April 19, 2014

Uni Talk: Block C or Script I, Red or Blue, And Life After Wahoo?

Jim Thome of the Cleveland Indians (L) is congratuIn a multiple part series, Rick and I, two of the bigger jersey junkies at the site, have been tackling our opinions on the Cleveland teams’ uniforms, logos, and color schemes. You can find our takes on the Cavaliers and Browns’ uniform schemes at the following links. Today, we’re discussing the Indians’ uniforms. Here’s a look at some of our favorites and ones we’d rather forget.

Rick: Ok. Maybe we should start by talking about the current set. What do you like and what don’t you like?

Kirk: Overall, I like the current set of uniforms for the Indians. The block C is winning me over. I love the “faux throwbacks” that they wear on Sundays and special occasions. I LOVE the road grays. I really enjoy the blue alternates (always have). My biggest beef is the piping that they took away two seasons ago. It looks strange without it.

Rick: If anyone has read my comments over the past few years, you know I really don’t care for the cream uniforms at all. I don’t like the cream color, I don’t like the font of the Indians on the chest, and I don’t like the extreme lack of blue in them.

Kirk: It’s an interesting debate. Is this franchise’s primary color red or blue? What should it be? In the ’90s, it was red. In the 2000s, it was primarily blue. Now, it seems they’re going back to red as the focus.

Rick: Primary is one thing, but even in the ’90s, blue was still a big part of the uniform. Even on the white uniforms with red script, socks, and undershirt, there was still blue piping and blue hats.

Kirk: Personally, I think the red is best. I’m guilty of being nostalgic toward the ’90s, but if those ’90s home uniforms weren’t the best uniforms in franchise history, I’ll eat my hat. I like the navy uniform tops a lot, but there’s something about the red sleeves and socks that do it for me.

Rick: I’m not against having one color dominant on one uniform and not the other, like the blue alternates, but those creams just drive me crazy.indianscursive
Rick: I like the ’90s uniforms, and even the current renditions without piping I like.

tribebluejerseyKirk: Back to the home alternate for a moment, the faux throwback is an interesting move to try to pull off. The Indians in essence manufactured a throwback-style uniform without names on the back and added the cream color which doesn’t gel with their historical choices. To me, it is aesthetically pleasing, though it DID take me a while to get used to the all-red hats. It’s a little bit like your dislike for the CAVS font on the home gold alternate, isn’t it? Too plain and no history there, am I right?

Rick: Somewhat similar. I am a complete font junkie. The font/color/style combo is so important, and on those two uniforms in particular I feel like the font was an afterthought. I’m not against a plain font per se. The script Cleveland on the road uniforms is pretty plain, but it works.

Kirk: I can agree with that. It’s not my favorite part of either uniform set. I like the elements external of the font for both. I think both could be improved with more popular typefaces from each team. Let’s talk about font though. Do you like the Indians cursive font? I’m a huge fan of it myself.scripti

Rick: I do like it. Like the Cavaliers’ font, it is original. You don’t see that ‘I’ anywhere else. I’m actually one of the few people I think that don’t mind the use of the script I on the hats.

Kirk: Now that I don’t like. I think the cursive I isn’t strong enough to stand on its own. Cursive Indians is great, but I’d MUCH prefer the block C to any and all use of the cursive I alone. You look around and see Detroit’s distinct D, Boston’s B, and New York’s NY. I like having something to match up with those in a way.

Rick: I don’t feel strongly enough about the script I to fight for it, I suppose. Unlike the Cavaliers’ script. So fair enough.

Kirk: The Block C seemed too simple when I first saw it. But, it’s admittedly grown on me. It’s bold looking, and it has the distinct notch in it. It’s a unique shape for a C (not like the Cincinnati C that we wore during the ’40s and ’50s which I am NOT a fan of). It looks amazing on polos, hats, and shirts with a red C against a navy background.

bluethrowbacks

tribeblockcRick: Well, speaking of the C, that brings me to my favorite throwback uniforms, the old navy with the C. I love those.

Kirk: Those were really neat. I’ve written about this before that regardless of anything that happens with the team’s logos in respect to Wahoo, I would be all for having those throwbacks. The all-navy look pops, but the white numbers and belt are just enough that it doesn’t look like they’re wearing a onesie. The black socks look awesome with them too!

Rick: What would you think about the blue top with the white pinstripe pants or vice versa?

Kirk: If you went half and half, I think you’d have to go pinstripe pants with blue top. But, I’d prefer the all-navy look. It would be a very unique item to add to a uniform portfolio.

