Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise has a new name. Announced today (and starting next season), the artist formerly known as the Indians will now be the Cleveland Guardians.
Not from Cleveland or perhaps not an Urban Sociology major? Then, like me, you likely didn’t catch the reference. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the meaning in a minute.
Upon hearing the Cleveland Guardians name, I was admittedly puzzled and underwhelmed.
I therefore thought I’d run this one by THE WIFE, because she typically has interesting (and sometimes entertaining) reactions to headlines like this. Considering her status as a WIFE that HATES sports, I figured this would be news to her – and I was right.
The WIFE Reviews the Cleveland Guardians Name (Pre-Research)
Here are a few snippets from our preliminary discussion on the topic:
KP: Have you heard any breaking news in the world of sports today?
THE WIFE: Me?
KP: No, the cat. Yes, you!
THE WIFE: Have I heard any breaking news in the world of sports today? Beyond the Olympics? No. I’m also not looking.
NOTE: I hope the repetition doesn’t become a thing here. It’s starting to feel like talking to a parrot.
KP: Do you remember hearing that the Cleveland Indians planned to change their name?
THE WIFE: Kinda sorta. Are they doing it?
KP: They did it and it was officially announced today.
THE WIFE: Did they post options, like the Washington Football Team has been doing? Can I guess?
KP: Sure, you can guess.
THE WIFE: Do you think I could even guess this?
KP: I don’t honestly know – how much do you know about Cleveland?
THE WIFE: Not much at all. So it’s tied to the city?
KP: At first, I didn’t know where this name came from. All I heard originally was a desire for the Spiders, and that many people were calling for that. Let me just tell you the name.
THE WIFE: Ok.
KP: The name is the Cleveland Guardians.
THE WIFE: The Guardians? What kind of mascot are you going to have with that?
KP: Well, mascots don’t always tie directly to the team name.
THE WIFE: It’s kind of “blah”. Not very exciting.
KP: Here are the team logos released today.
Introducing the Cleveland Guardians!
The name will go into effect after the 2021 season. pic.twitter.com/ggCFyIRD2y
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2021
THE WIFE: Still not very exciting.
Original Pre-Research Grade from THE WIFE (that HATES sports): D for poor effort
A “Non-Clevelander” Researching and Understanding the Cleveland Guardians
Thinking similarly, THE WIFE inquired about the Ohio state bird, tree, and flower – and why weren’t these options considered. The quick answers: Cardinal (already taken by St. Louis), Carnation (they weren’t going to be the Cleveland Carnations), and Buckeye (taken by Ohio State).
Shifting gears to specifics about Cleveland, I found the answer rather quickly when I stumbled upon the Hope Memorial Bridge, located near Progressive Field, where Cleveland plays its home games.
As outlined on the Hope Memorial Bridge Wikipedia page:
“The bridge connects Lorain Avenue on Cleveland’s west side and Carnegie Avenue on the east side, terminating just short of Progressive Field. Pairs of statues designed by sculptor Henry Hering and architect Frank Walker – officially named the Guardians of Traffic – stand on pylons at each end of the viaduct, symbolizing progress in transportation”
The WIFE Reviews the Cleveland Guardians Name (Post-Research)
Getting back to THE WIFE, I provided her with some additional details.
KP: Now that you know about the Guardians of Traffic, what do you think?
THE WIFE: It’s a stretch, but I can appreciate the effort to make it somewhat connected to the city. They still could have done better than that.
KP: Yes, it does explain the name and the logo, based off the statues. However, when it comes to landmarks, it’s not like Chicago has a team called the “Beans” or the “Cloud Gates”.
Final Grade from THE WIFE (with more knowledge): B+
Again, I agree with her. This is getting weird. However, I would come in closer to a C+, because it just feels like someone walked around Progressive Field for a day and said, “Hey, how about Guardians?”
Checking through the initial reactions on Twitter, most have been negative towards the Cleveland Guardians name. In fact, I haven’t seen one person in my feed like it to this point.
This is also likely people that don’t fully understand the city of Cleveland’s history. Despite that, when not living in a major city, we often know and understand a reference to a name.
In this case, no one outside the city of Cleveland seems to have the slightest clue. If the city of Cleveland has an extreme appreciation for the Guardians of Traffic, then hey – it might just be a name that works. If anyone from Cleveland sees this write-up, feel free to comment and educate me on these landmarks.
One of the new name dominoes has now fallen. The Cleveland Guardians have arrived. With the Washington Football Team set to announce its new name in 2022, we can likely expect to be underwhelmed when that news breaks, too.
On my end, THE WIFE and I actually agree on a sports topic.
Hmm, I may need to check to see if Earth is still on its axis.
Good luck, Guardians.
Together, we are all… pic.twitter.com/R5FnT4kv1I
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 23, 2021
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