Saturday, March 31, 2012

Colorado Rockies Purple Alternate

The Colorado Rockies purple caps are one of the few On-Field caps that is regularly sold but is generally not worn on the field, excluding Throwbacks and such. These all purple caps originated dating back to 2003, a full decade after the team formed out of the plateau that is Denver, and they have been worn sparingly ever since. The disappearance of this cap is more or less unknown, and purple is somewhat being phased out in the great state of Colorado but not like what the Diamondbacks did to remove their flair, the Rockies are doing it in a more subtle fashion.

Shortly after they were introduced they began to phase them out throughout the years, and eventually they became an Opening Day event in which the caps were worn and thus auctioned off to charities after the series, and this would run through the 2009 season. When the 2010 season rolled out, the Rockies and their high expectations decided to shelve these caps indefinitely, and with little outcry from the fanbase, but opening day 2011 they were reintroduced but were only worn in the Rockies 7-6 loss in extra innings to their division rivals of Arizona.

The Colorado Rockies are currently the only team in Major League Baseball that still have the colour purple as one of their main or secondary tones, and as an alternate the Rockies have an all purple cap which seemingly aren't put into use that often anymore. The last time that the team wore these caps frequently was all of the way back in 2007, but being that the caps are restricted to Opening Day leaves no room for query about when or if they will be put into circulation again.

The purple base cap makes this logo pop so well, it's hard to believe that they wouldn't wear it more often. The cap's logo consists of two separate parts, one of which is layered and the other part that is of raised embroidery, the silver outline and the black interior. The black interior is very subtle and is raised a little too much for the part that is being described, it reminds me of the custom caps that are of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the raised embroidery just seems too high for its own good. The silver thread used for the stitching makes up for this however, it really emphasizes the logo through the context of the available colours.

The Colorado Rockies purple alternate cap consists of the traditional 59Fifty Crown and brim, but the brim is attached to the cap slightly different than one would traditionally see on caps, what differentiates this brim from other caps is that it is attached upside down. Generally the caps have the brim so that the material on the top of the brim stretches over the edge and tucks underneath which is then covered by the underbrim, but this cap takes the two colours of purple and black and uses the black underbrim as the overlapping material but is still used as the under side which is customary of the Cool Base On-Field Fitteds.

The batterman logo is accented by purple and black threading, each of which represent the team colours accurately, but the use of purple thread is more or less washed away in the overall base purple of the cap. The black portion on the rear side of the batterman is a nice accent but should have been used for the former, and the rear side should have used a silver threading which would help the batterman logo stand out better and would be able to express all three of the Rockies' colours in one small area.

The cap as a base isn't all that hard to find, but since it is worn so sparingly on the field, New Era has began producing these as a majority in China and American versions are becoming harder to find by the day, I was able to pick this up at LIDS when I heard the news of their Made in USA retirement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Houston Astros "Flashback Fridays" Throwback Lineup

So what's going on in Texas?

As has been announced, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros are doing some extreme throwbacks for the 2012 season in celebration of their 40th and 50th birthdays respectively. Although the Texas Rangers have yet to really reveal their full uniforms, caps are excluded in pictures, the Houston Astros are definitely ready to roll with the throwbacks and are prepared to celebrate 50 years with style.

For the Houston Astros, we have been given almost no secrets in regards to the caps, which we are going to assume are New Era, but even if not they will still be reported on. The Houston Astros are picking 6 new throwbacks, one for each of the five decades of the Houston Astros and one representing the original team which were named the Colts.

The jerseys and caps seen above are in a nice time line, Colts are on the left and the decades increase as the jerseys move to the left.

About the moment that the Flashback Fridays were announced there immediately became concerns with the Houston Colt .45's and the pistol which would be represented on the jersey. When this was reported, MLB originally announced that the Houston Astros would not be permitted to wear the jerseys if the pistol was present, but ultimately left the decision up to the team which allowed sanity to dominate over political correctness, leaving the pistol on the jersey.

Regardless of the jersey tops, the 1962-1964 Colt .45s New Era cap appears to be a base blue with what would most likely be raised embroidery on the front panels of the cap reading ".45s" in orange, adorned with an orange button on the top of the crown.

