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Cleveland Baseball Fans Get Ready For The Guardians To Take The Field

Lakewood graphic designer TJ Lewis shows off his Guardian of Traffic sneaker.
Nick Castele
Ideastream Public Media
Lakewood graphic designer TJ Lewis shows off his Guardian of Traffic sneaker.

Like the name or not, here come the Cleveland Guardians.

Cleveland fans were still taking stock of the new name before the game Friday, just hours after the ball club announced it would shed the name Indians for a new identity as the Guardians.

Lakewood graphic designer TJ Lewis wore his own custom-made Guardians sneakers. The gold and white shoes depict the team’s new namesake – the laurel-wearing, Art Deco pylons on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge known as the Guardians of Traffic.

“I love the Guardians. They’re one of my favorite icons of Cleveland,” Lewis said. “I think it’s a strong icon for the new team. I think it was time for a name change as well.”

The new name didn’t impress Tim Toma, who would have preferred to keep the name the same, or at least to go with Spiders or Rockers.

“I think when you change an iconic name like the Indians, they really needed to hit a home run on this, and instead it was a pop-out to short,” he said.

The name sounds more like legalese, said Toma who is an attorney.

“My first reaction when I saw the name is like, well, when do we go to probate court and get our letters of appointment?” he said. “A guardian is defensive, so it’s not like proactive or aggressive.”

It was time for a change, said Dave Speck. He called the new name “a good choice,” and said it would not uproot the team’s history.

“The history will stay,” Speck said. “The history is the people, the town, the traditions, all the former players that you know from growing up.”

But the local nod in the name Guardians didn’t quite hit home with out-of-town baseball fans. Speck’s sister, Kim Swartz, lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and didn’t recognize the reference at first.

“I woke up this morning getting on a plane here to Cleveland from Phoenix, my husband goes, ‘You got the wrong t-shirt on,’ they’re the Guardians,” she said. “I go, ‘What?’”

Swartz’s Indians shirt will still be correct until the end of this season. That’s when the team formally dons the new winged baseball logo and becomes the Guardians.

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