Introducing the Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland Guardians namesake the Guardian of Traffic
The Cleveland Guardians namesake the Guardian of Traffic- Photograph Bob Harris

The Cleveland Indians announced Friday that effective in 2022, the team name will be the Cleveland Guardians. The new name comes as the team announced last summer they would retire the name Indians. 

Cleveland Indians owner and chairman Paul Dolan spoke about the inspiration for naming the team the Guardians,

“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.”

Paul Dolan Cleveland Indians owner and chairman

Cleveland’s baseball team is the second professional sports team within the past year to change its name due to its Native American context. In July of 2020, the Washington Football Team became the new name after the franchise announced the retirement of the old derogatory nickname. However, the Washington Football Team is in the process of selecting its brand new name.

The process of teams rebranding to avoid a Native American context has been going on for decades. Not only have professional teams rebranded it is also common in college athletics. Fourteen Schools among the three levels of the NCCA’s three divisions have done this process.

However, there are cases where tribes allow the schools to keep the name that honors Native Americans. Currently, there are five teams in the NCCA with a character with a Native American context. In professional sports, there are most notably five teams a name with a Native American context.

The increasing pressure over the past year due to increasing racial tensions ultimately led the Cleveland Indians to retire their old nickname.

Analysis of the Cleveland Guardians Name

Though I like the Cleveland Indians changing the name to be less offensive, the name Guardians does not work for Cleveland. When I think of Cleveland, there is the general impression of the city being associated with Rock and Roll. So, the name Guardians is unfortunately disappointing considering that the city is not associated with that context. But, with a name like Guardians, which has some association with Cleveland. But, the team will need to introduce the rest of the baseball world. So, it will be interesting to watch the Guardians build their brand starting at the end of the 2021 season.

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