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Elephant Rumblings: Cleveland Indians will change team name

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Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Good morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!

It’s official: The Cleveland Indians are going to change their name. They haven’t decided what they’ll change it to, nor have they committed to any kind of deadline for the switch, but it’s going to happen, report David Waldstein and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, with a follow-up by Tom Withers of the Associated Press including an interview with team owner Paul Dolan.

The team will definitely continue to be the Indians for the 2021 season, but then all bets are off. A new name could be ready for 2022, or it might take longer. Dolan said (per Withers): “We are going to work at as quick a pace as we can while doing it right. ... But we’re not going to do something just for the sake of doing it. We’re going to take the time we need to do it right.”

The other sure thing is that the new name will not be the “Tribe” (Dolan: “We are not going to take a half-step away from the Indians.”), nor will they go through a stint as the generic “Cleveland Baseball Team” like the Washington Football Team is doing in the NFL (Dolan: “We will continue to be the Indians until we have identified the next name that will hopefully take us through multiple centuries.”).

One more point made by Dolan in his AP interview is that they would not erase their old history and pretend they weren’t called the Indians for over a century.

“We are going to honor our past,” [Dolan] said. “We’re not walking away from our past. We’ll be the Cleveland Indians of 1915 to whatever year is that we ultimately change. We will always celebrate that. I don’t think we have to ignore it.

“But from the day we make the change, the new history that we build together as a community with our team will be under the banner of a different name.”

This is not the first step the team has taken away from its controversial Native American iconography. In 2019, they removed the cartoonish Chief Wahoo logo from their caps and jerseys, replacing it with a letter “C” for Cleveland.

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