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.