Cleveland Indians changing name to Cleveland Guardians

Commentary

C’mon Cleveland, is that all you got?

Multiple news sources reported today that the Cleveland Major League Baseball team is changing its name next season from the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians. The name change comes after years of criticism that the current moniker is racist and disrespectful to Native Americans.

The name change comes at a time when many sports teams, including MLB’s Atlanta Braves, NFL’s Kansas City Chief and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks are under pressure to adopt new names. It also follows the recent move by the NFL’s Washington franchise to discard their historical nickname, the Redskins. Unlike the move by Cleveland, the Washington team has not been able to decide upon a new name and has been known simply as the Washington Football Team for over a year.

Although Paul Dolan, the CEO of the Indians/Guardians deserves kudos for both the swiftly decided name change and the earlier dropping of the team’s racist Chief Wahoo logo*, there will certainly be debate over his choice of the new name.

(*Regarding Chief Wahoo, of course in some earlier iterations of the logo one can’t be sure what “race” was being disparaged. This early version looks like something that would have set Joseph Goebbels’ heart aflutter).

Apparently, the choice of Guardians drew inspiration from Cleveland’s architectural history, the Guardians of Traffic, the large art deco statues that adorn the Hope Memorial Bridge that connects the city’s west side with the east side.

In announcing the change, Dolan said, “In searching for a new brand, we sought a name that strongly reflects the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

As a non-Clevelander, I can understand how prideful Clevelanders might be about these traffic guardians, but really, is that the best the team can do? Isn’t there something, anything, more universally known about Cleveland that would strike a chord. (Aside from the fact that the Cuyahoga River caught fire)?

Anyone? Any thing?

If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve already provided you with the first hint: “Chord.”

And what “chords?” Hint #2: Try this chord progression: C – Am – F – G.

Hint #3: Now, listen to the progression of those chords:

By now, if you haven’t gotten it, I think you should book an appointment with another pride of Cleveland, one who can help you harness your psychic power or tell you what your palms say about your health, the eminent Dr. Mehmet Oz.

But I digress. Time’s up. The answer is The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And with that in mind, what better name for a team based in Cleveland than the 

CLEVELAND ROCKERS!

Clevelanders and former Clevelanders, and the the three non-Clevelanders who actually care about any of this, unite to oppose this name change in the great tradition of American League city protest songs.

Everybody,

Now, you citizens of Cleveland, don’t you think it’s s a scandal

That your owner is plain old bonkers

In a town with the Rock Hall, it makes no sense

To call them anything but the Cleveland Rockers

One last thing. Where would we be when a story like this breaks without a grenade lobbed by a man named Trump. No, Trump did not opine on the name proffered by the team’s management. Nor did he offer an alternative like Around the Block did. But whine he did:

Can anybody believe that the Cleveland Indians, a storied and cherished baseball franchise since taking the name in 1915, are changing their name to the Guardians? Such a disgrace, and I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country. Wouldn’t it be an honor to have a team named the Cleveland Indians, and wouldn’t it be disrespectful to rip that name and logo off of those jerseys? The people of Cleveland cannot be thrilled and I, as a FORMER baseball fan, cannot believe things such as this are happening. A small group of people, with absolutely crazy ideas and policies, is forcing these changes to destroy our culture and heritage. At some point, the people will not take it anymore!

Would you have expected less?

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

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