Cleveland Indians Now Cleveland Guardians

It goes into effect next season.

USA Today (“Cleveland’s baseball team announces it’s changing nickname to the Guardians”):

Cleveland’s baseball team is changing its nickname to the Guardians, the team announced Friday. 

The team announced last year that it would change its name amid controversy from Native American groups and Major League Baseball. 

The franchise has used the “Indians” since the 1915 season. 

The Guardians refer to the statues along the Hope Memorial Bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland and is meant to symbolize progress.

The new nickname will begin 2022.

Cleveland stopped wearing the Chief Wahoo logo in 2018 on their jerseys and caps, but still continues to sell the Chief Wahoo merchandise.

The most offensive of the Indian-named teams have all been renamed (or, in the case of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, in a halfway house between names). We’ll see how much longer the Atlanta Braves, Golden State Warriors, and Kansas City Chiefs continue with less-offensive Native mascots but one suspects they’ll be forced to change within the decade. (My understanding is that the Florida State University Seminoles use that name with the blessing of the tribal leadership, so they should be safe.)

“Guardians” is hardly inspiring to me but I’m not from Cleveland and have no attachment to the namesake statues. That the Space Force has adopted the same moniker for its personnel is mildly amusing

FILED UNDER: Race and Politics, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    All I can think of is Guardians of the Galaxy.

    6
  2. MarkedMan says:

    Guardians is a much cooler name, especially given it refers to something tangible and heavily associated with Cleveland

    1
  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So, although I’ve been to Cleveland once or twice, I was unaware of the Guardians.
    They are friggin’ cool.
    https://bridgehunter.com/photos/23/17/231794-L.jpg
    Well-played, Cleveland.

    2
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    An obscure, but local reference. Knowing the reference makes, what appeared to be banal, meaningful.

    2
  5. Teve says:

    @richlowry

    And just like that, the Indians adopt the dumbest, most pointless name in major professional sports

    Sakes Alive is he being dragged for this.

    Also:

    @david_j_roth

    Everyone is pointing out that this human boat shoe doesn’t know anything about this, and ofc he doesn’t. This is about principle—they changed the racist name/logo and he’s mad about it because he sees that as his side losing, and the wrong people winning.

    5
  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I can find nothing that specifically associates the Golden State Warriors with native peoples. Not the logo, which shows the GG Bridge in a circle. “Warriors” is a generic, not specifically associated with native peoples. The mascot isn’t native either. He died, but one guy was “Thunder” who was all blue with a lightning bolt for hair. What am I missing?

    3
  7. MarkedMan says:

    Growing up in Chicago, even as a kid I questioned the coolness factor of our home teams. “Cubs”. Really? Why not “Puppies”? “White Sox” (originally White Stockings)? “Bears”? “Bulls”? No character. No association with Chicago. We did have the Chicago Sting and now Fire soccer teams. Strange choices for a name, but I guess they do have something to do with Chicago.

    Of course the Black Hawks have their own controversy, although there is an actual history to that name. It comes from the Black Hawk division of the Army which is part of the tradition of honoring significant war leaders in Army names. In this case it was Chief Black Hawk, and the hockey team founder served in that division. I don’t ever remember any of the cartoony insulting nonsense growing up associated with the Black Hawks, but whether the history and intent is sufficient to keep the name remains to be seen.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m already at work on the Dodgers (what are they dodging?). Some suggestions:

    The Los Angeles Haze.

    The Los Angeles Traffic.

    The Los Angeles Hipsters.

    The Los Angeles Realtors.

    The Los Angeles Water Bottles.

    The Los Angeles Sprawl.

    The Los Angeles Homeless.

    3
  9. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: the Los Angeles Silicones

    2
  10. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m already at work on the Dodgers (what are they dodging?).

    I suggest you ask around Brooklyn.

    The Los Angeles Homeless.

    More appropriate for the Oakland/LA/Vegas “Raiders.”

    3
  11. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Once the Brookln Trolley Dodgers because of the trolley line adjacent to Ebbets Field.

    3
  12. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Kathy:

    They were originally “The Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers” after the labyrinth oif trolley tracks in the borough; I suppose you had to dodge the trolley cars.

    You’re welcome.

    5
  13. Kathy says:

    @charon:
    @CSK:

    I will say I’m surprised there is an actual reason and local reference for the name.

    1
  14. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    I suggest you ask around Brooklyn.

    My folks lived in Brooklyn when I was a baby, like my Dad I was a pretty rabid Dodger fan as a kid.

    2
  15. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Most of us here at OTB are absolute founts of inconsequential knowledge.

    @charon:
    My grandfather loved the Brooklyn Dodgers. He gave up on them in disgust when they betrayed him by moving to L.A.

    4
  16. Moosebreath says:

    @charon: @CSK:

    When a team which is named for a regional item moves, it should change its name. Otherwise, you get a travesty like the Utah Jazz (which was originally located in New Orleans).

