MLB

Cleveland baseball team begins transition to Guardians by removing sign with former name

The Cleveland baseball team began removing the team's scripted logo atop the giant scoreboard at Progressive Field on Tuesday as it transitions its name to the Guardians.

Official switch to new nickname expected within a few weeks

Workers begin to remove a sign featuring the Cleveland baseball team's former nickname from above the scoreboard at Progressive Field on Tuesday. (Ron Schwane/The Associated Press)

The Cleveland baseball team began removing the team's scripted logo atop the giant scoreboard at Progressive Field on Tuesday as it transitions its name to the Guardians.

Crews started dismantling the letters, beginning with the "I" on the 80-foot-long sign. It's another step in the off-season change for the Major League Baseball team, which has been called the Indians since 1915.

The removal of the letters is expected to take several days. After cutting into the first letter, workers had to delicately remove a section to be lifted with a crane between two of the ballpark's toothbrush-like light towers.

Windy conditions forced the crew to shut down after a few hours.

Once completely removed, the sign will be placed in storage while the team evaluates options for a permanent spot for it. In July, owner Paul Dolan joked that it was too big to fit in his basement.

When the team left Municipal Stadium in 1994 for its new ballpark, which was then known as Jacobs Field, a neon sign of their Chief Wahoo logo was taken down and is now displayed at the Western Reserve Historical Society building.

A new "Guardians" sign will replace the old one and be erected before opening day 2022.

Official switch expected within weeks

The American League franchise announced earlier this year it was changing its name in a move prompted by a national reckoning on racist names and symbols.

The team already has removed other signage inside and outside the downtown ballpark. The team's official name switch is expected to take place in a few weeks, when Guardians merchandise will go on sale.

The changeover hit a snag last week when a roller derby team known since 2013 as the Cleveland Guardians sued the baseball team in federal court, alleging the switch infringes on its trademark.

In a statement, the baseball team said it doesn't believe there is a conflict between the parties and it remains confident in its position to move forward with the name change.

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