Welcome to the Cleveland Guardians Era. Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise unveiled its new nickname last summer.
Here’s everything you need to know about the name change and timeframe for when Ohioans will officially be able to bet on the team.
Where did the name Guardians come from?
Guardians pays homage to the Art Deco Guardian statues adjacent to the Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River. Each is 43 feet tall and said to be a “guardian of traffic,” representing various forms of traffic throughout history. The bridge is visible from Progressive Field where the Guardians play their home games.
The name change became official last July. The team officially removed its Chief Wahoo logo in 2018 in response to protests over its depiction of Native Americans. After the 2020 season, the team announced it would rename the team.
The Guardians were originally named the Spiders back in 1890. The team considered that name but went with Guardians out of over 1,200 options.
What does the logo look like?
The Guardians’ logo was inspired by the helmets and wings of Hope Memorial Bridge’s Guardians statues. Two “winged Gs” wrap around a baseball, holding it like a pitcher’s index and middle fingers would grip a split-fingered fastball.
There was mild local controversy related to the name change. A men’s roller derby team in Cleveland also called the Guardians sued the team. They have been competing in the Men’s Roller Derby Association since 2016.
The two teams worked out a compromise and both are now known as the Guardians.
Do people like the Guardians nickname?
Cleveland.com published an open forum soliciting feedback on the new team name in early March, and the comments were about 75 percent against the nickname.
Here are a couple of responses:
“The name change was devastating to almost all the fans I’ve known. Why can the KC Chiefs and the Atlanta Braves not only keep their names but glorify the tomahawk chop?”
“Indians caved on the name; the Braves said no. Owners are getting a $450 million facelift with suspect players. Bally Sports has taken over the baseball and basketball here so we can’t watch any on YouTube TV. Haven’t seen any baseball or basketball telecasts for a year. Is football next?”
Still, an open forum on one news site doesn’t represent an entire fanbase. Plenty of people in Ohio are excited to cheer for the Guardians.
When do the Guardians play and can you bet on them?
The Guardians opened the 2022 MLB season on the road in Kansas City. Their first home game at Progressive Field is Friday, April 15 against the San Francisco Giants. That also happens to be Jackie Robinson Day, when every Major League team honors the ground-breaking baseball legend whose number 42 is retired in every stadium.
Ohioans cannot yet bet on Major League Baseball, but that will change soon. Ohio legalized retail sports betting last fall, and the state’s sportsbooks will be up and running by Jan. 1, 2023.