Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2012 Seattle Mariners Alternate

Now I know I'm a little late to the game with this announcement, but I am finally back online with a brand new PC, so I will be able to update regularly once again. However, the Seattle Mariners have announced that they will be re-releasing a version of their cap that they have been known to wear for years now.

Since the Seattle Mariners changed to the uniforms they are currently known for in 1993, they have used the solid Navy Blue base crown with the teal brim up until the 2003 season, starting that year the entire cap went solid Navy Blue. A few weeks ago the team had announced that they would be bringing their original cap with the teal brim out of retirement and will be used as an alternate starting in 2012.

On another note, the 2012 season will be the Seattle Mariners' 35th anniversary, and as expected the team will be wearing patches on their jersey arms to commemorate this milestone as most teams do who have such anniversaries.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Low Profile On-Field Fitted

When it comes to the New Era 59Fifty style baseball cap, most if not all people have the assumption that they are the traditional Brooklyn style crown that they are famous for, however for years New Era has been in the production of similar Low Profile cap, and these low crown versions of the caps have a significantly smaller crown than their traditional counterparts.

These Low Profile hats are built the exact same way as the traditional On-Field Fitted, and the recent hats are made out of the same Performance Polyester Cool Base material as a regular cap, and they both contain the black underbrim. In a literal sense, these caps in a identical in every way except for the fact that the Low Profile has a much lower crown than the traditional.

Generally, these caps are not sold in stores, but they can rarely be found in locations such as Flagship Stores, and even then they may be unavailable. The Low Profile style is most famous with baseball players themselves, even though a small minority of the MLB population wears these style caps, they take up a majority of the New Era population who desires such style. Several Major League baseball players who do wear this style of cap can be some of the more famous players and you would have never thought that they'd be wearing a uniform different than their counterpart, some of the more famous players who prefer the lower crowns include Ichiro Suzuki, Chris Carpenter, and Derrek Lee.

Chris Carpenter
Brooklyn vs. Low Crown

The style of Low Crown caps has been becoming ever more popular with the fans who wear the New Era style, and the style of Low Crown has been becoming slightly easier to find online. I have been a Diamondbacks fan since their formation in 1998 and have been buying their New Era caps since then, and up until recently I have held back on purchasing a Low Crown cap because I didn't know what to expect with it.

Low Crown vs. Brooklyn Style

Both caps pictured above are brand new New Era caps, the one on the Right is the traditional 59Fifty and the cap on the Left is the Low Crown style. As you can see above there is a significant difference in regards to the shape of the front two panels and this leaves the crown with more of a slope to it instead of the near vertical slope of the traditional.

Brooklyn Style 59Fifty

Low Profile Style 59Fifty

Given the fact that these caps have a lower crown, they also sit lower on your head and give you more of a snug feel to them, and wearing this cap for several days was an extremely different sensation in regards to an original. The fact that these are so rare really adds an element of intrigue to it that a traditional would not, but the lack of availability keeps this style of cap in the darkness. Should New Era decide to promote this style of cap more, I believe that they would create another fan base which they currently lack, more casual fans who do not like the “Elmer Fudd” look to their caps. Given New Era's current obsession with their adjustable “Snapback” caps, I do not see the Low Crown style getting the attention it deserves any time soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Downflap Cap On-Field Fitted

Since winter is approaching us quickly, I thought it was about time we discuss the New Era 39Thirty style caps that include a downflap used to cover ones ears in cold temperatures.

Last winter I took my annual trip to Massachusetts and along with my girlfriend we took a one week trip down to New York City, and as I'm sure one could imagine it is no where near warm in the North East during winter, so I decided to give one of these caps a try. After checking out MLB's webpage, I finally decided to pick one up, so I decided to order the black Arizona Diamondbacks cap, however I considered getting more of a wintery team to go along with the North East, but my Dbacks ultimately prevailed.

The cap is actually an approved on-field cap in Major League Baseball, and it can be spotted on occasion during the later months of the season and also in the Post-Season on certain players. This cap is a wool blend, 97% wool and 3% spandex, and is also a stretch fit unlike the regular fitted 59Fifty brand. The cap's downflap includes the MLB's logo on the back which is present in unfolded mode and has the team's logo on the back while it is folded down to go along with the second MLB logo above it.

The flap is designed to be folded up when not in use, but in colder weather the flap would be pulled down in order to cover ones' ears to help add that little bit of warmth that might be desired. The cap's crown is a traditional six-panel cap as the rest of New Era's American style, and the front bill has a manufactured bend to it as much of the rest of the 39Thirty style caps and has a more squared out brim than the traditional on-field 59Fifty. The interior of the cap is also different than a regular 39Thirty cap due to the fact that the back four panels have a line of fleece to help hold in more warmth and to keep the cap from getting too cold when not in use. This fleece loops up the downflap and is designed to be placed upon ones ears or back of the neck during use.

