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Cleveland baseball team gets new name

 

Cleveland baseball team gets new name

The Cleveland baseball team, known as the Indians since 1915, will now be called the Guardians.

The ballclub announced the name change Friday with a Twitter video narrated by Tom Hanks, who got some of his early acting experience in Cleveland theatre.

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The name change is a response to years of growing pressure to drop the moniker which was increasingly seen as racist.  The Guardian name came after a year of  whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago. But the process, which the team said included 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders, front-office personnel and a survey of 40,000 fans, quickly accelerated, and the club landed on Guardians.

Team owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the club’s name.

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” 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.

Art Deco figure on the Hope Memorial Bridge inspired Cleveland baseball team name change

“‘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.” The team’s colors will remain the same, and the new Guardians logos will incorporate some of the architectural features of the bridge.

In 2018, the Indians stopped wearing the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps.

“It is a major step toward righting the wrongs committed against Native peoples and is one step toward justice,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director and founder of IllumiNative, a group dedicated to fighting misrepresentations of Native Americans.

Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14) and Indians (1915-2021). Cleveland also fielded a National League team in the 1890, known as the Spiders.

Cleveland’s change comes as the NFL Washington continues to rename that franchise. Washington recently said it will reveal a new name and logo in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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