MUni Watch, Part 2: The Cleveland Municipals — Why Municipals?

By Phil Hecken, with James Lansdowne and William Weible

Good morning Uni Watch nation. Hope everyone is doing well and that you had a good week.

Last weekend, we took an in-depth look at a proposed new identity for Cleveland’s baseball team, to be called the Cleveland Municipals (if you missed that, I’d recommend reading it before proceeding to today’s follow up). That is just part of a project created by Will Weible and Jamie Lansdowne, and as we conclude today, Will and Jamie will take us through the development of the name “Municipals,” and discuss some of the other options which have been bantered about (Spiders, Guardians, Rockers, etc.). Without further ado, please welcome back the boys as they discuss…

• • • • •

The Cleveland Municipals — Why Municipals?
By Will Weible and Jamie Lansdowne

The Solution to Cleveland Baseball’s Name Dilemma

Cleveland’s baseball team has finally decided to drop the “Indians” name. Now it is the club’s task to choose a new, replacement name suitable for one of baseball’s oldest and most storied franchises. While many replacement options have been suggested, only one will preserve and carry forward the team’s legacy: The Cleveland Municipals. Naming the team the Municipals gives us, the people of Cleveland, the opportunity to tell a real story about ourselves and our shared history — a story that holds within it our proud sports traditions, a profile of our city over the last 125 years, and a recognition of what all Clevelanders share.

“Oh give me a break,” some of you are thinking. “They want to name it after the stadium?” Not quite. The old cathedral was a starting point, but it’s only part of the equation. What the Munis are really all about is representing the character of Cleveland sports and the city as a whole.

“Municipals” makes clear that this team belongs to and represents every single Clevelander.

What is one of the most commonly agreed upon characteristics of Cleveland sports? It’s that the people of Cleveland are defiantly loyal to their sports teams. Perhaps more than any other city in the country, Cleveland lives through its teams. As the Sixth City declined in population and prosperity in the second half of the 20th century, our sports teams increasingly became our ticket to the world stage. They helped us retain our place in the national conversation, they provided civic pride to Cleveland expats living elsewhere — they grounded our identities in something shared and profound.

For too long the team’s name came at the expense of the identities of our fellow citizens. “Indians” is being dropped because it is hurtful to members of our society, and now the organization has an opportunity to choose a replacement that moves us into the future by truly representing the city and all of its people. Webster defines “municipal” as something “related to a city or town.” Something that is municipal belongs to the citizens themselves, much like we feel the teams are our own. “Municipals” makes clear that this team belongs to and represents every single Clevelander. And while it would be a new name it’s an old and familiar term in our town, honoring not just our core civic characteristic, but the storied past that is the bedrock of that pride. So yes, let’s talk about the stadium.

Municipal Stadium was completed in 1931, a behemoth on the lake shore in the shape of a “C.” The Indians played part of their schedule there from 1932 to 1946 while League Park was still in use, utilizing it mostly for Sunday games, night games, and marquee match-ups before moving there full time in 1947.

The Cleveland Buckeyes — the city’s most successful Negro League franchise — opened the 1945 Negro League World Series at Municipal against the Homestead Grays, who the Buckeyes would go on to sweep. In 1948 the Indians hosted a World Series of their own at Municipal, a victory over the Boston Braves, our last. The stadium still holds the top-three records for All-Star Game attendance, and three of the top records for World Series attendance. It’s also one of only two stadiums to host the All-Star Game four times. It’s an icon of baseball history.

The Cleveland Browns took up residence between the beams of Municipal in 1946 and dominated the gridiron with eight championships in 13 championship appearances by 1964, seven of which were played at Municipal. Over the next three decades the Browns would see a lot of success at the stadium and, of course, some heartbreaking defeats.

We must acknowledge that times were often tough for Cleveland fans at Municipal Stadium. But aren’t those tough times the very things that make Cleveland fans who they are? You name a Cleveland sports tragedy and every Clevelander has a personal story about it, whether they were alive for it or not. Sure, no one wants those things to happen, but who can deny that little piece of your heart that’s proud you endured those nightmares and still came out a devoted fan on the other side? Probably all the more devoted, if we’re being honest. Psychiatrists will one day study the Cleveland Effect, but for now let’s move on.

The stadium wasn’t just used for sports, it was also home to major cultural events throughout the 20th century. The Great Lakes Exposition of 1936–37 set up shop on 135 acres of lakefront property in and around Municipal Stadium and showcased the progress and innovation achieved in the Great Lakes region. In the 1960s, the Cleveland National Air Show moved next door to Burke Lakefront Airport, continuing Cleveland’s tradition as a pioneer in aviation dating back to the Cleveland National Air Races of the 1930s. And who can forget the World Series of Rock, a series of day-long concerts held at Municipal Stadium from 1974–1980 featuring Rock and Roll’s biggest names. In a final act, the stadium hosted the September 1995 concert celebrating the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a who’s who lineup that played for over seven hours.

