I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later. But now it’s official: After this season, the Indians are no more. Starting with the 2022 season, they will officially be known as the Cleveland Guardians. I don’t really know what I feel other than sadness. The changing of the team name signifies so much more than just “moving forward” to me. Even though I wasn’t an Indians fan as long as other people, the changing of the name represents the wiping out of nostalgic memories many have shared at the ballpark with their families and friends.
If I go to a “Guardians” game in the future, I won’t be reminded of past nostalgic and fun memories of my team, the Cleveland Indians. I will instead be reminded of the sweeping wave of political correctness that has this country in an iron grip. Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Indians were just another pair of inevitable casualties. They were small speed bumps on the road to progressive wokeness. This was merely done so a small, powerful, vocal group of people can feed into their false moral superiority complex. They need to feel better about themselves without really having solved any serious existential problem.
Am I bashing everyone in support of the name change? Absolutely not. I’m sure everyone has their own reason for supporting it, and I completely respect their opinions. But I know this was driven by people far above simple protests at the ballpark. It’s simply a small instance of hollow political correctness winning out amidst a huge worldwide agenda. For that reason, I bristle at the name change. I chafe at it.
The second reason I am against the name change was a voiceover Tom Hanks did for the new Guardians name. I greatly respect his abilities as an actor, and I would hope he’s a decent human being when the cameras aren’t rolling. But as the time has passed, in my mind he has become inextricably tied to the Hollywood machine. He’s not even remotely a Clevelander or Ohioan. He briefly lived here as an up and coming actor. He’s part of a group of elites who look down upon those of us who don’t share their worldview. I’m a prime example of the people they preach and pontificate to. Yes, I did go to a left leaning college at Kent State. And I am more clearly able to see and understand left-wing points of thinking, whether I agree with them or not. But after all of my formative experiences, I am still me: A farmboy who absolutely cannot stand those who talk down to everyone else. Arrogance is my number one pet peeve.
The voiceover also seemed like a weakly veiled attempt by Indians/Guardians owner Paul Dolan to convince those of us who are unhappy or angry that this is for the best. And he’s appealing to the Hollywood machine to do so. This is a purely political move, and the man isn’t brave enough to say so, even though I’m sure he knows what’s going on. He’s wrong, but he ain’t stupid. After all, he was squeezed by MLB to get rid of Chief Wahoo ahead of the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, and he caved. This is simply more of the same.
I guess what upsets me the most isn’t that the name is changing. It’s why it’s changing, and what it represents. The name change is merely a tiny drop in the ocean of a disingenuous agenda. The whole thing seems insincere and phony to me. The agenda may seem benevolent on the surface. After all, who could possibly be against social justice, inclusion and progress, right? But if the name change, and other things like it are truly done in the name of those ideals, how come when people are upset, they’re coldly told to “get over it” or to “get on the right side of history”? Responses like that reek of a superiority complex to me. And treating people like that only makes those who are upset or angry dig their heels in and fight harder.
We have so many other problems as a nation. Shady voting practices. A true border crisis. Higher ups in education teaching kids what to think instead of how to think. An administration slowly killing this country by spending trillions of dollars in just six months. Washington cracking down on speech they don’t like on social media. And divisiveness and hatred like I’ve never seen before in my life. Not one of those problems has been fixed. Not one iota. But we can feel fantastic as a nation for removing supposedly offensive team names.
Forgive the dark example folks, but I don’t know how else to put it. Removing a team name is like trying to cover a stab wound or bullet hole with a Band-Aid. Our country is being slowly killed with so many very real problems that we’ve done absolutely nothing about. Yet we slap on the Band-Aid in this particular situation, so we can feel good about ourselves for having done something surface-level and symbolic. Yes, racism is a real problem in this country and all over the world. But this isn’t even remotely how to fix it.
In the meantime, I may or may not follow the “Guardians” next season. If everyone else wants to, great! Go for it! But it’s gonna take me a while to get used to this one. It’s much deeper than a name change for me and many others. The Cleveland Indians are always going to be my baseball team. Go Tribe.