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MLB wouldn’t let the Nationals wear caps honoring the military

Aug 18, 2011, 4:05 PM EST

Alex Cora, Ivan Rodriguez (courtesy Washington Nationals)

The Nationals were given permission to wear a variety of military-flavored caps in batting practice Tuesday, but MLB wouldn’t let them wear them in the game that night against the Reds.  The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg asked why:

So then I called an MLB spokesman to ask what happened, and he explained that the league prefers its clubs commemorate specific causes with uniform patches or batting-practice displays, rather than the actual game hats. There are, however, coordinated league-wide headwear events, such as the white hats with stars-and-stripes logos that are worn on Memorial Day and July 4, with proceeds from sales of those caps donated to the Welcome Back Veterans program.

“We reserve hats for national tributes, where every club is wearing them on the same day,” spokesman Pat Courtney told me. “But we’re happy to work with clubs on alternatives.”

I can see the league’s point here, but as a one-time thing, it would have been pretty cool seeing the Nationals honoring the Navy SEALs and the Army with headwear that would have been far more noticeable than any uniform patch.  I have my doubts the display would have led to a serious downturn in Nationals merchandise sales.

The Washington Post has some pics of the hats here.

  1. Old Gator - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Your doubts are well founded. But go try and argue with a bunch of anal-retentive private sector bureaucrat equivalents. Best o’ luck.

  2. pbsenerchia - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    As a Nats fan, I was happy the team wanted to do this, and am thoroughly disappointed with MLB. I’d guess they didn’t want the precedent, but still – lame.

    • jerseybando - Aug 19, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      As a Phil’s fan I also think MLB’s decision stinks. If players (CC Sabathia and Cecil Fielder) can wear pajama pants to play, then MLB should allow this tribute to our troops.

  3. thefalcon123 - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Major League Baseball clearly hates the troops.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:36 PM

      As do a few jagoffs that comment on HBT.

  4. mikeypa - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Judging by the team requesting, maybe the military is the one who objected….

  5. mississippimusicman - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Wait, what? The Padres get to have a whole *uniform* for honoring the troops, but the Nats can’t even swap caps? Anybody else smell hypocrisy here?

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:06 PM

      Maybe that has more to do with the fact that it is an ongoing, weekly thing as opposed to a onetime occurrence. And it was probably cleared way far in advance.

  6. yankeesgameday - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    The Padres would wear camouflage hats and jerseys to honor the marines at nearby Camp Pendelton and no other team did it as part of a national celebration so the MLB statement had no teeth and the Nats rolling over is a pretty wimpy move. Pretty much the opposite of how you want to honor navy seals with a display of spinelessness.

  7. sdelmonte - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    So does this mean the NYC teams won’t be able to wear the variety of first responder caps as they have to mark 9/11?

  8. seeingwhatsticks - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Don’t the Padres wear hideous camo hats every Sunday?

  9. awinsawin - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    The padres uniforms are their alternate league approved uniforms. This is an on the fly one night thing for the nats. I don’t have a problem with this and either should the nats

  10. hittfamily - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Good for the MLB. They can honor the troops in a way that doesn’t generate extra money for them. Call me cynical, but I really hate when teams/artists/companies make a huge marketing push by publicly declaring “we are doing x for the troops in 2 weeks.” The most recent example of this is Miller High Life. The fat black guy that is their delivery man/mascot gets on the microphone at a game of some sort and blurts out “let’s hear it for the vets of Iraq and Afghanistan”. The crowd goes wild, and Miller High Life instructs people to send in their caps and MHL will make a 10 cent donation for every cap they receive. What a bullshit thing to do. If you want to make a donation to the troops, f=ing do it. What does it matter how many bottle caps you receive. They are prostituting our military to sell more beer. ‘buy our product and the troops live a better life’ F__k Off Miller High Life.

    I hate when “artists” write a song about the troops, then make millions off of it. Take John Cougar Mellencamp. The man hasn’t sold a record since the 80’s. Sing a song about our countryin war time… profit. “From the east coast, to the west coast, down the Dixie highway…” He writes a song about national pride during 2 wars, a few years after a national tragedy. He sings it at the world series, tugging at peoples emotions and national pride. A few weeks later, it is the theme songs for Chevy Trucks. He was wanting to make some money, and mine and your patriotism was a great way to make it.

    Then there’s Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, and “Have you forgotten” guy. No. F–king of course I haven’t forgotten. What, did a 3rd grader write this song?

    Then there is Seal team 6. It took Disney 2 days to copyright the term “Seal team 6″. If there was ever a phrase that belongs in the public realm, it is Seal team 6. When Seal Team 6 action figures come out, Disney will make millions on the back of a few anonomous soldiers, who bravely did the impossible, and killed Bin Laded in his own compound. Disney isn’t the only one’s making a buck off these soldiers bravery. Google “Seal team 6″ biography or book. Thousands!!! The heroes are either dead, or still kickin ass in another country, but somebody’s got to make a dollar.

    If the National’s want to honor the troops, great. Just don’t do it by asking people to buy a ticket, then offer limited time merchandise. 30,000 free tickets to any active duty/reservist or their immediate family. bam-honored. Limited time 30 dollar hats when you buy a full price ticket….using troops to make money.

    I’m cynical, but I’m right.

  11. 12strikes - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    I seem to remember the METS where FDNY hats, and not just after 911

  12. norfva - Aug 19, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Didn’t the Yankees wear VA Tech hats after the VA Tech massacar happened

    • hittfamily - Aug 19, 2011 at 1:03 AM

      Yes. Last years playoff push theme for the Rays was the “Brayser”. It was a checkered Blazer with Rays colors. It caught on, and people liked it. The Rays wore a hat with the “Brayser” them on the bill of the cap. I don’t understand why a team can’t wear anything they want, I just fear this is a marketing ploy rather than a genuine, heartfelt honoring of the troops.

  13. stoutfiles - Aug 19, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    By letting the Nats do this it opens the door for all teams to change their hat logo. Then if MLB stepped in at some point, they’d piss off whoever got turned down because it would imply they aren’t as important as any previous celebrations.

    It’s best they just find alternative ways to honor them.

  14. macjacmccoy - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Yea I see what there saying that they like to reserve changing the hats for special occasions, if you allowed teams to do it on their own it would probably get out of control and they would have different hats for a dozen made up special occasions. I get that it would lose its luster if they allowed that happen.

    But saying that they should have let the Nationals, the team that plays in or nations capital, where a special hats for the Navy Seals because of the loss of nearly 2 dozen of their members a few weeks ago. I understand you like to do it for special set occasions and have everyone do it but their are times when tradition and routine should be set a side for something more meaningful. If uniformity is that important they should of had every team where a military inspired hat that day just so the Nationals could do it for the Seals.

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