“That Which We Call a Rose…”

would smell as sweet.”–Shakespeare (“Romeo and juliet”).

So I see the Cleveland Indians are about to become the Cleveland something elses. I suppose it’s about time. I don’t know too many Tribal Americans (my phrase for what we call either “Indians” or “Native Americans”) who liked the name, but most I know are more concerned with other issues.

All this gives us an opportunity to decide “what’s in a name?” (the earlier part of the quote above). There are several choices, and if you’ve read much of what I write, you’ll know I’m not about to pass up a chance to tell you what I think of each. So here goes.

Rocks: I’ve seen this posed a handful of places. It’s in reference to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being in Cleveland. Sorry, but when I hear that I’m always reminded of the phrase “dumber than a whole bag of rocks.” Well, maybe that does fit for the Cleveland ball club.

Cleveland Baseball Team: A play on what the Washington team did in football. Actually, it’s not a bad idea. First, you use the name, sell a bunch of jerseys, then change the name to something else and sell a ton more jerseys.

Spiders: This was the name of the 19th Century team. They folded after the worst won-loss record of any major league team in 1899. I guess it’s been long enough that no one except a few die hard baseball fans even know they existed, but somehow Spiders don’t inspire loyalty (a shudder maybe, but not loyalty).

Forest City: This was the original name of the first professional Cleveland team in 1871 (And, yes, it was singular, not plural.). Does anyone today think of Cleveland in the forest?

Buckeyes: This was the name of the 1940s Negro League team that played in Cleveland and won the 1945 Negro World Series. It should be the favorite because baseball owes it to the Negro Leagues (Kansas City did something like it when they became the Royals, a tribute to the Kansas City Monarchs).

Fire Rivers: This is my favorite, and they’ll never use it. Remember back in 1969 the local river caught on fire? Well, it did. I can think of no better tribute to Cleveland than Fire Rivers. It even sounds tough.

Feel free to add your own favorites.


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