On July 23rd, Cleveland’s professional baseball team made a huge change: Following years of criticism that the name “Indians” was offensive to Native Americans in addition to mounting pressure from Major League Baseball, the club announced that they had finally decided on a new moniker.
Exit the Indians, enter the Guardians.
The news came by way of a short clip shared on Twitter. With Tom Hanks serving as narrator, the video features various shots of the city and a reminder of the team’s rich history in The Land.
“We hold tight on our roots and set our sights on tomorrow,” Hanks says. “And this is our team, that has stood with our city for more than a century.”
Picking a new name wasn’t easy. The team’s been known as the Indians since 1915, and those in charge wanted a name that preserved the history of local baseball, united the community and connected with the City of Cleveland. The new name, which will go into effect at the close of the 2021 season, serves as a tribute to the “Guardians of Traffic” that are shown on the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field in Downtown Cleveland.
It is also the bridge where Carnegie Avenue and Detroit Avenue turn into one another depending on the different direction vehicles would travel through the city.
Team owner and chairman Paul Dolan added the following in a statement:
“‘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.”
Another big question: What will become of Slider, the team’s beloved mascot?
Those involved with what is still the Indians and what will soon become the Guardians have an answer.
From WJW Fox 8 News Cleveland:
Officials with the baseball club confirmed that Slider will continue to be the team’s mascot after the name change.
Slider made his debut in 1990 and was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2008.
So rest assured Indians/Guardians fans. Our favorite fuzzy and adorable mascot is not going anywhere!
Becoming Guardians: How The Cleveland Indians Found A New Name was originally published on wzakcleveland.com