MLB

Why the Cleveland Guardians? The meaning behind the franchise’s new name

Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland Indians are playing their final season in 2021. Once the season ends, the franchise will have a new name: The Cleveland Guardians. Here’s a video explainer, narrated by the great Tom Hanks: 

Take note around the 1:20 mark of that video and see the statues on the bridge. Those are the “Guardians of Traffic,” iconic in the Cleveland area. The 43-foot statues have stood on that Hope Memorial Bridge for almost 100 years and you can see Progressive Field in the background while looking at them. The Guardians of Traffic are meant to symbolize the spirit of progress and that lines up with dropping the name that has been deemed offensive. 

The new Guardians moniker pays homage to statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland.
Getty Images

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” owner Paul Dolan said in a press release. Continued:

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. ‘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.

“Through our research and discussions, we identified a few key themes that were most important to fans — connect to the city of Cleveland, honor our rich baseball history and unite our community — and we believe Guardians upholds all three of those pillars,” Cleveland’s president of business operations Brian Barren said in a press release.

With the change, the team will keep its same color scheme and the uniforms won’t likely be altered much at all. Note that Indians and Guardians both end in “ians,” so seeing the full name looks pretty familiar. The road uniforms don’t sound like they’ll be any different, aside from minor tweaks. They’ll still have “Cleveland” across the chest. At home, though, the plan is for the team to don jerseys with “Guardians” across the chest.



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