On Sunday, the New York Times announced the Cleveland Indians will be dropping their 105-year old nickname. No more can we call them the Tribe and no more can they be referred to as the Indians. Well, after next season that is. The Indians name will be retained throughout the 2021 season, but then that will end the historic moniker. It was only recently when the team parted ways with longtime mascot Chief Wahoo, resorting to the rather bland but less controversial block ‘C’.

It is not a recent occurrence that fans and activists argued against the Indians’ branding. This has been going on since at least the 90’s when some Native Americans voiced their displeasure at the 1995 World Series as the Indians faced off against the Braves. Two teams named after indigenous people in a championship environment provided for some unwanted and distracting attention. Fast forward a quarter-century and the official word has been given that Cleveland will intend to come up with something new.

While the team won’t run the same course as the Washington Redskins did and just go without a nickname for a season, it is far too early to tell what they will become. What would be a possible identity for the future of Cleveland’s MLB team? The Spiders has been kicked around in numerous fan discussions and forum boards, a reversion to the team’s roots of what they were known as in 1887, several years before they would become the Indians.

Another recently popular name is the Cleveland Guardians, referencing the commanding architecture of the statues that watch over the Hope Memorial Bridge, located just outside Progressive Field. If it were up to yours truly, there is always my appreciation for military history, which is something that could be a fitting tie-in. The Cleveland Air Show is an annual fixture of the city each Labor Day Weekend. As the P51 Mustang is plane that helped win WWII and is one that has made numerous appearances at said air show, how about the Cleveland Mustangs with a P51 for a logo? The manufacturer of the fighter plane is no longer in existence which means no third-party royalties to worry about.

The hunt can be taken even further with a more solidified connection to Cleveland. The I-X Center was formerly a tank factory and training grounds for the armored vehicles during WWII. Perhaps the Cleveland Ironhides would strike a chord with fans. It’s certainly relevant to the city’s history if nothing else. Whatever the direction the team’s ownership decides to go, they have a year to figure it out, connect with a marketing group and flesh out a new logo and a new look. I see no reason why the colors of navy and red should change, but as for the update of the team’s name, it will certainly be divisive among Clevelanders and baseball historians.

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