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Let’s Go Tribe staff suggestions to replace the name “Indians”

We all have opinions. Some of them are terrible. We’re sharing, anyway.

MLB: Cleveland Indians-Workouts Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Schlichting - Cleveland Flame

With an eye on this being a full-on rebrand, I think Cleveland Flame is a great choice. Here’s my idea for a video announcing the launch of the new branding:

Tom Hamilton: Our City of Cleveland has always burned. More than a century ago we were the city of light - the first in the country to deploy electric streetlights. We fueled the nation as the headquarters of Standard Oil, the epicenter of the world petroleum industry. We ignited the birth of modern physics at Case Western University and earned America’s first Nobel Prize.

As time burned on, our foundries and mills stoked the growth of the middle class, supported the troops, and provided a steel backbone for a new century of prosperity. We kindled the birth of Rock and Roll. Superman. X-Rays.

Through it all, passion for baseball roared in Cleveland. Tris Speaker led the team to a World Series win in 1920. Feller and Lemon scorched hitters while Boudreau and Keltner smoked pitchers on the way to another title in 1948.

As our city grew, so did our passions. But so did our problems.

[Yes, this is the part where you show the Cuyahoga River burning, in addition to ten cent beer night and various fielding foibles from the not-very-good baseball years]

Flames may grow wild. Consume themselves. But, from the smallest ember, they can be reborn, and burn on.

[Interspersed with shots of prominent city landmarks, fans at games, local establishments, the Free Stamp probably, some selection of these clips and calls:

April 4th 1994, Wayne Kirby at bat - “Base hit down the left field line, the Indians have won it!”

July 16th, 1995, Ramirez vs. Eckersley - “2-2 pitch, a swing and a LONG drive, DEEP LEFT, way back, GONE! Manny Ramirez has won it, halfway up the bleachers in left!”

October 24th, 1995 - Murray walk-off - “The Indians have won their first World Series game since 1948!”

October 10th, 1997 - Alomar ties game - “Back goes O’Neil, he leaps, and it’s gone!”

The Comeback, 2001 - “The Indians with one of the most stunning comebacks in team history!”

The Bug Game - Couple of options here, but probably Hafner’s walk-off.

Giambi’s Walk-Off against the Sox - “Jason Giambi has done it for the second time off the White Sox!”

Kluber 18ks - “18 Strikeouts for Corey Kluber!”

Rajai - “Swung on, lined to deep left field, it is...gone!”

The Squirrel - “He has thrown the squirrel out of the game.”

I’m Feeling 22 - “It’s a game winner for Jay Bruce! And history marches on!”

Tribute to Carrasco at All-Star game, Bieber winning MVP]

Hamilton: Our city of Cleveland has always burned. The Cleveland Flame will burn on.

[several players in flashy new uniforms repeat #BurnOn. New logo revealed. End video as Randy Newman plays]

We want a name that ties into the city’s history, separates us from the Indians moniker, and lets us have a little fun in the process. I can’t think of anything better than the Cleveland Flame.

Plus, non-plural names are cool.

What about this website’s name? Since we’re making shit up: We somehow keep this platform while merging with Indians Baseball Insider, then Joe Coblitz finds a way to get the Burning River Baseball name back from TSD or whatever entity owns it now. Boom. That’s a stacked team of maniacal baseball writers.

Blake Ruane - Cleveland Spiders

I’m basic. I’m willing to admit that. I don’t have a brand new alternative to the Indians name that is going to blow your mind. I like the Spiders, personally. Why? Well for one, I like losers, and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders were one of the biggest losers in Major League Baseball history. Their 20-134 record that season remains the worst finish ever for a major league baseball club. I can understand why people would not want to be associated with that historically awful team, but I think of it more as a phoenix rising from the ashes.

When EA Sports’ NCAA Football used to be a thing before student-athletes started to sit up and take notice of their likenesses being co-opted for profit, I relished the opportunity to take a historically bad program and rebuild it into a national championship contender in Dynasty Mode. I love turning a loser into a winner, and I think the Indians rebranding as the Spiders would represent a chance to take a name associated with losing and re-claim it as the mascot for a franchise that has become a perennial playoff contender.

Also, I think spiders are kinda cool, especially for marketing purposes.

Matt Lyons - Cleveland Owlbears

Show me in the Official Bylaws of Sporting Sports where it says a team name has to be related to something in the city they play in. Guardian statues, burning rivers, midges — don’t get me wrong, all (mostly) great things, but that does not mean I want my baseball team named after them. I propose that there are really no more good things left to name sports team in Northeast Ohio that honor local history. There’s a rich history, but none of it makes for a good team name. And maybe, if we’ve learned anything from their current naming scheme, it is perfectly ok to not use real people, objects, or ideas as mascots.

Instead of honoring something about where Cleveland, Ohio, let’s honor what Cleveland, Ohio is. Call them the Owlbears.

This is not an original idea of mine, but instead a growing movement spurred by a Twitter account and merch site with a simple message: The name needs to change, and if you’re going to change it, get weird with it. In this case, name it after a fictional D&D creature that fits surprisingly well with the heart of Cleveland.

