This may or may not be known to you reading this yet. But the Akron Aeros are no more.
Ardent fans of the Indians minor league system are probably aware of the change that was announced a few days ago, and people in Akron are certainly buzzing about it. Outside of Akron through, and unless you are a die-hard minor league fan, you probably haven't heard.
And if you are a die-hard minor league fan, you probably really don't care.
Akron is going crazy though, because owner Ken Babby has changed the name of the Aeros, who've been called such since the team moved into Canal Park in the mid-90's. They were the Indians since they moved to Akron in 1989.
And now starting in 2014, the city of Akron has a new team name...
The Akron RubberDucks.
Yes this is happening.
I'm in Akron, have lived in Akron since 2008 right behind the number of Indians games I've attended is the number of Akron Aeros games I've attended.
My first reaction was probably like the standard reaction that everyone in this city had. Oh that's just downright stupid.
But I'm going to admit this right here and right now.
I'm growing to like it. In fact, I downright enjoy it. It's fun, it's different, it's unique.
And most importantly, the logo and color scheme is pretty freaking awesome. I enjoyed the unique purple and black colors the Aeros rolled with, setting it a part from all the other minor league teams of the Indians. But now the Akron franchise has a cool logo to go along with it.
|Photo: MILB.com/Akron RubberDucks|
The thing that doesn't make sense in all of this is that Orbit is sticking around, because, the kids love him.
That's cool, whatevs. But that's what this move is all about. Kids and families. Minor League baseball revolves around family entertainment and giving people something to do. Baseball is great, and while you and me probably go to watch the Akron
What kid isn't going to want to watch a team called the Rubber Ducks?
And how awesome will it be if everyone starts quacking at these games?
For those of you who aren't familiar with Akron... It is the rubber capital of the world. It is known for having the Goodyear Tire Company. Hence the rubber part of the name. People are going to complain, and they have, and whine, and carry on. It is a team name though and of that a minor league team name. The El Paso Chihuahuas are still the El Paso Chihuahuas, even though I'm sure the fine citizens of El Paso were outraged that their baseball team was named after a little dog.
All in all, it won't prevent people from going out to the game, if anything, it may attract more families. If anything, it might have told more people that Akron has a baseball team and it is actually pretty cool to go to. The media attention alone has been staggering. Shoot, it has provoked me to actually come out of my writing lull and The Cleveland Fan has now produced two, yes, count 'em, two pieces on the rebranding of a minor league baseball team.
But watching the reactions of everyone, including myself, was a nice little prelude into what could be brewing about this whole Chief Wahoo business, because oh yeah, that's still going on.
I know I said I'd refrain from the discussion beyond the little few paragraphs I went into a few weeks ago. But there's some serious momentum rolling towards the discussion that bares mention. Start with last week's news that the Indians actually sent out a survey about the logo and look of their team.
Of course, the Indians send out surveys all the time, but mostly about the fan experience and the team. Not so much the look and the logo. With news though that the NFL may be strong efforts to push Dan Snyder to changing the Washington Redskins, this situation with the Indians may soon come to ahead.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is meeting with Dan Snyder a day before he is meeting with the leader of Oneida Indian Nation. Seeing as how Roger Goodell has pretty much gotten his way in his tenure as boss of the NFL, it could only be a matter of time before the Redskins change, if that's what he wants, or is at least, pressured to do.
Bud Selig isn't quite the progressive commander that Goodell is, and is on his way out, so there may not be brush back from the MLB on the Indians. In fact, there probably is none and never will be. And I think that also has a lot to do with the fact that the Indians themselves has made it coyly known that they aren't much of a Chief Wahoo fan.
At least not the current management group.
It has been noted by us Indians fans many times before, but others are starting to take note. The Indians have been phasing Chief Wahoo out for some time. And some have even made it a point to say, hey, Cleveland, why are you phasing him out?
And the hard line response has always been, "he's still prominent on our jersey sleeve and cap, he is still the logo of the Cleveland Indians."
Well as is pointed out by Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net, even in instances where Chief Wahoo should be the image to represent the Indians, it is the Block C. In the era-specific World Series page, where other teams have their era-specific logos, the Indians have Block C, everywhere. Even in 1948.
The removal of him from every other aspect of the Indians branding campaign for 2014 is even more of an indication. Year by year, he's been less and less featured and it looks like in 2014 it will be as less-featured as it has ever been.
The name isn't changing, Indians are not going anywhere, the colors and heritage and tradition is going nowhere.
But it is time we get used to life without Chief Wahoo. Because that life is rapidly approaching. Whether the Indians want to admit it or not, at the risk of making a few fans angry, they are phasing Chief Wahoo out.
And really, what's so wrong with that? As we see, baseball teams change their logo/color scheme, what have you all the time. This isn't Boston going away from their B or the Tigers going away from the old English D. this isn't a logo.
Sure, it is an identifiable aspect to the team. People see Chief Wahoo, they know it is the Indians. Let's be be real here though.
We are in a time and period where people are offended. So why not just keep people from being offended and move on? Is it fair because it is not intentionally and ultimately, not how fans feel? No, but is it fair that the logo represents something that a group of people dislike? No. So since nothing is fair, perhaps it is the right thing to do. The Indians franchise wants to move on from it as they've displayed, so let's let them move on from it. And let's let them do it the way they want to do it, which is slowly and yearly remove every instance of the logo from their marketing campaign until it is no longer thought of by anyone.
Or, we could just rename the team the Cleveland Rock & Rollers and make the logo a big guitar because of the presence of Rock and Roll. Either way...