Cleveland Guardians.

Let that sink in for a moment. The baseball team you have known for your entire life is no longer the Cleveland Indians.

Within the first four hours of the announcement of the new name, I did an informal poll on Twitter. The result; 40% hate it, 33% love it, 27% did not care.

I’m not a fan of the new artwork and logos that will go along with the team. The font looks like one of my doodles from not paying attention in class during high school. Like all team logos it will change over time.

I like the name Guardians. It will take time getting used to it. Ownership did a solid job with the video featuring the voice of Tom Hanks to let us all know about the change.

Being grumpy about the name change is a waste of energy. It’s not going to change. Deep down, I don’t think the Dolan family wanted to change it. Like it or not, we knew it was coming. You can say it was a money grab. It still feels like the league forced it on the Dolans.

I keep hearing about cancel culture and how it is changing our lives. If you were banking on the nickname changing to “Tribe,” there is no way it was going to happen.

You can make the argument that Tribe is not attached to Native American culture. Common sense will tell you better. Although I do love it when a fellow Jewish person asks me, “Hey, did you know so and so is in the tribe?” It’s like secret code for most of the readers of this paper. The rest of the world isn’t in on our inside joke.

Here is my fear. I lived next to two Native American Indian reservations in Montana early in my career. I worry about erasing the story of Native Americans and what they have sacrificed and gifted us in the history of our nation.

If you were offended by “Indians” as a Native American, then I am happy the name has changed. I try hard not to say the former name of Washington’s football team. When I lived in Montana, I was told by my Native American friends, its harsh meaning was directly equal to the “N” word. It was enough for me.

The worry is what happens if we eliminate other Native American words. Two of the most known rivers in our state have Native American origins. The Cuyahoga (crooked river) and the Olentangy (river of red face paint). Two small simple examples.

At what point does cancel culture go after these words? What if someone is offended by words of Spanish, French or Yiddish origins? We need the words to remind us of our history. Good or bad. We need to take time to explain to future generations the triumphs and tragedies that paved the way to how we all live today. We are a melting pot. It is what makes us great.

I might be extreme in my thoughts, but it needs to be contemplated to make us all smarter.

But, back to baseball. My favorite conversation about the subject arrived in a telephone call on my radio show on 92.3 The Fan about an hour after the announcement.

A lifelong Cleveland sports fan who lives in Utah and knew the name change was going to happen, explained how he will never be a fan of baseball again, how he hates it, can’t believe that they took the name away, and how he wanted nothing to do with the team. He then explained he was home last month and somehow received free tickets from the team to go to a game.

I asked him, “Did you go to the game?”

He responded, “Yes, but I didn’t spend a penny when I was at the game.”

“Thank you for the call.” We let him go.

For a person to have that much passion to call a radio station 3,000 miles away, accept free tickets to a game and take the effort to get to the ballpark made me laugh. After all, he wants nothing to do with the team.

We all have our resume. Fill in the blank. I’ve been an Indians fan since _______. I was at _______ game. I remember _____. Congrats. You got the job and the credibility to say you are a Cleveland baseball fan.

Anybody know anybody who is still upset over the name change away from the Naps to the Indians in 1915? I’ll wait for the next phone call from a 110-year-old. In time, they will wonder why the team changed names from Indians to Guardians.

If this team ever wins a World Series, I’ll see you in line when you are buying your Guardians World Series champion T-shirts.


If you have a suggestion for a column idea for Andy Baskin, send him an email at columnists@cjn.org. He can be heard on “Baskin & Phelps” weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 92.3 The Fan.

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