These events showcased the type of city Cleveland is: a center of innovation, a cultural hub of the Midwest, and of course the home of Rock and Roll. The “Municipals” name, like the stadium itself, holds within it these elements of our city’s legacy.

The stadium is gone now, replaced by two new ones named for corporations, and the city, as always, continues to evolve with the world. Even before the pandemic emptied the public places where people gather, it felt like human interaction and a healthy sense of community were at an all-time low. For our part, we’re desperate for a return to the routine of heading down to the stadium after work or on a lazy Sunday to share a baseball game with 35,000 fellow Clevelanders who all agree on one thing: We want our baseball team to win games. We think it’s safe to say many are looking for the return of that sense of community in our lives, a municipal spirit that connects us and lifts us up.

The Municipals name isn’t just a reference to an old pile of bricks our teams once called home, or a parking lot that in previous years was the last port of hope before a sea of anguish on Sundays, or greyish-brown mustard you slather on a dollar dog to help it go down — it’s a reference to what makes Cleveland great and the core characteristic its people share: an unassailable, ever-growing love for our teams, our town, and our collective memory.

* * *

If we throw away our claim on our classic-baseball legacy by choosing a superficial name that could be used anywhere, then we have nothing.

The organization has a big choice ahead of them. As Terry Pluto reported in July, the organization “want[s] the name to be one that lasts for the rest of this century. They don’t want to have buyer’s remorse in a few years.” This is a tall task, so let’s dispense with the knee-jerk choices that won’t age well.

SPIDERS

While it’s a common suggestion, “Spiders” would be wrong for many reasons. When you actually think about “Spiders” for more than five seconds you realize it doesn’t have anything to do with our present, and associating it with our past is a hell of stretch. The Spiders were a blip on the radar at a time when teams changed names and cities more often than stadiums change naming rights now. Here are some facts that aren’t often mentioned when this name comes up: They were in the National League, they have no direct lineage to the current franchise, they boast the worst record of all time as their chief accomplishment (20–134), and to top it all off, people didn’t even like the name back then. (The name is attributed to a team executive remarking on his weak-looking players, saying, “They look skinny and spindly, just like spiders. Might as well call them Spiders and be done with it.” Not exactly inspiring). They were depleted in their 12th season and became so bad they started playing all their games on the road due to poor attendance before ultimately folding. Brutal. Why should an established franchise looking at another 100 years embrace the legacy of futility of a minor, unrelated team from the 19th century?

The “Spiders” name is lazy and lacks creative thinking. It doesn’t mean anything to Cleveland, and nobody alive today ever experienced the Spiders, thank God. What is it to us? It’s a piece of trivia in the baseball almanac. Employed today, the “Spiders” brand would be bogged down in the pop-culture baggage of the Spider-Man mega franchise. It’s been taken. We’re renaming a charter member of the American League, not a minor-league sideshow.

GUARDIANS

People keep saying because the last five letters in “Guardians” are the same as the last five in “Indians,” it will make for an easy transition. Are we really concerned the people of Cleveland can’t learn a new name without the help of “d-i-a-n-s?” There’s no doubt that the Guardians of Traffic statues on the Lorain-Carnegie bridge are great pieces of public art, but do they really represent the city and its people? When the country finds out the team named itself after four statues on a vehicle bridge representing different kinds of traffic they will rightfully think, “Damn, that town’s got nothing, huh?” On top of that, it’s not even unique. The XFL has a team called the New York Guardians, and if you think that sounds like a perfect name for a team in the XFL, you’re correct. Not to mention it’s the new name for members of the Space Force, whatever that is.

THE BLUES or BLUE SOX

White Sox, Red Sox, St. Louis Blues — come on. Like the Spiders, this is such a small part of Cleveland baseball history most people aren’t even aware it happened. (The “Blues” name only lasted for two seasons). What connection do today’s fans have to these names? Becoming the third part of a Red Sox, White Sox, Blue Sox triangle would consign us to the novelty bin, and becoming the Blues in a state that already has the Reds would be pathetically unimaginative. We’re an historic franchise, we should be carving our own path instead of imitating other franchises, one of which is a division rival.

THE ROCKS or ROCKERS

As expected, some have been putting this forward as a possibility. We love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and our music legacy, but just once we’d like to see Cleveland release its death-grip on ham-fisted guitar logos. We can embrace this part of our culture without using it as a crutch.

