Since 2008 New Era has produced caps for all 30 Major League teams for both players and fans to celebrate our love of the game and our love of our country for Memorial Day and the 4th of July. In each of the past few years New Era released a white front panel with a red or navy back panel, and the logo for each team encapsulating the stars and stripes. In all years the proceeds went to Welcome Back Veterans, a program which addresses the needs of returning American Veterans and their families. For 2012 New Era is releasing a new design.
The panels of the new caps are of the traditional team colors for all 30 clubs; however, the inside of each logo is filled with a digital camouflage appliqué similar to that of the uniforms worm by the men and women who serve. As the son of a veteran, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to those who give their time and their lives for the values and livelihood we all hold sacred; fitting tribute to those who watch and play the game as we do, and yearn to come home to watch the games with their friends and family.
This Memorial Day I will be proud to represent my team, but more importantly, I will be proud to give back and represent those who give everything they have. –Benjamin Christensen May 16, 2012
Oh wait… I guess I didn’t steal this after all. This was one of the last few pieces I wrote while I was in the MLB Fan Cave this last year and in my opinion it was one of the better short pieces I wrote. My stepfather, Robert Thomas, served in the military for the better part of 15 years, but I’ll get into his story more once I write about the Los Angeles Dodgers. All 30 teams wore this style of cap, the normal panel and bill colors, but with a slight tweak on the logo featuring a digital camouflage for the interior. While a lot of hat enthusiasts knocked it I thought it was a fantastic concept, and I did my best to collect every team, but as of now I am currently 11 teams short of my goal. Hopefully I can find the remaining teams before the end of the month.
With all of these hats I’m going to do my best to keep it military based, focusing on the men who played or worked for their team, but also served their country in the armed services. Unfortunately for the Florida/Miami Marlins there aren’t any players who qualified for this mission; however, like a lot of teams a few of their players have done visits with active military personnel overseas. For the last four years the Marlins have traveled to Japan, Kuwait, Germany, Guam, Hawaii, Cuba and Southeast Asia to visit the men and women who serve their country. Through this year the players who have taken the time for these goodwill tours include: Gabby Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Chris Coghlan, John Baker, Brett Hayes, Bryan Petersen, Giancarlo Stanton and former manager Fredi Gonzalez. Another promotion that the Marlins have done for the passed few seasons is Military Monday. This season there are eight more dates in which the Marlins are giving complimentary tickets to active and retired military personnel, veterans, first responders and military civilians.
Due to the fact that I couldn’t track down any players or military moments of note within the Marlins franchise history, I decided to focus the attention on Memorial Day in general when marking up this cap. Since it was the first of two days in which these caps were worn I thought it would be a fitting tribute.
5/31/99: In the 20 full years of the franchise’s existence the Marlins have played on Memorial Day only 17 times. So, the numbers I had originally chosen represented their record: 10 wins, seven losses and three times in which they had a day off/travel day. After doing a bit more thorough research I find something that I just couldn’t pass up.
I haven’t calculated how many times in Marlins history they played a game under protest, but this is certainly one of those games that is filled with delicious irony as a result of recent events. On May 31, 1999 the Florida Marlins were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals at Joe Robbie Stadium (or whatever it was called back then) in the first game of a four-game series. The Cardinals had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and piled on an insurance run in the third. With the score at 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth the Marlins made their move. Pitcher Brian Meadows had grounded out, Craig Counsell drew a walk and Alex Gonzalez grounded out but moved Counsell to second base. Cliff Floyd came to the plate with two outs and a runner on and tagged a ball to the top of the outfield wall which bounced back in. Counsell scored and Floyd had himself a standup, two-out RBI double… or so he thought. Floyd’s hit was initially ruled a double, then a home run, then was changed back to a double when umpire Frank Pulli decided to review video of the play. In hindsight one would appreciate Pulli’s thought process on this wanting to be sure; however, instant replay wasn’t an option back in 1999. Then Marlins manager John Boles knew this and protested the game. Despite being in the right, and even when the National League office acknowledged that Boles was correct in the sense that replay shouldn’t have been allowed they still declined the protest on the grounds that it was a judgment call… which it clearly wasn’t. Those poor Marlins.