Rick: I would love to see those more than once a season. The all blue is a neat look, unlike the all red of the ’70s. That was a disaster.indians70sunis

Kirk: Yes, that gets the nod for the worst uniform in my book. Ugly, just ugly. And the C is second-worst on the hierarchy of C’s after the Reds-style C

Rick: So, if Wahoo was out of the picture, what look would you want to the team to go with instead?
wahoo

Kirk: You mean when, right? If Wahoo was out of the picture, I think you could do it without changing the uniform set much at all. If I were calling the shots, I’d have a home uniform very similar to the ’90s with the white and red sleeves and socks, putting some piping back in. I’d keep the road grays (which we need to talk about, because they’re phenomenal) as is, and I’d have two alternates, one of which would be the all-navy look and one which would be the navy top look that they’ve consistently had since entering Jacobs Field, adding back the piping, of course. If we’re talking about what mascot/team name I’d change to, that is another can of worms.

Rick: I don’t have the desire to get into the new nickname discussion. I agree that very little would have to change in regards to the uniforms if there was a change made away from Wahoo. I would like to see the script I make some kind of return. I think though that a new logo would have to be designed. I don’t think the block C is strong enough to be the primary logo.

Kirk: I would tend to agree with you, except that this is an area where they would have to be very careful. I’m not crazy about having two of my three sports teams without a very exciting logo. However, look at the Tigers and how often they use the actual Tiger logo in their uniforms. Maybe a stylized feather would do it? I don’t know if there’s an easy answer. If they did change the name (something I don’t think will happen nor should it in my eyes), my first vote would probably be for Spiders, followed by Blues. Keep all the same colors and fonts as you can.

Let’s talk about the road grays, because they really are a great look. I like how they are almost identical to the look the team had in the 1948 era (see: Bearden pic). I didn’t even realize that until some months into the new look a few years ago. The Cleveland font is plain looking, but it is distinct enough for me.

Gene Bearden ObitRick: I love the socks in that Bearden pic. Those should be brought back for the grays.

Kirk: Those are pretty nifty. I’m a high socks kind of guy when it comes to baseball uniforms.

Rick: Yes. Love the high socks. They are part of a baseball uniform, and the fact that they have gotten lost is kind of a uniform tragedy.Kirk: What about dugout jackets? They’re a part of the skipper’s uniform and are highly visible. Do you have a favorite in recent memory?Rick: I can’t say that I have a favorite. I usually lean toward tradition in uniforms, but baseball managers could stop wearing them and I’d be just fine with it.Kirk: I currently have a navy one accented with red and the script Indians across the front. I just love the look of it. They’ve had pretty similar ones throughout the last 20 years, but this one is the standout, and it’s so ugly, I brought this topic up just to step on it and douse it with fire.

Red on red with white stripes, THE HORROR, it’s a candycane disaster! The red’s too bright, and the navy is too dark. And of course, these happened to be a one-year tryout during the 1997 World Series run.groverdugout

Rick: What drives me crazy is that most managers will wear the coats in the middle of August during a day game because they don’t like the fit or look of wearing the jersey. Just let them wear some kind of team gear.

Kirk: It is an interesting world we live in where managers have to dress like they could pinch-hit, NFL coaches can dress like a homeless person, and NBA coaches have to be in a suit.

Rick: Exactly.

Kirk: You’ll notice that Tito often wore the long sleeve shirt in both Boston and here in Cleveland instead of the jacket most of the season. He’s bucking your trend for you.

Rick: I’m all for bucking that trend.

Kirk: Can we bring these back for some good luck? 

worldschamps

Rick: Yeah, that was pretty arrogant, huh?

Kirk: Hey, it’s not much different than the Heat uniforms Tuesday night 85 years later. I’ll finish by saying that even though the red/blue uniform combo is the most common duo in all of sports (and in baseball, there are 11 TEAMS with it!), I think the Indians make it their own with several different logos and styles, and I wouldn’t change it.

(Photo: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HRD53

    What a great counter argument. I can mock people that i don’t agree with too… LIBTARD!!11!!

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    The Blues are already a Vintage League Club. We could go with the Cleveland Grays, though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grays_Armory#The_Cleveland_Grays

  • mgbode

    I am still mad at the feller foundation that I cannot buy a quality hat with it on

  • MikeLew

    I love the block C- I wish for just a slight change- put a silver outline around the C on the hats. I think it would make the block C jump out a little more, and the hats, the red especially, would look much better that way.

  • James

    Go with the block C. Love that logo!

  • Jim

    I too like the block C. The only change I’d like to see, is using the red had with the road grays; and the blue cap with the Sunday uniforms like the first year they used the set

  • woofersus

    It seems the cream colored uniforms are the most polarizing. I actually really like them. It’s old fashioned looking and unique. So many teams have red over white or blue over white. I think the red/cream uniforms were my favorites this year. I’d like to see them do a similar blue/cream uniform next year with a blue cap and red C. If it’s not enough color they could experiment with some piping. I also liked the all blue with white belt and white block C, but only as a special change of pace.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Lets be real. You bring up uniforms, it spurs Chief Wahoo talk. Wahoo talk starts, it moves into the name Indians. I dont think this is out of line to discuss given the other comments on this post, and especially considering the ramifications a new logo and team name would have on the uniforms.

