The Cleveland Indians officially change their name to the Guardians on Friday

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CLEVELAND – A new era of baseball in major leagues in Cleveland is about to begin. The Guardians will be up and running.

The battle and field will come in a couple of months.

The Indians will officially transition to the Guardians on Friday and complete a name change that has happened in stages – and with an unplanned complication – over the past few months.

The team released a release on Wednesday in which it said their team shop at Progressive Field will start selling Guardians items and souvenirs later in the week. The store on the team’s ball field in downtown will sell exclusively Guardians equipment before caps, jerseys and more become available at retail stores in northeast Ohio on Nov. 23.

The team said some digital elements will change on Thursday before Cleveland’s team website and social media handle the transition to the Guardians on Friday.

It has been a sometimes challenging road to the name change for Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team, which has been known as the Indians since 1915. The decision to drop the Indians received a backlash from some fans who felt that team owner Larry Dolan gave in to the wishes from a vocal minority.

Dolan has said his decision to move away from the team name was spurred by a reaction to the national arithmetic of racist names and symbols.

The team wanted to find a name that fit Cleveland’s community and history, and after a years-long process that included surveys and interviews with fans, area leaders and front office members, the team chose Guardians, a name inspired by eight massive art deco statues. at Hope Memorial Bridge near Ball Street.

However, there was a legal snag along the way when a local roller derby team called the Cleveland Guardians filed a lawsuit against the team alleging trademark infringement.

But on Tuesday, the parties reached an “amicable settlement” that will allow both teams to continue to use the name.

It was the last hurdle in the name renewal for the AL franchise, which is scheduled to play its first game as the Guardians at home on March 31 against the Kansas City Royals.