CLEVELAND – Bill Bowden, a Cleveland Major League Baseball team fan, spent most of his 52 years doing an informal survey on Friday while waiting to meet with friends at the Cleveland Guardians for the first home game of the season.
Bolden the team names on the jets of fellow Cleveland fans as they wander around the city. He tallied 38 shirts that had the word “Indian” written for the team’s old title, before he even shared one with the team’s new name, Guardians. This was a very disproportionate proportion, and an unpredictable data set, but not unexpected.
“And I hope it stays as usual,” said Boldin.
Bolden’s views represent a large number of Cleveland fans, many of whom strongly opposed the team’s decision in 2020 to rename it 107 years later. The decision came after protests by American groups and others, who argued that the old name was racist.
Friday was the first home game for the rebranded Cleveland Guardians, with a new name chosen, partly to capture a historic, Cleveland-centric theme at the Hoop Memorial Bridge near Progresso Field, where the team plays. Is doing The team had already played six games this past season, but they were all on the road. Friday provided the first opportunity for home fans to gather together and express their feelings and loyalty.
Bob Hustler, owner of a computer store in Whitelabie, Ohio, wore a cropped, white jersey worn on an old team name, and a hat on which Chief Waugh, a cartoonish, smiling Native American logo was displayed. These cars, beloved by many but considered highly offensive by others, were retired from team uniforms in 2019 as the franchise began a gradual process of distancing itself from old imagery and nicknames.
“I love Chief Wow,” Hostutler announced.
The day after the team announced that it would give it a centuries-old name, the hostler promised he would never pay to see the guardians, so he was angry with the decision. But when his brother gave him a ticket for Friday’s game, he decided to go. Then, at a pre-tailgate party on Friday afternoon, he was given a Guardian T-shirt as part of a promotional gift. He took the shirt off, but intended to gift it again.
“I’ll never wear it,” he said.
For decades, protests against the team’s name were as much a part of the opening day in Cleveland as the fly-overs and the first pitch of the ceremony. To change the name of the team, along with other signs on the streets near the protesting stadium; Many times, they face the abuse of fans entering the stadium. But on Friday, for the first time in recent memory, there was no protest other than a man who was advocating for world peace with an American warrior, and another, a few blocks away, promoting religious piety.
The new form of protest comes in the form of shirts and jackets with the word “Indian” and hats representing Chief Wahoo. In some cases, it’s the only team’s clothing that fans own to wear, and many jerseys carry names of former players who never wore Guardians shirts. Even for fans who support the new name, asking for a new all-new gear will require a significant expense.
But in other cases, wearing old clothes was the point.
“I don’t like it,” said Bill Marshall, 64, a heating and air conditioning engineer from Cleveland. He said he opposed the name change, a decision eventually made by the Guardians’ chief executive, Paul Dolan. “They came under pressure,” Marshall said.
Marshall expressed his devotion, and in his opinion, in bright colors, wore a blue jacket and hat, bearing the name and logo of the Indians.
Creating a new name will take time for many loyal fans, but name changes are actually part of the fabric of the Cleveland franchise. In the early years of the 20th century, the Cleveland team was known as the Blues, Bronchos and Naples before it finally settled on the Indians in 1915.
This year, the Guardians became the fourth MLB team in the last 90 years to change names without moving cities, and only to name another completely different name. In 2008, Tampa Bay became a devil’s ray. The Houston Colts 45s renamed the Astros in 1965 and the Cincinnati Reds were called the Redlegs from 1954 to 1958. The Brooklyn Dodgers, who were given many names in the early years, were known as Superbases for 12 years before their sisterhood. The Dodgers 1932
But for Cleveland, the name change comes amid an unstable global struggle on labels and terms that sometimes plays out in the sports world. And this happened at a time when teams from Washington’s NFL franchise to dozens of colleges and high schools have moved to give names that have been criticized for insanity or racism.
“The whole canceled culture thing has gone too far,” Boldin said.
A public servant from Boulder, Texas, near Salon, Ohio, is not as flexible as some of his fellow fans. He praised Washington’s football team’s decision to give it an aggressive name, and acknowledged that Chief Wahoo might need to go. While the hats were tolerating that much on Friday, Boldin didn’t wear one.
Many people associated with the team, including fans and long-time players, sometimes used the old name in ignorance, not because of misconduct but simply because of habit. Carlos Berenga, a former All-Star second baseman and now a special assistant with the team, casually referred the team to a conversation with his old name.
“It’s difficult for many people after those years,” said Birg. “But that’s what the team wants and the owner wants, so you go with it. We play for the city, though, not the name. This is the most important thing. “
“People are sometimes not realistic about change,” said Terry Francona, Guardian manager. “But I think if you ask a few people maybe color, status is not always so good.
And not all Cleveland fans shine past the team so intensely. Alex and Jean Ann Reno, Upland, Ind .; A married couple celebrating the New Guardians era on Friday, one of Cleveland’s newest logos, a cord, cartoon-style C, with tattoos on their feet.
“Times change,” said Jane Ann as the pair show off their new physical art.
She and her husband drove four hours to Cleveland on Thursday, and the team went to the store, where they bought all the new guardian gear they wore on Friday. Alex said he got a “Tone of Flick” from other fans to wear.
He learned to love the Cleveland team with his father, who was originally from Toledo, Ohio, and loved the team. He took Alex to his first game at Municipal Stadium in 1985 when Alex was five months old, and the old team’s name was embroiled in family tradition.
“I didn’t love it when they replaced it,” Alex said, “but it’s still my team.”