Sunday, July 28, 2013
June 30- Texas Rangers
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last year when it comes to uniforms, I think one of the top three moments of clarity is when I learned not once, but twice that ESPN uniform “analyst” Paul Lukas (Uni Watch) really has no sense of style and appreciation for change. I realize how much of an odd comment it is for me to say this when considering how much of a purist I’ve become when it comes to just buying hats; however, I do appreciate it when a designer comes up with something new, even if it is a bit unorthodox.
Baseball is a game that some take for granted and heavily undervalue. While some want to complain about how slow it moves or whatever bit of dribble that translates into my head as “clearly you’re not smart enough to appreciate it,” the one thing that very few grasp is that it’s one of the few games that hasn’t undergone any dramatic changes in over 120 years. I’d say adding the designated hitter rule in the American League in 1973 is most notable. Regardless of that, my point about Lukas arose the first time this last autumn after the unveiling of the new Diamond Era batting practice/Spring Training caps and he felt the Atlanta Braves Chief Noc-A-Homa logoed cap was worthy of a F grade, the only one to receive it. Lukas, for one, opposes any use of the old Native American symbols and names as stated in an article he wrote for ESPN back in September of 2012. While I have always respected other peoples’ opinions on this particular matter, I can’t help but find the humor in white people making this argument, while on the other side of the coin there are a fair number of Native American tribes who respect it and are honored by the use, but this is a matter I’ll get into way down the road in another post. The second strike against Lukas came on March 27th when he unveiled the 2013 Memorial Day Stars & Stripes caps in a picture tweet which said, “All 30 teams to wear these really ugly camo caps on Memorial Day.” I just can’t side with that.
I for one am a fan of them. Hell, I am a huge fan of the ones from last season. You know; the ones I wrote about back in May which featured the game style-colored caps with the digital camouflage interior logos. The ones I’m still trying to find the last few teams that I need. Like baseball uniforms, the United States military has undergone a similar change by updating their camouflage patterns and colors. In years passed, New Era had stared with variations of red, white and blue pattern hats with actual stars and stripes integrated into the logos which ended up pleasing some and disappointing others as well. Even though I personally didn’t purchase any of those caps, as a fan of the game and a fan of caps, I can still stay that it was a clever series of designs. When it came to last season’s models I felt that it was a way more fitting tribute to the troops on top of the proceeds that were, and are still being donated to Welcome Back Veterans. I will admit I was a little disappointed to see that last year’s models weren’t brought back for a second tour, but I got over it once I saw these. Even more important, I as incredibly impressed with the fact that Majestic Apparel collaborated with New Era and came out with matching camouflage-logo jerseys and shirts for the players to wear and fans to purchase which were met with positive responses from both. My point in all of this is that as a uniform critic, using “ugly” as an adjective is rather juvenile. Even more so, to be so quickly dismissive shows no sign constructive intelligence, kind of like when CBS baseball writer Jon Heyman bashed the Oakland Coliseum so harshly in one tweet. As journalists, they know and could do a lot better.
Now that I’m off of my soapbox, I’ll move onto the hat. I snagged this and two others on June 24th during my trip to Buffalo, New York for the New Era Fan Appreciation event. In my Buffalo Bisons post from that date I explained how at the end of the New Era factory tour we were allowed to take a few “defective” Texas Rangers Stars & Stripes caps home with us. Not wanting to be greedy, I only took as many as my means told me; one for my friend Taylor (@TaylorAKSmith), one for my friend Mark (@TheTXGonzo) and one for myself. I probably could have snagged more, but I didn’t want to overstep the hospitality. If you couldn’t tell from the photo above, the defect in these caps was that the “T” logo was supposed to be made in red with a blue trim, not white with a blue trim.
To be perfectly honest, I dig the white “T” a lot more than the red, but that’s just me.
Now, unlike last year’s Stars & Stripes caps, I don’t have any intention to purchase one of for every team; however, at some point down the road I will snag the Oakland Athletics for my collection because, you know… Athletics.
When marking up this cap I couldn’t help but post the same date as the Arizona Diamondbacks cap I wrote about on May 14th due to its significance, but also because it makes a lot of sense (in my mind) on account of the logo. I’ll explain…
5/27/13: If you didn’t click on the link for the Diamondbacks post, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version. Back when the schedule was written up and first posted, the Diamondbacks were so thrilled with the success of a doubleheader which had taken place the previous season that they opted to schedule one for the upcoming season. Being the smart guys that they are, they came up with the best date to hold the games and host the Rangers at the same time, Memorial Day. Since it’s a National holiday, and typically a day when people tend to go out and partake in family events, it proved to be a perfect match for everyone involved… except the Rangers.
If you haven’t noticed with my other posts, I like to find patterns and discover weird stories which all took place underneath these caps. In the case of this one, I thought it would be an amusing fit to mark a date I’ve all ready used on a hat that was made incorrectly for a team that ended up losing both games of the doubleheader they agreed to play in on the road. That’s right; the Rangers dropped both ends of the double dip by the final scores of 5-3 and 5-4. Unfortunately for the Rangers they couldn’t get anything really going offensively with the exception of Adrian Beltre who went 3-9 with three RBI for both games.