We should ask ourselves, “When Clevelanders 100 years in the future are looking back at this moment, are they going to say we chose a name that thoughtfully represents our town and its people, or will they lament that we chose a name any city could use?” A small-market team like us has enough trouble getting respect. If we throw away our claim on our classic-baseball legacy by choosing a superficial name that could be used anywhere, then we have nothing. The name of Cleveland’s baseball team should sound like Cleveland came up with it.

“Municipals” and “Munis” sound like Cleveland. It’s a classic-style name befitting a classic ball club — something we could have already been named for the last 120 years. Setting aside for a moment what it represents, this naming convention also fits with our town’s personality. For example, our football team is called the Browns, they don’t even have a logo, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It may seem strange to outsiders but its uniqueness is appreciated by locals — probably even more so because outsiders don’t quite get it — and it’s entirely ours because it’s rooted in a culture we all share. When it comes to the baseball team, why are we so desperate to pick a surface-level name anybody could use? It’s ok to be creative here — this is an opportunity for an historic franchise to exercise some self-determination and self-reflection.

This is important because baseball, more so than the other major sports, is a game of reflection. The national consciousness around baseball centers on nostalgia, both for the game itself and our own experiences with it, its memories and folklore passed down over generations. Imagine yourself sitting at a game with your grandkid, or a friend from out of town, or somebody new to the game. “Why are they called the Municipals?” they ask. “Well,” you tell them, “There was an old stadium in town called Municipal Stadium, which housed some of the biggest sports and cultural events of the 20th century. It’s where most fans living today first saw our teams play. It’s where our baseball and football teams won their last championships. It was the site of many triumphs and painful failures, all of which weave the fabric of this town. It was a place of pilgrimage, where on a warm summer evening people from all over the city drifted in to pass a few blissful hours watching a game with the breeze coming in off the lake. But most of all ‘Municipals’ means these things belong to all of us, as Clevelanders.”

* * *

This decision will reverberate for generations, and we’re here to tell you it’s possible for the new name to actually reflect all of us, our stories, and the memories we all hold dear. A new name doesn’t have to erase these things, it can be built on them.

We’re two local guys with a lifetime of passion for our town and our teams who want to see the organization choose a name with staying power. Like many of you, Cleveland baseball fandom is woven through generations of our family histories. One of our dads was at Frank Robinson’s barrier-breaking managerial debut in ’75, the other was at Len Barker’s perfect game in ‘81 — now we hold those memories by extension, having learned their beats over a few innings as the peanut shells buried our shoes, ready to pass them onto the next generation. We all have stories like this from the Indians era.

We understand what it’s like to have the Cleveland Indians entwined with your life. It’s more than just a sports team you happen to follow — it’s part of your family memories, your yearly routines, the foundation of some of your best relationships. So we understand it can be difficult to face the prospect of the name changing, feeling as if those personal memories are being altered.

But it’s important to recognize that these memories are tied to what we love about Cleveland baseball, not the name itself. It’s an old team in an old sport, but it has room to grow with each generation. America’s Pastime is constantly evolving to reflect the American people, and our team is part of that tradition. That’s what we all really love about it, and that’s what “Municipals” is really getting at — it creates an opportunity for Clevelanders to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the common thread that’s carrying us through to the future.

If you feel the same way, we ask you to help us. Make your voice heard. Sound off about it. The Dolans may own the team, but this is a time when the fans and the people of Cleveland should control their own destiny. We can have some community ownership of this decision instead of waiting to see what the front office has decided for us. Owners come and go, but the people of Cleveland will always be there for their city.

Go Munis!

• • • • •

Thanks Jamie & Will! Thank you for sharing this project with us. You can follow their efforts on Twitter: @clemunicipals and Instagram: @clemunicipals.

Readers? What say you?

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Nicholas Bartell.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

Today’s concepts come from Daniel Vasquez, with a fun soccer/hockey mashup.

He writes…

Hi Phil,

Hi there, I’ve been working on a concept series “Soccer But It’s Hockey”, taking teams from around the soccer world and reimagining them as hockey teams! Thanks!

Daniel Vasquez

And here are his designs:

• • •

Thanks Daniel!

OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: This retro Brewers letterhead features the famous barrelman not swinging, but pitching! Has anyone ever seen that before? (from Jeff Wilk). … Here’s an article on the history of the University of Minnesota’s baseball unis (from Kary Klismet). … Yesterday the Brewers eschewed their BP tops (from Dowtown Chimmey).

NFL News: Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy is reclaiming No. 53 after one season away from Foxborough. Second-year LB Josh Uche will need a new number. … The new Giants players have gotten their uni numbers assigned (thanks, Phil). … The Cowboys’ new players have also gotten their numbers assigned (also courtesy of Phil).

