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Cleveland’s MLB team to change name from Indians to Guardians

Franchise adopts fifth name in its history following review process initiated in July last year.

26 July 2021 Sam Carp
  • Move marks the team’s first name change since 1915
  • Guardians chosen from a list of 1,198 options whittled down over 14 rounds of vetting
  • MLB team says it also surveyed 40,000 fans and conducted 140 hours of interviews during review process

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball (MLB) team have confirmed that they will being rebranding from the Indians to the Guardians following the 2021 season.

The franchise announced in July last year that they would be reviewing their team moniker following decades of criticism that the old name is offensive to Native Americans.

The team said they chose the Guardians from a list of 1,198 name options which were narrowed down during 14 rounds of vetting. The review process also saw the team survey 40,000 fans, conduct 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders and front office personnel, and carry out more than 100 hours of brainstorming sessions.

The new nickname is a nod to Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge, which sits just outside the franchise’s Progressive Field ballpark and features the famous ‘Guardians of Traffic’ sculptures. It will be the fifth name in the franchise’s history – joining the Blues, Bronchos, Naps and Indians – and the first change since 1915.

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” said team owner and chairman Paul Dolan. “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.”

The move comes more than three years after the team also replaced their logo, swapping a cartoon of a Native American named Chief Wahoo with a letter C. The latest logo released last week retains the same colour scheme that has been synonymous with the franchise for more than 80 years.

Cleveland’s MLB team is the latest major sports franchise to change their name after the National Football League’s (NFL) Washington outfit decided in July last year to retire their Redskins moniker and logo, opting be renamed the Washington Football Team.

Both Cleveland’s review and Washington’s name change came at a time when there was a push to remove racially insensitive material following the death of George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last May.  

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