The Cleveland Indians will soon be known as the Cleveland Guardians.
Announcing the impending name change with a video narrated by Tom Hanks on Friday morning, the MLB team crept closer to ending the saga of altering a franchise identity that has long offended many Native Americans. The new name will take effect after the 2021 season.
After announcing an intention to change the name in December 2020, the team is still using its name through 2021. The new moniker is inspired by the "Guardians of Traffic" sculptures on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge. They are visible in the introduction to the famed movie "Major League."
Local media had recently deemed Guardians a "trendy" pick for the name. The other favorites included Spiders and Rockers.
The video also revealed the team’s future logos and wordmarks.
How we got here
The club has held the name since 1915, but opted to change it after calls from fans, Native American groups and others.
The move came shortly after the Washington Football Team announced it was going to drop its longtime, racist nickname. Cleveland officially banned Native American headdresses and face paint at Progressive Field this season. It dropped the racist Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms ahead of the 2019 season, when the city hosted the All-Star Game. Despite meeting with Cleveland owner Larry Dolan specifically about the logo, commissioner Rob Manfred denied that removing Chief Wahoo was a condition of getting the All-Star festivities.
The organization still sells the logo on official merchandise.
News that the club chose the new name leaked Thursday before the official announcement came Friday morning.
Tracking with the Washington Football Team
Cleveland’s name change had mostly followed in the footsteps of the NFL’s own long-awaited swap, aside from Cleveland’s decision to keep using the offensive name instead of a temporary replacement.
Washington team president Jason Wright told The Washington Post earlier this month that the team would unveil its new name and logo in early 2022. Like Cleveland, Washington has been sorting through potential nicknames since announcing its plans, with no shortage of candidates. It reportedly considered nearly 1,200 options.
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