The embroidery on these caps are also extremely different than on the 59Fifty models, which is an interesting series of events due to the fact that they are all made by the same company. In fact, the logo designs also vary between the styles and are often extremely noticeable when compared to the original. Some of the logos have an extreme shift to them which most likely can be explained due to the lower profile of the caps, in order to attempt to visually trick others due to the fact that the cap's logo is being seen at a different angle. The more realistic answer to this question is the fact that the changes were implemented because the modified logos were easier to embroider on the lower profile 39Thirty crown.

If you're from an area that will endure extreme cold, I would recommend this hat if you're someone who can't be seen without the logo of his/her team on. The cap worked surprisingly well in the cold and it worked extremely well at cutting down on wind that slices through the air like a knife, however the only downfall to the cap is that they all appear to be Chinese made, a conundrum that seemingly can't be avoided.

Monday, November 21, 2011

High School New Era by Lids

"The wait is over! Introducing the High School New Era 59FIFTY at LIDS! Fans will be able to buy merchandise bearing the school colors and logos at your local LIDS store and on starting today!" - Lids on Facebook

This afternoon it was announced by Lids that they will be creating High School caps soon in partnership with New Era. New Era caps have featured just about every team logo up to this point in the United States including the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, and many different corporations and university logos, and today the news was broken that local high schools will be able to take in the fun of purchasing a cap local to their High School. These caps will be available to purchase in store and online, but schools are currently limited to a select few with more coming in the near future.

I think that these caps are somewhat unnecessary, but I come from a community in the United States that doesn't exactly have any school spirit until one reaches college; so I would assume that these would be a hard sell here for anyone over the age of 18. There are huge pluses and minuses that will come out of the New Era high school collection, the pluses include a vast amount of new logos and neat designs that one would not recognise. The minuses would include the fact that these caps will most likely be a hit or miss, should they be a miss they will not be available for long, so if you want one and your school is available now is the time to order.

New Era By You

Several days ago the program "New Era By You" was finally launched by New Era. For years people have been wanting to design their own caps from scratch, and New Era finally launched the ability to do so. New Era By You seems to be a really fun program to play with, and I have even designed a few myself.

Currently New Era By You permits you to use 44 different MLB team selections, many of which are Cooperstown, and 1 section of New Era brand logos are available. One thing that I noticed was that the Florida/Miami Marlins are completely absent for whatever reason.  As of now, New Era permits customization of the 59Fifty Model and the current Snapback model, other models may be available for customization in the future, but that is yet to be confirmed by New Era themselves.

Complete Customization:

New Era By You permits complete customization of the caps in regards to colourization

1. All 6 panels of the cap's crown.
2. Upper and Lower part of the brim.
3. Stitching on the brim and up the cap's panels.
4. Eyelets
5. New Era Flag (unavoidable)
6. Rear logo (should you decide to use one)
7. Top Button

In all, there are 33 different material colour choices available for selection for the colour customization of the base cap, but in regards to the logo customization there are 56 available tread colour choices.

My Custom Cap

Now I'm sure you're all wondering about the price of a 100% custom designed cap made by New Era, and the price should amaze you all. When I finalized my cap and clicked the order form, this is what came up for me:

Shipping ($7.95) is included in the total cost of the cap.

The price honestly amazed me, and this is due to the fact that complete customization should seemingly cost more for these caps, being that traditional On-field fitteds which are mass produced run around $33.99, and this custom runs just under the price of two caps.

I am reluctant to order the cap though, I can make two assumptions about the cap that are currently keeping me from pressing the "Add To Cart" button, and they are:
1. Made In China
2. Awesome Chinese Quality

Ordering a cap online is always a craps shoot when it comes to quality and sizing, and Chinese made New Era caps always leave quite a bit of grey when it comes to quality control, and it would really be irritating to order a one of a kind custom *non-refundable* cap that has an unevenly attached brim or horrid sizing. If anyone does decide to drop the coin on a New Era By You I'd love to see what it looks like in comparison to the generated images from the design page.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012 Toronto Blue Jays

At long last, the Toronto Blue Jays have finally returned "Blue" to Toronto. By putting the word "Blue" back into the Blue Jays, this will usher in a new era for Toronto and all of their fans. The Blue Jays got a complete makeover which involved brand new uniforms and brand new New Era caps that will be worn starting in the 2012 season. The changes basically take the shape of familiarity of a compilation of the Blue Jays uniforms from the 70s up until the 90s, and blending them with a style of old and modernity.