    2
  17. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Boston Braves > Milwaukee Braves > Atlanta Braves

  18. James Joyner says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    You know, I can find nothing that specifically associates the Golden State Warriors with native peoples. Not the logo, which shows the GG Bridge in a circle. “Warriors” is a generic, not specifically associated with native peoples. The mascot isn’t native either.

    I doubt there’s a single sports team named “Warriors” in the US that isn’t related to Native imagery. In this case:

    The Golden States Warriors’ history dates back to 1946 when they were founded in Philadelphia and thus adopted the name Philadelphia Warriors. They began using their first logo in 1947; it was a cartoon figure of a Native American drawn in blue color. On his head, he had a yellow feather whose tip was also blue. The basketball he was dribbling was yellow and beneath it were three blue lines. Across the image was the wordmark “Warriors” in yellow.

    In 1952 the Philadelphia Warriors changed their logo to have their name in the logo. They retained the cartoon Native American dribbling the basketball, but in this one, they did away with the yellow color since everything was in blue. The wordmark “Philadelphia Warriors” was scripted across the image such that “PHILADELPHIA” was in a banner derived from the “W” in “Warriors.”

    In 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco Bay Area and changed their name to the San Francisco Warriors. They then modified their logo to have the yellow making a comeback. They did away with the Native American and instead adopted an Indian headcrest in blue and white lines, resting on a yellow background and encircled by a blue line. The wordmark “SAN FRANCISCO WARRIORS,” in blue and on a white background surrounds the circled headcrest. The “I” in “Warriors” is an arrow and the entire image is encircled by two blue lines separated by a yellow color.

    In 1969, the San Francisco Warriors changed their logo doing away with the headrest and instead, having the Golden Gate Bridge drawn in blue and set on a yellow background, with a thick blue line encircling the image. Above the circled Golden Gate Bridge is the wordmark “The CITY” in blue, referring to the city of San Francisco.

    So, it’s certainly been a while but the origins are clear.

    1
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Guardians refer to the statues along the Hope Memorial Bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland and is meant to symbolize progress.

    I think “Guardians of the Galaxy” is better.

  20. Rick DeMent says:

    My Fav is the LA Lakers. I mean what are they talking about? When they were in Minnesota it made sense. In LA there is no water until you hit the ocean. Certainly no lakes 🙂

    1
  21. gVOR08 says:

    The Reds name comes from Cincinnati Red Stockings, so no problems there, but it would be kinda cool if they followed Cleveland and renamed as the Cincinnati Flying Pigs or the Cincinnati Waterboys, although that last is more appropriate to the perennial loser Bengals.

  22. EddieInCA says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    I was going to post the exact same thing. It only makes sense if you know they were originally from Minnesota.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @EddieInCA: L. A. kers.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Rick DeMent: @EddieInCA: I believe they were the Minneapolis Lakers.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    @EddieInCA:

    There’s a huge dry lake not far from LA, which hosts an Air Force base. The shuttle’s first missions landed there (very long runways).

  26. sam says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Hollywood Reservoir, also known as Lake Hollywood, is a reservoir located in the Hollywood Hills, situated in the Santa Monica Mountains north of the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It is maintained by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

  27. wr says:

    @Moosebreath: “Otherwise, you get a travesty like the Utah Jazz (which was originally located in New Orleans).”

    Or the LA Lakers…

  28. wr says:

    @wr: Okay, fine, so everybody else in the world said it first…

  29. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m already at work on the Dodgers (what are they dodging?).

    Assuming that this wasn’t a rhetorical question and you really didn’t know: trolleys. The Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers were the original franchise.

    This makes the Dodgers one of those wonderful cases of a franchise that has moved to a place where the rationale behind the original name is now laughably inappropriate. It’s not as good as the Utah Jazz (New Orleans) or the LA Lakers (Minneapolis) or the Tennessee Oilers (now Titans), but it’s pretty close.

    ETA: boy was I late to the party there. That’s what happens when you get interrupted in mid-reply…

  30. charon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    This makes the Dodgers one of those wonderful cases of a franchise that has moved to a place where the rationale behind the original name is now laughably inappropriate.

    So what? The name is as traditional as the uniforms and team colors, best not hold your breath waiting for any of them to change.

    1
  31. DrDaveT says:

    @charon:

    So what?

    I did say “wonderful”. A world in which the Utah Jazz are a thing is a richer world than one lacking such cognitive dissonance. I wish the Minnesota North Stars had kept their full name when they moved to Dallas, just to confuse people.

    1
  32. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If you really want to confuse people, call them the Fort Worth Knishes.

  33. DA says:

    I like it. I’m glad they finally did the right thing. I feel like I’ll die of old age before the Braves ever budge, but I can hope to be wrong about that.

  34. de stijl says: