CLEVELAND (WKBN) – After over 100 years, the baseball team in Cleveland will no longer go by Indians after the 2021 season. The team made the announcement Friday after beginning the process in December.
In an open letter for Cleveland Indians fans Friday, owner and CEO Paul Dolan expressed understanding for those who hold fond memories for the team and its name.
The Cleveland Indians are now the Cleveland Guardians. The baseball club announced the team’s new name Friday with a video highlighting the history of Cleveland Friday.
He said the new name was picked after surveying more than 40,000 fans from a list that started with over 1,000 new nicknames.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of professional baseball in Cleveland, as the Cleveland Guardians,” Dolan said.
“We are trying to be the best Cleveland organization we can be and be united for everybody,” says manager Terry Francona. “And represent the city of Cleveland it deserves.”
Since the announcement Friday morning, fan reactions have been widespread. Nearly 200 comments on First News’ Facebook page showcased a variety of thoughts, from the decision “sucking” to fans wishing for a different nickname.
“I think it is ridiculous as a baseball fan, teams have always been named what they have been named. Not sure why it is a problem now,” one wrote.
“I think it’s similar to Indians, has kind of the same ring. I would have liked it to stay Indians my entire life but for a need to change, I like this one,” fan Matt Slezak said.
It was a mixed reaction from fans First News spoke with Friday. Regardless of how they felt about the change, they will never forget the history of the Cleveland Indians baseball team.
“I am still going to wear my Chief Wahoo stuff, probably until this hat falls apart. I have been wearing it for ten years now, so yeah, until this thing dies. I do have a backup, so probably more than 20 years,” fan Alan Domes said.
In his letter, Dolan recognized the potential difficulty and the historic impact of the change and transition.
“We acknowledge the name change will be difficult for many of us, and the transition will take time. It is our hope and belief this change will divert us from a divisive path, and instead steer us towards a future where our fans, city and region are all united as Cleveland Guardians,” Dolan said.
The team name and logos reflect the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland which was built in 1932 which features to Guardians of Traffic as people enter the city. The new G logo has offset wings like the Guardians on the bridge while the new diamond C logo and the cursive Guardians logo pay homage to the Indians logo.
“We believed it was important to maintain elements of continuity in the design marks, logos and colors to emphasize the ongoing connection our past will have with our future.”
Dolan said he grew up with the Indians and his first heroes were Rocky Colavito and Sonny Siebert.
“My bond to the Tribe was secured then and my fandom has only grown over the years. The successes we enjoyed and shared in the last three decades as Indians – the World Series appearances, Cy Young Award winners, longest win streak in MLB history, and so many other great accomplishments will always be unforgettable Indians memories for all of us,” he said.
So what’s next? The team will finish the 2021 season as the Cleveland Indians and then the Cleveland Guardians will launch at the conclusion of the season.