The Cleveland Guardians Are Officially Open For Business – Forbes

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New merchandise is displayed at the opening of the Cleveland Guardians team shop on Friday, November … [+] 19 in Cleveland. The opening of the team shop officially launched the name change of Cleveland’s baseball team from Indians to Guardians. (AP Photo/Ken Blaze)
As charter members of the American League, founded in 1901, Cleveland’s professional baseball team had three different names in its first three years of existence, and four names in its first 15 years in the league. In 1901 the team was known as the Blues. In 1902 it was the Bronchos. In 1903 it was the Naps, named after Cleveland’s Hall of Fame second baseman Napoleon Lajoie.
Starting in 1915, and for the next 96 years, the team was known as the Cleveland Indians.
However, when the sun came up today the sun set on the name “Cleveland Indians”.
It’s now official. The team’s new name is the Cleveland Guardians. The new name, “Guardians,” was arrived at a few months ago under not exactly mysterious circumstances, but not exactly transparent ones.
Fans were encouraged to submit suggestions, but there was no region-wide civic vote. No public debates or townhall meetings on PBS. If consultants were consulted, they were consulted without consultation with season ticket holders, focus groups, out-of-focus groups, or LeBron James.
At least as far as we know.
As far as we know, the name “Guardians” became the new name of Cleveland’s professional baseball team when Paul Dolan, the owner of the team, told his staff, “I want to name the team ‘Guardians’”.
That, of course, is the way it should be. If you own a dog, you get to name it. If you buy a painting, you get to frame it. If you build a house, you get to paint it. But when your favorite baseball team picks a new name, you have no vote on whether that is or that ain’t it.
So, when the Cleveland Baseball Club announced its new name a few months ago, let’s just say that the general consensus to the news did not lead to unrestrained dancing in the streets. Visceral reaction to the selection of “Guardians” ran the gamut from tepid to “you want to get something to eat?”
It’s almost as though Dolan, and his bullpen cabinet, weary from years of endless controversy about whether “Indians” was an appropriate name for a professional sports team, wanted, in their search for a new name, to march as far as possible in the opposite direction.
Mission accomplished!
There has never been any official acknowledgement of what the Final Four candidates for the new name were. We can only speculate. So, let’s. Here’s mine: “Guardians,” “Ballplayers,” “Librarians,” and “Eucalyptus Trees”.
Think of the logo possibilities, and say goodbye to any opening day protestors. I mean, who can get riled up over a eucalyptus tree?
In reality, “Guardians” is an obscure, generic reference to an obscure, generic sculpture on an obscure, generic bridge in downtown Cleveland. That made it a perfect fit for a baseball team seeking to re-brand itself into something Cleveland’s librarians and eucalyptus trees can be proud of.
Who knows? Maybe it will work.
Cleveland hasn’t won the World Series in 73 years. Why not change the name of the team? What’s the worst that can happen? The streak reaches 74 years?
It’s not so much that Cleveland’s American League Baseball Club changed its name. It’s what the team selected as its new name. “Guardians” doesn’t elicit excitement or electricity among the paying customers. It especially doesn’t after the paying customers waited several months for the big reveal.
That’s like Dad telling the kids in the car that he and mom are taking them on a special vacation to an exciting place they are going to love, and 72 hours later the kids look out the window and see the sign “Welcome to Idaho!”
In Cleveland on Friday, Day 1 of the Cleveland Guardians, the team gift shop and other outlets began selling “Guardians” gear for the first time. In Progressive Field, the large, iconic script “Indians” that sat above the huge left field scoreboard and video board is being taken down, to be replaced by a script “Guardians”.
The team’s red, white and blue colors will remain the same. One version of the team’s uniforms will have script “Guardians” across the chest, not unlike the script “Indians”.
But Friday, November 19, 2021, for the first time since the end of the 1914 season – the Naps lost 102 games that year – Cleveland’s Professional Baseball Club is officially no longer the Indians.

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