A look at the new batting practice caps

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New Era and Major League Baseball really have this marketing thing down pretty well. Every few years, the two overhaul some aspect of the official on-field outfit, and every few years, hat-obsessed fans – like me – gobble up the merchandise. In 2009 alone, I bought three new Yankee hats: the new Yankee Stadium patch cap, the World Series 2009 cap, and a World Series Championship cap. I might draw the line at the new batting practice hat though.

A few years ago, New Era introduced the 3930 batting practice cap. The mesh caps are worn by MLB players throughout Spring Training and supposedly during practice. New Era hypes the CoolBase “vapor management” and “superior drying” technology. Well, OK. If you say so.

This week, New Era has unveiled a restyling of these caps. Sports Business Journal reported that the new caps will retail for $26.99 and go on sale on January 25. According to Gerry Matos, New Era’s SVP of marketing, orders for the new caps are out-pacing last year’s numbers and could exceed those placed in 2007 when the cap company last refreshed the line.

But is this a change for the better? For the Yankees’ caps, the changes are minimal. The home right, on the right above, features a minimal change from the old version with just a new white line running through it. The road caps sports some bands of that familiar road gray. The backs of these caps — not shown in pictures now but the back of the Reds’ cap is available here — are where the design breaks down. It becomes just a mess of colors.

Uniwatch, the blog for all things uniform in professional sports, doesn’t like the new hats. That site, run by uni purists, call these designs “awful” and “atrocious.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but these new hats just seem unnecessary to me. In the end, it’s just another hat.

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  • Tom Zig

    People actually buy batting practice hats?

    • Salty Buggah

      Yea, I’ve seen a lot (well, relative to Yankees caps overall) of them here in Colorado.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I wear a BP hat every day.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Are you sure the Yankees are getting that red design on the back? That makes absolutely no sense. Are you sure that’s not another teams hat?

    • Tom Zig

      the picture of the back of the hat is named “Reds BP Hat”

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Ok. Makes more sense now. Those Yankee hats shouldn’t be that bad then. I was given this hat by a buddy of mine for Christmas.

        http://www.lids.com/pop/produc.....d=20112076

        We’re no longer friends.

        • Bob Stone

          That’s just totally wrong.

        • Steve H

          That hurt my eyes.

        • Chris

          Wow. The hat has a tramp stamp….

          • Salty Buggah

            Yea, that makes the hat worse than it really is

        • Salty Buggah

          Oh cmon! That’s gangsta!!! You should rock that with your pants on the ground

          /would never wear it himself

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona
            • Salty Buggah

              Uhh….

              I don’t know what to say

              • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                Got this one for my Grandfather who can’t see very well.

                http://www.lids.com/pop/produc.....d=20129108

                • Salty Buggah

                  Whoa. I don’t what makes it more ugly, the huge logo or that ugly green outline.

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  If you buy this because it matches an outfit you have, I suggest you find another stylist.

                  http://www.lids.com/pop/produc.....d=20149956

                • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

                  I knew what that hat would look like, and yet that still made me laugh. Well played.

                • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=nf Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  Joke’s on him though. He’s a Red Sox fan. Told you he couldn’t see very well.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      That’s an example of how the back will look. For the Yanks’ road cap, it will be grey. For the home cap, I believe it will be just all blue. The picture there is the Reds cap.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Makes sense Ben. Sorry to question you. I’ll get you boys one these days.

  • Bob Stone

    Ridiculous! Just plain ridiculous! There is only one real Yankee cap (with all due respects to our brave leader making this post, I don’t go for special event caps at all – Call me a traditionalist).

    The Red Sox have become the masters and most recently the innovators of this game with everything from pink caps, to adding new logos, to changing the team uniform colors to Yankee blue (Yeah they even changed the “Red” socks to blue until they received incredible backlash).

    Anyone falling for this marketing hype deserves what they get. You have to be really stupid or have an insatiable hat fetish to be taken in by these legal “scams”.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Even worse, Bob, the Red Sox changed their road socks to blue at one point last year. BLUE!

      • Steve H

        Can’t bash the Sox for that though. As a midmarket team, they need to do everything they can to increase their revenue stream.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          I understand.

