CLEVELAND, OH — In an announcement that was expected, the Cleveland Indians are no more, and will now be rebranded as the Guardians effective following the 2021 season.
Long overdue, thanks to the MLB leveraging the 2019 All-Star Game, the removal and disassociation from Chief Wahoo and the “woke” culture that was awakened following the death of George Floyd–see Washington Football Team–and the decision to rebrand at the Guardians was a smart one.
While many are–and will forever be divided–by the name change and branding, this may be a tough proverbial pill for fans of “The Tribe”, but as with all things, change was inevitable, and it is time to evolve.
Aside from the controversial and questionable “Indians” moniker that was in use since the early 1900’s, Cleveland has seen a who’s who of baseball from Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Larry Doby Earl Averill, Gaylord Perry and Bob Lemon to current modern-day stars such as Hall of Famer Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, Wahoo will always be associated with them.
One of the charter members of the American League, the “Indians” have two World Series titles (1920 and 1948), six AL pennants (1920, 1948, 1954, 1995, 1997 and 2016) and a history that they can be proud of regardless of the name, and before the Age of Social Media to debate.
However, as the old French proverb states, the more things stay the same, the more they change.
To quote a good friend and fellow Indians fan, “If it had to change, this was the best option in my opinion. The Guardians look over the bridge that connect the East and West sides of Cleveland. They bring the people of Cleveland together, just like sports.”
While such a simplistically brilliant and succinct statement is held amongst some fans, there are others who feel that Wahoo is the latest victim of the “cancel culture” scourge that is tearing away the remaining remnants that they are trying to cling and cherish in a increasingly multi-cultural and global society that they feel is leaving them behind.
If early impressions across social media are an early indication, it’ll be a long time before the fans of Wahoo will ever accept the Guardians rebrand. While other names such as Spiders, Avengers and Buckeyes were considered, the Guardians is a nice touch that honors the city, as it drew inspiration from the Guardians of Traffic statues that overlook the Hope Memorial Bridge.
It’s also a nice marketing prop as fans cross the bridge en route to Jacobs Field—it’ll always be The Jake to me, dammit!
The Tribe, Indians or Guardians, whichever a fan wishes to refer to Cleveland’s baseball team going forward, it’s more than just a name, it’s about the team and most importantly, the city that we live in, love and are proud of.
While many will choose to be bitter and divided over it, hopefully we can all unite together and root for the same team, regardless of name.