The Cleveland Indians hosted their Opening Day game against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. Beyond the lack of crowd, there was one other noticeable change going on in Cleveland's ball park: the home team was wearing their road uniforms.
This change was a conscious decision that the team made in support of those pushing for the ball club to go away from the team's current name, the Indians. Team owner Paul Dolan met with manager Terry Francona this week to discuss the potential change.
"Today, as part of that meeting, we are going to be wearing the Cleveland jerseys to bring awareness - that this is a start," All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor told Cleveland.com. "We hope it's a start of a change. We know change is due."
Cleveland's road uniforms have a dark blue top with the block letters "Cleveland" across the chest in red. In contrast, the home uniforms have white tops, and the block letters say "Indians."
"Today by wearing the Cleveland jersey, that's what we're doing out there," Lindor continued. "We're doing it just for today that's my understanding. I'm not 100% sure. But it's a good start. It gives us hope that change will get done.
"We can only change things by making people acknowledge and educate themselves that change is due and to recognize that there are certain areas in life that are not right and not where they need to be. By us doing that today and Paul Dolan allowing us today wearing the Cleveland jersey for Opening Day, it's a huge statement. I stand by my teammates. I stand by minorities and people who need the spotlight. We're there. It's a lifestyle."
This demonstration will only last one game as there are league rules that dictate what teams can and cannot wear during certain games.
The ball club announced on Thursday that they would meet with Native American leaders to discuss the team name. In 2019, they retired the Chief Wahoo logo, which was a red-faced caricature of a Native American that had been in use for decades. The team's name dates back to 1915.