Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Joe Posnanski Wahoo Curse

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I normally don't go in for curses, hoodoo, or similar nonsense, but watching the ALCS for the past two games has finally convinced me that not everything that happens on a baseball diamond can be explained in rational terms. Yes, I am finally ready to give up hard-headed logic and reasoning and allow my skeptical mind to embrace the obvious explanation for the Red Sox resurgence:

Joe Posnanski has cursed the Cleveland Indians.

From Joe's 10/17/07 takedown of Chief Wahoo:

. . . it’s definitely time to bury Wahoo. This would be a good year to make it happen. The Indians are a game away from the World Series. There is some real joy happening. There is some real excitement. The Indians have a real chance to end the longest citywide sports drought in American sports. There are a lot of good feelings in the Cleveland air. It would be a good time to bury a logo that should never have been born to begin with.

Joe should have known better! He should have known that the disgustingly racist Chief Wahoo draws his staying power from the darkest sanctum of Hell. That place where the most vile and sordid wishes of men are ushered into being while their purest dreams are twisted into an unrecognizable mutant-echo of reality, borne into this world to taunt and torment their authors.

Joe should have known that Chief Wahoo and his unholy minions from below would hear his plea for Cleveland to use its impending ALCS victory and presumptive world championship as the pedestal from which to cast that offensive red-faced visage into oblivion, and would stop at nothing to prevent it from occurring. And that is exactly what has come to pass. When Joe wrote those words on Wednesday, the Indians were invincible. Two games later and one wonders how they ever held off Detroit.

It all seems so obvious now. How fitting that Fausto -- a variation of Faust, he of the unholy bargain with the Old Man himself -- was on the hill last night. After seeing his improvement from 2006, does anyone doubt he had supernatural help? I sure don't, and last night's performance has me convinced that the Devil called in his chit, ordering Carmona to serve up a fat one to J.D. Drew in the first inning. Similarly, Curt Schilling's fine outing was no doubt repayment from the Prince of Darkness for the fine work Schilling has done promoting evil.

Yes, there is a game seven tonight and I suppose it's possible that the Indians will pull it out (update: or not). But I'm doubtful, as I suspect most are. People will chalk up their defeat to choking or tired arms or the veteran savvy of a Red Sox team that has had experience facing long odds, but Occam's Razor suggests the real answer:

A Cleveland expatriate sportswriter living in Kansas City, Missouri had the audacity to taunt Beelzebub, and now he, along with every other Indians fan, is being punished for it.

Like this story? There are hundreds more at ShysterBall!)


Mike said...

Haha, we all know the real reason the Tribe lost:

God hates Cleveland sports.

Max said...


Anonymous said...

Is that Billy Joel at a typewriter?

Shyster said...

Ouch. If you read this Joe, I apologize for my anonymous poster's insinuation that you have anything in common with the man responsible for "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Garrett said...

Aren't the Indians named in honor of Nap Lajoie so it's actually not racist but in honor of?

Shyster said...

No. They went by the name the Cleveland Naps during Lajoie's tenure there, and were renamed the Indians when he left in 1914 or 1915 (somewhere in there). If you read Posnanski's excellent essay (linked above) you'll learn that the story for years was that the Indians name was in honor of Louis Sockalexis, a former native American player for Cleveland, but Posnanski pretty much debunks it.

Indians was likely taken to play off the then-popularity of the Braves and because it was simply a recognized and popular mascot choice in those days.

All of that said, I have no real problem with the name Indians. It's Wahoo that I think is offensive.

Anonymous said...

I think they ought to change their name to the Cleveland Negroes. How would you like that one, Shyster. What a bunch of politically correct bullshit.

Shyster said...

Well, Mr. Anonymous, if you feel so stongly about Wahoo, you'd have no trouble identifying yourself by your real name and explaining to the rest of the class why he's so damn Skippy. And make this argument to the merits. I don't want to hear why tradition is important and I don't want to hear how there are more important issues out there. Tell me why, in your view, Chief Wahoo is an acceptable mascot. I mean, if all I am is a slave to political correctness and there is no merit to getting rid of Wahoo, your argument should be easy.

If you're persuasvie enough, I'll even post your argument in a regular blog entry rather than leave it in the comments. But please, a name would be nice, and shouldn't be an issue, unless of course you're a coward.

Anonymous said...

This guy has a true right to be offended by Chief Wahoo, and he isn't.
---Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox superstar in the making, is a polite young man. He is also the first player of Navajo descent to make it to the big leagues.

So how does he feel about the hideous image of Chief Wahoo, which adorns the cap of the Cleveland Indians? Is the 24-year-old outfielder offended by the caricature of the grinning, big-nosed, crimson-faced Native American with the gigantic teeth?

"Not too many things offend me," Ellsbury said in the Sox clubhouse yesterday morning. "I'm not offended. You can look at it two different ways. You can look at it that it's offensive or you can look at it that they are representing Native Americans. Usually I'll try to take the positive out of it."

That's generous of him, especially since a member of the Cleveland organization asked him about the logo when the team was thinking of drafting the Oregon State product in the first round two years ago.

"They asked me if I would be offended or anything like that if they had taken me," said the quiet Ellsbury, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. "I said it was fine, but I thought that was nice on their part." (Notice how the white writer has to throw in the word hideous)---

It's mostly people like bald, guilt ridden, lilly white lawyers from Columbus Ohio, that seem to believe they need to take up this cause.

I'm just as native as any American out there. I was born here, and my family chose to come to this country by boat in 1637; not by land bridge from Siberia, 10,000 years ago. So how far does one need to go back to be legit? How long do you have to live here to quit acting as if you're being down trodden?

As for the coward remark, you sound like some litte booger eater on the George Washington Univ. playground. I just don't want my name plastered all over the internet. I think I can make a point without it...nice try, though. Peace, Out.

Shyster said...

Hey, you wanna be anonymous, be my guest.

"It's mostly people like bald, guilt ridden, lilly white lawyers from Columbus Ohio, that seem to believe they need to take up this cause"

Who said I was guilt-ridden? My 20th century immigrant ancestors didn't get here until long after your 17th century immigrant ancestors got done exterminating most of the Indians, so my conscience is pretty clear. Is yours defensive? "Hey look, there's a happy Indian playing CF for the Sox! He doesn't mind! It's all great. Yep, nothin' hanging on my conscience!"

Our backgrounds aside (as they should be because they really don't matter), Ellsbury is entitled to his opinion as you are to yours and I am to mine. Obviously nothing I say is going to convince you that a red-faced race caricature is offensive, so I'm not going to try.

But tell me: if on Native American's approving view on this is enough to make you comfortable with Wahoo, why doesn't one (or thousands) of their opinions make you change your mind? If there was a poll of all NAs in this country and, say, 65% said Wahoo should go, would you change your mind?

I'm guessing not, which leads me to believe that your problem with lily white lawyers from Columbus, Ohio brining the issue up is an aversion to what you consider to be political correctness in general rather than anything having to do with the merits of Wahoo itself. An aversion so strong, I would assume, that even if you personally found something to be racially insensitive, you wouldn't say it for fear of undermining your reactionary stance about such things.

Hey, I agree that PC sentiment is often ridiculous. I just don't think finding Wahoo to be offensive is anywhere near the line that separates reason from hysteria.