CLEVELAND – For decades, Cleveland’s inaugural party has been celebrated as a national holiday. Children jump out of school, office workers leave early, and people flock to the center to welcome baseball after a long winter.
It’s been a while since I spent a day in Cleveland for renovation, hope. A new beginning.
Never more than this year.
On Friday, the renamed Guardians will play for the first time at Progressive Field, officially launching a new era for a team known as Indians since 1915 before a much-debated name-splitting name split last year that divided fans.
There will be a lot of applause, and maybe some complaints from those who still face the idea that their favorite baseball team is not the same.
“We know this is going to take time. Change is always difficult,” said Alex King, the Guardians’ senior vice president of marketing and strategy who led the name transition. “Changing the name of a team that has been around for over 100 years and everyone has grown up and shared memories is incredibly difficult.
“Not only do we understand that. We empathize with that and want to try to build new memories, but we do it in a way that they meet our fans where they are.”
Some of those memories begin to take shape on Friday when Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who cut his teeth as an actor in this city while becoming a fan of the team in the 1970s, launches a first ceremonial release to Larry Doby Jr., whose father broke the american. The league’s color barrier with Cleveland is 75 years old.
There will be a plane ride and the Guardians and San Francisco Giants players will wear the number 42 while Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.
And if that wasn’t enough to kick off a holiday weekend, the NBA Cavaliers, who are experiencing a relegation throw by Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Square, will host a play-in game against Atlanta with the winner securing a spot in the postseason.
Were it not for the 99-day baseball shutdown that delayed the first game two weeks, the day would belong exclusively to the Guardians, who have won four games in a row and have one of the best baseball stories at the start of the season at rookie gardener Steven Kwan. a historical background. start your career.
Kwan will surely receive a standing ovation from the 29th consecutive audience that sold out on opening day, one that was slower to buy tickets in previous years for several reasons, including the name change.
It was a challenging trip for the Cleveland franchise, which received its share of criticism, especially on social media, for changing those who felt the team yielded to a vocal minority. The dance club had already abandoned Chief Wahoo’s divisive logo and was working to make a name change when the national race calculation in 2020 accelerated the process.
The team considered numerous names before landing at Guardians, which is meant to symbolize the strength of the community and is a nod to the huge Art Deco statues that flank Hope Memorial Bridge near the stadium.
There were other obstacles, including the team sued by a local roller derby team of the same name.
And while the Guardians are still hard to accept for some, and they’re still not out of everyone’s language, it looks like it’s being put on hold.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a persistent reaction.
Whenever the team posts something on their Twitter account, it often encounters a barrage of complaints and worse. The negativity led Christy Harst to post a YouTube video reminding fans why they became fans and encouraging them to accept the change.
“It made me sad,” said the mother of two and a voice-over actress. “I felt like I wanted to remind my fellow fans why we’re fans. Do I understand people’s frustration? Absolutely. There’s no name that can make everyone happy. None.
“No matter what they call the team, people would be upset.”
The team sought to find the right balance between embracing the club’s past and not erasing it.
“The name Indians is always going to be a part of our history,” King said. be memories of the Indians.
“These are not going to diminish. They are not going to change. The most important part of our name, as we have already said, is Cleveland. We are trying to remind people that we have these very strong roots. “.
Harst is confident that Cleveland fans, even those struggling with change, will eventually arrive. After all, they endured a lot of anguish; this is not as painful as when the Browns left.
“Everyone was bitter, spitting some of that,” he said. “Do we feel that way now with the name change? Come on. That was a lot worse as a Cleveland sports fan. Let’s put things in perspective.”
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New name, same address, Guardians is ready to debut at home
Source link New name, same address, Guardians is ready to debut at home