The Space Force jokes started as soon as the new name for Cleveland's baseball team was announced Friday.

"Cleveland Indians switch to Guardians, doubling size of Space Force," one wry observer wrote.

"Cleveland joins Space Force, use of bats outlawed as dangerous," another cracked.

At 13,000 strong, the Guardians of the Space Force are used to being picked on as the military's smaller and younger sibling. The whole armed service for space is just a third of the size of the Coast Guard, which had been the target of military humor since its founding in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service.

The entire Space Force could fit on Fort Carson twice.

"Gen. Jay Raymond denies Cleveland baseball team transfer to Space Force, citing low physical fitness test scores."

Away from jokes, the Cleveland Guardians would have a difficult time competing with their Space Force namesakes, the bulk of whom serve in Colorado at Peterson, Schriever and Buckley Space Force bases and Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station. The three installations in Colorado Springs will formally get their Space Force designations on Monday.

As a team, Cleveland is batting .230 and has won just over half of its games, putting it in second place in the American League's Central Division.

Space Force's Guardians, so far, are batting 1.000 and remain undefeated in their mission to defend American assets in orbit while deterring aggression in space.

If Cleveland loses, they just slide another game behind the Chicago White Sox. If Space Force loses, important systems that govern modern life, like the Global Positioning System, could be lost. If that navigation and timing signal goes out, financial markets would halt, drivers would be lost and systems like the internet, which uses GPS timing to keep data moving, would cease to function.

Still, it must be flattering for the Space Force's Guardians to have their name adopted by a Major League team. There are no Los Angeles Marines or Seattle Sailors. Soldiers and airmen are likewise unadopted by major American sports franchises.

The spirit of Space Force's Guardians is mirrored in Cleveland's reasoning for the new name.

"It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city, and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family," Cleveland's owner, Paul Dolan, said in a statement. "While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

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Cleveland's Guardians would, for the most part, meet the Space Force's physical requirements. They'd have a hard time meeting the Space Force's other qualifications — the military's newest service has the highest standards for mental acuity and has little tolerance for moral missteps.

Space Force has the biggest brains in the military and is made up of people who have led squeaky-clean lives. They hold the military's top security clearances and are entrusted with giving their colleagues in other services unmatched advantages on the battlefield. Thanks to space-based systems, the Air Force's bombs always hit their targets, ships at sea around the globe have instant access to communications and soldiers and Marines know exactly what's over the next hill.

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Those missions are more difficult than throwing a curve ball, stealing second, bashing a home run to orbit or flipping a double play.

Cleveland's baseball team should invite Space Force's Guardians to spring training next year.

If they live up to the new name, they'll go undefeated in 2022.

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

City Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's City Editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom has covered the military at home and overseas and has covered statehouses in Denver and Olympia, Wash. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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