As of last night, the word went out that the Cleveland Baseball team will change their name and logo going forward. In 2020 this has been something of a hot button issue finally. with the Washington football team doing the same earlier this year. Once their top sponsors and merchandise distributors said they would cut ties if no actions were taken. I want to use this moment to take a deep dive into the history of both franchises. In my opinion, what should have been an incentive to change the names years ago is a silver lining for the front offices and owners who have gas lit the public into believing that their franchises have little to no ties to racism or bigotry at all.
Washington Football Team
Not much to say here, around 1937 the team changed its name to the Redskins, but it was not until 1961 that the owner reluctantly integrated his team with players of colour. Including Native Americans. So how can you expect us to believe that the name change was done out of admiration vs contempt. Also, it was not until Walmart said they would stop selling their merch and Fedex said they would strip their branding and support. Among many other scandals with the Football team’s front office that they conceded to a name change in June of 2020.
Since the change the ownership has since said they will not update their name from the Washington football team due to popularity. It is almost a sick joke to the people that fought so hard for this name change to happen but were told that there was nothing wrong with it or that it would be too hard to rebrand the franchise and all of its holdings.
In 1914 then owner Charles Somers put forward the idea to change the teams name from the Cleveland Naps. Following the departure of their First super star Napoleon Lajoie. After much discussion they locked in on the team name “Indians” in what they would call homage to the Cleveland Spiders who played in the city from 1898 -1899 and were given that nickname by fans due to having Native American player Louis Sockalexis,, who some say may have been the first Native American player to play in major league baseball. Although there are many conflicting reports. In the present day they will try to sell you on this idea but news publications from that day make no references to Sockalexis for the name change but rather say many derogatory statements about him and others of the same bloodline.
Fast forward to 1948 just months after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier. Cleveland became the second team to integrate a black player on their team, Larry Doby. Also, they became the first team to add a second in Negro League super star Satchel Paige. Making him the oldest rookie in MLB history at 46. At the time many thought this may have been done in a public stunt as Cleveland was able to draw around 70-78k fans at home following these changes. Not to mention that the team went on to Win the World Series that year. Becoming the first team to win with a black player on its roster, The last such in the team’s history. Almost 10 years before Jackie Robinson was able to win with the Dodgers.
In 2014 ,Major league baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he has never heard of any negative complaints about the logo , almost ignoring the court case that happened Right before he took the position in 1998. That had a group of Native American Protesters protest the name and logo of the team during the 1997 world series. Team Officials even went as far to say that their protest had nothing to do with the issues of the logo & team name and complained that they damaged a tree in the area the protest took place and had them arrested.
Regardless of all that is mentioned above, people that grew up sports fans of these teams are committed to these teams beyond their racist past because they love the sport and or the players that the team employees. The market to make a ton of money off these re brands have always been there. In moments that will follow this announcement, do not allow racist baseball historians to dilute this moment in history by saying we are removing black history from baseball with this name change. Because that is simply not true.
Many people have fought for this change and I am glad it is finally happening.
With the Federal government announcing the first round of COVID-19 Vaccines should be available for the most at-risk populations. I would like to take stock at how Canada, and the province of Ontario have done in their response to the. I will be looking at 3 main things: The current state of the Job market, The Travel restrictions for Canadians and the current state of the long-term care home crisis.
Cerb should be converted to a Universal Basic Income type payment.
First, a major indicator I will be looking at is the Stalling Job market. According to stats can. Employment numbers were on the rise in November at a rate of .3% for the nation and .5% for the Province of Ontario. This is compared to the avg rate of 2.7 % growth from May to September. This Stall can be explained when you consider the effect of the new public health measures put in place in many parts of the Country. Specifically, Toronto and Manitoba. Although there has been some promising growth in Construction, transportation, and warehousing. With the Province of Ontario adding 28000 jobs to those sectors in Nov.