The New Era cap that will be worn by the Toronto Blue Jays starting next season will feature a solid blue base cap which covers the crown and bill, and is featured with the traditional Blue Jay bird complimented by the red Canadian Maple Leaf. The cap will break Toronto's current tradition of having multiple caps for home and away use, and that is because this cap will be used in and outside of Toronto exclusively all season long.

The uniforms for the 2012 season and on will include 3 new jerseys, a traditional white jersey which lists the team name and a grey jersey for away games framing the city name of Toronto on the front. There will also be a solid blue alternate jersey which was all ready announced which will be used for both home and away use.



Home/Road Alternate

The cap and jerseys for batting practice/spring training have also been completely changed, the cap will be a 39Thirty model of the On-Field 59Fifty, and the jersey shows the regular Warm-Up adaptation of most jerseys.

The changes to the Toronto Blue Jays this off season are momentous in the history of this ballclub, and most likely will be unchanged for decades to come. The changes bring their team's history back from obscurity and will help to reunite the fans of old with the identity crisis that has plagued the city and team of Toronto the past decade.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2012 New York Mets Alterations

As of yesterday morning, the New York Mets announced that they will be slightly altering their uniform scheme, and part of the alterations is that they are dropping their black motif completely from their caps and perhaps will drop their black jersey all together. The Mets have introduced two new logos which will be placed on their caps and jerseys respectively. The new patches are a simple alteration of the traditional Mets logo but are completed with a banner that omits the anniversary, a gold outline is also present.

Jersey Patch

Cap Patch

As expected, the 50th anniversary cap will contain a patch, but unlike traditional patches which are located on the left side of the cap it will be placed on the back; much like the 2009 New York Yankees cap. The difference with this cap is not only the movement of the patch to the back, but the traditional MLB logo is absent from the cap due to the placement of the patch. Other than the alterations with the patch and rear of the cap, the front has not been altered what so ever.

The Mets are the MLB's most recent team which are moving back to their roots of their uniforms, but their idea of getting rid of black as a colour scheme seems to work extremely well for them. One idea of mine that probably wouldn't go over well with the rest of baseball would be for them to utilise orange more in their colour scheme, but not to the extent of the Giants, Marlins, or Orioles. In my personal opinion, the Mets could at least wear orange undershirts and whatnot; it wouldn't hurt too much.

2012 New York Mets

The 2012 New York Mets are slightly changing their uniforms, but these minor changes will be extremely noticeable when it comes to any Mets fan. The changes of uniform appear to be going back to their 1980's roots, much like the Orioles when their team was successful. So what are your thoughts on the new changes for the New York Mets?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Baltimore Orioles Fitteds and Jerseys

As of the morning of November 15th, 2011 the Baltimore Orioles announced that they will be changing their caps for the 2012 season, and along with the change of caps the team announced that they will be adding a brand new Orange alternate jersey. The image located below was leaked on Twitter by the Orioles official page, and when it was released it became evident that it was everyone's assumption that the team would be reverting back to its roots; the ever popular cartoon bird which was prominent in the Cal Ripken era of the team.

Image leaked by @Orioles on Twitter

The Orioles two new caps will pretty much be the exact same all except for the front two panels of the New Era cap, the home cap will feature a pair of white panels on the front of the cap above the brim and the away cap will feature an all black crown; the logos and brim colour are the exact same on both of the caps.



Outside of the caps, the Orioles have announced a brand new Home Alternate that will be introduced for the 2012 season, and much like the brand new Marlins uniforms the Orioles Home Alternate is a solid orange. This orange jersey includes black lettering on the front and will most likely include the same black lettering on the back. The jersey not only features the traditional Maryland patch on the left shoulder, but it also has a brand new 20th Anniversary patch for the Orioles' own Camden Yards; one of the most beautiful parks in the Major Leagues.

With all of the new uniform changes coming with the 2012 season the Orioles have made changes of their own reverting back to their roots of a brighter day. What are your thoughts on the changes? Personally I think they look nice, but they are rather predictable.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2012 Miami Marlins Official Release

As of this afternoon, the Florida Marlins have now officially become the Miami Marlins, and a new era for this team shall begin.

The New Era caps will look very much the same as the leaked cap that showed up on Sunday, October 30th. The only difference is that we get to see what the alternate/road cap will look like, it appears to have the exact same logo on the front but the base cap is a bright orange. According to the photos below, the orange cap is extremely bright, but I won’t know for certain until I have one in my hands and have pictures for my viewers.



