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The Cleveland Indians reintroduced themselves as the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, thanks to a little help from Tom Hanks. The Hollywood star narrated a video announcing the name change, which will take place after the 2021 season, as the MLB team's original moniker has offended many Native Americans for years.
The announcement features music from The Black Keys, which makes sense given the band's from Akron, Ohio. But why did Hanks, who was born and raised in California, voice the two-minute love letter to Cleveland?
The actor has a special relationship with the city as he's credited time spent there with changing his life. In the late '70s, Hanks worked the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival for a few years. It's where he earned his Actors Equity Card.
"I had never been out of California before getting the job in Cleveland," Hanks wrote in a 2019 essay for AARP. It's where he met lifelong friends, George Maguire and Michael John McGann.
"They were... the kind of actor I wanted to be — and the kind of human being I hoped to become," he said. When the season was over, Maguire and McGann convinced Hanks to pursue his acting dream in New York, despite "the comfort of the West Coast" calling the eventual Oscar-winner back home.
"You would not be reading these words otherwise," Hanks explained.
The 65-year-old has given back to the city for years, whether it's been helping restore the Hanna Theatre or trying to boost Cleveland's film and TV industry. Now, the beloved actor is hoping to sprinkle some of his good karma on the Cleveland Guardians — and it just might be working.
"Hello, I'm Tom Hanks. The Cleveland Indians ownership have lost it's credibility, so it's borrowing some of mine," one person tweeted.
"Really respect the Indians calling in the big guns. MUCH harder to be mad about a new name if Tom Hanks is announcing it," a Barstool Sports reporter added.