Tag Archives: baseball caps

This year’s spring training caps are hideous

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.



Hits and misses: The new MLB batting practice caps

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.

What’s the proper look for a baseball cap brim?

Straight? Gently curved? Bent like a barrel? Multiple variations mark the way guys shape (or don’t) the brims of their baseball caps, and I’ve always been of the “gentle curve” persuasion.

Ten, maybe 15 years ago, there was a big movement to an exaggerated curve, almost as if the bill were wrapped around a beer can. Today, there’s a broad mix, including the blade-flat style that’s even more popular on the urban fashion scene than it is on the baseball diamond.

My friend Ed kindly pointed me to a great piece in The Plain Dealer of Cleveland in which Indians players explain their choices in shaping the bills of their caps.

From the Our Gang Wikia Wiki

As to how to orient the cap itself, readers of this blog probably won’t be surprised that I wear mine straight on, never cocked to the side. For guys of my generation, any cap bill that’s off center is straight out of the “Little Rascals.”

Buckwheat say, “No way!”

p.s.: My posts have been infrequent of late, as I’ve been distracted by a cross-country move, a new job and a few other associated details. I’ll crank up the frequency come July.

What’s a baseball cap worth? Half a million bucks if it belonged to Babe Ruth

A Babe Ruth baseball cap fetched more than half a million dollars at auction yesterday, but its value is a pittance compared with one of Ruth’s New York Yankees road jerseys that sold for $4.4 million.  (The New York Daily News has the details.)

The cap, which Ruth had worn in the 1930s with the Yankees and was worn in 1997 by pitcher David Wells when he played for them, was estimated before the auction to be worth $400,000. It sold for $537,238.

Wells says he’ll use proceeds from the memorabilia he’s selling to raise money for the high school in San Diego that bears his name. A New York Times story today notes that Manager Joe Torre fined Wells $2,500 for wearing the Ruth cap.

This is a rare day when a baseball cap is in the news. I’m enjoying it!

It’s also cool to find out that Ruth and I have the same hat size. Check the Times’ story to find out what that is.

Finding the right baseball caps for a cross-continent drive

One of the critical questions I face this week as I prepare to drive cross-country is what baseball caps to bring on the trip and when to wear each of them.

I could, for example, stick with my San Francisco Giants caps all the way. I could wear the standard cap Thursday, a vintage one Friday, the 2010 World Champions cap on Saturday and the appropriate orange-brimmed model on Sunday.

Maybe I should wear caps from eastern times while traveling in the west, and vice versa? That makes each cap all the more exotic.

Or maybe I should wear the cap of the team most appropriate for the region I’m traveling in: Giants out west, Cubs when I reach the “Triple I League” states, Indians when I reach Ohio and Yankees when I hit the East Coast.

I’m not sure what I’ll do. On a 2,900 mile drive over four days, I’ll have plenty of time to contemplate.

The new Miami Marlins logo: Nice design, wrong context

The new Miami Marlins logo is a fantastic look for somebody pulling down $8 an hour at a burger joint or a juice shop. But on a professional athlete making a couple of million dollar a year for hitting .236? I don’t think so.

Detached from baseball, the logo is appealing. The font is light, modern, inventive. The marlin swoosh is clever. The color palette seems drawn from the shells washing up along the Atlantic beaches (or maybe from Robin Williams’ wardrobe in “The Birdcage.”)

But apply the logo to a cap as shown and we’re talking Orange Julius in Ocala, not         Game 7 of the Fall Classic.

I suspect that the Marlins players will react to these uniforms much the way male dogs that get frou-frou haircuts do: They’ll skulk for a few days, then gradually build up the nerve to venture out in public.

Once the Marlins’ new uniforms get a few grass stains and cleat tears, they’ll look better. And I will give them this much credit: They make me appreciate the old Houston Astros’ mustard-stripe specials.

The Orioles bring back the cartoon logo

The Baltimore Orioles have resurrected the old cartoon logo that was featured on their uniforms and caps up until the late ’80s. The Baltimore Sun tells you pretty much all you need to know at this link. The Sun also has a poll, and the fans are overwhelmingly in favor of the change.

I prefer the “ornithologically correct Oriole” myself, but I still like the cartoon bird. What I don’t like is the logo imposed on a white panel and the front of the cap.  That brings back too many bad 70s fashion flashbacks.

Baseball All-Star Game caps? Not for me

Anyone reading my blog knows I’ll buy a baseball cap at, well, at the drop of a hat. But the All-Star game caps just don’t do it for me, this year or any year.

The design is actually not bad. But I just can’t get excited about a batting practice cap. It’s so manufactured, not authentic like a real MLB cap.

If I were at the game and all its sideshows, I might feel differently.


Iconic baseball caps: The Chicago Cubs

The Giants are playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field tonight, one of the classiest and most traditional settings for a game of baseball. The Cubs play while wearing one of the most iconic caps in any sport, with its tight, round red “C” logo on a blue field.

The model shown here is my mesh-back model that I picked up at the Friendly Confines in 1984. The real version, of course, doesn’t have the porous back or the piping between the bill and the crown.

The Cubs cap is really a great look, instantly associated with Chicago’s North Side, National League franchise.

Intimidating it is not. The Cubs have had a woeful record of last winning a World Series in 1908, the longest drought of any major league team.

I’d love to see the Cubs take it all some year.

But as for tonight, I’m hoping they play according to form and hand the Giants a victory.

Breaking baseball cap news: A protective helmet for pitchers

It’s a rare day when there’s breaking news on baseball caps, but today is one of them. The Easton-Bell helmet company has given a prototype protective pitcher’s helmet to a high school baseball player recovering from head trauma after being seriously hurt by a batted ball.

The player is Gunnar Sandberg of Marin Catholic High School near San Francisco, who as this story in the San Jose Mercury News explains was drilled behind the ear during a scrimmage  a year ago. Doctors induced a coma for the boy, who is recovering after a long run of surgery and rehabilitation. He’s back on the diamond but not on the mound, wearing the prototype helmet while playing first base.

The helmet, a picture of which you can see here,  looks like something out of the “Tron” movies the way its sectioned construction cradles the head. The helmet is an adaptation of bicycle helmets, as one would expect from Easton-Bell. (I still ride with my 20-year-old Bell helmet which, knock wood, has never been put the test in a fall).

The development of the protective pitcher’s helmet will likely trigger debate over whether youth and high school teams should make the head gear mandatory for pitchers. I doubt there will be much of a call for that. If Mom or Dad wants Junior to wear a helmet while pitching, I say let it happen — with this caveat.

Peer pressure is intense at the youth and high school sports level. Any kid wearing unusual protective gear will face some needling, much as Bob Balaban’s character in “A Mighty Wind” surely did as child when his mother absurdly forced him to wear a football helmet when playing chess.

I remember when Major League Baseball made batting helmets mandatory in the 1960s. Enough veteran players balked that the league phased them in over a few years.

I doubt the helmets-for-pitchers issue will spread anytime soon to the major league ranks. The game has seen its share of pitchers struck over the years, notably Cleveland’s Herb Score and Ray Chapman, the former whose career was derailed by a line drive and the latter who was killed by one in 1920. But most clubs and players acknowledge such rare instances and accept them as a risk associated with the professional game.

The focus on baseball safety should not be on protective gear worn on the field but on what’s causing the damage: the club in the batter’s hands.

The aluminum bat is the real villain, and I believe it should be banned from at least the high school level up. Aluminum bats give batters an unfair advantage and put pitchers at greater risk in the line of fire.

And aesthetically, the “ping” off the aluminum just isn’t right. Give me the crack of the bat.