Moving on just 3 years after their formation, the team became the Houston Astros which caused their uniforms to move to the "Shooting Star" which brought about new caps. These new caps for the brand new Astros are a simple navy blue cap much like the .45s, but the cap will be assumed to feature flat embroidery for the orange star that rests in the middle, and a raised "H" in white stitching for the script covering it, and much like the .45s cap the button on top will be orange.

Come the 1971 season, uniforms changed again to the infamous rainbow effect as seen above, but the caps are pretty much unchanged except for the colour inversion. This cap here features the base orange cap which would make this the only other full orange cap On-Field other than the Miami Marlins' home alternate. The logo features the regular star, but stitched in the dark blue and is also covered by the white raised embroidered "H".

Come 1980 the team moved its rainbow scheme from a horizontal stripe along the abdomen to going horizontal down the shoulders, this cap moves back a bit in years to the first Astros incarnation, but the only difference we will see in this New Era cap is the button on top, which is the same base navy blue rather than orange as seen in prior years.

By 1994 the team changed uniform schemes again, the new ones are a pure white with a new stylized and sci-fi like script on the front with a new shooting star logo in gold. The caps are once again a base navy blue and will feature a raised embroidered shooting star in gold on the front panels, but we do not get to see the gold brimmed caps that were also present in this era.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies 2011 Civil Rights Game

This Philadelphia Phillies cap is a reproduction of their caps which were worn On-Field during a 21 year span from 1970-1991. The cap however was not worn throughout the season as other teams do with their Throwbacks, but this was worn during the 2011 Civil Rights game as represented on the embroidery on the left temple of the cap.

The Civil Rights Game was an annual exhibition game put on by Major League Baseball in order to embrace and honor the history of Civil Rights in the United States, but the game has since become an official event which affects the standings of the outcome. The Philadelphia Phillies battled the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field on May 15th, 2011 which resulted in a victory by the Atlanta Braves with a score of 3-2. What perplexes me over the uniform choice is why the throwbacks were selected in the first place, the first Civil Rights Game was played between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians which caused both teams to wear throwbacks to Negro League uniforms, but the use of traditional throwbacks didn't start until a season later.

This Phillies cap is a base maroon which is a nice throwback and a great colour match to the originals which were worn from 1970 up until the 1991 season and the front logo utilizes the styled swooping “P” logo with full raised embroidery and white stitching. The overall cap looks fantastic from the stitching of the logo all of the way to the batterman on the back, but more attention could have been paid to the embroidery on the side of the cap which designates it for the occasion.

The embroidery on the front logo is done quite beautifully with the raised embroidery along with the swooping motion of the inner portion of the letter, the fact that they were able to make a throwback with such quality is an amazing feature in regards to current New Era Caps, and the fact that it was made in USA is also a testament to that. Although I think the logo looks great on the front of this cap, the main consensus believes that the logo is way too fat and large which takes away from the accuracy, but I believe this is a simple modernization of the original cap.

The embroidery on the side of the cap is lacking however, the quality of the script of “Civil Rights Game” is quite low and leads me to believe that I may remove this feature of the cap, no offense to any person of race or creed, but the cap could look better without the eyesore that has been stitched upon the left temple.

The rear batterman logo is something that is extremely new to this specific version of the cap since the Phillies retired this version of their uniform a few years before the MLB Batterman logo was featured on the rear of the cap, regardless of that fact it does not distract from the overall cap but more likely adds to it since they are such a staple of all New Era caps, let alone the On-Field Fitteds. The colour choices are a tone of blue and a dark red, the choices seem adequate but a light powder blue would have been much more appealing since they would have matched the uniform tops they wore as the throwback and what they wore originally.

Overall I think this is a very nice cap, I would love to acquire its partner being the 2011 Atlanta Braves but I have not put much of a hunt into it so far, but I could wait until this season's game when the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Braves for the 2012 Civil Rights Game. If you are able to find this cap I would highly recommend it, I was able to purchase it from the Philadelphia Phillies' online team shop and I assume they are still available for sale. Whether you're a true fan of the Phillies, a bandwagon fan, or even just a fan of the sport, a good throwback like this is hard to find and even harder to miss, don't let the opportunity pass you up if you should consider adding this to your collection!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1999-2006 Arizona Diamondbacks Reproduction by Lee's Sneakers

The Arizona Diamondbacks may have a little more representation on this blog than other teams do, and that is mainly due to my bias being that they are my favourite Major League Baseball team. The Diamondbacks' organization has been a huge portion of my life and I find myself following them daily even when the season is over. Ever since I started to collect New Era caps in 2000, I of course started with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and although my first cap was the purple Home cap my second was of course the Away cap. Buying the cap in the early 2000's it got a lot of use out me over the years but it was eventually retired due to its age.

