.
The question of whether NASCAR is ‘fixed’ also has crept up more often as of late. Even I, as a fan, have to question rookie Austin Dillon’s winning of the 2014 Daytona 500 pole, in the #3 car Dale Sr. used to drive! It also seemed like a “PR job” when “The Savior”, Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole last year. Beautiful, sweet Danica…yes, she brings marketing dollars to NASCAR, but let’s be honest…she is not a good driver, she was average in Indy Car from where she came. And for all of the ‘hype’ surrounding the “Queen of NASCAR” she has not helped sagging ratings and attendance. Quite honestly, the ‘spat’ between her and “The King” Richard Petty has turned NASCAR into ‘clown show’ territory.
Add to all of this the news that ESPN and NASCAR will soon part ways. Say what you will about the “Worldwide Leader” (I am not their biggest fan), but once you are out of their ‘good graces’, it is a tough road to ride. Just look at how national attention for the NHL has slipped since they and ESPN parted. You can kiss shows like “NASCAR Now” and all of the segments airing on a constant loop on SportsCenter goodbye.
What happened to NASCAR? It was a shooting star that captured our attention. It will always be there on Sundays in the spring and summer for four or so hours, but it will never regain the popularity it had during the early 2000s.
The Reds have once again proven that the “small market” label used by many sports teams is nothing more than an excuse.
In 2012, fans were preparing for the worst, fearing that two of their stars would skip town for a long-term contract and bag o’ cash. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto were outgrowing Cincinnati and the small-town Reds. Could the Reds possibly scrape up the money to sign one of them? After Votto agreed to the biggest contract in club history, Phillips signed a six-year deal for big money.
The Reds have inked Homer Bailey to a six-year, $105 million contract. The 27-year old has developed into the pitcher that the club and fans have been waiting on. I really like this deal. Bailey has his moments, but he is a workhorse with immense talent.
It was an amazing scene this past Saturday (2/15) as throngs of Columbus Hockey fans converged en masse on the Arena District packing the R Bar and Three Legged Mare to watch the USA vs. Russia Olympic Hockey game. The lines to get into both places began forming around 5am to get a decent spot to watch the game.
I had the privilege of making it into the R Bar to be part of the festivities. The atmosphere was electric for such an early hour….and yes, the beer was flowing. The Blue Jackets made it even more special by having emcee Mike Todd, fan favorites Jody Shelley and Fredrik Modin on hand along with some great prize giveaways.
The R Bar was at capacity and beyond. Those who were unable to make it in watched outside on large monitors from windows lining the patio while waiting for people to leave. The game itself was amazing….a hard fought affair that honestly at times seemed as if Team Russia was going to take control of. But Team USA kept fighting and when Fedor Tyutin’s late goal was disallowed, the energy in the room increased tenfold. You could tell you were part of something special and those watching didn’t want it to end. Of course, the issue of five Blue Jackets on the Russian team cropped up during the morning…but it didn’t matter, everyone in attendance was pulling for Team America (with the exception of two Russian hotties standing near me who cheered every time Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made a save, which wasn’t all bad). National Pride was at a fevered pitch as we were united for all of America, except Michigan, of course.
Near the end of the game I spotted Dispatch sports columnist Bob Hunter standing a few people away. I couldn’t help but remark, “I guess Columbus is a hockey town, huh?” He laughed and expressed his amazement at how so many turned out so early on such a cold morning to watch Olympic Hockey. I also kind of felt bad as Bob tried to take pictures of the crowd with his smartphone. Bob is not the tallest person in the world. I wanted to ask him if he would like to get up on my shoulders to take pictures.
So the game ended in a tie, the overtime was scoreless and of course most of you know how it ended….TJ Oshie of the St. Louis Blues in epic fashion with not one, not two, not three but four shootout goals. After that what happened at the R Bar? Let’s let the video do the talking……
So you still don’t think Columbus is a Hockey Town? I have seen many sporting events in person, on tv and with gatherings like this. Watching Buster Douglas knock out Mike Tyson almost 25 years ago at a campus bar will always be number one on my list of sports moments viewed…but what happened this past Saturday is a very close second. Columbus Hockey Fans are truly amazing.
You have seen them at sporting events, especially Ohio State games here in CBus, and that is the so-called “SuperFans”. Guys like Buck-I-Guy, the Big Nut, the Woody Hayes impersonator, etc. It seems like coming in and out of every commercial break during a game there they are, pointing at the camera….waving their arms like they are a bird trying to fly or grooving wildly to the band. This past weekend we had an incident between a “SuperFan” and a player. Texas Tech “SuperFan” Jeff Orr and Oklahoma State player Marcus Smart got into an altercation during a game. Now, I am not saying that Buck-I-Guy and the other Buckeye “SuperFans” are yelling, screaming or making obscene gestures at opposing players…but with this recent incident, “SuperFans” have come back into the spotlight, which they probably enjoy.
Recently, Buckeye “SuperFan” Big Nut has been spotted in the student section of Buckeyes Basketball Games. That has drawn the ire of many Buckeye fans and followers such as Buckeye Sports Bulletin’s Ben Axelrod, who tweeted (@BenAxelrod) his dismay at Big Nut being courtside with the students. It does sound like thanks to “BREAKING NEWS” that Big Nut will not be in the student section beginning with Tuesday Night’s game at The Schott vs. Michigan. Now, I will give these guys credit in the fact that they have used their ‘celebrity’ to help with fundraisers for charities and scholarship programs. But I wonder what causes these guys to become “SuperFans”? It it because they are truly passionate fans for their team or because they want the attention for themselves?
I have had enough…it is time to no longer recognize the corruption, exploitation and outright criminal activity of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC is so corrupt that even Boxing Federations think it should clean up it’s act. For many years, Juan Antonio Samaranch lined his pockets as the leader of the IOC and current leader Jacques Rogge, who is about to retire, is probably following suit.
Just look at the chaos and horrific conditions in Sochi, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics. To subject visitors, athletes and journalists to such inhumane conditions because Russia had the highest bid is INEXCUSABLE! It is time to stop this corruption and greed and time to ABOLISH THE OLYMPIC GAMES ONCE AND FOR ALL!
Ok, you busted me….can we just abolish the Olympics so I don’t have to sit and watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies every 2 to 4 years with my wife?
So with Seattle’s blow out of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, football has ended for another year…..or so. Yes, I am a ‘baseball guy’; I love “America’s Pastime”….but it always makes me cringe when I see my fellow baseball fans cheer the end of a football season or bad mouth the NFL or College Football. I mean, can’t you make time for both? Are you unable of ‘multi-tasking’? I LOVE Baseball, but I also love Football. (See what I did there with the capital letters? Ain’t I clever?) Opening Day is unequaled for me when it comes to days on the ‘sports calendar’, but damn it, an early fall Saturday on THE Ohio State University Campus with a football game about to kickoff at Ohio Stadium is pretty darn close.
And while I love a beautiful summer day at the ballpark, a Sunday at home with two different NFL games going on multiple TVs and the NFL RedZone Channel on the laptop comes pretty damn close as well. So, fans of baseball, basketball, soccer and croquet, etc….allow us football fans this time of mourning. Don’t be disrespectful.