The Cruel Fate of MLB's "Winning" Indians Apparel
Professional sports leagues have no time to waste when it comes to celebrating a world championship win. In the NFL and MLB, teams that have made it to the Super Bowl and World Series have already printed shirts, hats, and other merchandise congratulating themselves on a victory. That means the losing team is left with a sad inventory of apparel that’s declared them the winner—the sports equivalent of a “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline.
Normally, that irrelevant clothing goes to charitable causes. But not anymore.
This week, MLB announced that any gear boasting of a Cleveland Indians win in the 2016 World Series would be rounded up and destroyed. The league cited concerns that the product sometimes makes it way to consumers, despite a strict return protocol. Once the World Series is over, outlets are expected to send the losing team’s product back.
World Vision, the organization that had previously been responsible for distributing the clothing to impoverished parts of the world, told ESPN.com that they had no knowledge of any product they had acquired in the past making its way into the hands of collectors.
The problem may extend beyond unauthorized eBay auctions. According to The Huffington Post, secondhand clothing donations can sometimes have a negative impact on local economies struggling to sell their own wares. World Vision said that it normally targets areas where such trade is not a concern.
Chicago Cubs fans, meanwhile, can order their brag-gear online and have it delivered to them via Uber within minutes.