Why Are They Called the Cleveland Guardians?

(Last Updated On: July 26, 2021)
The Guardians of Traffic. They will be important later.

For the 2021 baseball season, the Cleveland Indians permanently changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians. Why the name was changed isn’t a difficult question to answer–it was decidedly racist. As for the new name, why are they called the Cleveland Guardians? What would they guard anyway; their batting records?

Defining Guardians

Looking at one of the first things the Guardians say about their new name it seems like they’re operating pretty close to the dictionary definition; they’ll tell you it’s about protecting, keeping watch, and defending. The Guardians also talk about being resilient fighters who “pick each other right back up and keep fighting,” which might be technically correct but it does kind of shift from the general connotation of being a protector.

If you were wondering about the new Diamond C and Fastball logos, the Cleveland Guardians do not disappoint. Diamond C first.

The Diamond C was considered a natural evolution to the Block C–probably because it had more interesting angles and a curve on it. This was in part a desire to modernize, like how every company logo got really curvy in the 2010s. Now they’re all just flat pastel images. The Guardians also chose the diamond to emulate the Guardians of Traffic. Chiefly, the top angle is meant to emulate the top of each pylon. 

The new Diamond C

Now the Fastball logo. This too emulates the Guardians of Traffic (sensing a pattern?). Instead of the statue’s silhouette, the Fastball mimics the helms of each Guardian. 

Hope Memorial Bridge

When choosing their new image, the Cleveland Guardians largely fixated on the Hope Memorial Bridge–where the Guardians of Traffic (of which there are 8) are also located. The Guardians of Traffic have stood on Hope Memorial Bridge for something in the ballpark of 100 years–each meant to symbolize the technological progress of streamlining traffic. Each Guardian holds a different vehicle, symbolizing 8 different eras of automotive progress. The Cleveland Guardians fixated on the idea of progress–except instead of traffic it was the progress of their franchise.

The Hope Memorial Bridge was once called the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge and first opened in 1932. It was renamed after being closed from 1980-1983 after William Henry Hope; a stonemason who worked on the bridge as well as the Guardians of Traffic. He was also Bob Hope’s father, a name you may recognize if you like stand up comedies and films. Some accounts hold that the Hope Memorial Bridge’s name commemorates Bob Hope instead of William Henry Hope–while others claim it’s the whole family

Fun fact about the Guardians of Traffic, they’re 43 feet tall, and were almost torn down in the 1970s because Cuyahoga County engineer Albert Porter wanted to add more lanes to Hope Memorial Bridge. He called them monstrosities since they didn’t serve a functional purpose.

So we guess the Cleveland Guardians are also guarding statues that guard traffic.

See if you know who’s north of Cleveland here.

About the Author:

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Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.