Corey Kluber pitched six sparkling innings on short rest for another win, Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in his hometown, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Saturday night to take a 3-1 lead.
Protests against the Cleveland Indians’ racist, red-faced caricature never work. They just make its supporters stronger.
Outside the northeast gate of Cleveland’s Progressive Field, a handful of longtime Chief Wahoo protesters assembled Tuesday evening to assume the same formation, and in many cases wield the same signs, that they’ve assumed and wielded for decades. “The Real Cleveland Indians,” read one placard, depicting images of local Native Americans in traditional garments. “People Not Mascots,” declared another. In recent years, when protesters have gathered here on opening day, passersby fueled by booze have been eager to engage, hurling invective and obscenities in between their war whoops. Before Game 1 of the World Series, though, most Indians fans shuffled past the protest without saying much, their eyes on the prize of the Indians’ first championship since 1948.
There were notable exceptions—middle fingers extended, heads shaken, Native cred proclaimed. “I’m half Indian and I could care less!” cried one fan, Wahoo-jacketed against the wind. The evening’s most unusual interaction came at 7:15 p.m., a little less than an hour before the first pitch, when a wobbly middle-age woman approached the protesters—there were about 10 of them—placed her hand on her heart, and solemnly professed, “Chief Wahoo is my beloved man.” She looked to be on the verge of tears. “I. Belove. Him.”
“Him?” One protester asked, astonished. “But he’s not real.”
“Oh, yes he is,” the woman shouted as she scurried off. “Yes he is!”