Columbus, OH

Cleveland has Last Game as the Indians

Liz Fe Lifestyle

This past weekend, Ohio’s baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, won their home game against the Kansas City Royals 8 to 3. But this game is not any ordinary game, nor is it like the games the team has played before in their long history as a team beginning in 1915. Cleveland’s home game against the Kansas City Royals is their last game as the Indians, and will continue next season as a team- but under a new name and identity: the Cleveland Guardians. This last game ended a long 106-year run as a team under the name Cleveland Indians, as the team announced the name change in the wake of controversy rocking the American sports league regarding racist names and symbols. Opinions continue to vary on the name change and symbol. Some believe the change was long since overdue, while others still aren’t ready to say goodbye to the team’s long history as the Indians.

Cleveland’s baseball team holds a long and illustrious history behind its many years as the Indians. In 1920 and 1948, the team won the World Series and was runner-up in 1995, 1997, and 2016. Some of its most legendary players such as Bob Feller, Larry Doby, and Jim Thome played under the name Indians. Once the Indians play their last game of the season this October, the team will be renamed the Cleveland Guardians, the name chosen after thousands upon thousands of entries were sent in during the renaming process. Lines filled the ticket booths, prices on Indians merchandise were slashed, and fans clamored for the Indians as they played their last home game. During the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, fans chanted “root, root for the Indians”. And during the final inning of the game, fans cried out “Let’s go Indians,” making sure the team’s last home game was all but an explosive finale.

The name change for the baseball team was announced late last year in the wake of an explosive wave of debate over sports teams having names and symbols that can or could be interpreted as racist. After the Washington Redskins announced that they would be changing their name and logo to remove any racist imagery against Native Americans, Cleveland announced that it would be reviewing its own. “Since July, we have conducted an extensive process to learn how our team name affected different constituencies and whether it aligned with our organizational values. As a result of that process, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise”, wrote the team in their December statement from last year. Since then, the votes were cast, and the team name was changed to become the Cleveland Guardians. The team's new name references the Guardians of Traffic, which are eight monolithic 1932 Art Deco sculptures created on Hope Memorial Bridge, which is adjacent to the field where the team plays.

Some people are still not ready to see the change. It is hard to let go of a centennial legacy, after all - and many sports teams whose names have endured would find it difficult to let go if they were to change it. But at the end of the day, Cleveland’s team is still its team. The new season with a new name will be sure to be an interesting one. As the team goes into its first year as the Cleveland Guardians, the legacy of the old team name will continue to remain a hot-button topic. But it remains to be seen whether or not the name change will ultimately quiet the cries for Native Americans removing their imagery from sports teams.

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