The jerseys were also officially announced today and the 2012 Miami Marlins will have four jersey tops to go along with them during the 162 game season. The Marlins appear to have a traditional home and away setup, and have two alternates for home and away play. The jerseys appear to be all the same except for the away and black alternate, both of which contain the Marlins script instead of Miami, which is extremely odd being that generally teams wear their team's location on their away jerseys instead of their home. Another change that occurs on these jerseys is that the stylized fish on the orange alternate has been moved over from the “M,” and I see no explanation for this. I think that the jerseys are all on the right track, but the script on all of them appears to be way off and needs some alteration which I am sure we will see in a year or so.



Home/Away Alternate 1

Home/Away Alternate 2

The batting practice uniforms appear to be just as we’d expect, but these actually turn out fairly nice with the orange stripes under the armpits. After viewing the Game Day jerseys and caps above, these appear to be simple alterations which were made to fit the Batting Practice style.

Batting Practice Cap

Batting Practice Jersey

So what are everyone's thoughts on the rebranding now that it's official? Please comment below!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Portland Beavers 2008-2010

The Portland Beavers have a vast history that were part of four different incarnations over the years, each being a rebirth of a team that has since left the vicinity but picking up after its predecessor. The Beavers' history began in 1903 as one of the first of the Pacific Coast League teams and continued to run until 1917 when the team took a one year hiatus from the Pacific Coast League to join the Class B Pacific Coast International League; regardless of this move they became a PCL team in 1919 and were so until 1972.

Six after the Beavers withdrew from existence, they once again sprung up in Portland to become the second true incarnation of the team, and this team stood strong until 1993 when the Beavers' owner evidently moved them to Salt Lake City and forced them to become the Salt Lake Buzz, now the Bees. The city of Portland was once again without baseball until the year 2000, this was until the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to switch affiliates leaving the Dodgers with Las Vegas and the Padres with Albuquerque, so the Padres decided to move the team up to Portland and create a brand new Beavers team.

The 2000-2010 Beavers were the first in Beavers history to really utilize the team's rich history in their favour, always wearing 1903 patches on their shoulders they boldly celebrated that their team has just as much history behind them as most of the current Major League teams, however come the 2010 season the city of Portland and the Beavers couldn't come to an agreement on a new stadium, due to the fact that Portland General Electric Park was being converted into a primarily soccer stadium which forced the Beavers out. Without a stadium and the 2011 season looming, the Portland Beavers had reached an unfortunate set of events that forced them out of town, with several cities up for bid it eventually fell upon the shoulders of Tucson, AZ to take upon the team.

With the 2011 and the Beavers moving the Tucson, it is unlikely that Portland will be able to regain a stadium in the upcoming years, and with a stadium situation in Escondido, CA under question and a lack of attendance in Tucson the team's most recent incarnation has a questionable future, but the possibility of Portland regaining another Beavers team is always a possibility, perhaps in the Major Leagues next time.

The Portland Beavers have and always will be one of my favourite baseball teams, minor and major league. This is a team wish so much rich history and a team that is naturally a Pacific Coaster as I am, it's hard not to have an affinity for such a team as this. After attending a Portland Beavers game in 2009 while visiting a friend up in the Greater Portland Area, I always regretted not going into the team shop and at least checking out their cap selection, but come a few years later I finally came upon this cap after repeated hunting online to acquire the cap that has eluded me for the past year.

The Beavers cap is a dark blue base that includes a stylized “P” on the front, included with Lucky the Beaver embroidered right on the front. This “P” has a pale blue outline to it and has a beige interior which blends extremely well with the outline and the base of the cap, it allows the logo to really pop on the front although the logo and letter may not be exactly clear without up close investigation. The “P” in a sense isn't completed on the underside of the loop, and to complete this the designers decided to use Lucky's beaver tail to do so, which may mask the letter and cause confusion to those who do not know this is a cap from Portland and is styled with a “P”. The space in the letter is also gone due to the fact that Lucky's head is covering it, the beaver has a great amount of detail in the face and even utilizes two different thread colours to increase the realism of the beaver along with the dimensions of threading and directions they can take. Lucky is also completely with a blue cap which is most likely a throwback to the original Beavers uniforms, along with the jersey top that he appears to be wearing that has been stitched in crème threading.

The detail on this beavers cap is what really draws it to me, this cap once again amazes me with what can be done with a needle and thread when introduced to a ballcap. This cap doesn't appear to be the style that would be desired from a passive fan or just a hat collector, but would most likely be most appreciated by those who were original fans of the team or those who love baseball history.