CLEVELAND – What was supposed to be a special opening day for the newly appointed Cleveland Guardians began with an incident.
As fans shopped for the first available Guardians merchandise on Friday, as the team officially transitioned from the Indians after 106 years, a sign installed outside the team’s Progressive Field store came loose from its bracket and crashed into Sidewalk.
“Well that’s a sinister sign,” yelled a bystander.
A worker was on a ladder checking when the sign broke a small section of the stadium’s stone exterior. It fell about 15 feet and broke into pieces. Nobody was hurt.
Fans began lining up early in the morning to buy new hats, sweatshirts, jerseys and other gear bearing the Guardians logos.
“This exceeds expectations,” said Karen Fox, the team’s director of marketing. “Having people come in at 6:30, and then we had 100 people at 9:14. You can see that the store looks like we’re having a game today.”
The team also changed its social media logos to complete the change, a process that began in June 2020, when owner Paul Dolan announced that the Major League Baseball team would be leaving the Indians in the wake of a social reckoning over names and racist symbols.
The Guardians ran into a legal problem along the way when a local roller derby team also called The Guardians filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. The parties reached an amicable resolution earlier this week that allowed both to use the name.