By Sean Chase
The Cleveland Indians have landed on a new name for the franchise, announcing they will transition to the Cleveland Guardians after the 2021 season.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” stated Cleveland’s Owner and Chairman Paul Dolan in a press release. “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.”
Cleveland, who had been known as the Indians for 105 years, began the name change process in June of 2020. However, things ramped up in December when Dolan publicly announced they were looking for a new name. On Friday, July 23, this process came to a conclusion as Cleveland released a video on Twitter, narrated by Tom Hanks, displaying the new team name and logos.
“Since the announcement to change the name in December, our team has been hard at work to ensure that we pick a name that our fans and organization will be proud to have represent Cleveland baseball for the next hundred-plus years,” said Cleveland’s President of Business Operations Brian Barren during a press conference. “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.”
This will be the fifth name in the franchise’s history. Previously the team has gone by the Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-1914) and Indians (1915-2021).
Along with extensive research, Dolan cited a local architectural icon as the major source of inspiration behind the team’s new identity.
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge,” Dolan stated. “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.”
In an attempt to honor the team’s history, Cleveland will not change from their blue, red and white color scheme. The team will continue to wear “Cleveland” across their grey road uniforms, with their home white uniforms featuring “Guardians” across the chest. The team’s new logo will be known as the Guardian’s Fastball, featuring a baseball wedged between two ‘G’s’.
When speaking about the new “Diamond C” Barren said, “it will be an evolution of the Block C and respects the tradition and heritage of Cleveland Baseball. The new C stands tall – just as the Guardians of Traffic stand watch over our ballpark and city – and draws from the ascending diamond motifs at the top of each Guardian pylon. The weight of the C is bold and its tapered shape is inspired by letterforms from the 1920 and 1948 World Series clubs.”
While the Cleveland fans may take time to adjust to the change, Terry Francona, Cleveland’s manager, came out in support of the move on Friday.
“I don’t know if anyone could have more ties to the Cleveland baseball organization than myself,” Francona said. “I spent the first six years of my life here as my dad enjoyed the best years of his career. I came back here as a player (in 1988), then I came back as a special assistant (to baseball operations in 2001-03), and I have been the manager for the last nine years. So I have tremendous ties, care, and respect for the organization. The work our people have done on this, I am so proud. We’re trying to be the best Cleveland organization we can be, and represent the city of Cleveland like it deserves.”
Once the 2021 season concludes, Cleveland will begin altering the signage at Progressive Field and at their spring training home in Goodyear, Arizona. Until then, the team will continue to sell memorabilia featuring the ‘Indians’ moniker.
“We’re enjoying today as the launching point but also taking a deep breath because we’ve got a marathon in front of us to get ready for opening day next year,” Barren said.