The Cleveland baseball team has a new name: the Guardians. This name change comes after months of internal discussions, triggered by a national reckoning for institutions and teams to drop logos and names considered racist. The team's name refers to the Guardians of Traffic, eight monolithic 1932 art deco sculptures by Henry Hering on the city's Hope Memorial Bridge, which is located next to Progressive Field. The team's mascot is called Slider, and their spring training center is located at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. The name change has supporters and critics among Cleveland's fanbase.
It ends a long history of the team being known as the Indians since 1915. This was initially believed to be a temporary name change when the Cleveland Naps became the Cleveland Indians. It has sometimes been a difficult path to change the name of Cleveland's major league baseball team. Cleveland AIM filed a lawsuit against the team for slander and defamation in 1972, but it was unsuccessful. There was also a legal inconvenience along the way, as a local roller derby team called Cleveland Guardians filed a lawsuit against the team alleging trademark infringement. However, this did not stop the momentum for the name change. The team wanted to find a name that suited Cleveland's community and history, and after a year-long process that included surveys and interviews with fans, area leaders and members of the main office, they chose Guardians.
This was inspired by eight huge art-deco statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge near the stadium. There is also an XFL team called The New York Guardians and a Cleveland roller derby team called The Guardians. Cleveland's manager Terry Francona planned to show a video to his players ahead of Friday's game to explain why they chose this new name. He wanted them to understand that it was more than just a name change; it was about honoring their city's history and culture. The timeline of important dates leading up to this name change began in 1890s when the franchise was initially named the Cleveland Spiders. Then in 1972, one of Philadelphia Athletics' star talents, Nap Lajoie, was traded to Cleveland and immediately became a fan favorite.
It was then that they changed their name from the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians. The mascot for this new team is Slider, who is sure to be a hit with fans. He will be seen at games cheering on his team and helping them win games. He will also be seen at community events helping spread awareness about this new name. Cleveland baseball fans are preparing for the Guardians. This new name honors their city's history and culture while also providing an opportunity for them to move forward in a positive direction.