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Archive for the tag “Cleveland Indians”

What’s in a name?

The Cleveland Indians made it official this week with the announcement that they will be changing the team name. 

It was not exactly breaking news, as the move has been expected ever since the team dropped (sort of) the use of Chief Wahoo as part of the team’s on-field logo package. 

Team officials did not set an actual date for when a new name will be announced, but made it clear they will still be called the Indians at least through the 2021 season. Team owner Paul Dolan declined to offer up any clues about what the new name will be other than to say changing from Indians to The Tribe is not on the table, according to

Naturally, the news has led to speculation and suggestions for how the team should rebrand itself.

Some favor Spiders, which was the name of Cleveland’s baseball team from 1889 to 1899. The Spiders went 20-134 in their final season, the worst record in major league history, and paying homage to one of the worst franchises in the history of American sports would be an interesting choice. 

If the idea is to honor a former team, the Cleveland Buckeyes would seem to be a better choice. The Buckeyes played in the Negro League from 1943 to 1948, winning the World Series in 1945. Renaming the team Buckeyes would probably lead to some agita from Ohio State University, however, so it may not be worth the effort.

Others have put forth Guardians after the Guardians of Traffic art deco statues that are a prominent feature of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in downtown Cleveland. While that idea has its merits, there are some who criticize the choice as being too minor league for a franchise that has not won a World Series since 1948.

The idea that there might be a “right” or a “wrong” choice for a team name brings up an interesting discussion, namely (sorry) what makes a team name be worthy of a professional franchise?

Is there something in a name that triggers fans’ brains to say, “that is a major league club!” Or do we simply accept a name because it is associated with a franchise is part of MLB, the NFL or the NBA?

After all, what is it about Red Sox or White Sox that screams a high level of expertise? If simply selecting a random article of clothing is the bar to clear, then Cleveland could simply change to Blue Shirts and call it a day. 

Some names make sense from a regional perspective, like Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies. But there are just as many that are nonsensical, such as the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates (was piracy an issue in Pittsburgh once upon a time?), or names that have followed franchises as they moved from their original cities, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Giants. 

Cleveland Cardinals has a nice alliteration to it, but St. Louis appropriated Cardinals in 1900 apparently because the Eastern Bluebird, the state bird of Missouri, was deemed lacking.

The takeaway here is that while one could make the case that there right names and wrong names — think anything related to Rockers, for example — it is a bit harder to say that there are names that are more professional than others. 

As long as the Dolans don’t do anything completely wonky, the name they come up with will likely be at the very least serviceable and pass the test of sounding professional. 

Given the pace that they are moving on this issue, however, Cleveland fans will have plenty of time to continue to debate the issue.

Corey Kluber continues to show he belongs among Tribe’s elite


On Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber pitched what, at least for him, was a routine outing.

Kluber went seven innings and allowed just one run, marking his 13th consecutive quality start this season. (A quality start is defined as allowing three earned runs or less in at least six innings of work.)

Kluber has been so consistent for so long that a start like the one he posted against the Brewers has almost come to be expected by Tribe fans. Kluber goes out, quietly works over the opposing lineup and, seven or so innings later, calmly walks off the mound after another job well done.

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Hang in there Tribe fans, there is still a long way to go

tribe opening weekend woesWell, that was one heck of an opening weekend to the 2015 season, wasn’t it Tribe fans?

Three consecutive losses to the Detroit Tigers. Twenty-five runs given up. Forty-three hits allowed. Miguel Cabrera (a .786 batting average, two home runs and six RBI) doing everything short of helping himself to the Tribe’s post-game buffet.

Michael Brantley battling a  “perplexing” injury to his back. Yan Gomes going down with a knee injury that will keep him out a couple of months.

We mean, even the Cleveland Browns managed to win their home opener. And the Browns didn’t lose their third home game until four months into the season. And Cleveland’s undisputed No. 1 team didn’t see attendance fall off by 35 percent from the first game of the season to the second.

Sure, it was downright ugly at times at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario over the weekend, but there is no need for anyone to go off the deep end for one important reason:

It was only three games and the season is just six games old. 

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5 Questions – Tribe Home Opener Edition

opening day 5 questionsThe Cleveland Indians enter the 2015 season carrying some heavy expectations for a club that was just 85-77 a year ago.

Several national experts have predicted the Tribe will claim a playoff spot this season and at least one – Sports Illustrated – has tapped the Tribe to capture the World Series for the first time since 1948.

That may seem like a tall order when you consider that the Tribe plays in the same division as Detroit – which has claimed the A.L. Central Division title four consecutive years — and Kansas City – the reigning American League pennant holders. But the Royals and San Francisco, last year’s champion, illustrate a new truth in baseball.