After years without this cap I decided that I should attempt to replace it, after buying a few deadstock items on ebay I just found that I didn't wear it as much as I used to because it just didn't feel right on my head. After being spoiled with the new and more modern shapes of the 100% Polyester On-Field fitteds I became accustomed to the deeper crown I began to look into the many reproductions that were on the market. After not exactly giving up on my hunt, Lee's Sneakers on Facebook/Twitter posted a picture of their newest shipment which included an accurate reproduction of the Arizona Diamondbacks 1999-2006 away cap.

This Arizona Diamondbacks away cap is a pretty good representation of the caps worn On-Field from 1999-2006, it includes a white sweatband, grey underbrim, along with no New Era flag embroidered on the side of the cap. The cap is a base black which is constructed in 100% wool and includes the original copper “D” snake logo on the front two panels. The only inaccuracy of the cap is the rear batterman logo which include a framed raised embroidery. Going along with the aspect of the accuracies in which this cap does and does not partake in, it utilises the Official On-Field patch on the inside of the cap, the patches also on the interior contrast the colour choice by using black while on top of the white sweatband.

This Diamondbacks logo follows the accurate representation of the “D” logo which is a stylized version of a snake which is embroidered using a metallic copper thread. Inside of this snake there are several details which are prominent such as the diamond detail on the back of the snake which is embroidered in a turquoise thread. The snake is then outlined with a thick but thin raised embroidery in black which is then silhouetted by a thin layer of purple which helps to offset the polarity between the black base cap and the metallic copper threading.

The rear batterman logo is the only disappionting aspect of this cap. It functions as a half-assed version of the raised embroidery of the batterman logo which is worn on the modern day On-Field Fitted but is vastly different being that it is extremely flat and includes no rounded edging which is complimented by a black threaded frame around it. The detail of the batterman is extremely poor but has a better shape than a vast majority of these framed batterman logos contain. Other than the lack of detail and the incorrect version of the batterman, the colour selection is accurate by using the black and purple threading surrounding the pictorial embroidery.

Overall this is a very accurate representation of the original cap worn by the Diamondbacks from 1999-2006. Other than the overall modernized shape of the On-Field Fitted, this cap strays from its origins very softly such as the colours of the logo being that the turquoise colour that was on the original cap has since been discontinued, and the copper threading used is slightly less yellow than the original. If anyone wants to pick up this cap be sure to hit up Lee's Sneakers on Twitter @leesneakers23 or on Facebook!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Milwaukee Brewers Military Appreciation Day

After hunting for obscure On-Fields such as the 2010 Tampa Bay b”RAYS”ers I have stumbled upon a cap that I had forgotten to be in existence, and that is the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers Military Appreciation Day On-Field Cap.

Without owning this cap first hand from a distance the only real constant between this cap and the Official On-Field is the Heather Grey crown, but other than that the colours have obviously been altered to satisfy the Military Appreciation Day celebration. Without knowing for sure due to the picture provided I would have to guess that the camouflage pattern used is U.S. Woodland, but it could be another similar pattern because I assume that each cap is unique with the pattern, meaning that no cap appears the same as it comes off of the factory line.

The logo of the cap is just the same as the On-Field Fitted but as expected the colours are vastly different, also to cater to the Military Appreciation Day theme, but the contrast between the camouflage and Heather Grey crown doesn’t translate that efficiently, and the cap is more than likely one of the worst On-Field Fitteds that has been worn by Major League Baseball players.

The rear batterman of the cap also fell into the clutches of the design, contrasting the Hunt Club Green thread along with the Sand, but since the two hues are so close in tone that it can almost disappear on the rear of the cap. I'd have to say that this cap definitely looks better than some of the Stars and Stripes that have been released over the past 4 years, and time will tell if we shall see a 5th year of that catastrophe.

