Cleveland Guardians Make MLB Name Change Official in Smashing Fashion

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The Cleveland Guardians have officially changed their name, and things are off to a “smashing” start. On Friday, the team transitioned from Indians to Guardians after 106 years, but the new sign outside the team story at Progressive Field fell from its mount and smashed onto the sidewalk. According to the Associated Press, a worker was on a ladder checking the bolts when the signed snapped a small section of the stone exterior. No one was injured during the incident. 

Fans were at the team store buying new gear with the Guardians logo. “This kind of exceeds expectations,” Karen Fox, the team’s director of merchandising, told the AP. “Having people show up at 6:30, and then we had 100 people in by 9:14. You can kind of see the store looks like we’re having a game today.”

In July, the Guardians announced they will officially change the name once the 2021 season ends. This came after the team announced in December 2020 that it was searching for a new name. “We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the team stated in July 2020. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community. We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice.”

The Guardians had some obstacles to making the name change final. They ran into a legal issue as a local roller derby team also called the Guardians filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. Both sides reached a resolution earlier this week allowing both to use the name. The Guardians will also continue to sell Indians gear with profits going to youth organizations and causes. 

“It was like when you were a little kid waiting for Christmas morning,” she said. “That’s kind of how it feels for our merch team and the whole organization. Just that, here we are, a new era and you can see all the fans that are excited about it, too.”  The Guardians will open the 2022 season on March 31 against the Kansas City Royals.

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