COLUMN: A new era for baseball in Cleveland


Stephen Kaledecker

Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland. Progressive Field serves as the home of the Cleveland Indians/Guardians.

Anna Meyer, Sports Editor

In 2018 when the mascot Chief Wahoo was removed from the Cleveland Indians organization, many presumed the name change would follow in the upcoming years. 

Indeed it did. 

The hot button topic of whether or not the “Indians” was an acceptable name for a professional organization came to an end as Paul Dolan announced on Friday, July 23, the Cleveland Indians would be switching their name to the Guardians after the conclusion of the 2021 season. 

On Sunday, Oct. 3, the Cleveland Indians took the field for their final game with their over 100-year-old namesake.  The Indians won one last game as the Tribe with a 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. 

After finishing 80-82, just shy of the .500 mark, the Cleveland Indians missed the chance of furthering their tenure with the name Indians into the post season playoffs. 

The next time the baseball team from Cleveland takes the field, they will rep new jerseys, logos and a whole new brand as they embark on their new adventure of being the Cleveland Guardians.

As someone who is not from Cleveland, I have noticed in my almost three and a half years of undergraduate time in Northeastern Ohio, fans have always been passionate about the Indians despite their World Series drought since 1948. 

I agree that most Cleveland fans understand the name change and will be accepting, but will all fans? 

As the cold winter months pass, it will be interesting to see if the camaraderie of Major League Baseball fans remains the same despite the name change in Cleveland.

It seems like the fans in Cleveland have moved on since the removal of Chief Wahoo in 2018.  I wonder how long it will take for fans to “move on” and adjust to the new life of being a Cleveland Guardians fan after a lifetime full of rooting for the Cleveland Indians. 

There is a lot more attachment to the team’s name than their former logo Chief Wahoo. I think adjusting to a whole new era of baseball could be challenging for some fans, particularly the most dedicated Cleveland Indian’s fans that have witnessed historical victories, received autographs from legends and took part in the fanfare. 

It could be difficult for fans to wrap their heads around the fact that it isn’t the “Tribe” anymore.  

I wonder what it will take for those who are upset with the name change to find themselves supporting the team as much as they did while they were the Indians. Could those upset with the Guardians become faithful fans again if they start winning or if the ownership changes? 

After the Indians had their first losing season since 2012, maybe the Guardians will bring Cleveland a new spark of joy and bring winning back to the Forest City. 

For now, we don’t know the answer to those questions, but with time the City of Cleveland will adjust to a new era of baseball – the Guardians era. 

I believe that no matter what name the baseball team in Cleveland has, one thing will always remain the same – Clevelanders will remain faithful to their hometown team. 

Until March, fans have time to reflect on all the memories made while the team was the Indians. 

When the Guardians take the field for the first time at Progressive Field on March 31, 2022, against the Kansas City Royals, fans will embark on a new era of baseball in Cleveland.