Hockey News: On Thursday, the Avalanche wore special warm-up jerseys honoring the victims of the Boulder shooting earlier this week. The No. 10 references the number of people killed. The jerseys will be auctioned off to support the Colorado Healing Fund (from Kary Klismet). … The Blues added a helmet decal in honor of Bob Plager on Thursday night, and last night they added a chest patch with Plager’s No. 5 in a heart (from multiple readers). … Recently-acquired Senators G Anton Forsberg was still wearing his Jets gear when he made his Sens debut (from Wade Heidt).

NBA News: The Cavaliers official Twitter account posted a Photoshop of new C Isaiah Hartenstein in a Cavs uni. One problem: Hartenstein is wearing No. 25 in the graphic, which was retired in 1999 for Mark Price (from John Sabol). … Bulls F Patrick Williams switched from No. 9 to No. 44 to accommodate new acquisition Nikola Vučević’s preference for No. 9 (thanks Phil). … Etienne Catalan has all the latest NBA uni number shenanigans available on his Twitter account. … The Danish health ministry used models in Bucks and Knicks jerseys for a bus ad about safe sporting practices. The ad reads “On the court again. Remember clean hands.” (from Nikolaj Larsen). … The Akron Aviators of something called the Pro Basketball Association have unveiled a new logo. But let’s talk about the PBA’s logo itself. Yikes (from Tom Pachuta).

Soccer News: The German national team wore T-shirts spelling out “HUMAN RIGHTS” before the World Cup qualifying match against Iceland. The T-shirts reference the appalling human rights record of Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup (from multiple readers). The Germans also debuted their new all-black away kits in the match (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … The Colorado Rapids have unveiled their new change kit, and I think it’ll be one of the best-looking of the new MLS season (from Joe Varao). … Liverpool’s new kits may have leaked (from @sheds88). … Paris Saint-Germain’s esports team in the Dota Pro Circuit, PSG.LGD, has announced it will stop wearing their Nike-provided kit after Nike publicly rebuked the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur minority. LGD is a Chinese gaming company (thanks, Phil). … Swedish second tier side Örgryte IS is releasing a special shirt calling for the release of Swedish writer Dawit Isaak, who has been held in an Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial (from Christian Dashiell).

Grab Bag: Does it seem like a lot of fast food companies are adopting “retro” logo recently? This writer thinks so (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary, here’s the story behind the Michigan-based sports apparel company that produced the plain black wrestling singlet that Stanford wrestler Shane Griffith wore on the way to the NCAA 165-pound championship to protest his school’s decision to drop the sport.

And finally… that will do it for today. Big thanks, once again, to Will and Jamie (both today and last weekend) for their incredible “Municipals” project!

Everyone stay safe and well, and to all those observing Passover, Chag Pesach Sameach!

I’ll catch you guys tomorrow, but until then,

Peace,

PH

59 comments to MUni Watch, Part 2: The Cleveland Municipals — Why Municipals?

  • Kevin B. | March 27, 2021 at 8:00 am |

    GO MUNIS!

  • Jamie Rathjen | March 27, 2021 at 8:06 am |

    I believe I’ve identified everybody represented in Soccer But It’s Hockey, since they’re not labeled:

    1: Watford, Liverpool, West Ham, Chelsea, Wolves, Everton.
    2: Partick Thistle (the chest logo is the intentionally creepy mascot), Man City, Arsenal, Sunderland, Tottenham, Leicester City.
    3: Newcastle United, Norwich City, Rangers, Celtic, Derby County, Nottingham Forest.
    4: Hull City, Middlesbrough*, West Bromwich Albion, Bradford City, Crystal Palace, Leeds United.
    5: Man United, Portsmouth, Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle, Oxford United, Aston Villa.
    6: Osasuna*, Celta Vigo, Villareal, Real Betis, Real Madrid, Sevilla.
    7: Rayo Vallecano*, Real Zaragoza*, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Real Sociedad.
    8: Levante, Granada, Atlético Madrid, Penafiel*, Benfica, Paços de Ferreira.
    9: Estoril*, Moreirense*, Vitória de Guimarães, Maritimo*, Porto, Sporting CP.

    The ones with an asterisk I was initially not 100% sure about or didn’t recognize and had to look up, largely because the chest logos are either parts of the club’s crest or adjacent to the club entirely.

    • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 11:06 am |

      I thought West Brom had vertical stripes. Check that…I know they had vertical stripes, but have they changed recently?

      • Jamie Rathjen | March 27, 2021 at 12:49 pm |

        No, not sure why theirs would have been flipped around.

      • walter | March 27, 2021 at 6:25 pm |

        A friend once told me vertical stripes are banned in the NHL because the players would look too much like the referees.

    • Graham Clayton | March 28, 2021 at 7:24 am |

      Jamie,

      Would those uniforms be legal under NHL rules?

