CLEVELAND — There have been many possible options mentioned for the Indians' eventual new name, but one wasn't really on anyone's radar at the beginning. Months later, that's changed.
"Cleveland Municipals" has recently seen a surge of grassroots support on social media and elsewhere, with several accounts and businesses now pushing for the team to choose the moniker. The "Munis" would partly pay homage to the team's old home, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and strikes a similar tone as identities such as New York Knickerbockers ("Knicks") and Metropolitans ("Mets").
"Webster defines 'municipal' as something "related to a city or town," concept co-founders Will Weible and Jamie Lansdowne wrote on a website devoted to the name. "Something that is municipal belongs to the citizens themselves, much like we feel the teams are our own. 'Municipals' makes clear that this team belongs to and represents every single Clevelander.
Of all the options currently being considered, Municipals may have the most structural support. Besides the website and jersey designs, Weible and Lansdowne have earned press in the popular Uni Watch blog and also teamed up with Ebbets Field Flannels to sell gear with a logo inspired by the old stadium's outline. Cleveland-based Saucy Brew Works has even thrown its support behind the name by releasing a special Munich-based lager.
Despite the sizeable infrastructure, fans have been somewhat slow to warm up to the label, evidenced by the fact Municipals came in dead last in 3News' recent name change poll (7.2%). Common criticisms seem to be a lack of cool branding ideas like those possible with "Spiders" or "Guardians," plus "Munis" doesn't quite have the same flair as other old school abbreviated names like "Mets" or "Knicks." Additionally, many aren't thrilled with the idea of paying homage to a stadium that wasn't exactly baseball-friendly, especially when the Indians were downright horrible for their final 34 seasons by the lake.
So far, Municipals doesn't seem to be on many Tribe supporters' short lists, and oddsmakers didn't even list it as a name possibility months ago. But Weible and Lansdowne aren't giving up, and if they continue their solid campaign it's more than possible Municipals could be one of the final choices once a decision has to be made.