      • Bob Stone

        Yes Andy. I said that they changed the socks to Yankee Blue but there was backlash that caused them to change it back to Red.

        The Front Office person in charge (not Theo) said in response to questions of why the Red socks were Blue that players all wear their pants long now so it doesn’t matter. Boy – talk about an insensitive and totally stupid statement from a management person.

    • Salty Buggah

      Yea, some Red Sox hats make me want to puke.

  • Benjamin

    I agree with the previous comment. I have, for the last 20 or so years, bought an on field hat every spring when pitchers and catchers report. Thats the hat I stick with till the World Series, when of course the series patch hat is a must by Game 1. This year I also did the 27 champion patch hat as a transitional hat from the end of Game 6 till spring training. These batting practice hats look ridiculous and will never find a place on my balding head.

  • http://nutballgazette.blogspot.com/ nutballgazette

    Very Ugly, Just something to get people to spend Money, (Not Me)

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I suggest plenty of this then.

    http://sunaware.org/blog/wp-co.....15;150.png

  • Rose

    Oh I see…they went from ugly…to a revamped ugly…

    Cool.

  • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    I just buy the classic hat and wear that.

  • KeithK

    I can’t fathom why anyone would want to buy a BP hat. I can’t understadn why anyone would want to buy a hat with one of those goofy patches on them. The WS patches are terrible. We’re not rooting for the Astros or the Padres, teams that have minimal history who feel the need to reinvent themselves periodically to keep fan interest. We’re fans of the New York Yankees. Just get a classic navy cap and stick with it.

    That said, I completely understand why the teams are selling these silly things. It’s like printing money.

    • scooter

      Personally I’m with Ben – I own Yankee caps with patches from 98, 99, 2000, and 2009 – along with a couple of the championship caps.

      I agree with the consensus – there’s some hideous stuff out there. The slight bit of piping on the navy blue BP hats doesn’t bug me at all – I’d be tempted to pick one up.

      I do have one alt-color cap – a tan cap with a navy blue interlocking NY. It was a gift – and it’s grown on me

      I’ve also got a couple of give-away adjustable caps and visors.

  • Warren

    Hmmm, the Yankees baseball cap I purchased in 1975 still fits fine.

    Maybe in the next 10 years I’ll purchase a new one, once this one wears out.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      That thing must reek to high heaven.

      • KeithK

        You know it is possible to wash baseball caps.

        Speaking of nasty dirty caps, I have one from 1990 that has been rubbed in the dirt (mostly warning tracks) of no less than 45 professional ballparks. It doesn’t really smell but it is horribly discolored and feels gritty.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Even washing a cap only gets it so clean. After 35 years of wear and washing, that still can’t smell too good if it’s a heavily used cap.

          • Warren

            Doesn’t smell at all. It is just not new and has wear marks along the sides.

            Amazing how well made clothes live a long time, if taken care of, not like these new items made to fall apart so you have to buy another.

            All a Yankees fan needs is the Dark Blue with the sewn white intertwined N and Y

  • pete

    i always look weird in hats. its annoying.

    • Steve H

      Next time you wear a hat, put some pants on too. Might take away from the weirdness.

      • whozat

        Wow, I guess my previous comment got caught in moderation. Too many capital letters?

        IETCVM was all I said, really. You, sir, are hilarious.

      • pete

        I’m not sure that’d do the trick. My face looks weird when i wear a hat. That’s not going to change just b/c i suddenly put pants on

  • http://fmylife.com JobaJr

    I’m not a big fan of the design, but I’ll probably get it anyway. To me hats are collectibles, and this one will be a nice addition.

  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    Once upon a time there was no such thing as a BP cap. How did they ever survive! Some of you are too young to know – it’s only since the early 1990s cap styles expanded & exploded. In the name of merch $. Previously, you had to find a decent store to special order or go to the ballparks. Knock offs were rampant before New Era hit the license. Pre-historic.

    BTW – there’s not one thing wrong w/the new NYY/BP design. Considering this cap is actually designed & intended for player use (shocking!) everybody else should again, STFU.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      If you really think this cap is designed for player use only, I have a bridge to sell you.

  • HC

    The Yanks should refuse to use the BP hat and just eat the fine. These things are ridiculous and Yanks should continue to march to the beat of their own drummer.