The baseball club announced the name change on Friday – effective at the end of the 2021 season – with a Twitter video narrated by actor Tom Hanks. The decision puts an end to months of internal discussions triggered by a national account of institutions and teams to permanently abandon logos and names considered racist.
The choice of the Guardians will undoubtedly be criticized by many die-hard fans of the club.
The organization has spent most of the past year narrowing down a list of potential names that stood at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago. But the process quickly accelerated and the club landed on Guardians.
Team owner Paul Dolan said social unrest last summer, sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change his name.
Dolan is expected to provide more details on the pick and the context for the change at a press conference at Progressive Field before the Indians host the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 2018, Indians stopped wearing the controversial Chief Wahoo logo on their shirts and caps. However, the team continues to sell merchandise bearing the smiling red-faced cartoon that has been protested for decades by Native American groups.
The name change sparked a heated debate among sports enthusiasts in the city. Other names, including the Spiders, as the team were once called, have been pushed by supporters on social media platforms.
But Guardians seems to fit the team’s goal of finding a name that embodies the Cleveland philosophy while preserving the team’s history and uniting the community.
Not far from the downtown baseball stadium, there are two large iconic stone buildings – called Guardians – on the Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River.