Here’s what they say about the name, and the idea behind it:

The Cleveland Indians themselves, as a team, have historically fit thematically into the Owlbear mold. We are a team steeped in history, in pride. We can remember back to the glory days of the 90’s when Cleveland had one of the best offenses the game has ever seen. This strength, this power is shown in the hulking form of our beloved Owlbear. The Owlbear is the perfect mascot for our Cleveland baseball team. Its native habitat is our own temperate forest environment. Our dear city’s manufacturing roots are shown in the brawn and constitution of the animal. Our blue collar disposition is evinced in the beast’s tenacity and strength, with its impressive physical statistics and Improved Grab technique. Our City’s resurgence is mirrored in the Owlbear’s vitality. As Cleveland continues to forge its way into the future, it leans on the medical and technical fields. Our City’s vision is mirrored the cerebral skills and low-light vision of the Owlbear, whose wisdom and perception are unmatched. Lastly, the fierce loyalty this grand beast exhibits toward its cublets represents the strength of tradition and honor that we in Cleveland hold dear.

Sign me up.

I’m also on board for Spiders or Guardians. Honestly anything that doesn’t reference the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Merritt Rohlfing - Something That Floats

Amid all the brainstorming and whatnot around the name, a common theme among the farm teams is being consistently ignored, and should be used to unify the entire system under a similar brand. I think more teams should do like what the Yankees and Red Sox and Dodgers have done in similar branding across the team ecosystem. Theirs is boring and thoughtless, often going with “Yankees” or “Red Sox” for their lower levels, but I’d like some kind of connection. The Indians, like the White Sox with the Barons and Knights, currently have a theme of sorts within the minors, it’s Things That Float. Until recently, that wasn’t as strongly the case because of the mysteriously named Aeros, but with RubberDucks joining the Clippers and Captains, there’s a decided direction. I guess the Scrappers and Hillcats ruin things here, but I will ignore that since Manfred is probably going to kill them off en route to a general baseball murder over the next decade.

So, Things That Float. I have ideas, but they have to be bigger than the clipper and the rubber duck. We could go Man’o’War, and stick with Matt’s idea of a singular name. There’s lots of neat boat names though. Schooner. Trireme or Penteconter or Knarr for the ancient history fans among us. Shallop apparently is a type of ship. Ore Barges is fun and blunt, a reference to history stuff. On that token, the Brigantines, since that’s what Commodore Perry’s flagship was called. The Battleships or Destroyers or any kind of warship would just be a dope logo, with a real neat mascot. The Connecticut Defenders had their mascot ride around in a big submarine to honor Norwich’s building of nuclear boats there, and the Buccaneers have a whole damn pirate ship delivering broadsides. These are options.

There’s also the Guys Who Drive Floating Thing, but you have to outrank Captain. That basically leaves two choices. Admirals is nice, but it seems like every city has a strip club called the Admiral, so we should just move from that. I guess you could go with Commodores though, since they outrank captains and sail in bigger ships than clippers. Plus when they get bad again you can call them the Commodes. It could even be a hilarious error by a uniform guy, like when the Nationals were the Natinals for a day! See, you need to think ahead.

There aren’t many other bath toys that deserve mentioning. Very Large Rubberducks? That doesn’t pop. We know the right choice though. Tramp Steamer is the real answer. A reference to a workingman’s boat that helped power international commerce, and also the other thing.

Chris Davies - Cleveland Baseball Club

Some of you folks are going to rake me over some coals for the unoriginal suggestion, but let’s take a moment to think about this. Why are we all here on this site? Why are we all cheering for this team? I think the answer to that, for most of us anyway, is because the team is in Cleveland.

I caught my fandom from my grandma, who was born and raised in East Cleveland. She was cheering for her hometown team and that made me fall in love with the team too. I still cheer not for those players, but for the team in the city they represented. We may have to change our site name, because “Let’s Go Cleveland” isn’t snappy as a URL, but it sounds just fine when you’re chanting it in the stadium. On top of that, simply calling the team Cleveland Baseball Club allows literally any nickname to be applied and any jersey to be used. You want a Spiders throwback, I’m sure Nike will be happy to sell one. Ditto Flame, or Guardians, or even Owlbears (I’ll let Lyons dream on that one). So give me the European soccer team name, because I really don’t think it matters what we call them as long as they call Cleveland home.

Alex Hooper - Cleveland Baseball Club

Join us as we transition into the 22nd century. Or back into the 19th century, I’m not sure which.

I have long pined for the nickname-less switch to Cleveland Baseball Club, joining the ranks of location-based team names in European football. Hell, I’d personally love the change to Cleveland Rovers, Cleveland City, or Cleveland Town, just to get as soccery as possible.

CBC has begun to receive some hot online reviews such as: “That’s … not bad.” One Clevelander even called this paradigm shift “better than the other awful nicknames.”

Jokes aside, I think this is a cool way to just go full Cleveland on everyone and say “We love this city, and it is our ultimate focus.” It still affords you the opportunity to shove a logo down everyone’s throats that includes the Guardians of Traffic holding a guitar. Everyone can win with this one, and that is what it is ultimately about.

Cleveland Forest City Baseball Club or Cleveland Forest Cities is an acceptable alternative, especially with the navy and green color scheme. Anything unique.

If the organization wishes to continue following boring traditions like branded nicknames, I am mostly in on the Guardians. That’s a cool name, it’s Cleveland-centric, and it has a unique, built-in logo. Not a lot of options can boast that. The Cleveland Blues/Blue Sox is probably second-best, so long as the guitar thing does not become the focus.

“Spiders” is fine, but after living in Florida for two years, I have found that there are far more intimidating insects (Have you ever seen a Palmetto Bug?), still all of which can just be stomped away.


Which name do you like the best?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Cleveland Flame
    (247 votes)
  • 36%
    Cleveland Spiders
    (479 votes)
  • 4%
    Cleveland Owlbears
    (62 votes)
  • 6%
    Something that floats
    (88 votes)
  • 33%
    Cleveland Baseball Club
    (451 votes)
1327 votes total Vote Now