But hey, just because I think this cap looks disgusting doesn't mean that everyone else should, but based upon the sheer amount of sizes in stock on the Brewers' own Clearance section in their online store is testament to that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Diamondbacks Custom from HatClub & My Fitteds

This Arizona Diamondbacks custom cap is the cap that I went to HatClub in Phoenix specifically to pick up, that is before I discovered another pair that I couldn't live without. This cap is a strange case though, being that since New Era has started putting “authentic” patches on the inside of certain customs as a workaround to also not having the New Era flag on the side. The strange part about this cap and the process of choices that awarded it the Authentic On-Field patch lack of the New Era flagis that this was NEVER a cap worn by the Diamondbacks On-Field.

Several months back I got an automated e-mail from MyFitteds advertizing caps in their “90's” style, which basically meant that the cap is 100% wool, includes a flat embroidered batterman logo, and the basic overall style of caps before they changed to 100% polyester in the 2007 season. When looking through the caps I was attempting to find myself another copy of the purple Diamondbacks Home cap from 1998-2006 but they were not available, the only Arizona caps for sale were the 1998 white crown alternate and this custom cap we see here. Since I was originally distraught about the inaccuracy of calling this a “throwback” or any kind of Authentic at all I decided not to buy it, but by the time I decided to pick it up MyFitteds were all sold out in my size. When I heard word that HatClub picked them up for distribution I decided that I definitely needed to get the cap, and picked one up a week later as I made a trip down to Phoenix, Arizona.

This Diamondbacks cap consists of a black crown with a concord brim and button on top, as stated above the cap also includes a grey underbrim which was used to mimic the style used up until the 2007 season. The cap is also 100% wool and also made in China, but the quality of the cap is extremely good and the only part that may be lacking is the overly raised portion of the logo's embroidery. This cap might be advertized as an On-Field fitted, but I think that this cap would have looked great if worn On-Field by the actual retro Diamondbacks, and based upon everyone’s apparent hatred of the all-purple caps this might have sold better.

The logo on the cap is a basic copy of the original Diamondbacks logo with the choice of colours, but purple and black threading for the outline of the “A” were inverted in order to contrast with the base black of the crown of the cap. The main thread colour used is turquoise which makes up the base of the “A” logo, this is inaccurate from the original version but this problem can not be avoided due to New Era discontinuing the thread that was originally used in this situation, so this thread was the nearest alternative to make the cap as accurate as possible. What really stood out to me with this cap was the fact that the logo is the correct size, being that so many custom Diamondbacks caps use the original oversized logo that was used in pre-production starting in 1995 prior to the team ever taking the field.

This Arizona Diamondbacks cap features a flat embroidered Batterman logo on the rear, this cap more or less lucked out in getting the flat embroidery due to its miss-categorization as an On-Field fitted. The stitching on the flat embroidery looks fantastic and shows up much better than many of the raised batterman logo caps, the flat stitching is able to avoid foam poking through completely. The colours used here are relatively familiar in regards to the Arizona Diamondbacks colour scheme, the black and purple batterman does not feature colours used on traditional Home caps for the original Arizona logo, but mimics the Away caps more accurately.

This cap is awesome, plain and simple, but I can also see why many people wouldn't like it and it would most likely cater to fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks before many other New Era or Baseball fans. The overall quality of the cap is really good, especially for a Chinese cap, but there are a few issues that I do have with it. The raised embroidery on the logo of the cap is definitely too tall and slightly too thick, but the thickness has been an issue with these Custom New Era caps using the Diamondbacks logo, so I guess this can be unavoidable at this point. The other issue I have with the cap is the position of the logo itself, it is about a centimeter too high but the position of the logo can vary between the caps so I might have just gotten one with poor placement.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diamondbacks Alternate Logo Custom from HatClub

On a recent trip to Phoenix, AZ to visit the annual Diamondbacks FanFest I made sure to hit up the few HatClub locations in town in order to check out the customs that they had available. I went into the store initially to pick up just one specific cap but I ended up walking out of there with three brand new New Era caps in my bag, which was unexpected because the two extras I walked out with were not available or listed on Hat Club's website.

This New Era cap here is an Arizona Diamondbacks custom cap, it is a base graphite cap with a grey underbrim, and the embroidered logo on the front is the team's secondary logo that is often seen around the stadium and on the left arm of the jersey. This logo features the letters “d” and “b” which are stylized and arranged in a manner to which they appear to create the look and shape of a snake's head.

