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?
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.
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.
Yes, its the middle of January….yes, its colder than a well digger’s ass (How do we really know that?)….yes, its grey and gloomy…but what better time to think about….Baseball! Yes, baseball, and more specifically as far as I am concerned, Reds Baseball. Don’t get me wrong….I love the AFC & NFC Championship Games, I love Blue Jackets Hockey, I love Buckeyes Basketball….but I am a baseball guy through and through. That’s why I am excited and thrilled that the Reds Winter Caravan is about to begin!!!!
Many get excited about the Reds Winter Caravan because it gives them an opportunity to get an autograph or picture with their favorite player, coach or broadcaster. I am excited about it because it give me an opportunity to just talk baseball again with my baseball friends. It also gives me hope….hope that the cold is about to break, the grass is about to grow again and the sun is about to break through the clouds and warm us up on a beautiful day at the ballpark.
I look forward to the opportunity to join fellow baseball friends and say ‘Hey’ to Jeff Brantley, Billy Hamilton, Tom Browning and yes, even Jim Kelch….why don’t you join us as well as 95.5 The Game welcomes the Cincinnati Reds Winter Caravan to Central Ohio!
by Harry Yeprem Jr.
So with the Red Sox victory over the St. Louis Cardinals last night, it ends again….the Major League Baseball Season. Yes, it was a disappointing year for the Redlegs, a team picked by many to go further than they did. But there are still many great memories; Homer Bailey’s No-Hitter, Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips/Aroldis Chapman making the NL All Star Team, BP’s Gold Glove Award, the Reds drawing a GABP best attendance of nearly 2.4 Million Fans and though the team had a horrible finish they did accumulate 90 wins.
Now we have the offseason to trudge through….but all is not lost, Redsfest is just a little over a month away and the Reds Winter Caravan will be here before we know it. Plus, the ‘Hot Stove’ is about to fire up….yes, Marty and the ‘gang’ will be taking ‘epic’ phone calls about unattainable trades beginning Tuesday…but hey, you can talk Reds, Major League Baseball and your “Hot Stove” ‘recipes’ THIS FRIDAY (11/1) NIGHT beginning at 11p EST with us! The Sports Bus LIVE AND ON THE AIR!