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Are new caps coming to MLB? God, I hope not.

Oct 10, 2013, 11:38 AM EDT

UPDATE: MLB sources still won’t go on the record about it, but they are walking it back:


11:03 AMUni Watch relays word from a source that Major League Baseball’s official on-field caps will be switched to the “Diamond Era” batting practice cap material for the 2014 season and next season and that the current Authentic Collection caps will be discontinued. He further reports that, because MLB is miffed at New Era for doing a deal with the NFL, that it is considering abandoning New Era altogether when their contract is up after 2014. MLB is neither confirming nor denying anything.


  • The New Era official caps are awesome. They’ve tweaked them a bit over the years — there’s a synthetic CoolBase element to them now as opposed to the all-wools of the past — but they are basically the same product in most respects, particularly in appearance. I’ve noticed they shrink less than the old ones, and for big-melon guys like me (I wear a 7 3/4) hat shrinkage is a problem.  Solid, solid product.
  • I don’t own any of those BP caps, but unlike the changed 59Fifty caps, they just look different. Do not like.
  • I can see why MLB may not like that New Era is making football caps. Until recently most football caps were stupid and flashy and were not the sort of things young people would want to wear as a fashion choice. As such, I feel like you see way more people buying MLB caps than there are actual MLB fans, simply to have cool-looking caps that promote civic pride or what have you. If a comparable NFL product is available (solid color, simple, smaller logo like MLB caps) baseball will surely lose a lot of that market.
  • That said: if MLB is truly in a hissy about all of this and it causes them to switch cap manufacturers, I will be a very sad camper. Both for what it will probably man for aesthetics and for what it would mean for personal fit. Nike and every other manufacturer makes really crappy hats, people. Let’s be clear about this.

I’m not usually one for corporate rah-rah or extreme brand loyalty, but man, I love New Era caps an awful lot. I mean, I’m bald. Caps are important. As such, if MLB moves away from them I will lose it.

  1. baseballici0us - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    I couldn’t agree more…on all point. “hat-tip” to ya, Craig.

  2. jarathen - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I like the BP caps; I like the textured looks and I especially like owning an Angels cap with a navy base and a red bill, because goddammit that’s what an Angels cap should look like. They also have less room inside, which is normally nice but not as nice if you have a lot of hair, or even if you’re just a few weeks late for a haircut, and so they sit more naturally on my head than the cavernous Authentic Style does.

    That being said, I do not think the textured look is as good when players take the field for real baseball, so I hope this isn’t true.

    • kevinbnyc - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      I’m with Craig on this one. Keep it simple. The color combinations and different bill colors just look…bush league. And I’ve got a giant head too, so the extra room is welcome.

  3. riverace19 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Been wearing them my whole life including when the company used to be called New Roman… I also like the change to cool base… If they are discontinued I will have to buy about 50 in Cubs A’s Brewers Red Sox a couple of Pirates and D Backs

  4. historiophiliac - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    I don’t understand. A football cap? It’s a mini helmet that rests on top of your head with a mask for the visor? That would be super-dumb.

    • km9000 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Well, yeah, it would be super-dumb.

    • kevinbnyc - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Wow…no love on that one. I thought it was funny.

  5. bravojawja - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Oh, this is about the fit. I thought you were worried all the new caps would feature some sort of racist/homophobic cartoonish logo.

    Dear internet: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to design a racist/homophobic cartoonish logo for each team. Other than the Indians, of course, who have Chief Wahoo, and I guess the Braves can go back to the Laughing Indian.

    May I suggest Tampa Bay use Ray from Archer?

    • historiophiliac - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      Not funny.

