Cleveland Guardians name change becomes official as fans line up early to buy new merchandise
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team announced a name change over the summer – to the Cleveland Guardians. Friday morning, the name change became official.
The Cleveland Guardians changed the team's website address and social media usernames Friday, and started selling Cleveland Guardians merchandise at the team store.
“To see people actually wearing the merchandise now, it makes you proud,” said Karen Fox, Cleveland Guardians Director of Merchandising.
More than 80 people lined up outside the team store before it opened. Greg Foote of Norton and his 15-year-old son Lucas, who showed up more than two hours before the store opened, were at the front of the line.
“We're trying to figure out what's something fun that we could do and this is something that never happens, so why not have an experience like this together,” Greg Foote said.
Jane Duffy of North Olmsted, a 71-year-old lifelong Cleveland baseball fan, said she will only wear Guardians gear from now on and will make a quilt with all of her old Cleveland baseball t-shirts.
“I’ll still have that at home, but I’ll be wearing my Guardians stuff,” Duffy said. “I love the Guardians name. That’s the one I wanted.”
The merchandise selection was somewhat limited Friday. The Guardians intend to grow the selection over time.
For instance, Jose Sanchez of Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood came to the team store hoping to buy the official ‘On-Field’ hat that the Guardians players will wear. It wasn't yet for sale, though, so he settled for a grey ‘snapback’ style hat and said he will buy the on-field hat online when it becomes available.
“They could have named them ‘The Rocks’ and I would have worn [the new team logo]. I love Cleveland baseball. That’s all that matters,” Sanchez said.
The Guardians is the fifth team name in franchise history and the first name change since 1915. Guardians Vice President of Communication and Community Impact Curtis Danburg was happy to see so many people lined up to buy Guardians gear, but understands that some fans will still want to wear the old logos.
“It’s going to take time. We understand that, but the day is finally here and it’s important for us to move forward and that’s what we’re looking forward to,” Danburg said.
The team also is staring putting up Guardians signage around Progressive Field.
Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.
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