Oops! The Dolans let their Guard(ians) down

It was something like 3 months ago that the (then) Cleveland Indians shocked the baseball world (not to mention a certain roller derby team) when they announced they were renaming the baseball team the “Guardians.” I didn’t like the name when it was announced.

But now that I’ve had time to think about it, well, I like it even less. The Dolan party line was that the poster boy for the logo (yes, I am, of course, referring to Mr. Stoneface himself, the guardian – get it? – perched with his pals on the Hope Memorial Bridge) brought some imaginary illusion of grandeur and class to the baseball team.

I didn’t buy the implication that the team was regarded as a bunch of hobos running around the diamond, because that’s exactly how the team tried to sell the name change – by making the name appear much more dignified than anyone cared. It was like they were trying to overcompensate for the use of “Indians.”

I still don’t understand how the use of the word “Indians” by itself is degrading or racist, but I do get that by keeping the name it would take longer for the fans to let go of Chief Wahoo, the real culprit behind the name change. But tell us that, Dolans, don’t go the “dignity” and “morals” route unless of course you are planning on parting with some of the millions of dollars you made over the last century and (almost) a quarter peddling Chief Wahoo Indians merchandise.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you sell Indians merchandise all the way through the end of the season? Because the way I see it, if it was a moral issue you would have stopped the sales of anything with “Indians” on it, like, immediately, right?   

Oh, now I remember: You didn’t want to disappoint the fans who wanted to get the remaining Indians gear for their collections. It had nothing to do with the money, did it? Silly me.

But now I hear that you never settled that name thing with the roller derby team who already happened to be named the Guardians, and now they are suing you for swiping their name.

I understand the strategy behind waiting until now to lay the lawsuit on the baseball team. The roller derby team is quite aware that for the last three months or so, production has ramped up on the manufacture of Guardians gear. So, waiting until the baseball team has made a huge financial commitment to the production of Guardians baseball merchandise before hitting them with a lawsuit makes sense strategically.

While I admire your sense of timing, you also must be aware that it’s unlikely you will profit significantly from this lawsuit.

St. Louis had both a baseball and football team named the Cardinals for more than a quarter-century before Bill Bidwell snuck the football team to Arizona in the late '80s. There were also football and baseball Giants in New York. The teams moved because of (surprise!) financial reasons; not because of any confusion from the name change.

The most damage the baseball Guardians incur will not come from heisting the roller derby team’s name, but will result from the “big bully” image they so richly deserve in callously taking something the "high morals brigade" should have left alone.

When it comes to money, don’t try to stand toe-to-toe with the Dolans, roller derby people. You’re messing with the masters of penny-pinching.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:23 AM, 11.02.2021