When Cleveland comes to Globe Life Field in October for its final series of the 2021 season, it will be their final games without a nickname.
On Friday, Cleveland announced that it would be the Cleveland Guardians, with the nickname taking effect after the 2021 season.
Per a story by mlb.com’s Mandy Bell, team owner Paul Dolan cited a particular reason the franchise chose the Guardians:
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city, and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Cleveland has been the ‘Indians’ for more than 100 years. But, in the past few seasons that nickname has undergone great scrutiny in a changing cultural landscape. Another professional sports team, the Washington Football Team, shed its Native American nickname and is currently determining a new nickname.
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Most notably, the Native American community has protested the name and the team’s primary logo, Chief Wahoo, for decades.
In 2014, the team minimized the use of Chief Wahoo in favor of their secondary ‘Block C’ logo and discontinued the use of Chief Wahoo altogether in 2019. In December of 2020, team ownership determined that they would no longer use ‘Indians’ and choose a new nickname for the team.
The Rangers will visit Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Aug. 24-26 for a mid-week set. Cleveland then return the favor from Oct. 1-3 as the Rangers wrap up their season. Their first meeting in 2022 will put the Rangers vs. the Guardians, whether that series is in Cleveland or Arlington.
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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.