  • WFY | March 27, 2021 at 8:57 am |

    This non-Clevelander is convinced

  • Peter Wunsch | March 27, 2021 at 9:07 am |

    The Beatles poster has a major mis-spelling. The other group was the Cyrkle, not Cyrcle.

  • Will S | March 27, 2021 at 9:12 am |

    I’m not completely sold on Municipals but think it may be something that could grow one me. I do know I have a visceral, likely partial irrational dislike, for ‘Munis’

    Whether it reminds me of the trend in all to prevalent in this century towards the ‘cutesifying’ of language by adding a ‘y’ or ‘ie’, the lazy and stupid nicknames of players in the NHL but shortening their last name and adding the ‘y’ or ‘ie’ to it, or the all too common practice of shortening and often bastardized versions of a team’s name on professional sports uniforms. Likely a bit of all that and more.

    While short forms and nicknames of a teams name are always going to be prevalent in conversation, I almost always have a dislike for them appearing in a prominent spot on the uniform of a top league in a professional sport.

    • Chad | March 27, 2021 at 11:30 am |

      I agree completely. I grew up going to games at Municipal Stadium when my great-grandmother lived in Cleveland. My reactions to all of this went …

      “Municipals” : “Eh”
      Uniforms: “Those are cool, maybe it would be ok”
      “Munis”: “I didn’t think of that … hell no”

      Likewise, “Sox” (by itself) is stupid, “Nats” is stupid, “Pats” is stupid, “Bucs” is stupid, “O’s” is moronic. “Fins” is asinine. I can go on.

      • walter | March 27, 2021 at 6:41 pm |

        Perhaps this is the world the way I would have it (instead of the world as it really is) but I would try to encourage nicknames that are collateral to the teams’ names: Bronx Bombers, Amazin’s, North Siders, Halos, Snakes, America’s Team, Buccos, Friars, G-Men, Pokes, Bolts, Gang Green, Blueshirts, Les Habitants, &c. I’ve tried to get fans on this site to refer to the NBA Raptors as “Torontosaurus”, and it would be gratifying to hear the L.A. Rams called the “Bighorns” and the Patriots dubbed the “Rebels”. One thing The Cleveland Spiders would render is the “Tarantulas”!

  • Mike Duet | March 27, 2021 at 9:18 am |

    The scoreboard is from March 3, 1979 as Wisconsin defeated Michigan State University 83 – 81 at UW Field House in Madison, Wisconsin. The buzzer beater last shot by Wes Matthews of Wisconsin is in the air (which is why the scoreboard shows a tie). This was the last regular season game for the teams and Michigan State went on to win the NCAA basketball tournament with Magic Johnson leading the team.

    • Nicholas Bartell | March 28, 2021 at 4:22 pm |

      Before the advent of the 3-point shot! (but not by much!)

    • Jay Suhr | March 28, 2021 at 5:10 pm |

      The game was at the historic and loud Wisconsin Field House (capacity 12,204). You can see the W and peaked roof of the the Field House above the south end zone at Camp Randall. I was at that game as a student assistant for the UW sports information department. The Badgers had blown a lead before Wes hit that shot. Our seats were at mid court to the right of this photo, halfway up the lower section. It was the one time UW Sports Information Director Jim Mott briefly suspended his “no cheering from press row” mandate.

  • Dan | March 27, 2021 at 9:27 am |

    I have to say, I think the name municipals is terrible! Just like some of your other descriptions, like the Blue Sox, isn’t the Cleveland Municipals or Munis the exact same thing as the New York Metropolitans or Mets? According to thesaurus.com, metropolitan is a synonym of Municipal. It comes across as strikingly unimaginative. The uni designs that have been highlighted on the site have been classy and solid in general, I just think the name Municipals is really boring and that concept has already been used.

    I will say that I LOVE the use of the old stadium in the C of the logo, that is a PERFECT nod to the team’s history and a solid stray away from the generic C’s that are already all over the sports logo world.

  • Mark | March 27, 2021 at 9:35 am |

    I am not from Cleveland so it is hard to tell if Municipals would be meaningful to me. The argument for the name is convincing but as an outsider the name seems a bit boring. I agree that all of the other names that have been proposed are likely worse. Spiders is particularly terrible.

    Hopefully they have acquired the websites for the name already so they could gift them to the owner. Because just as we have seen with Washington, the organization is not going to change the name to something they cannot secure all of the rights to in advance.

  • K. Traisman | March 27, 2021 at 9:36 am |

    Speaking of the Cleveland Municipals,

    dig this crazy logo for the San Francisco Munis, if you will.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Municipal_Railway

  • Neeko | March 27, 2021 at 9:39 am |

    The Brewers dont wear a spring training top. They have worn their cream unis for all home spring training games the last 2 years & their blue tops on the road.

  • John Spunkington | March 27, 2021 at 10:29 am |

    After reading the propaganda lede today I really hope it is the Spiders or Rockers now!

  • 1k | March 27, 2021 at 10:51 am |

    I’d say the same argument you make for “guardians” would be the gut reaction of most people outside of Cleveland. “You can we beat you at four decades?” I do enjoy your design, but the nostalgia for the stadium is only valid for anyone over 35, which I’m guessing the organization will be coveting that18-34 demographic.

  • Julian | March 27, 2021 at 10:52 am |

    While I really like the visual identity the authors put forward last week, I agree with many that “Municipals” doesn’t ring my bell. It feels like a throwback word from a bygone era. I could see the name shortened to “Pals” more easily than “Munis” and neither are attractive. I think it’s time to be creative and break free from the idea that there HAS to be some connection to the legacy of the city or region from the start. Winning games creates that bond. Los Angeles isn’t known for its lakes—the team was formerly the Minneapolis Lakers—but now it is one of the most storied franchises in the NBA. Getting the name right is so important, and I think the team should not contrive unnecessary parameters for picking one. If there is a reasonably attractive local or historical connection, great. But don’t force it. Here in Minnesota we have to suffer with “The Wild”…don’t make the mistake we did!

  • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 11:14 am |

    The Akron Aviators of something called the Pro Basketball Association have unveiled a new logo. But let’s talk about the PBA’s logo itself. Yikes

    Was the Pro Bowlers Association on board with this league calling itself the PBA?

    The Aviators used to be in ABA 2.0 when my brother coached them. They had a decent logo but terrible unis.

    I kinda like the new logo. Usually I can’t stand putting teeth on inanimate objects but there’s a history of it with airplanes. Let’s just hope the unis are new and improved.

  • Dan | March 27, 2021 at 11:18 am |

    There are plenty of good options. “Municipals” is not one of them.

    It is patently false to claim, “While many replacement options have been suggested, only one will preserve and carry forward the team’s legacy . . .” What does that even mean? That’s not true at all.

    The word, “municipal” means nothing unique to the city. The word by it’s definition applies to virtually any city or town on earth. It’s a terrible name for a Cleveland baseball team.

    The name needs to stand on its own. Deriding other name options doesn’t strengthen the case for “municipals”. The uni designs are nice, but they, too, are irrelevant to whether the name is right for the team.

    I can appreciate the passion that went into this pitch. I love my hometown. I loved that old stadium. But Cleveland is so much more than that relic. And if we’re being honest, old Municipal Stadium might be historic. But it was an awful place for baseball.

    Cleveland deserves better. Cleveland needs to do better.

    • diggerjohn | March 27, 2021 at 1:15 pm |

      Thank you! I think Munis is a terrible name, anywhere can be called a “municipality”, it is not unique to Cleveland.

    • Mark | March 28, 2021 at 8:45 am |

      Dan, you say they are plenty of good options … could you at least name one? I have commented that I do not love the Municipals name but it has been better then every other name I have seen proposed. Maybe I just do not follow this closely enough. What is one other option that is better than this?

  • Craig Foster | March 27, 2021 at 11:18 am |

    I love the over-sized but skinny ‘M’ on the University of Minnesota ballcaps. The problem is that its not available commercially to fans! All you can purchase are the older-style ones that the article mentions the team stopped using in 2017. Any Nike reps that read this site, please find a way to make the on-field caps available (size 7 3/4 thank you).

  • Jasper | March 27, 2021 at 11:21 am |

    I guess “Municipals” works if you are looking for a bland, inoffensive nickname that still sounds kind of baseball-ish and old-timey.

    The main reason it doesn’t work is because if the word describes “someone who lives in a municipality”, that describes anybody who lives in a town or city anywhere. It’s not unique to Cleveland at all. Might as well call the team the Cleveland People or Cleveland Ballplayers, etc.

    • Neeko | March 27, 2021 at 12:08 pm |

      Lol – I actually like Cleveland People & Cleveland Ballplayers. Maybe go one step further ~ Cleveland Mammals?

      • Jasper | March 27, 2021 at 2:16 pm |

        Ha. Cleveland Beings? Cleveland Humans? Cleveland Citizens? The race to be as inoffensive and bland as possible actually could create some unique results…

  • Ray Barrington | March 27, 2021 at 12:01 pm |

    I’d like the “Cleveland River Fires.”

    • Julian | March 27, 2021 at 12:32 pm |

      I’d like the “Cleveland Brown Cavaliers.”

    • Scott | March 27, 2021 at 3:05 pm |

      How about Cleveland Cleanups? It’s got alliteration, a baseball play on words and if they want to “tell a story,” what better story to tell than “hey, we’ve cleaned up our river so it doesn’t start on fire anymore!”

  • Cleveland Brown | March 27, 2021 at 12:10 pm |

    “Readers? What say you?”

    We say: “Cleveland Spiders” is the best choice. And it’s not even close compared to the others put forth, including and perhaps especially “Municipals.”

    • matt | March 28, 2021 at 9:44 pm |

      Spiders is awful.

      Team that hasn’t won jack in 70+ years changes name to honor an even worse team. Brilliant! But, hey, the hipsters will love it!

  • RICKAZ | March 27, 2021 at 12:22 pm |

    I didn’t like Municipals last week, and I like it slightly better this week. You do make a good case for it. The shorter nickname “Munis”, which I think will be used often, is OK with me. It would have been great to honor the Negro League team, but Buckeyes is too well known for Ohio State University. Too bad Cleveland doesn’t have more memorable things that a team could use for a name. Rockers isn’t great, and it’s pretty close to Rockies, but is probably the one thing people know about Cleveland.

  • Liam | March 27, 2021 at 12:52 pm |

    Excellent argument in favor of Munis. I’m convinced. It’s a great name!

    Also I’m hearing Washington Football Team might be here to stay. I hope so. WFT has grown on me. I actually love the name now. It’s got something.

    • Jon Keefer | March 27, 2021 at 1:08 pm |

      Every time I see WFT, I see WTF. Tho I enjoy the non name name if you will. Just bring back that helmet stripe and ditch the numbers.

      • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 3:31 pm |

        They could call themselves FT Washington, the way MLS clubs go with FC. Then the initials would be FTW (For The Win!).

        I’d like the stripes and the numbers. Or the stripes without. Either choice is better than last year.

    • RICKAZ | March 27, 2021 at 4:05 pm |

      Keeping WFT is lazy and just dumb. At least Washington DC has lots of options, unlike Cleveland.

  • pedro | March 27, 2021 at 1:18 pm |

    I would like the “Cleveland Mistakes.”

  • Tim | March 27, 2021 at 1:32 pm |

    If you’re going to pull from a cultural landmark, why not the Cleveland Rockers?

    As a historical reference you could go with the Cleveland Fire or Cleveland Cuyahogas in homage to the hilarity of so much sewage in a river it spontaneously combusted. 14 times…

    How about an homage to the past? Cleveland Blues? Cleveland Broncos? Cleveland Spiders?

    The last time the mistake on the lake was a good thing was when the Browns were winning titles in the 40s and 50s. It shouldn’t be the inspiration for a team name…

  • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 3:42 pm |

    Cleveland Cuyahogas…I’m on board with that. Celebrate the river and the fact that it *doesn’t* burn anymore!

    Focus on the blue…maybe add a couple more shades for a watery look. Keep the red to a minimum. Cincinnati is the red Ohio team, Cleveland can be the blue Ohio team.

    Someone with graphic design skills, make this happen for me, please! While I like the Munis, I love the idea of the Cuyahogas.

    • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 3:55 pm |

      And they could bring back the crooked C for the crooked river!

      Today’s comments reinforce what I told a Cleveland Visitors Bureau survey taker a few years ago. She asked me if I thought out-of-towners had a favorable impression of Cleveland and I instantly replied “No. Because ask someone their first thought of Cleveland and it’s still, ‘Oh, that’s where the river caught on fire.'” Fifty years later. And it wasn’t the only river where that happened.

      Cleveland Fire? Pffft.
      Cleveland Cuyahogas? Yes please!

      • walter | March 27, 2021 at 6:48 pm |

        …And we’re back to an Indian nickname. Reminds me of the time the Syracuse Chiefs changed their iconography from an Indian chief to a locomotive, as if no one would catch on the train was named after an Indian.

        • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 8:46 pm |

          It’s a Native word for “crooked river.” It’s not a tribe or nation or any group of people. Should they also change the name of the River and the county?

        • walter | March 27, 2021 at 10:06 pm |

          Never! But then, I wasn’t in favor of changing “Cleveland Indians”, either.

  • Nick | March 27, 2021 at 4:10 pm |

    “Municipals” fits right in with baseball team names from 19th Century. There were teams called the “Mutuals,” the “Gothams”, and the “Excelsiors” out of New York City, for example.

    There’a a concept by an artist named N H Kendall based on Cleveland’s team from that era, called the “Forest City Baseball Club” a.k.a “Forest Citys” (spelled correctly), which is interesting.

    Ultimately, I don’t think a name like “Municipals” or “Forest Citys” is likely to cause much excitement among the Indians faithful.