    You guys want to talk fonts and pretty colors, by all means, continue. Im just curious where the line is between offensive and tradition, cause that will have much more impact on what uniform we wear going forward than a discussion of font trim.

  • Guy Noir

    Ugh. NO script I. No no no no no no no no no.

    We are Cleveland. If we use a letter, it should be a C.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    So that guy is having 19 farts, right?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I’m with you on the script I. I think it already looks dated to the 90′s. While I liked that era of baseball, I don’t need to bring that style back. I always like more classic stuff better. I bought a block C hat this year and love the simplicity of it.

  • mgbode

    I have no problem with that if we can get a good one. The current block one is used all over the place and is boring.

  • Guy Noir

    Oh, yeah, that’s fine. I like the block C well enough, but I don’t LOVE it. Any good C will do. Just NO I!

  • mgbode

    one more thing on the Block-C. I won’t buy or wear one because I live out of town. Noone knows Block-C = Cleveland Indians. It’s not unique enough to brand our own.

    the script-I is unique and baseball fans know it’s ours. I don’t mind looking for a different brand, but I do like people actually knowing the team on my hat, so I think the Block-C is a fail.

    and, the team should too. for all the faults people find with Chief Wahoo, it is a brand that is known. if we end up replacing, then we better do a good job with a new brand that everyone will know is ours.

  • Garry_Owen

    That is cool. Count me in.
    (What’s a Vintage League Club? Does it matter?)

  • mgbode

    and, think of the marketing opportunities. with 25 active players, we could have 50 different shades at any one time:

    “Come out to Progressive Field to see 50 shades of Gray”

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    The daily injury report becomes known as Grays Anatomy

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I understand and respect where you’re coming from, Sham. That’s one of the unfortunate things about the internet….it’s hard to decipher sarcasm and sometimes things start as jovial kidding around and turn into a flame war. And in those cases, people can get offended regardless of intent. I don’t want anyone to feel offended or attacked on our site, hence why from time to time I will step in and try to ask everyone to cool things down. I hope now that a day has passed everyone has cooled off and we can all get back to being friends again.

  • mgbode

    7th inning stretch greyhound races

  • mgbode

    And the team slogan:

    “Grays Matter”

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    The Cleveland Fellers would be amazing, IMO. Nobody loved playing for Cleveland more than Feller, and it would be a great way to pay ultimate respect to him. Although, I do think that logo would look weird on the front of a baseball cap/.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I will never understand the “If A happens, then B must happen, too….if A is offensive, then B is offensive also” argument. Are we really incapable as a society of deciding things on a case by case basis?

    The overall point being, American Indians have a very distinct history on this land, and it’s a history in which our forefathers did a lot of really awful things to them. That history is completely different from the history of Vikings, Spartans, Cowboys, Irish, Yankees, Patriots, Saints, Raiders, and Rebels in this country.

    If using the name Indians in any way is marginalizing or trivializing the existence of American Indians, I’m fine with changing the name. But is it? I don’t know. I’m 100% the wrong person to ask. Just because I’m not offended by something doesn’t mean it isn’t actually offensive. Life is all about context and perspective, and not everything that involves common decency has to be about “PC America”.

  • mgbode

    the way I’d want it on a hat:

    Drop the 19
    Navy hat
    All the blue above becomes white (sillouhette and thin circle) — the red circle and white fill-in removed.

    I think it’d be a simple but powerful logo.

  • enjoymoreradio

    Is there a way I can buy one of these patches. It’s one of the best memorial patches I’ve seen in recent years.

  • enjoymoreradio

    First, my comments on the uniform set. I love basically everything about the current set. A few small gripes:
    1. Eliminate the red block C cap, and use the blue.
    2. Make the bill and squatchee on the block C cap red, and eliminate the all-blue Wahoo cap.
    3. Use primarily blue undershirts and socks (possibly striped) with the home alternate, and require high socks when it is being worn. (Small steps)

    I love the lack of piping, which made the shirt look cluttered, and we are slowly making the block C our own. If it comes to it, I’m fine with replacing Wahoo with the block C. I did like the script I, because it’s a distinctive image and it resembles Wahoo’s feather.

    Second, the Indians nickname. I think, once Wahoo is gone, the team should continue to use the nickname, while using it’s position as a major league sports team to promote awareness of Native American culture and the problems and threats to their way of life.

  • mgbode

    copyright permissions are in the way. one of the reasons I want the switch is to just have the Tribe buy the copyright and having the team actually switch to this name would make this financially feasible (obviously, they’d buy it before announcing the switch).

    more details here:
    http://www.uni-watch.com/2011/02/22/why-did-the-indians-change-their-bob-feller-patch/

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Ok, now I’m 100% sold. Do it like that, and it totally works for me.

  • mgbode

    now we just need to get the grassroots campaign going.

  • FTCMikeD

    The Cleveland Rapids

  • Blue_Guybrush

    The correct answer, of course, is Chief Wahoo. Chief fucking Wahoo’s big red smiling face all day fucking long.