The embroidery on this cap is extremely neat and it is one of the reasons that I fell in love with this logo. This is the third cap of mine that features the Diamondbacks secondary “db” snake-head logo, and this one has definitely become my favourite overnight. The embroidery on this cap is fresh in the manner in which they embroider, the main “db” snake is stitched in a raised embroidery fashion whereas the lower layers that introduce the snake's eyes or forked tongue are flat embroidery. The manner in which they raise the script above the snake details and outlines of the logo to create depth to really introduce the fact that the “db” and snake-head are two concepts in one.

The batterman logo on the cap is also a really neat feature that only customs can really make true alterations to, and this is seen in the outline and colour of the batterman's main features. The logo itself is nothing too impressive when comparing the stitching to any On-Field cap, other than there is no foam peeking through which gives it an edge up in current On-Field fitteds that have been rushed through production (USA and Chinese Made). The colour choices on the back make an extremely powerful image on an all ready dark hat without using bright colours to direct attention, the main frame and batterman are embroidered in a black thread which is complimented by accenting Sedona Red and Senora Sand respectively.

The embroidery on the flag is especially unique in regards to custom caps produced by New Era, and this is because multiple colours and layers are used rather than one simple colour for stitching the flag. With most caps produced by New Era, they evidently place their flag logo on the left temple of the cap, and they can vary in colour in order to contrast it with the base of the cap or even to hide the logo when someone tries to create a mock Cooperstown. By using two different colours on the New Era flag it brings extra attention to the side of the cap that seemingly can only be done when a side patch is applied. The Senoran Sand stitching is what makes up the base of the flag but the unique aspect of the second thread choice is the Sedona Red inside of the flag, this contrasts the cap well and compliments the rear batterman and the front logo all in one.

The overall quality and look of this cap is fantastic, the only downpart about it is that it is Chinese made and 100% Polyester, but it is not nearly as stiff as regular polyester Chinese made caps are, so it will definitely be getting more use out of it than some of the minor league baseball On-Field Fitteds that I have which are Chinese made. If you would like to get your hands on this cap I'd recommend hitting up your nearest Phoenix HatClub being that they are no longer available on the website.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Baltimore Orioles Road

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles will have a brand new pair of caps to wear On-Field and they will be worn home and away respectively, these new caps will take a look back into the Orioles' history in which the team experienced its richest history which included six World Series appearances and three victories. The Baltimore Orioles recently have not been a very fortunate team as of late which began after the 1998 season where they failed to reach the post-season after two consecutive ALCS berths.

The Baltimore Orioles new New Era cap focuses mainly on the bird, this animated bird takes a blend of the caps worn by the team between the 1966 and 1988 seasons, and this 22 year run was a rich one for the city and team of Baltimore. The cap is a base black with a mandarin orange brim and button on top, being that this is the Away cap the crown is a solid black and does not include the two front white panels as the Home cap has. The bird on the front of this cap originated in the 1966 season which proved to be the Orioles' first World Series berth since moving to Baltimore and the first Championship in franchise history. The bird was highly animated in a cartoonish style which featured the bird wearing a ball cap and smirking back at the viewer, this cap replaced the original pictorial image of a crudely drawn bird worn on base black caps.

The logo on the front of this cap attempts to take the original style from as early as 1966 and blend it with styles of cap logos that the Orioles wore through the 1988 season. This logo seems to borrow more elements from the original 1966 logo being that it is wider and more round, but the beak and cap elements are substituted in from the 1975 logo. The only apparent new part of the cap is the brim and the logo on the front of it, the cap's brim is much more round and doens't curve upwards in an awkward way that the original caps did, and the logo utilizes the current Alternate logo.

The embroidery on the front seems extremely clean especially for such a complicated cap, the reason I call this complicated and clean is because the quality of embroidery has taken a huge step back recently and correct stitching and raising is something I have been learning to appreciate recently. This cap includes the simple cartoon bird but there are some differences that it has with the original logos, most notably the cap. The cap on this bird is curiously the Orioles' current Alternate cap with the “O's” logo scripted on the front, the embroidery once again did a fantastic job in revealing the details in such a relatively small portion of the cap. The embroidery overall is very well done and I suspect that this is because a majority of the logo is flat embroidery, the only raised portion is the beak and its slight outline which is very short; not much room for disaster here. The thick orange outline also differs from its predecessors being that it is nearly twice as thick as them, the reason it is stitched this way is because it helps to make the bird's logo beam off of the front two panels.

