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Chief Wahoo protesters brave the cold

CLEVELAND — His body shivering from the cold, Josh Hunt wasn't going to let the weather stop him from a meaningful act.

Hunt was one of a handful of protesters outside Progressive Field on Monday calling for the Indians to stop using their Chief Wahoo logo, a symbol he and other Native Americans find offensive.

"It needs to go," said Hunt, 30, who is registered with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes in Oklahoma. "It's a cartoon depiction that disrespects our people and culture."

Hunt was part of a small group standing near the centerfield entrance who withstood freezing temperatures to protest the Indians' use of Chief Wahoo, the smiling, red-faced logo at the center of a decades-old debate.

Holding hand-painted signs that read "People Not Mascots" and "Little Red Sambo Must Go," the protesters demanded the team abolish a logo — and mascot — they feel is racist and demeaning to Native Americans. The group later disbanded after the season opener against the Red Sox was postponed until today because of unseasonably cold weather.

"It's wrong that the team has made money off the likeness for years," said Hunt, pointing toward the Indians' team shop bustling with opening day fans. "They need to do more."

The Indians dropped Wahoo as their primary logo two years ago, switching to a block "C", and reduced the logo's visibility. However, one of the caps the Indians wear at home has the "Wahoo" logo on its front, and Cleveland's jerseys remain adorned with the Wahoo logo on one sleeve.

POLANCO DEAL: The Pirates' deal with OF Gregory Polanco is worth $35 million over five years from 2017-21. Polanco, 24, batted .256 with a .320 on-base percentage and a .381 slugging percentage last season and hit .276/.324/.425 after the All-Star break.

CUBAN PRESENCE ON RISE: Twenty-three Cubans were on opening day rosters after a series of high-profile defections, an increase of five over last year and the most since the commissioner's office began releasing data in 1995. Major League Baseball said that 238 of 864 players on opening day rosters, disabled lists and the restricted list were born outside the 50 states, with the percentage rising to 27.5 percent from 26.5 percent.

ASTROS: RHP Luke Gregerson held onto his job as closer, beating out newcomer Ken Giles. Gregerson, 31, had a 3.10 ERA and converted 31 of 36 save chances last season.

A'S: RHP Sonny Gray was scratched from his scheduled start because of food poisoning. LHP Rich Hill started in his place.

CARDINALS: One game into the season, Cuban INF Aledmys Diaz was promoted to the majors for the first time in his career. OF Tommy Pham went on the disabled list with a strained oblique.

REDS: RHP Robert Stephenson, one of the team's top prospects, was called up to make his major-league debut Thursday.

Chief Wahoo protesters brave the cold 04/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2016 8:39pm]
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