I am not a huge sports fan. I can tell you what a first down is, I know that in hockey they use a puck and I know that they use weird names for scoring in tennis. I don’t partake in a whole lot of sports entertainment, but baseball holds a special place in my heart – the Cleveland Indians baseball team specifically. I attended my first Indians game when I was three years old.
America’s favorite pastime has always been my favorite sport, and the Indians have always been my favorite team. Like many fans, I have been following and patiently awaiting the announcement of the team’s new name.
Most American sports teams have a past that runs deep, and this is reflected in their names. The Los Angeles Dodgers are named for the historic “Trolley Dodgers,” a reminder to how the streets once belonged to the people. The Houston Astros got their name in 1965, as Houston was the “space age capital of the world” following the achievements of NASA from the time period. The Milwaukee Brewers is a nod to their strong and historic brewing industry.
As many avid MLB fans know, lots of these names have changed through time to stay relevant to the teams and fans. The name change from Indians has come from a political shove. Native American groups have been fighting for change in the names of several sports teams. Another team that this has impacted is the former Washington RedSkins, which are for the time being known as the Washington Football Team.
The issue that people have with the names is certainly an issue of political correctness. The costumizing and cartoonization of indigenous people is something that in 1915 when the Cleveland team was named was acceptable, but it isn’t anymore. We have socially advanced past this.
I understand for some fans that want to keep with tradition, this is hard to accept, especially if you are a fan who doesn’t see an issue with the name. Whether you care about the name change or not, you’re a fake fan if a name change update will waive your loyalty to your team.
The name change from Indians to Guardians is in reference to the two statues that overlook both sides of the Hope Memorial Bridge that leads you right to Progressive Field. The two statues are known as the “Guardians of Traffic” and are meant to represent progress and transportation. They have been guarding the streets of Cleveland for over 100 years.
The name switch does what a name for a baseball team should do: it commemorates a historic element in a historic city, rather than costumize a very real group of American people. This is a name that makes more sense for the Cleveland baseball team. When fans cross that bridge on their way to watch their favorite baseball team play, as they pass the Guardian statues, excitement and anticipation for what they are about to witness will begin before they even enter the field. What better symbolization for the awesome team they are about to watch than two awesome 43 foot tall statues that now instead of representing traffic, will now represent their team.
Instead of focusing on the political issue of whether you think the name change should have happened or not, focus on how cool this new symbolization is for our team.
Mikayla Rochelle is a graduate student studying public administration at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.