The Royals won 89 games last season and the Giants won 88, both making the playoffs through the Wild Card and then got hot. Baseball, like the NFL and NBA, is now all about making the playoffs and then seeing what happens. So if the Tribe can just add four wins to their total this season — just a little more than one every two months — that should be enough to compete for a playoff spot.

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Tribe needs a consistent Lonnie Chisenhall in 2015

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit TigersFor the majority of our life as a Cleveland Indians fan, the franchise has been bad (or worse) far more than they have been good.

But there has generally been one position that has consistently been a bright sport the Tribe – third base.

Starting with Buddy Bell in 1973, who hit .274 and played Gold Glove-caliber defense (even he wasn’t recognized with an actual Gold Glove) for seven seasons, through Toby Harrah and Brook Jacoby, the position was solid, if unspectacular for the better part of 17 years.

The Tribe hit what could be described as the golden era of the position in 1994, when the team started a nine-year stretch where the hot corner was manned by Jim Thome, Matt Williams and Travis Fryman, During that time the Tribe made the playoffs six times and won two American League pennants.

Since Fryman’s retirement following the 2002 season things haven’t been as prosperous, but the likes of Casey Blake, Aaron Bone, Jhonny Peralta and Jack Hannahan had their moments.

Which brings us to the 2015 season and Lonnie Chisenhall.

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Five the hard way


Today we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the launch of our site.

In some cultures the number 5 is considered a lucky number, but it is also one that comes with a bit of a price. People who believe that 5 is their lucky number often judge or enjoy things with their senses, rather than through deep thought, meaning that they often end up with a bad result.

Which pretty much sums up the day-to-day existence of your average Cleveland sports fan.

Sticking with the numbers theme, since we made our inaugural post:

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Are we in the golden age of Cleveland coaching?

david blatt cavs

David Blatt seems to think so.

While Cleveland has gone a collective 145 years and counting without a championship from any of its three professional sports teams,* that doesn’t mean we haven’t see our share of quality men calling the shots in the dugout or on the sidelines.

And we might currently be in the golden age of Cleveland managers and coaches.

The argument for the greatest NFL head coach of all-time begins and ends, of course, with Paul Brown. If you went solely by his time in Cleveland, Brown’s .750 lifetime winning percentage would be third best in NFL history, behind only Guy Chamberlin and John Madden. (And ahead of a guy named Vince Lombardi; maybe you’ve heard of him.) But even adding in his time with Cincinnati, Brown still checks in at No. 11 on the all-time list.

New England’s Bill Belichick is rightfully considered the best coach currently in the NFL, but even Belichick has not taken the Patriots to 10 consecutive league title games, let alone win seven of them. As good as Belichick and Tom Brady are, they are not now, and never will be, Paul Brown and Otto Graham.

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From the editor’s notebook …

browns release ben tateIt what was a surprise – at least to us – the Cleveland Browns released running back Ben Tate on Tuesday.

In eight games with the Browns, Tate rushed for 333 yards and four touchdowns, which, interestingly enough, were as many touchdowns as the Browns rushed for as a team in 2013. Tate’s rushing yards were a bit inflated by his 124-yard performance against Tennessee; take away that game and he was averaging just 2.49 yards per carry.

“With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team,” general manager Ray Farmer said in announcing the move. “This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward.”

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From the editor’s notebook …

antonio brown steelersWith the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town on Sunday for what has turned into a rather important divisional game, the Cleveland Browns are facing the usual litany of problems when it comes to the Steelers.

One of those problems may be getting worse with the uncertainty surrounding the availability of cornerback Joe Haden, who may miss the game after injuring his hip in the win against Tennessee. (Defensive tackle Phil Taylor is also out now for several weeks after injuring his knee, which doesn’t help matters, either.)

Even with Haden in the lineup the Browns have had problems with Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has career highs in receptions (37), receiving yards (610) and touchdowns (four) against the Browns. In the opening game of the season, Brown had five catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

See what we mean?

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Tribe’s problems easy to spot, but solutions may not be

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland IndiansThe Cleveland Indians closed out what ultimately will go down as a disappointing season on Sunday with a 7-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tribe came into the season with high hopes and looking to build on the momentum of making the Wild Card play-in game in 2013. But the team came up short of a return trip to the playoffs, meaning the Tribe hasn’t had consecutive playoff appearances since the last millennium (1998 and 1999). They did the season at 85-77, in the process managing to post consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2001 and 2001, so at least they can hang their hat on that.

It was readily apparent, even just from watching a handful of games, what was wrong with the team this season. The Tribe’s defense had a major-league leading 116 errors; the bullpen was inconsistent; and the offense had a major drop off in the second half of the season, especially in September, which helped to stall any thoughts of repeating last September’s 21-6 record.

Diagnosing the problem is only half the battle, however, as finding a cure could prove to be more difficult.

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