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How Did Cleveland’s Baseball Team Get Its New Name?

Cleveland's baseball team embraced a fresh identity as the Guardians, a name inspired by iconic local statues symbolizing protection. This change reflects a commitment to cultural sensitivity and community pride. How does this shift honor Cleveland's heritage and look towards the future? Join us as we uncover the story behind the new moniker. What does this rebranding mean for you, the fans?

Sometimes, something inspiring can come from something tragic. The death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May 2020 set off anti-racism protests around the world. For Cleveland Indians team owner Paul Dolan, that unrest sparked an idea: He wanted a new name for his baseball team, which had been called the Indians since 1915. That new name is the Cleveland Guardians, and it was inspired by the huge art deco statues – known as the Guardians of Traffic – that sit at opposite ends of the city's Hope Memorial Bridge.

The choice of name came from a list of almost 1,200 possibilities submitted by everyone from community leaders and fans to front-office personnel. In addition to referencing the statues, the name is meant to reflect the protectiveness and resiliency of Clevelanders. The newly renamed Cleveland Guardians will take to the field for the first time after the 2021 Major League Baseball season.

The new name for Cleveland’s MLB team (”Guardians”) was inspired by the iconic statues on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge.
The new name for Cleveland’s MLB team (”Guardians”) was inspired by the iconic statues on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge.

"We do feel like we're doing the right thing and that's what's driving this," said Dolan, who has owned the team since 2000. "I know some people disagree, but if anything I've gotten more and more comfortable that we're headed in the right direction. And actually, the selection of the name solidifies that feeling because of the values that the name represents."

A quick visit to Cleveland:

  • In 1879, Cleveland became the world's first city to have an electric traffic signal.

  • The "Home of Rock n' Roll," Cleveland was the first city to host a rock concert, which included Paul Williams and the Hucklebuckers, and Tony Grimes and the Rockin’ Highlanders.

  • Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman as high school students in Cleveland.

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    • The new name for Cleveland’s MLB team (”Guardians”) was inspired by the iconic statues on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge.
      The new name for Cleveland’s MLB team (”Guardians”) was inspired by the iconic statues on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge.