Let me repeat that headline: This year’s spring training baseball caps are hideous.
As my long blogging layoff will attest, I’ve paid little heed to the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues these past few weeks. So what I saw on a television set in a neighborhood shop a short while ago hit me harder than it might have otherwise. On the tube was a Tigers-Mets game. When I saw the Mets’ caps, I blanched.
From a distance, they look like something for a beer league softball team. On closer inspection, there’s Mr. Met running the bases — in the wrong direction. (Yeah, it’s the Mets, so why should I be surprised?)
I was vaguely aware of the unveiling of these new cap models when they were announced a couple of months back but I didn’t pay attention. After doing a Google search for images of the new caps, I wish I’d skipped the spring altogether.
The white-billed Yankees’ caps may be the worst of the lot. Or maybe it’s the egg-splatter Tampa Bay Rays model. All in all, these caps look like they belong on sale by street vendors in the seedier sections of any number of Rust Belt cities.
I started this blog based on my love of baseball caps, but I have standards. Most of these spring training caps are devoid of artistic merit and devalue the brands of the teams they represent. The teams see this merchandising as a profit center, which is why there’s a continuous stream of new models.
Sorry, MLB. I ain’t buying.
Posted in Baseball
Tagged Baseball, baseball caps, Cactus League, caps, Detroit Tigers, Grapefruit League, hats, Major League Baseball, New York Mets, New York Yankees, sports, Spring Training, Tampa Bay Rays, yankees caps
Here's a great take on the Hall of Fame washout from one of my favorite bloggers.
I’m looking back on the 2012 season and realizing that this is one of those rare years in which I didn’t see a major league baseball game in person.
Having switched jobs and coasts in May, I left California before having a chance to see the Giants or Athletics play at home. My two cross-country drives to get our cars out east were too hurried to route by way of a big-league stadium. And once I got east for good, I never found the time to run down to Philadelphia or head up to New York to catch the Phillies, Yankees or Mets.
I managed to catch plenty of games on TV, radio and especially on the MLB app on my iPhone. I did get to see one minor league game on each coast, the Nuts in Modesto and the Thunder in Trenton. Thank goodness for that.
Also on the plus side, we finally got ourselves high-definition TV this summer, and it’s been great to see those major league parks come alive on the screen in our family room.
But as for seeing a game live and in person, I’ll have to invoke the eternal cry of Cubs fans: Wait ’til next year!
[Note: This post was composed during the baseball playoffs but I never posted it until now.]
The fake locker room display at the NHL Store in Midwtown Manhattan, empty — just like real NHL locker rooms as the labor dispute continues.
I was in Midtown Manhattan yesterday and briefly sought refuge from the cold on 6th Avenue in the NHL store and its adjoining Starbucks coffee shop. There were plenty of hockey fans checking out the NHL merchandise, from replica sweaters and goalie masks to pucks and stocking caps. People were posing with a replica of the Stanley Cup.
Even as the labor impasse drones on, I took it as a good sign for hockey that so many fans were streaming into the store to check out the merchandise. It may be the only direct connection to NHL hockey they have this season that’s looking more like a non-season. A couple of sports network satellite trucks were parked in front of the NHL store, evidently waiting to go live with another “no developments” story on the negotiations, which are expected to resume today.
This was my first trip to Midtown in several years and my first visit to the NHL store. I was thinking that instead of having a Starbucks connected with the hockey shop there should be a Tim Horton’s, the Canadian chain with strong ties to north-of-the-border hockey teams.
To my surprise and delight, there now are Tim Horton’s in New York City. I spotted one in Penn Station and another somewhere in Midtown, each having a counter in multi-brand convenience marts. It’s not live hockey, but it’s a step in the right direction.
The fabulous Uni Watch blog has a great rundown on the new batting practice caps that major league teams will be wearing this year. The design comments by Paul Lukas are excellent, and I give him a tip of the cap for noting the unbalanced use of serifs in the “P” on the Pirates’ cap.
You’d think a guy running the Ball Caps Blog would be an enthusiast for these alternate caps, but I’m not. I see most of the designs as second-rate and cheap, designed primarily to extract even more dollars out of the fans’ pockets.
At dinner in Philadelphia last night, I kept glancing up at one of the big screen TVs showing a rebroadcast of the festivities that surrounded the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. The station was showing a long run of introductions of former players from the teams that would play the “real” game that day in Philly, the Flyers and the New York Rangers.
In short order, I saw Bobby Clarke and Mark Messier come out for interviews, dressed for play in Flyers and Rangers sweaters, respectively. The cameras showed fans of each franchise standing and applauding their heroes of yore, and that’s when the impact of this year’s labor dispute hit me like a skate blade to the shin.
By seeing those former players, each fan was reminded of all the games they’d watched or heard over the years, fathers and mothers telling sons and daughters how they were there at the Spectrum or the Garden when such and such happened. And those sons and daughters will be able to tell their children and grandchildren about how they sat outside on a cold January day back in ’12 to watch the Winter Classic.
But there will be no Winter Classic this season for anyone to remember, and as we near the new year it’s looking like there won’t be any games, period.
I’ll survive a winter without hockey, just as I survived earlier times without baseball or football during labor squabbles. And I will come back to hockey whenever the millionaire players settle their issues with the millionaire owners. I love the game too much not to return.
But as each canceled game comes off the calendar, there are that many fewer fathers and daughters taking in a game together and that many fewer mothers and sons at breakfast the next morning checking the scores.
Hockey won’t lose me — it’s too deeply imprinted in my psyche. But it will lose many fans for the future, and it does so at its own peril.
We’ve gotten past the Mayan apocalypse, so now we can move on and celebrate the Baseball Solstice. That’s the mid-point between the end of the World Series and the first exhibition game pitch of spring training, which we will celebrate this year in concert with Christmas.
Unlike the winter solstice at Stonehenge, there is no precise hour at which the sun peers through the pocket on the big glove at San Francisco’s AT&T Park or glints off the Citgo sign at Fenway Park. As I noted several days ago, Countdown to Spring Training and the Ball Caps Blog have divined that, this year, we should celebrate from sunset Christmas Eve through sundown Christmas Day.
As the solstice is concurrent with a sacred Christian holiday, we urge all baseball fans to participate in a respectful way. Wrap a glove and donate it to Toys for Tots, or playfully announce “beer here!” when serving beverages to guests at holiday gatherings.
To all my readers, a happy solstice and a merry Christmas!