Indians Players Discuss Potential Name Change, COVID-19 Testing

Jul 6, 2020
Originally published on July 6, 2020 2:27 pm

Major League Baseball (MLB) will release the 60 game schedule Monday night, but some teams are unable to practice due to delays in COVID-19 testing.

ESPN reported the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros canceled workouts scheduled for Monday as they await results of Friday coronavirus testing. Extended testing delays also have prevented the Oakland Athletics from starting full squad workouts.

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said the team gets test results anywhere from 30 to 48 hours after they've been tested in Cleveland, but a shadow of confusion still hangs over the coming truncated season.

"Are we going to get tested every day now?" Lindor asked during a Monday press availablity. "Are we going to make sure that testing is 99.9 [percent] accurate? But we definitely got to do a better job if there's teams out there that haven't gotten results...we've got to do a better job.

"We have to do a better job, because there's no way you can...you cannot suspend practices,” he said "That's not a fair advantage for anybody."

Indians Manager Terry Francona said he was recently informed about other MLB teams struggling with COVID testing, but emphasized that has not been the case in Cleveland.

"They've been terrific," Francona said. "They've been on time. I think maybe the first morning we might've had a little hiccup where they were a little late, but from then on, no, it's been terrific."

Francona, who also has a home in Arizona, said it's unfortunate to see an increase in COVID cases there and throughout the country.

"It's not just in Arizona," Francona said. "It seems like everybody got to Memorial Day and they said 'Okay, we're opening' and they just let loose and now we're back into a predicament that we're going to have to dig ourselves out of again."

Indians pitcher Adam Plutko couldn't predict if the 60-game season will be played.

"That's a collective unit, like I said kind of with just the pandemic in general. It's reliant on all players and all staff to follow the protocols," Plutko said. "Ultimately that's going to be Commissioner [Rob] Manfred's decision. If it does get bad, and fingers crossed that everybody just follows these protocols and, like I said, if we want fans in the stands, wear a mask."

Plutko and Lindor also commented on the team's desire to change their name, announced on Friday. 

Lindor said he knows society is shifting and changing.

"If changing the name brings more love and more peace to society, I'm open to listen to the change of names," Lindor said.

Plutko said he doesn't have a good answer on the impending name change for the Indians but isn't against the idea.

"I know there's a lot going on in this world right now and if our name makes anybody uncomfortable, then I think it is time to change," Plutko said

The name issue did come up with his teammates Monday, he said, mostly in jest about being renamed the Cleveland Spiders. 

The Cleveland Spiders were a professional baseball team from 1887-1899 in the defunct American Association and later the National League. Spiders outfielder Louis Sockalexis, who is considered the first Native American to play professional baseball, has long been cited as the inspiration for the current team name, though the story is disputed.

The Spiders finished the 1899 season with a .130 winning record, or 20-134 – which is still considered the worst season in MLB history.

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