Many young adults that had their Student debt frozen by the government, have had to start repaying again as of September 1.While being un-able to get in contact with the National loan center due to call volume (Link) Not to mention that due to the unclear messages presented to Canadians about the eligibility requirements of Cerb. Canadians are now being asked to repay that loan in full by the last day of 2020. Resulting in up to $14,000 for some heading into the holidays. Many of these people may still be without work. Leading to many left wing socialist groups calling for recovery assistance in the form of a Universal Basic Income. More info found here
With all the imposing of local restrictions done by the provincial government of Ontario, you would think that Travel outside of the province, let alone country would be up for debate. In Atlantic Canada you could not travel into any of those provinces without applying to get in first. As for the rest of Canada the federal government has advised against nonessential out of province travel. But if in instance you do find yourself out of province you have been asked to quarantine for 14 days upon your return. The same can be said for traveling outside of Canada altogether. If the lack of Travel is really getting you down feel free to check out this link of Countries accepting Canadians and their terms upon entry. Just keep in mind the price and availability of travel insurance are dependent on the co-vid numbers in the country you are traveling to. Also, you will still be required to quarantine on your arrival back to Canada. The Question must be asked why the airlines are able to stay operating while many small and medium sized businesses are fighting for their lives?
Long term care is still in shambles and the Ontario government is profiting from it.
Just taking a look at the live updated statistics from the government of Ontario’s website outlining the devastating impact the COVID-19 has had on the long term care homes of the province. Premier Ford has continually hesitated to act when condemning for pay long term care homes that do not comply with the provinces COVID-19 regulations. Provincial long term care minster Dr. Merrilee has gone further to say that she would like to pass the buck to local health officials in terms of restrictions for the long-term care homes in their jurisdictions. The Same can be said of Justin Trudeau and the Federal government.
In response to the NDP’s outcry for more trained workers and more hours of care per person in long term care. The Ford Government created a new job title that allows Long term Care homes to bring on temporary un-trained workers (Resident support aides) at minimum wage to help. When the call was for more trained professionals and a pay raise to better reflect the important work, they are doing.
The Minster of Long-Term Care in Ontario has done little to nothing in terms of leadership. Combined with the fact that the Ford Government has received $30,000 from For Pay Long term care lobbyists. Ontario has far more for pay homes than any other Province or Territory in the country. To make matters worse all of those lobbyists have worked or been connected to the Ford Government in one way or another. The purpose of these lobbyist positions is to help keep the public interest in mind and to be advocates of the Long-term care workers and Residents. When in all reality that has been the exact opposite of what is currently happening.
At every turn and every opportunity both the Ontario provincial Government and the Federal Government have failed to keep the best interest of their constituencies in mind when making policy choices. While on the flip side the leaders on the far left have been advocating for the average and hard-working Canadians and Ontarians. Please Keep that in mind the next time an election comes around and these very same politicians start making campaign promises. Please remember who chose big business over the common Canadian. Do not forget that the leaders of the NDP and Green Parties will continue to fight for you even if you do not support them. The same can not always be said about the Conservative parties & Liberal parties of Ontario and Canada.
With the Blue Jays Playing the COVID-19 shortened season at their AAA facilities in Buffalo, and the team exploring the idea of a major renovation with a target budget of around 250-400 Million dollars. It makes sense that the conversation has now shifted to think about the idea of creating a smaller baseball specific stadium with all the workings of a state-of-the-art MLB facility. The current idea that is proposed is to rebuild the new stadium on the site of the old one. While turning the extra space into commercial and residential real estate. According to media sources , The team plans to partner with Brookfield Asset management, which according to their website is an “ alternative asset manager with over $575 billion in assets. “
Although their plan is to complete this project with private funding. That could change quickly. With real interest being focused on the firms and the contractors that would win the tenders for supplies, equipment and workers. Do they leverage people locally vs province wide vs Nationwide? Does the Construction and subsequent demolition get completed on time? What effect will all this construction have on traffic in the downtown core as a whole? Will there be a bid for stadium rights, or will it be done by private invite only again? Also, with Toronto in the midst of an affordable housing crisis while a record number of condos and rental units remain empty. Is it really a good idea to create more luxury and high price real estate in the City? With the stadium name rights market back in prime spot. Will they sell the naming rights to the new stadium or name it after Ted Rogers again. As a 20-year naming rights deal could help pay for the construction almost in full. Before getting too deep into those questions, lets take a trip through the history of the Jays home stadiums for context.
The “Mistake by the Lake”
The site of the Blue Jays First stadium, the CNE grounds was originally used in 1879. By the time the Jays moved in by 1977, the stadium had burnt down and had been rebuilt 3 times. Costing about 15 million paid by the City and the province for the latest upgrade to make the stadium up to MLB standards. Housing 54k for baseball. Granted most of those seats were only offered for playoff games and teams with larger draws. Due to them being around 850 feet from home plate. The stadium had tons of problems protecting both the players and fans from the elements. So much so that during the Blue Jays Home opener on April 4th, 1977, they had to borrow Zambonis’ from the Toronto Maple Leafs to clear the field of snow.