  • Zalman Lev | March 27, 2021 at 5:02 pm |

    Inconsistent 5s on the Blues Plager tributes? Ugh.

  • Cort | March 27, 2021 at 5:35 pm |

    I could not love “Municipals” more if I tried. It’s brilliant. The team identity they’ve created is brilliant. “Munis” is brilliant. And I never realized Municipal Stadium was a giant “C”, which is brilliant, too.

    For what it’s worth, in the 1950s my dad pitched for a team in the Buffalo Municipal League, just up the lake from Cleveland. It was the premier amateur baseball league in the region. People called it “the Muni league.” So the diminutive has been around for a long time.

    The last thing we need is the Cleveland Rockers, with a giant walleye wearing a backwards cap and sunglasses and shredding on a Stratocaster for a mascot. We’ve done stupid, lots and lots of times. And in a town where the two other major pro clubs are named after a color and a bunch of 17th century French guys and where community identity long ago dissolved into a patchwork of mostly faceless suburbs, “Municipals” seems both a solid affirmation of unity (“we’re all part of this”) and a fine nod to history and a sense of place.

  • Brian | March 27, 2021 at 7:33 pm |

    While I appreciate the effort behind the Municipals project, there’s a major hole.

    You present “Municipals” like it’s some out-of-the-box name when there’s already a team called the Mets. (Metropolitan = *also* an M word mean “relating to a city.”)

    The Mets derive their name from an unrelated, unremarkable 19th century team in the same city. The American Association’s Metropolitans were something of a nothingburger in their day but they were an historic name in the city. At least Cy Young played for the Spiders!!

    I really like the Spiders as a name and I hope it’s chosen. It’s probably the only good Cleveland team name in history. Indians is offensive, Cavaliers is lazy alliteration, Barons… What? Why? Spiders is great. Claim it back, Cleveland.

  • GTV | March 27, 2021 at 7:39 pm |

    A very well-reasoned argument for the Municipals. And very sound arguments against the other names. That said, I don’t love the Municipals. As others have said, it seems dated. My guess is they’ll just go with the Rock & Roll thing in some way. It’s not easy to come up with a name and in a way I wish US teams would follow after English football teams and just go by the name of the location. Then, let the nickname evolve organically over time. And I think that is what happened with the likes of the Red Sox, the Reds, and maybe a few other very old baseball teams.

  • superfly | March 27, 2021 at 7:53 pm |

    Municipals is the worst choice, except for all the others… Spiders is actually the worst.

    How about Commodores? Isn’t there a statue of Commodore Perry in Cleveland? Or Stevedors, a cooler name for a longshoreman, they could shorten it to the Steves.

  • Patrick in MI | March 27, 2021 at 8:50 pm |

    Cleveland Steamers? I mean, they’re a city on the lake with a maritime history. I doubt anyone would find it offensive.

    I’m putting all my money on Cleveland Americans though. Washington has the Nationals so it’s not so far-fetched. They have the right color scheme, they play in the AL, it’s inoffensive and actually uniting.

    • Jim Vilk | March 27, 2021 at 9:05 pm |

      The steamship William G Mather is parked right by Browns Stadium…part of the Great Lakes Science Center. Steamers is a great idea.

      I also really like the Americans, for the same reasons you mentioned.

  • Wayne | March 27, 2021 at 10:00 pm |

    I think a challenge with renaming the Cleveland baseball club is that a lake-related name would seem to be an obvious choice, and so many of those names have been taken by other sports teams: Clippers, Steamers, Admirals, Captains, Wheelers, Cutters, Schooners, Commodores, Mariners, Whitecaps, Mariners, Sailors, Gulls, Ducks…

    Does Cleveland still have a sizable steel industry? How about the Cleveland Steelers? Ha!

  • Front Office Curmudgeon | March 27, 2021 at 10:16 pm |

    The home uniforms are hard to distinguish from the Nationals and the name sounds like the Metropolitans, ot “Mets”.

  • Rosso | March 27, 2021 at 10:51 pm |

    Cleveland Buckeyes. Come on, local flora! Barring that, Ironmen, so they could use Guided By Voices’s “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” as a rally song– “CHAMPIONS O-FFICIALLY!”–got a nice ring to it IMHO

  • Tony Kellogg | March 29, 2021 at 10:22 pm |

    Nationals…Metropolitans…I dunno. How come nobody has mentioned the Cleveland Barons?

  • Tony Kellogg | March 29, 2021 at 10:23 pm |

    I’m sure nobody is reading this comment section now so I’m gonna just post an edit to my above statement

    Nationals…Metropolitans…Municipals… I dunno. Just all seems too …something. I dunno. Generic?

    And yes. As silly as it sounds, why not call them the Cleveland Barons?