Will Corey Kluber win the American League Cy Young? Will Michael Brantley reach 200 hits? Will J.B. Shuck reach base safely for a second time? There are a number of questions we're still waiting for answers to, even though the Tribe no longer have any shot at making the postseason. It's also time to turn more of our attention to the future though, and I think that means we need to revisit what has at times been among the most heated issues in sports, one that gets at the very core of what it means to be a fan of Cleveland's baseball franchise. It sharply divides many fans and has even been mentioned by U.S. Congressmen.... Is Slider the right mascot for the Indians???
Slider was born in 1990 (or maybe he was born thousands of years ago... and just arrive in Cleveland in 1990), and has been a part of things at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and the Jake/Progressive Field ever since. He's also appeared at civic events in and around Cleveland, plus children's birthday parties and possibly the nightmares of said children.
He is probably most famous for having fallen off the right-field wall as he tried to perform a summersault during Game 4 of the 1995 ALCS. He tore knee ligaments, but was right back out there for the next game, crutches and all.
Something you may not know about Slider: In 2008 he (it?) was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame, which is pretty clearly a serious institution. Slider was only the third baseball mascot inducted, following the Phillie Phanatic and Mr. Met. That's the kind of prestige money can't buy. (Or maybe money did buy that prestige, what do I know about the induction process at the MHOF?)
The team has had a lot more success in the 25 seasons Slider has been around for than they did in the 25 years before his arrival, yet many fans seem hesitant to give Slider too much of the credit. Some believe he should even be replaced. Pink and yellow... furry things don't exactly grow on trees though, so a replacement might be hard to come by, unless you're willing to have the Indians represented by someone other than a pink and yellow furry thing.
What do you think? Should he stay or should be go now? And if goes, who/what should replace him?