On July 3, the Cleveland Indians sent out a Tweet explaining that the Major League Baseball franchise is considering a name change. The Tweet states that the organization recognizes “a team name is among visible ways we connect to the community” and “we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Cleveland fans and media members are weighing in, and one of the more popular names being discussed is Spiders, an homage to Cleveland’s National League team from 1889 to 1899. Some, however, can’t get past that team’s troubled past.
As (Cleveland) Plain Dealer Indians beat reporter Paul Hoynes noted, in the last year of their existence (1899) the Spiders lost 134 games and are still regarded as the worst team in big-league history. “The owners of the Spiders also owned the St. Louis Browns and sold their best players to the Browns,” Hoynes wrote. “The Spiders were so bad that Cleveland fans refused to attend their games and they played their last 35 games on the road, losing 34.”
Another insect name that has gained some traction in Cleveland is Midges. Baseball fans will recall the important role Lake Erie’s midges played in helping the Indians defeat the New York Yankees in game 2 of the 2007 ALDS series. Thanks to an unusually hot (81°F) and humid October evening, midges swarmed Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field), particularly pestering Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain had thrown just one wild pitch in the regular season that year; during the massive midge swarm, he uncorked two in one inning. Chamberlain’s struggles helped the Indians win that game 2-1, and the series 3-1.
The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com recently polled readers and, in addition to Midges and Spiders, other insect names that garnered votes included Fire Midges, Mayflies, Wasps, Crickets, Scorpions and…Murder Hornets! — Brad Harbison
‘Kept on His Toes’ By a 7-Year-Old
It’s not just unexpected crawlspace encounters that make pest control an interesting job for Jesus Delamora, a service technician with Killum Pest Control, Jackson Lake, Texas.
While recently treating an Alvin, Texas, house, Delamora spotted a spider crawling about two inches from a toilet. Naturally, he killed the spider. As he was killing the spider, Delamora was approached by the customer’s son (approximately age 7), who was “freaking out,” Delamora recalled.
“He said, ‘You just killed my pet spider.’ My heart dropped! He’s telling me how he saved up and used all the money in his piggy bank to buy it for $15,” Delamora said.
After apologizing profusely, Delamora gave the youngster $20 from his wallet, then proceeded to treat the outside, all while having a sinking feeling in his stomach. “When it comes time to pay, I see the customer’s husband and I tell him how sorry I am for killing his son’s pet spider. His response was, ‘What, he doesn’t have a pet spider.’ I look over and see the biggest smirk on this kid’s face. I realized I just got hustled by a 7-year-old.”
Eric Melass, president of Killum Pest Control, said the office got a good laugh out of Delamora’s encounter with this savvy 7-year-old. “The fact that Jesus felt terrible about the incident and went so far as to give the boy $20 shows just how much he cares about his job and his customers.” — Brad Harbison