Cleveland Guardians: A New Name for a Historic Team10

Cleveland Guardians: A New Name for a Historic Team10

The Cleveland Guardians are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB). Founded in 1901 as one of the original eight teams in the American League (AL), they have won six AL pennants and two World Series titles. They have also produced some of the greatest players in baseball history, such as Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, Bob Feller, Larry Doby, Jim Thome and Francisco Lindor.

However, the team has also faced controversy over its previous name and logo, which many considered to be racist and offensive to Native Americans. After years of debate and pressure from various groups, the team announced in July 2021 that it would change its name to the Cleveland Guardians, effective from the 2022 season. The new name was chosen to honor the city’s history and culture, as well as to reflect the team’s values of resilience, loyalty and pride.

In this blog post, we will explore the history and meaning of the new name, as well as answer some common questions that fans and curious observers may have.

Why did the team change its name?

The team was originally known as the Cleveland Blues, then the Cleveland Bronchos, then the Cleveland Naps (after star player Nap Lajoie), before adopting the name Cleveland Indians in 1915. The name was reportedly inspired by a former Native American player named Louis Sockalexis, who played for the team briefly in the late 1890s.

However, over time, the name and logo (which featured a caricature of a Native American named Chief Wahoo) became increasingly controversial and criticized by Native American groups, civil rights activists, media outlets and some fans. They argued that the name and logo were derogatory, stereotypical and harmful to Native American identity and dignity.

The team began to phase out the use of Chief Wahoo in 2014, and officially retired it in 2019. However, the team name remained unchanged until 2020, when the team announced that it would conduct a thorough review of its identity and consider a possible name change. This decision was influenced by the social justice movements that emerged after the killing of George Floyd, as well as by similar actions taken by other sports teams with Native American names or imagery, such as the Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Redskins) and the Edmonton Elks (formerly known as the Eskimos).

After months of research, consultation and brainstorming, involving more than 40,000 fans, 140 hours of interviews and 1,198 potential names, the team finally revealed its new name on July 23, 2021: the Cleveland Guardians.

What does the name Guardians mean?

The name Guardians has multiple meanings and connections to the city of Cleveland and its baseball history.

One of the most obvious references is to the Guardians of Traffic, four colossal Art Deco statues that stand on each end of the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field, where the team plays its home games. The statues were built in 1932 and represent different modes of transportation: trains, cars, boats and planes. They symbolize Cleveland’s role as a hub of industry and innovation, as well as its spirit of progress and protection.

Another meaning of Guardians is related to the team’s identity and culture. According to team owner Paul Dolan, the name represents “the loyalty and pride we have for our city”, as well as “the tenacity with which we defend it”. The name also reflects the team’s values of “resilience”, “determination” and “community”, which have been demonstrated throughout its history.

Additionally, Guardians is a nod to some of the team’s legends who have guarded its legacy and traditions. For example, Bob Feller was known as “The Heater from Van Meter” for his blazing fastball; Larry Doby was the first African American player in AL history; Jim Thome was a prolific power hitter who hit 612 home runs; and Francisco Lindor was a charismatic shortstop who led the team to three consecutive AL Central titles.

How has the reaction been to the new name?

The reaction to the new name has been mixed among fans and observers. Some have praised it for being respectful, meaningful and original; others have criticized it for being bland, boring or confusing. Some have expressed nostalgia or sadness for losing a part of their identity or history; others have welcomed the change as a sign of growth or evolution.

Ultimately, however, most people agree that what matters most is not what the team is called, but how it performs on the field and how it connects with its fans and community. As team president Chris Antonetti said, “We’re excited about our future as the Guardians, but we’re also incredibly proud of our past as the Indians.”

What are some of the changes that will come with the new name?

The team will officially adopt the new name and logo at the start of the 2022 season. The logo features a stylized G with a baseball in the middle and wings on the sides, resembling the Guardians of Traffic statues. The team colors will remain the same: navy blue, red and white.

The team will also update its uniforms, merchandise, signage, website and social media accounts to reflect the new name and logo. However, some elements of its history and heritage will be preserved, such as the script “Cleveland” on the home jerseys, the block “C” on the caps, and the song “Hang On Sloopy” that is played during games.

The team will also continue to honor and celebrate its former players, coaches and staff who have contributed to its success and legacy over the years. The team will also maintain its relationships and partnerships with local Native American organizations and communities, and support their causes and initiatives.

How can I learn more about the Cleveland Guardians?

If you want to learn more about the Cleveland Guardians, you can visit their official website at https://www.mlb.com/guardians. You can also follow them on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You can also watch their games on TV or online, or attend them in person at Progressive Field.Cleveland Guardians – Wikipedia

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