CLEVELAND — In December, Cleveland’s baseball club announced the decision to change its name from the Indians after decades of protests and calls for a change. That process is ongoing and options for new names are on the table, but the actual change itself might not come as soon as previously projected in 2022.
In an interview with Ray Horner on WAKR’s “Ray Horner Morning Show,” Tribe CEO and part-owner Paul Dolan discussed the process of the name change and why it might be pushed back a season later than anticipated.
“We went through the process and made the decision to change our name, and now we are going through that part of the process where we are trying to determine what the next name would be,” Dolan said on Monday morning.
Dolan said that because the process to change the name is so extensive, the goal of a name change by next season might not be possible.
“When we made the announcement we said that certainly through the 2021 season we would continue to be the Indians and possibly as soon as the 2022 season the name change would be in place. That continues to be our goal—the 2022 season—but we are going to take the time necessary to do this right, and if that means pushing beyond 2022 to 2023, that’s what will have to be,” Dolan said. “But we’re still hopeful that we can get something done beforehand, meaning effective 2022.”
The club's leader said that while the possibility of a name change being postponed is possible, the organization is doing everything it can to make it happen next season, including assembling a list of names that are possible options for a new nickname in Cleveland.
“We have a list of names, we’re talking to people about it. We’re talking to fans,” Dolan said. “We are also doing the important work of securing the names so we can use them commercially because it doesn’t make much sense if we can’t use the name, and so we’re in the midst of that.”
Dolan wouldn’t say what the names on that list are and said the team doesn’t “have a green light on any particular name yet,” but said the organization is “hopeful that sometime this year we will be in a position where we can make an announcement.”
While many fans have been vocal about their desire to keep the name, many others have continued the push for change, including at the Tribe’s home opener Thursday as demonstrators continued the annual movement of protesting the club’s name.
Those calls for change are being heard but may not be acted upon immediately, Dolan said.
“There’s no hard deadline, but there is a point at which it’s too late to activate a new name because you can imagine everything that goes into bringing a new name of an organization and activating it. Whether it's uniforms, it's all the signage, it's everything that we are. So if we don’t get that done by a certain date then we’d have to push it to the following year,” Dolan said.