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Cleveland MLB Team to Officially Change Name to Guardians on Friday

Adam WellsNovember 17, 2021

FILE - Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan speaks to the media during a news conference, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians have resolved a lawsuit filed by a local roller derby team over rights to the name Guardians, the final hurdle for the Major League Baseball team to continue its changeover. The sides jointly announced an โ€œamicable resolutionโ€ on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, saying both organizations will continue to use Guardians. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File

Friday will mark the first official day of existence for the Cleveland Guardians. 

Per the Tom Withers of the Associated Press, the team said in a press release that its team shop will begin selling Guardians merchandise at the end of this week. 

The official team website and social media platforms will also change their handles on Friday. 

Retail outlets in the northwest Ohio area will start selling official Guardians merchandise on Nov. 23. 

Wednesday's announcement comes after the franchise settled a copyright infringement lawsuit with the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team that permits both parties to use the nickname. 

The Cleveland baseball team announced in July it was changing its nickname to Guardians:

Cleveland Indians @Indians

Together, we are all... <a href="https://t.co/R5FnT4kv1I">pic.twitter.com/R5FnT4kv1I</a>

The change was going to take effect at some point after the 2021 season, but no date was specified in the original announcement

The name is an homage the "Guardians of Traffic" statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge that leads in and out of the city. The statues have been part of the bridge since 1932. 

Guardians will replace the team's current nickname, which many considered offensive to Indigenous people, that has been used since 1915. The franchise originally began in 1894 as the Grand Rapids Rustlers before moving to Cleveland six years later. 

The nicknames Lake Shores (1900), Bluebirds (1901), Bronchos (1902) and Naps (1903-14) were used before its current name was established.