      • paperlions - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        People don’t like it when it is pointed out that they are racist. They tend to react poorly in such instances, generally with actions that just confirm their racism or indifference to racism.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        To pick up on Paper’s point, what’s funny is trying to generalize the racists as, y’know, being racist. I’m not racist, they scream. I’m ironic, sarcastic, and funny. No, we say, you are a cartoon character of buffoonery while at the helm of a keyboard in a discussion with others specifically about others. Then they scream something like, You’re not being fair to me. I’m an individual, and some of my best friends are folks I make fun of all the time. I’m real while you’re the fake PC commie-pinko wannabe blah blah blah, and we’re supposed to be… what exactly? Gee, you must be right… Or, Golly I must really be sucking the life out of this country with my urge to seek respect for all.

        Yes. Life on the Interwebz is predictable.

  6. deathmonkey41 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I wish someone would design a hat that doesn’t allow it to be worn cock-eyed. It would help players like Sabathia, Rodney, and Strop from looking like complete assclowns even though they think it makes them look gansta.

    • eightyraw - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Is that why they wear them askew?

      • gothapotamus90210 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        They have vertigo.

    • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      To add to this point, I hate the flat brim look. Medlen wheres a flat brim. Romero, a few others. I hate it. Makes them look like they have a pot on their heads. Hat brims are supposed to curve, shading the eyes. Dave Stewart back in the day, did it right: you’d see his eyes glowing under the curved brim of his cap, framed by the curled down edges. A death-stare. Intimidating as all hell. What’s the message Medlen sends? “I look goofy”.

  7. tfbuckfutter - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    You know what really makes this article?

    The ad on the side with the butt-lickingly awful white Boston hat.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Clashes with your Affliction tees?

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        It looks like Ed Hardy sharted in his underwear and then put a bill on it.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        I guess no one liked me yanking your chain there. lol

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        I think everyone just hates Affliction.

        Except for the three people who upvoted you and three who downvoted me.

        Maybe the same three people. Probably. I don’t want to talk shit about them though. They have barb-wire tattoos around their biceps and everything.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Maybe they are disappointed because they thought you were one of them.

  8. dwrek5 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    This doesn’t make sense from a marketing stand point. Look at all the hat stores in the mall. Walls of the official hat, maybe a row of the batting practice junk, because no one like/buys those.

  9. boots44 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Maybe they can wear bucket hats like cricket players

  10. moogro - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    I can’t follow this story unless I can compare the two collections side-by-side.

  11. nagrommit - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    New Coke! It’ll sell like gangbusters!

    • deathmonkey41 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Pepsi Clear!

  12. juicejuicer - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    There is a new-ish company out of SoCal that is making alot of noise within the local youth travel programs and high schools. I believe they make hats for some local community colleges too. Their top-of-the-line product is very comparable to New Era’s 59Fifty product. I own a couple and they are very comfortable and they have very good quality with very little shrinkage.
    A “start-up” company like that would probably be in the interest of MLB inasmuch as any contract would probably be relatively less expensive than re-upping with New Era and the quality wouldn’t be dimished.

    • DJ MC - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      More than likely they wouldn’t have nearly the manufacturing or distribution capacity as New Era or Nike. That would be a major consideration in a new contract.

  13. jb8588 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    The third point given when it comes to the sales made towards ones who actually aren’t big MLB fans is the best point. Even though I’m a big baseball fan, I have quite a few minor/major league caps in my collection mainly for the purpose of fashion and not because I like the team. If they switch to the BP material MLB will regret their decision.

  14. sophiethegreatdane - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    “Until recently most football caps were stupid and flashy and were not the sort of things young people would want to wear as a fashion choice.”

    Yeah, Craig — because young people have never worn anything that older folks consider stupid and flashy.

    • km9000 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Please, no references to lawns and removing oneself from them.

  15. sportsdrenched - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I’m kind of a hat snob. With this news I may need to pick some of the hats I’ve been eyeing like the Blue Jays. I of course already have Royals & Storm Chasers hats.

