A Cleveland Guardians player has joined fans in calling for Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot to become the team’s mascot following its name change.
In the wake of the announcement that Cleveland’s baseball team would be changing their name to the Cleveland Guardians, fans of both MLB and the MCU have been calling for the team to make Groot the team’s new mascot, including the team’s own Josh Wolf. After 105 years, it was announced that the Cleveland team would be changing their name from the racially insensitive Cleveland Indians to the Guardians. The announcement was made through a promotional video featuring narration from Tom Hanks and music from The Black Keys, and came complete with new typeface and a sleek new logo of a baseball flanked by a pair of winged G’s.
The Guardians are one of many sports teams that have faced controversy over their appropriation of Native American symbology and use of racially insensitive imagery over the past few years. After years of calls to do so, the former Washington Redskins temporarily changed their name to the Washington Football Team until a new one is decided upon. That decision to make the change came in the wake of heightened awareness around racial justice following the George Floyd protests last year, with 87 shareholders and investors threatening to cut ties with the team unless the change was made. Many online, however, have now been quick to point out that the Guardians were able to facilitate a name change and complete rebranding far more quickly than Washington.
Naturally of course, the new name of Cleveland Guardians led to many drawing comparisons with everyone’s favorite rag-tag band of galaxy saving A-holes, the Guardians of the Galaxy. Director James Gunn, who is set to begin filming on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in November, even got on on board and stated that Rocket Raccoon should be the Guardians’ new mascot. He added that he would be “bummed” if this didn’t happen. Many more called for the sentient tree, Groot to become the new mascot for the team, including starting pitcher Josh Wolf, who wrote on his Twitter:“if Groot isn’t our mascot I will be disappointed”.
If Groot isn’t our mascot I will be disappointed
— Josh Wolf (@JoshWolf30) July 23, 2021
The team’s controversial former mascot, the racist caricature ‘Chief Wahoo’ was officially retired in 2019 after 50 years of protest, and the name change is viewed as another step in the right direction. The idea of Groot, or specifically Baby Groot, becoming the new mascot has been circulating on Twitter like wildfire with many photoshopping Cleveland Guardians merch onto the character in stills from films. Others have, perhaps darkly, pointed out that Groot could in fact be the bat used by the players. Considering that Thor used a piece of Groot as the handle for his axe Stormbreaker in Endgame, it would certainly be worthy comparison.
Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of the MCU’s more successful franchises since it began in 2014, with Groot in particular being a breakout character. The huge popularity of Baby Groot that arose around the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has faded somewhat in recent years, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it made a comeback. It’s not hard to imagine Disney licencing Baby Groot plushies wearing a Guardians shirt and cap, or even a limited-edition Groot themed shirt. It would likely be great promotional synergy for both the team and the company, although it probably would cost the Guardians a large amount to do so. Still, it’s fun to consider the possibility of Groot making an appearance in some form at one of the Guardians’ games.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
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