The rear batterman logo of this cap is extremely predictable, but what else could one expect with the Baltimore Orioles? Teams like this only have two predominant colours, and much like the San Francisco Giants there is little they can do with the colour selection for the accents of the batterman. The black accented with the orange could possibly be switched in order to put more of an emphasis on the more tropical colour to help it stand out more, but that may or may not be necessary since the purpose of the batterman is to be subtle in its own respect. I am not satisfied with the raised embroidery on the rear batterman however, but I can say this about 90% of the raised batterman logos I see on the Polyester caps, quality has gone down extremely and the fact that so much of the raised foam material sticks out from between threads lays testament to the fact that the rear batterman should go back to being flat embroidery.

Being that the biggest thing the Orioles are known for currently is their fantastic part of Camden Yards, ownership most likely wanted to help spark interest in the team again through the process of changing caps to those worn by the teams that took the city of Baltimore to the Championship Series and beyond. The cap seen here might very well be an attempt to help remind the fans and the ownership that the uniforms worn on the field can help put more of a sense of tradition into the club and its fans, but although the encyclopedia diagram style bird is retired (for now), don't rule out seeing it return as an alternate in the near future.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2004-2005 Toronto Blue Jays Home Cap

The Toronto Blue Jays have been a team with an identity crisis ever since the infamous 1994 Players Strike which effectively canceled the remainder of the season. The two-time defending World Champion Blue Jays had lost a lot of community support much as the rest of the teams in the sport had seen, and the team went in a drastic direction and decided to mix up their uniform and logo scheme in order to attempt to bring interest back into the team and the game as a whole. Their identity crisis was evidently capped by four main uniform and logo reformations before finally settling on their 2012 designs, but the uniforms that made the most drastic change began in 2004 with the “J-Bird” logo.

The J-Bird logo was introduced in the 2004 season and two new caps were introduced, shown here is the Home Cap which was worn from 2004-2005, this cap is only available in the 100% Wool style and utilizes a graphite base for both the crown and the brim of the cap. This cap was quickly retired however and replaced with the black version of the cap which was previously worn as the Away Cap. The bright logo on the front of the cap beams out quite well and doesn't clash that much with the base colour of the cap, something that can't be said about the former Away now Home Cap.

This new Toronto Blue Jays “J-Bird” logo is seemingly one of the more popular caps in regards to cap sales or style, regardless of the team's actual fanbase or following. This logo includes a stylized slanted “J” which is of flat embroidery and is stitched in a manner to attempt to give it depth without raising by using white accented with silver stitching. The script on the logo is shelled with a black outline which allows the the blue jay's “action post” beak and head beaming out of it the curve of the slanted script. The bird's embroidery is rather unimpressive due to its lack of real depth through the motion of stitching, it only takes advantage of better stitching when looking at the top of the bird's head in order to create different levels of feathers through angling the stitching one way and then conflicting it in another. The entire pictorial and script logo is surrounded with a thick blue outline which is seemingly the same colour choice as the bird itself and this outline is itself surrounded by a thin white outline of its own.

The use of the multiple outlines upon outlines is an interesting design choice, but the colour choices are extremely unimpressive since their colour palette appeared to be extremely limited. The Toronto Blue Jays made a bold move by removing the “Blue” from Blue Jays, but attempting to slide it in anywhere they can really doesn't justify the fact that they dismantled 27 years of team history which involved around the Blue Jay and the Canadian Maple Leaf.

The rear batterman logo on the cap implores the use silver stitching accompanied by the blue stitching, the colour choices work seemingly well for the cap due to the base colour now being grey it reflects the silver stitching quite nicely. The accented blue stitching is an unfortunate last-ditch effort to attempt to keep the colour blue into the Blue Jays logo and colour scheme which can be said for the entire tenure of the 2004-2011 Blue Jays uniforms as a whole.

