Cleveland Indians Changing Name to the Cleveland Guardians
Nearly one year after announcing that the franchise would change its name, officials with the Cleveland Indians announced Friday morning what their new name would be.
Starting with the 2022 Major League Baseball season, the American League franchise will be known as the Cleveland Guardians. The franchise made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter.
"There's always been Cleveland; that's always been the best part of our name," actor Tom Hanks says as he narrates the video, adding that the team will remember a century's worth of memories while "moving forward with change." Hanks continues:
Now it's time to unite as one family (and) one community to build the next era for this team and this city, to keep watch and guard what makes this game the greatest, (and) to come together and welcome all who want to join us. We are loyal and proud and resilient. We protect what we've earned and always defend it. Together we stand with all who understand what it means to be born and built from the land because this is the city we love and the game we believe in, and together we are all Cleveland Guardians.
In their official release on the team's website, team officials say the name has significance to another landmark in Cleveland.
"There are ties to the city through the "Guardians of Traffic" on the Hope Memorial Bridge," the release states. "These sculptures on either side of the bridge are meant to symbolize progress."
The progress the team hopes to symbolize is its move away from a mascot and team name that had come under fire in recent years.
In 2018, the team stopped using the Chief Wahoo mascot. That mascot, a caricature of a Native American whose origins date back to the 1930s, was criticized as being an ethnic stereotype. One myth claims the mascot was derived as a tribute to Louis Sockalexis, a member of the Penobscot tribe who played for the Cleveland Spiders baseball team from 1897 to 1899. The Penobscot people are one of the more than 115 tribes or professional groups that has petitioned the franchise to change its name.
In 2020, team officials announced they would official change the franchise's name following the death of George Floyd. The team held conversations with Cleveland community members and Native American groups about the name change before launching a search for a new nickname. According to the franchise, more than 40,000 people participated in interviews about the name change.
The name change also brings new logos for the franchise. Those new logos feature subtle, but noticeable, changes to the block "C" cap insignia and to the fonts of the team's watermarks.
Reaction to the new logos online is mixed.
No word on when the new Guardians merchandise will go on sale.