The Cleveland MLB team's name change took a tangible step forward on Tuesday, as it began removing the "Indians" scripted logo from Progressive Field's scoreboard. Cleveland will use the name Guardians next season and going forward after deeming its previous name insensitive to indigenous people in December 2020.
Next season will be Cleveland's first under a new name since 1915, and the Hope Memorial Bridge's 43-foot statues known as the "Guardians of Traffic" inspired the change. A new "Guardians" scripted logo will take its predecessor's place atop the Progressive Field scoreboard by Opening Day.
"Through our research and discussions, we identified a few key themes that were most important to fans -- connect to the city of Cleveland, honor our rich baseball history and unite our community -- and we believe Guardians upholds all three of those pillars," Cleveland's president of business operations Brian Barren said in a press release.
Complete removal of the 80-foot-long scripted logo will take "several days," according to the Associated Press, but workers began dismantling the "I" on Tuesday. Cleveland, which already removed all signage with its previous name, will keep its old scripted logo in storage once the project is finished.
Cleveland plans to unveil its new name and merchandise within the coming weeks, but the rollout took a hit last week. The Cleveland-based roller derby team, also known as the Cleveland Guardians, sued the American League franchise in federal court for attempting to copy their name.
"By taking the name 'Cleveland Guardians' overnight, the Indians knowingly and willfully eviscerated the rights of the original owner of that name – the real Cleveland Guardians," Christopher Pardo, the roller derby team's lead attorney, said in a statement.
The Cleveland MLB team said in a statement it expects to use the Guardians name despite the roller derby team's lawsuit.