Tom Hanks Helps Announce New MLB Team Name
The Cleveland baseball team will be known as the Guardians starting next season, the club announced on Friday.
The legendary American League franchise said late last year it was abandoning its long-held Native American nickname, after decades of complaints about the nickname’s racial insensitivity.
The new name was revealed in a video on the team’s Twitter page. The presentation was narrated by Oscar winner Tom Hanks with accompaniment from the Black Keys and lasted just over two minutes.
The montage included landmarks and landscapes from Cleveland and a handful of baseball highlights.
These baseball scenes included footage of the late Frank Robinson, a Hall of Fame player who also became MLB’s first black manager, when he took over the Cleveland dugout in 1975.
“We remember those moments as we move forward with the change,” Hanks said.
“Together we stand in solidarity with all who understand what it means to be born and built from The Land. Because this is the city we love and the game we believe in and together we are all Cleveland Guardians. “
The video also showed off a new team logo of a baseball, with winged G’s.
“Guardians” also pays homage to the nearby Hope Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Cuyahoga River and includes statues called “Guardians of Traffic”.
The team colors of red, white and navy blue remain the same.
Friday’s announcement closed a months-long process that involved contacting 40,000 fans as well as interviews with fans, community leaders and police office staff, which generated an initial list of 1,198 names. potential teams, club officials said.
“We are trying to be the best Cleveland organization possible and to be united for everyone and to represent the city of Cleveland as it deserves,” manager Terry Francona, who has long-standing connections, told reporters. with the city and the team.
His father, Tito Francona, played major league baseball for 15 seasons and six of his most productive campaigns were as a Cleveland outfielder from 1959 to 1964.
The young Francona has also played for Cleveland and has been the manager since 2013, leading his team to the 2016 AL pennant.
“I think that sounds like a lot of courage and guts,” Francona said of the decision to change the team’s name.
“We try to be as respectful as possible. And it’s not about us. It’s about others. And you have to step out of your own skin and think about people who may have a different skin color and what they think. “
As fans speculated over Cleveland’s new name in recent months, the Guardians had been considered among the favorites, along with the Spiders, Naps and Rockers.
The Cleveland Spiders were a 19th century baseball team. The AL franchise was known as Naps at the turn of the 20th century as a tribute to star player Nap Lajoie. And the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland.
For years, it was believed that the team was named after the great spider Louis Francis Sockalexis, who was Native American.
But a closer look at the historical records showed that the team was more likely to grab a Native American-themed name after the Boston Braves’ Great Race of 1914. These “Miracle Braves” captured the nation’s imagination with an unlikely world title, rallying last place on July 4.
The Cleveland team, known as the Indians since 1915, have won six American League pennants and two World Series titles. This last world championship was won in 1948, making it the longest current title drought in the MLB.
Cleveland’s baseball name change comes following the relinquishment of its Native American nickname by the professional football team in Washington, DC.
It is now known as the Washington Football Team. The name changes came as Americans took to the streets to protest police brutality and systemic racism, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.