It's official! After months of deliberation and well over eleven hundred nicknames vying for the honor of gracing a Cleveland baseball jersey having been considered, a winner, if you will, has been chosen. Major League Baseball's Cleveland franchise will, beginning at the end of the current season, be known as The Guardians. The new moniker was announced today in a hype video narrated by Tom Hanks over music provided by Akron band The Black Keys.
Let's address the first question, why Guardians? It's clearly inspired by The Guardian statues that flank (and symbolically guard) the traffic into downtown Cleveland. By definition a guardian is a defender, protector, or keeper. That sounds strong, right? No reason to be offended by that nickname immediately comes to mind. It makes me feel like standing shoulder to shoulder with Cleveland fans and players to defend "The Land".
Why not something else? You might say Guardians is the best of a lot of so-so suggestions. Among the noted favorites to be considered...The Spiders. That was a name used by the franchise from 1887 to 1899. I liked that suggestion and it might have been my favorite. Think of the cool logos and the potential tie-ins with Marvel. But spiders bite and can kill you. Some of us husbands have spent entire evenings hunting down these elusive pests so our families can sleep without fear. Soooooo that one is out. How about The Rockers? Cleveland is the Home Of Rock-n-Roll, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the term Rock-n-Roll was coined by Cleveland radio announcer Alan Freed, and they always play "Cleveland Rocks" after the team wins. Honestly I can't think of any reason that name wouldn't work. Other suggestions included The Cleveland Blue Socks. Hmmm, NOPE! The Cleveland Baseball Club? That's clearly the laziest and most boring of all submissions.
Let's look at some of the positives. 1/ The team colors stay the same. 2/ They are not leaving town. OK, moving on.
The logo is of a baseball sporting a stylistic "G" with wings like the ones on the helmets of the Guardians who guard the bridge. Not hateful. It's bold, yet a bit simple if you ask me. Remember it has to be something that can be embroidered on a cap and still look cool. The "C" uses a unique font that looks, to me, like a combination of the current "C" and the old crooked "C" from the 70's.
Why change the name in the first place? The Cleveland Indians began the process of changing their name and logo after years of protests by Native American groups who called the team name and former Chief Wahoo logo derogatory, racist and offensive. The NFL's Washington Football Club is in the process of renaming it's team after dropping the Redskins name and logo from their uniforms.
Why pick Tom Hanks to narrate the video? Tom's connection to The CLE dates back to 1977 when he landed his first professional job as an intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. He spent three summers there at what is now known as Great Lakes Theater. Why not Tom Hanks? Aside from Mid-Ohio favorite adopted son Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption) who else would you want to deliver potentially upsetting news. I love it when he says "You see It has always been Cleveland that's the best part of our name". Watch the video, you'll see what I mean.
I as a fan of Cleveland baseball will invest in new merchandise and continue to sport the old merchandise. I will treasure my memories of the old Municipal Stadium and Progressive Field (formerly Jacob's Field or The Jake) both on the field, in a media capacity, and in the seats that were often in the upper reaches. I'll be curious to see how the Indian's team history will be put to bed. And I wonder what I'll say when my grandson points to the back of his Shane Bieber baseball card and wonder why he pitched for two different Cleveland teams. Well, Connor, let me explain. You see back in the early 2000's........