Due to the position of the stadium, with it being so close to Lake Ontario. Coupled with the amount of food waste left after games, it made the grounds a prime site for seagulls. Fast forward to 1983 where Yankees player David Wright was arrested for killing a seagull by mistake when he threw a ball to a ball boy and it hit a Seagull in the head. The nail in the coffin for Exhibition stadium was a year earlier during the 70th Grey cup. Fans were forced to watch the game from the concourse and to make matters worse the washrooms started to overflow. The game was watched on TV by over 7 million Canadians. A Canadian broadcast record at the time. Leading to the people of Toronto to take to the streets the following day. Demanding a dome be built to avoid situations like this. In 1983 Premier Davis set up a committee with the purpose of putting a dome of the site of the Exhibition Stadium. In 1984, 7 acres of land at the foot of the CN tower was donated for a dome to be built and in 1986 the ground was broken on the “SkyDome”. Exhibition Stadium was destroyed in 1999, only a decade after the opening of SkyDome.
The construction of the SkyDome took about 2.5 years from 1986-1989 completed by Dominion Bridge Company out of Quebec And Ellis Don out of London. To the price tag of $570 million Canadian. Which present day is equal to about 1 billion dollars! This time the construction was paid for by a combination of private and public funding. Both the City of Toronto and the province contributed 30 million each. As well as 5 million a piece from the Labatt’s,Molson, and Carling O’Keefe breweries and the Blue Jays. Lastly 26 other private Canadian companies by invite only bought into the project at the same price tag. For their contribution they received a SkyBox with 4 parking spaces on a ten-year contract. As well as a 99-year exclusion option on stadium advertising.
From the start of this project many questions were raised. No public tender was held for supplies or equipment. Also, the 26 contracts handed out to companies like CIBC and TSN were not put up for bid. Leaving money on the table. At the time of its creation it was the first stadium with a retractable motorized roof and a 300 plus room hotel. With 70 rooms that overlooked the playing field. When the Dome first opened a couple was caught on the jumbotron fornicating during the baseball game. Days later a man was caught masturbating during a game in full view of the fans. As he thought the windows were one-way windows. Last such instance happened in 1996. Also, SkyDome was also the last stadium built for both Baseball and Football. As well as hosting regular season games for every major sport outside of the NHL.
By 1998, Labatt who at the time owned 49% of the stadium filed for bankruptcy and in 1999 the Sportsco International Lp bought the Stadium out of Bankruptcy Protection for 80 million. The Hotel attachment was sold to Renaissance for 31 million. 5 years later, Blue Jays Parent company, Rogers communications acquired the Dome for about 25 million. Roughly 4% of the construction costs. 3 Months Later the Name of the dome was Changed to the Rogers Center. In addition to the name Change. Rogers heavily invested in the upgrade of the Dome. As well as a new Field Turf. The building was home to both the Toronto Blue Jays and Argos but in 2016. The Argos relocated to Bmo Fields. With the hope that the Rogers Center would install a natural grass playing field. As of 2020, the Blue Jays are 1 of 2 teams to have never played a home game on natural grass.
Like the plan to build the SkyDome on the CNE grounds in 1984. This idea of tearing down the Rogers Center to rebuild it on the same site will be short lived. If they do come to terms with building one a new site. They would be able to build and demolish the old stadium simultaneously. With the possibility they could even play in the Rogers Center or in the ballpark in Buffalo. Until the new building is ready. Depending on where COVID-19 is this spring and if there is a AAA baseball season.
I know this is a long shot, but Durham would be the best spot if not only for a temporary place to play. Out of the President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark. But to Move the Blue Jays home permanently to Durham. Either on the same grounds as mentioned above or in an area in and around the new Pickering Casino that was just built. Granted either choice would cause a major increase in local traffic. Something many Ajax and Pickering residents may be against. With upgrades just finished at both Ajax and Pickering GO train stations I think it can be achieved logistically from a fan standpoint. When the SkyDome First opened, The TTC allowed game tickets to be treated as a metro pass for that day. Something similar could be done in this situation as well.
But it cannot go without saying that 2 stadiums that were funded by local Torontonians and Ontarians. Have failed to last more than 25 years. When during their inception they were touted as state of the art in their design and execution. Buildings like Old Yankee Stadium and Fenway park can stay functioning well into 70 plus years of use. Although those stadiums are more of the exception than the rule. With the idea of another billion dollars being thrown into a construction project. I would hope that this time, wherever the Stadium is built , that it lasts for at least 40-50 years before it becomes so behind the times it hinders the franchises ability to sign players and to throw concerts in their own building.
If it was not clear before the Covid-19 crisis hit, It’s abundantly clear now, Long-term care homes in Ontario need more support, let’s face it, they’re in crisis and we need our politicians to act.
This pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable among us and has exposed systemic inequities in our Long-term care facilities.
Sure, If you followed the words of many of our politicians today, it seems like they all agree but there has been no tangible action. So what’s the roadblock? Well, it’s very clear to me and to many that the Ontario government failed to act.
Provincial NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath proposed an 8-year plan that would make full-scale changes to long-term care in the province. The plan would cost 6 billion in initial investment and 3 billion a year in operating costs. Calling for a 50 percent increase in spending in the long-term care sector.
It is common knowledge that Covid-19 has been devastating to our aging population around the world and the numbers are shocking
If nothing else, I hope they can reach an agreement on a staffing standard.Premier Mike Harris and the Ontario PCs got rid of it in 1996. Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to make a change in 2003. Maybe this time it will be the NDP, led by a woman that will take the province where it needs to go.
The differences and similarities of the Green and the Ndp Parties in Canada is an area I want to attempt to draw attention to. With the main purpose being the idea of the two parties joining forces to take over the left wing of politics in Canada and to continue to push Canada forward as a leader in progressive thinking in the world.
As someone who did not vote in the last Canadian Federal Election and a self proclaimed left wing libertarian. I felt my integrity would be lost if I voted for Justin Trudeau. At the time, I was really dumbfounded with the idea how any person of colour could openly support Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister. I was a supporter of his first run around the block but after it came out that he had done Black face not once, but twice. I jumped ship and never really looked back.
After being able to spend alot of time growing my relationship with my dad over the last 7 months of being on lockdown, to working from home. He explained to me one day while we were discussing the daily circus that is American politics why he had no problem with continually supporting the Liberal Party at every level possible no matter what.
It was that explanation that led to my passion to write this. As a black man who Immigrated to Toronto in 1974. My father had a lot to say about why he always makes sure he goes out and makes sure his vote counts.
But the fact that he was one of the first world leaders to really embrace multicultural immigration in 1971 meant that my dad in 1974, at 23 years old was able to be sponsored by his older sister to come to Canada. As a result his younger sisters and mother were able to follow in the coming years. For him and many other newly immigrated Canadians, they thought this not possible if not for the Liberal Party of Canada. In combination with the treatment he received consistently from noticeable groups of Canadians that opposed the idea of new Canadians and thought that by voting Conservative, that they would not only stop the arrival but to be able to send back the current first generation immigrants in Canada.So for him, every election day he goes out and votes for the party that has the best chance at making sure the Conservatives do not take power.
Pierre Trudeau was the man in charge at the time of the Liberal party. As a result he gets the credit at a higher level. That same support was able to resonate almost 40 years later to help his son Justin take power of the Liberal party of Canada.As well as, majority control of Canada’s Federal Government. All this being done with a far less than stellar record. To the point he was able to hide his photos of him in black face through his first election all the way up until his re-election campaign 4 years later. To all the ongoing scandals over the last year.
To that I can now draw my parallel, just like in the election of 1974. Just months prior to my father touching down in Pearson Airport. It seems like the Canadian support for this generation’s Trudeau is failing for all the same reasons his father did. And the series of political events that led up to that point can offer foreshadowing of what could be to come for Canada. Whenever the next federal election would be.
It was widely agreed that the NDP Party carried the Liberal-Pierre Trudeau minority government for the 18 months heading into that election. Something we are currently seeing with the 2020 Federal NDP and Liberal Parties.
The main topic that drew the vote of non confidence was inflation. Something present day Canadian’s are really feeling the full force of as covid has attacked our global economy and people have begun to hoard items and resell them for insane mark ups.
The NDP Leader at the time, David Lewis. Was really proud of his ability to “change the vote” . When in all reality he fed into the problem the NDP and other smaller left wing political parties have when reaching out to voters. Especially people like my father. Who use their vote, to vote for the party that is left on the political spectrum of the Conservatives and has the best chance at winning.
So by not only aligning the NDP with the Conservatives but being proud and not resentful in doing so. He alienated what could have been the beginning of an orange or green wave that had the chance to take over Canadian politics for almost the next half century.
I come to that conclusion by not only looking at the resounding Liberal majority government win that happened in the 1974 Federal election. But the present day stigma that the NDP currently have of not being winners and as such people do not want to “waste a vote” supporting a party with no chance of winning.
The Present day Federal Green Party of Canada, In my opinion falls victim to many of the same downfalls that caused the demise of the Social Credit Party of Canada. A party similar in setup to the present day Green Party. It is my belief that both the Green and the Social credit parties had an inception similar to the NDP Party. The other 2 major parties put up with them for a lack of a better term. As they draw interest away from their competitors base.
An example would be the Conservatives profit by drawing some of the Liberals more left facing base to the NDP. As the NDP will never win and they had no chance at swinging those voters. On the Flip side, the Liberals benefited from parties like the Social Reform Party and the Present Day Green Party as they draw voters that may have high Conservatives value on things like gun ownership rights, religion, same sex marriage and women’s reproductive rights. But also care about sticking it to big business. Fighting for the blue collar worker and the environment. As a result the Liberals are able to swing those voters that they would never be able to reach using their platform.
I will not pretend to be fully studied in Canadian politics because I am not. By simply typing in 1974 elections you will be able to find many resources describing a lot of issues that fit the mold of what we are currently dealing with today. From both left and right wing facing publications. Here is one bit of reading that aligns with my train of thought:
I say all of that to say this, for there ever to be a real 3 Horse race vs the 1 on 1 deathmatch we currently see going on in Canadian politics. The left, mainly Jagmeet Singh and Annamie Paul . The leaders of the Federal NDP and Green Parties of Canada. Need to be able to do 2 main things in my opinion to start a left moving political wave. One the world has never seen.
The first would be to find a way to either join forces in full. Something that is much easier said than done.And has been attempted in the past and has failed. Some might say the second attempt was better than the first but that is a whole other rabbit hole of left wing political history to jump into.
The driving force behind this idea would be to get the new party into a place where they can force consecutive minority governments flipping back and forth between the 2 larger parties. Leveraging their ability to “change the vote”, while still standing firm on their distrust for both sides. Being able to do this consistently while growing the number of seats won is a very hard task. Something Jagmeet Singh has attempted to do with varying success. Depending on who you ask.
The Second and most important point to this.Canada at its core is in debt to the Indigenous people of the land on which it is built. Because without them the picture we see of Canada could be very different. This is not something that is an opinion or up for debate. It is a fact. The same way that it is a fact that the American government used slaves to create the foundation of their society. In a much similar fashion the Indigenous people have been forgotten then vilified at every turn when trying to protect and fight for the basic rights and promises that were made and ensured to them by the Canadian government many times over since July 1, 1867.
But since then, at every review of the progress vs the promises that were made. They have missed the mark EVERY SINGLE TIME, in my opinion.This can been seen in the stories made public recently of how Indigenous people are treated in some hospitals around the country.You couple that with the silencing of the Mi’kmaw people trying to hold the RCMP and the Canadian Government accountable to policing people that are willingly going against a Canadian treaty and ruling from the Supreme Court. All for a larger share of a market they have a full monopoly in. When compared to the Mi’kmaw Fishers.
I wholeheartedly believe that being able to “change the vote” by making sure Indigenous people of all ages, across the country, regardless if they have any political loyalties currently.Have the ability to feel like their vote matters. To even get to that point on a higher level we need to provide 1000x support to all Indigenous communities. We need to make sure that we protect them at every turn. That starts with listening to them when they voice their concerns and fight unrelentingly to close the gap between the average quality of life in their communities in comparison to that of the rest of Canadian communities.
This can be done by any party in Canada and really is the cheat code to a Pierre to Justin type loyalty that can cement, this time a political party in Canadian history and/or a Political ideology into world history for ever.
For a Party like the Liberals, I think it would give them controlling interest in the Canadian people for years to come if done correctly in a way that appeased some of the right or center leaning people in their base.
I do not see the Conservative party with any real shot at pulling this off but I could be wrong.
So that leaves the NDP and the Green parties.
Being able to influence a generation is one of the main reasons I think the Liberal party of Canada has been able to stand so strong in Canadian politics despite all their shortcomings. There is a chance now for that same type of influence to be used on a group of people that are silenced by a system that was meant to hold them back. Being able to earn the trust and loyalty of the Indigenous people of Canada is the Key to long term success in Canadian politics.