Going… going…. gone. The Cleveland Indians name, which has been in existence since 1915, is outta here. Today, the Cleveland MLB team officially has its new name to The Guardians. The team made the announcement through a video posted to its Twitter account.
The new video, narrated by Tom Hanks (Why not Cleveland son, Drew Carey?) over a score by the Black Keys, celebrates the city’s history and its baseball team. “We are a city of fire and water. Of trees and towers. Built through generations of blue collars and the brightest scholars. And all of those who have worked harder. We hold tight to our roots and set our sights on tomorrow. And this is our town who has stood with our city for more than a century…. It’s always been Cleveland that’s the best part of our name and now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and for this city,” Hanks says in the video. Watch below:
Due to the cultural shift and national reckoning on racism, which exploded last year after George Floyd’s murder at the hand of police, teams with names that border on racism (The Washington Redskins) have been under pressure to change.
The Guardians’ name is believed to be a nod to the statues along Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge. The “Guardians of Traffic” on the bridge are meant to symbolize progress.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” said team owner Paul Dolan said in a statement. “Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.
Dolan adds, “‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
According to ESPN, the Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history joining the Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14) and Indians (1915-2021).
“This is a historic moment for our franchise, and we are excited for our players and staff to debut our new team name and look in 2022,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said in a statement. “We look forward to our team proudly representing the city of Cleveland as the Guardians.”
The new name goes into effect after the 2021 season.