All they had to do was check ClevelandGuardians.com and they didn’t do it

Before changing your team’s name, you might want to consult the internet

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The Cleveland Guardians were already a roller derby team, but the MLB franchise couldn’t be bothered to look that up for themselves.
The Cleveland Guardians were already a roller derby team, but the MLB franchise couldn’t be bothered to look that up for themselves.
Photo: Getty Images

Obviously, a lot went into Cleveland’s MLB team changing their name. They had to sift through all the suggestions, get some sense of what fans would like and what would be manageable, and then worry about logos and the like. More goes into this at the highest level that you or I can think of, or at least that’s what they’d tell you to justify spending what was assuredly an ungodly amount of money with design firms and consultants to come to their choice.

Still, with all the things we can’t imagine that go into changing the name of a Major League Baseball team, you’d think someone somewhere — an intern, an assistant, or the president himself — would just say, “Hey, I’m going to take literally a half a second to type in ClevelandGuardians.com, just to see if anyone has it.”

Whoops.

So now a MLB team is basically having the future of its name dictated to it by a male roller derby team. Yes, there are male roller derby teams. It’s not just that group of tattooed girls who commandeer the bar’s jukebox on a Saturday night. Anyway, the Cleveland chapter has been the “Cleveland Guardians” since 2011. They have the domain name, and the social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Though not Twitter, as apparently they didn’t want to wade into that cesspool. And who could blame them?

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Earlier in the week, it appeared that the baseball team and the roller derby team were coming to some sort of agreement, or were in talks, as both remained pretty mum on the subject. However, the MLB team filed a trademark application on July 23rd, and the roller derby team followed suit on the 27th. It goes deeper than that, as the baseball team filed a trademark in April in Mauritius, which it will claim gives it priority (in case you’re wondering why they’d do something like that, here you go). The roller derby team hadn’t been in action for two years due to the pandemic, and only recently updated its website for the first time since 2018, looking for new players and volunteers for the 2022 roller derby season. The baseball team will almost certainly argue that the lapse in activity opens up the name for it.

That is if it truly wants to fight it. A settlement in any range of six figures would be a king’s ransom for a roller derby team, and should be a pittance for the MLB team. Except this is the MLB team that’s eschewed having an actual MLB outfield for years and probably cost themselves a World Series because of it, so we know it tosses around nickels like kettlebells.

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Clearly the roller derby team has already gotten more publicity out of this than it could have imagined, and should squeeze as much as it can out of this before it eventually has to give up the fight. Which it will, because we know that it won’t be able to spend as much as an MLB team can on any legal battle.

Still, it’s an amazing lesson in how obtuse a company as large as the Cleveland baseball team can be. You’d think a google search would have been one of the first steps. Maybe it thought if it contacted the roller derby team before the official announcement, word might have leaked out. So to save that, it’s going to cost them several hundred thousand more dollars at least.

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