Time for Tribe to Bring Red Jerseys out of Closet
Mike B. | On 26, Jan 2015
This weekend the Cleveland Indians kicked off the 2015 season with their TribeFest, a two-day interactive experience between the team and fans before starting spring training in just over two weeks. The weekend provides three sessions, full of activities for all ages and is a perfect way to get through the winter doldrums. Over 8,000 fans walked the concourse participating in social media events, autograph sessions and more. It’s a 15% increase from last year.
For me, the culminating moment was Saturday morning when the Indians released their promotional schedule. While many fans will be excited for bobbleheads, fireworks and dollar dogs, I’ll have one specific date circled on my calendar in front of all of them.
May 23: 1975 Red replica jersey.
The first 10,000 fans will receive a replica jersey, but to be honest I’m not concerned about scoring one. I already have one. I’m more excited for the 25 players on the field donning the throwback garb. In my opinion, it’s time to bring 1975 to the modern day and make the red tops part of the Tribe’s regular jersey-wear.
The ruby red jerseys were every day wear for the Tribe in the mid-1970s, including on Opening Day 1975 when Frank Robinson became the first African-American manager in Major League baseball. The team has worn them as part of throwback promotion nights, like last year’s tribute in Kansas City on Aug. 30.
But like so many things, retro comes back into style and after 40 years I think it is time for the Indians to make their red jerseys more than just an occasional throwback tribute. Clearly the red jerseys make a loud statement, different than many traditional jerseys, but they also have many of the traits the organization and fans enjoy, including the use of Chief Wahoo on the shoulder. The Chief remains on the jersey, but not too prominent, just like it does on the current, modern jerseys.
And while this isn’t meant to be a statement about Chief Wahoo and his place on or off the Indians jersey, it seems when discussion of the Chief comes up fans feel as strongly about Chief as they do the Block C. Many fans don’t like Block C or the staleness of the off-white, block “Indians” home jerseys. The Block C could take a back seat to the old-school, crooked C. You’ll never have to worry about being stale with the ruby reds in the Tribe’s closet. Every game may be too much, but why not once a homestand, or on Sunday afternoons?
Just this week the Seattle Mariners brought back and modernized their 1980-style jerseys, so going back in time can become the new popular trend. From a marketing standpoint making multiple jerseys and hats popular and easier to sell is never a bad idea. Some simple modernizations to the jersey and a new set of pants from last August’s throwback night in Kansas City and the Indians have a new look while giving a tip of the cap to their history.
In the meantime, add May 23 to the calendar as one of your Tribe games you can’t miss. You’re guaranteed to see something you probably won’t see the rest of the season…unless the fans can convince the organization it’s time to bring the past to the present.
Photos: Getty Images