    Speaking of NFL hats. I have this Chiefs hat.,4,12032.html

    It’s a simple design. As I’ve worn it I’ve had more than one person ask me where I found it. I don’t remember where I got it as I’ve had it for 10 years or more. But I realize I don’t see a lot of others like it. Which is surprising because I just found it with a google search.

  16. jb8588 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Tess, you’re an idiot. Get lost.

  17. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    What MLB needs to do is innovate and expand their products. Cowboy hats, yamakas, ascots, floppy hat, fez, sun hats, top hats, panama hats, gatsby, the hat Sherlock Holmes wore, dunce caps, fedoras, pilgrim hats, berets. The list goes on and on. I want to be able to tell all my rival teams they suck at any event!

    • eightyraw - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Not one of the chosen people, eh? It’s yarmulke

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Apologies if I offended, I Googled it before typing the post, and it showed up as Yamaka so I just went with it. Apparently Kippah is also acceptable if you are referring to Hebrew vs Yiddish.

    • conorglassey - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      I know you’re just joking, but they do actually make MLB yarmulkes…

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        They make them for the Orioles too. But really, it should be an option for the religious fans of all teams.

  18. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    You too can take your clothes off for money!

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      My comment is even better without the attached spam link

    • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Just don’t wear a Flat-Brim hat!

  19. joshfrancis50 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I really like the 47 Brand “Franchise” hats, personally. They just seem to fit better, and they offer a bit more variation on older logos, which I think are cool.

    Hopefully they don’t dispense with the existing caps, though, because the spring training ones are terrible. I really wanted the Reds one with Mr. Redlegs, but the bill is so damned inflexible and flat I’d want to kick my own ass for wearing it like that.

  20. jm91rs - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    You could buy a lot of hats with $8180 per week.

  21. jm91rs - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Craig, are these the goofy flat bill hats that you like so much? I’m so worried my 10 year old is going to be mistaken for a gangster when he wears his flat bill Reds hat with those damn nike elite high socks.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      No problem. Bend the bill. Remove stickers. Done.

      • jm91rs - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Well of course he’s not allowed out of the house with the stickers still on the hat, although he doesn’t know that’s “cool” yet so I’m sure in the future he’ll fight me on that one. The bill however is flat because it’s sold that way. It doesn’t bend quite like it should and actually looks worse when you try.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      • jm91rs - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        1. He’d shoot me in my sleep if I bent another of his flat bills.
        2. They don’t bend like the caps of old, they’re flat and they’re just meant to be that way. You can get a little bit of bend in them, but not a ton.
        3. I once had a pepsi hat bender. I bought it with some pepsi upcs or something and I thought it was amazing.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        1. The words preemptive strike come to mind.
        2. Silly kids these days. First they won’t get off my lawn, now they won’t bend their ball caps.
        3. That sounds pretty amazing. I thought only cigarette companies and 80’s cartoons had cool trade in stuff like this.

    • cur68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      I effin HATE the flat brim hat. I went to the Negro League Baseball Museum and got a Indianapolis Clowns cap and it was a flat brim. Didn’t realize it at the time, either (because I’m dense, that’s why). Won’t wear the thing. The brim won’t bend. Looks like a sauce pan on my head (and I have an attractive, shapely, beautiful head. It be a crime onto my only good feature to put that damn thing on it). Effin Flat Brims! I curse whoever came up with that unto the 19th generation!

  22. km9000 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    It took three tries to actually include the spam link.

  23. jeffa43 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Been wearing a New Era cap since I was 5, now 40….

    After the latest change the hats shrink less, and that is a good thing. The new style works…

    The Batting practice cool based hats blow…. I think that is the vast majority’s opinion.
    I play in an adult league, and we have had this conversation…

    one out of 15 likes the cool base BP… We almost all like the On field cap.

  24. ramblingalb - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    I’m not sure what Craig will do if he ever has anything to actually be upset about.

    Drama king, to say the least. MLB can do whatever they want with their caps, and if they wouldn’t tell me, I’d never know.

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