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.

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