I purchased this cap in Toronto while visiting in 2005 so I was really excited to pick up this cap since this was my first time out of the United States and I thought that this cap would be a great souvenir to take back to the United States with me. This cap was really fresh when it came out but it didn't exactly age too well when true Blue Jays fans were put into the equation, but the real eye opener to the organization was when the throwbacks were worn and the reception they received because of it, and it was then these caps were thought of as having a limited lifetime. The fact that this grey cap has been retired since 2005 will make it difficult to find for anyone, especially since it was such a popular cap with the popular culture, but reproductions are not that hard to find especially when companies like HatClub and MyFitteds strive to supply accurate reproductions. Any fans of the Black version of this cap may have a little luck finding it currently due to its recent retirement, but if you want these caps you better get them before they're gone.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cleveland Indians Road/Alternate

The Cleveland Indians have had a long history involving their logo of Chief Wahoo which is a caricature of a Native American which originated as a shoulder patch in 1928 but was not worn on the cap until 1954-1957 before it was used primarily starting with the 1986 season. Chief Wahoo has been a deep part of the Cleveland Indians' team history, but its presence has not been perceived well by a portion of the Native American population which has lead to several protests which started on opening day of the infamous 1994 season.

Prior to the use of Chief Wahoo in any incarnation, the Cleveland Indians wore simple blue caps with a block style white “C” located on the front panels, and starting with the 2008 season the Cleveland Indians began to wear a cap similar to the original, but reported by the Indians' president the decision was not to combat the possible racism expressed by the logo, but was to help the team's image by not wearing the logo primarily on the road and to give the fans a cap option if they were not comfortable wearing the Chief Wahoo logo.

Whereas Chief Wahoo is worn primarily at home this new New Era cap was designed and worn starting in the 2008 season as a Home Alternate, but starting with the 2011 season this cap was retired for Home Alternate use and was then used primarily as the Away cap and Chief Wahoo was then the alternate. This cap is a base Navy Blue which is surprisingly darker than the traditional Heather Grey in which they wear as a home with a scarlet brim or the away alternate which is solid Heather Grey.

The reason that the caps use two different colour blues is a mystery to me, but the choices may have had something to do with the focus of the main logo through the background choice, and this can be noted in some of the original Chief Wahoo caps using an almost-black material that made the logo really pop out with its flat embroidery, but the lighter colour allows it to blend in slightly better. The darker Navy used on this Away/Alternate cap most likely utilized the darker colour to compliment the raised embroidery to give the stylized “C” the powerful look it required without any kind of outline, much like the correlation between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees cap script.

This Cleveland Indians New Era cap is designed with a stylized block “C” logo that is embroidered in scarlet stitching. This raised embroidery is thick and powerful which allows itself to become the dominant element of the cap through the process of putting the focus on the central script while using modest colour choices which compliment the team's dominant scheme which have been used somewhat exclusively since the team was named the Indians in 1915. By looking back to the teams roots of the very early years, the team has effectively made a throwback cap while at the same time modernizing it much like the Toronto Blue Jays recently did, but through using script rather than a pictorial logo.

The rear batterman logo falls into the category of “navy blue and red” which allows the logo to be a direct copy of the traditional MLB logo rather than the team's designers having the opportunity to be relatively creative by using colours that do not necessarily reflect the primary colours of the team. The logo on the back of this cap does fit in very well with the design of the cap by using a subtle design in a powerful way.

When the Cleveland Indians began to wear this cap as an alternate Home cap in 2008, it was a little frustrating to me due to the fact that being a baseball fan I am extremely against any real kind of change to teams or a change that would remove any historical aspect, and I assumed this logo was made to slowly phase out the Chief Wahoo logo. The basic fact about the Chief Wahoo logo is that it wasn't up until fairly recently in baseball history that they began to use it exclusively on their caps, but looking back at older baseball cards of mine I began to recall the stylized “C” logo which looked like Native American text in itself, and after a little more research I was able to discover that the “C” logos have dominated the team's cap throughout its history.

Whether the new “C” Logos replace the old Chief Wahoo logo is fine with me at the time being, but that being said I would prefer to see the Chief Wahoo logo stay within the team's uniform through the Home Cap, and Alternate cap, or the use of a shoulder patch as it was originally intended. When it comes down to it the logo in itself can easily be seen as being racist when looking at it without the filter we all might have, the caricature look does exaggerate some elements of the Native American but does not do it in a malicious manner. The best way to really make a good correlation would be the Atlanta Braves who no longer use their Native American caricatures but still heavily use Native American elements.

Looking at the Indians' Chief Wahoo logo while comparing it to dozens of other caps worn in the minor leagues, it is hard to see why the logo would be considered racist due to the level of caricatures used throughout the design process. Polls state that 91% of Native Americans approve or don't mind the Chief Wahoo or Washington Redskins team names or logos, but does that make it right? Or should lumberjacks nationwide all be offended by the Williamsport Crosscutters' logo?