Monday, March 05, 2007

The New Wick-A-Way Caps

Major League Baseball has changed the Batting Practice and Game Caps for 2007, for every single team. And, Our Washington Nationals have decided to make an additional move, moving farther away from the "DC" Logo. The Logo that has been so popular during the first two seasons of Nationals Baseball. Now, don't get me wrong, I love The Curly "W". That is one sharp logo. Any Cap with that Curly "W", I wear proudly. But, I really loved that Blue with Red Bill, "DC" Logo Batting Practice Cap, too.

The Lerner Group, along with Team President Stan Kasten are enamored with The Curly "W" and we shall see it more and more as time progresses. Unfortunately, The "DC" Logo Batting Practice Polyester Stretch Cap has been replaced this spring by an updated Blue Curly "W" edition. When the African Queen and I went to Nationals Spring Training recently, we got a first hand look at the new practice cap. We didn't think much of it. The Red Half Moon on either sides looks a little silly. And, the Blue Curly "W" Batting Practice Pullover Jersey with two Buttons, just a bit boring. Although, I applaud the return of player/coach names to the back of the jerseys. All the Gold Trim that we witnessed the first two years of Washington Baseball, has been eliminated in the new practice attire.

The good news about the new Curly "W" Cap is the quality weave of the polyester. The "DC" Logo cap was a fairly flexible lighter material. The New Blue Curly "W" polyester is a thicker, more professional weave. It does stand up nice and remains in form, while on the head. Unlike the "DC" Cap, which tended to flop in the back (And, I am not talking about my man "FLop"--Felipe Lopez).

Today, I happened to actually have an off day from work, and walked into Modells Sporting Goods, at Springfield Mall, to see if any of the New Line of Nationals/Majestic/New Era Gear has shown up in their stores. In fact, that new Curly "W" Practice Cap was for sale. But, more interesting was the Special Display Cases with, not only that cap, but the New Red Polyester Curly "W" Game Cap. These Hats are supposedly durable, and made to wick-a-way perspiration, provide a more comfortable feel during the Hot Summer Months. The New Game Caps are not available for sale, until Opening Day, 2007.

The obvious differences were REMARKABLE!!

The New Game Cap still sports a FLAT BRIM. So, "The Chief", Chad Cordero can rest easy. That Brim is flat and as hard as a steel beam. I doubt if Chad will even have to Iron the brim. Its that hard!! (Cordero just doesn't look GOOD in that curled brim Batting Practice Hat. Image Is EVERYTHING, for "The Chief") At first glance, the new 5950 New Era Game Cap looks similar to the old Wool/Cotton blend. But, the new short style brim of the head piece looks very strange.

The New Game Cap Brim is only 2/3rds the size of the old Game Cap. Unfortunately, Modells did not have a old cap to compare. And, I was wearing a Nats Fashion Cap today. When looking straight down from the top, the New Cap Bill truly gives the impression of a Duck Bill. And, due to the shortness in length, New Era has added what appears to be a 1/2" to the side of the cap brim. The Cap looks oblong. The Brim is WIDER THAN THE CAP TOP! I got the impression a short snort "DAFFY DUCK" was standing in front of me.

When I am accustomed to something for a long period of time, my adjustment period for something new is arduous, at times. I can remember when The Denver Broncos changed their uniforms from their "Orange Crush" Days to their current Blue with White/Orange Swirls, I didn't like that new Broncos Uni, at first. Now, I realize Denver was well ahead of the times. The Current Broncos Uniform and Helmet is pretty cool. Time away from the old Broncos Uniform gave me comfort (Although on the days teams wear retro uniforms, I remember them all, fondly).

I imagine the same situation will remain true with Major League Baseball's New Game Caps. I will get use to them. The New Polyester 5950 Caps will become the standard. And, In a few short years, I will not notice the difference.

Unless Major League Baseball's New Caps, go the way of "New Coke" and the NBA's "New Micro Fiber Ball."

PS--(A little off tangent, but worth noting) There is one uniform that I have loved since Childhood: The San Diego Chargers Powder Blue Uniform with White Helmet and Yellow Lightning Bolts. That Jersey and Helmet brings a smile to my face, each and every time San Diego wears it on "Retro" Sundays during the NFL Season. Its so popular, I have never understood why The Chargers never re-adopted their original togs full time. Just a BEAUTIFUL UNIFORM!! And, you better believe I own that Lance Alworth Mitchell & Ness Vintage Style Jersey. I just LOVE IT!!

PSS--Many thanks to Jeff, The Store Manager for Modells at Springfield Mall for being kind enough to pull the display caps out of their cases and being my hand model for the pictures. Of course, it helped that I spent nearly $60 in the store buying Nats Gear. As much as I don't like it, I still had to buy the New Batting Practice Hat (If you need to ask me why, you don't understand me), plus two terrific clearance items. The "DC" Batting Practice Cap for $10 and a Gorgeous White Pullover Curly "W" Long Sleeve Sweatshirt in Red/Blue Trim for $15. Yeah, I know, you thought I owned EVERYTHING!! Pretty close, but still short a few apparel items. Fortunately, The African Queen is out of town on business.


Anonymous said...

Am I following you? Will everybody's game cap have a bill as flat as "The Chief"?

Screech's Best Friend said...

No--You can bend it, but it takes a little effort. Once it sets, it should stay. The Brim is surprisingly strong. Its a very interesting design. I should have explained that better. Thanks.

Brandon Kriner said...

You know what? That DC logo is okay but I'm glad that the Lerners are picking one and running with it. When MLB first bought the team they developed logo overkill: there is the block-letter Nationals logo in front of a baseball, the interlocking DC, and the Curly W.

Nearly every major league team has one single letter-based logo that defines the team on uniforms and perhaps one more for other purposes. The Nats did not need two. The D.C. thing was kind of a joke anyway since the Nats are unquestionably a Washington region team instead of just a District team.

The Curly W is great because it is unique. It is not excessively old-timey in that Red Sox or Pirates way, nor is it trendy in that Arizona or Tampa Bay way. It's a nice hearkening back to the second half of the 20th century while most teams focus on the first half.

That block DC was generic; how many teams (the Rockies come to mind) just cop out and use block letter logos?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Brandon: I am very curious to see if come 2008, the Nationals move to an ALL SCRIPT Jersey to match the Curly W. Mr. Kasten has hinted about it to me. I think its going to happen when the New Stadium arrives. Thus removing the last vestiges of MLB Ownership.

Joe Ward said...

If you look at the Washington Baseball Club jerseys over the years, a very large part of the history includes a W on the left breast. Take a look at the Baseball Hall of Fame "Dressed to the Nines" exhibit. It shows the historical progression of the uniforms of every Major League team. It's online at "". You can check out the complete history of Washington uniforms. I don't think we should go back to the BLOCK style W but I would like to see the Curly W on the left breast, but more importantly I would like to see the team ditch the red caps. The Nats have always had BLUE caps until 1968.

Andrew S said...

I am going to stick with my now obsolete Nats On Field Hat until that thing is extremely worn down.

Also - SBF - The Angels ownership refused to wear the new BP Caps and MLB relented. They are wearing their old ones still. I wish the Nats were too!

SenatorNat said...

The one emblem, easily recognizable for its distinctive mark, preferably one which "moves" a la the Nike swoosh ("curly check") is all the rage in sports marketing. Plus, since the Lerners want this to be the team identified with by kids in the Dominican Republic and Thailand, too, so-to-speak, it has to be non-specific. As Bowden presents the marketing trilogy: "It stands for Washington, winning, and world-wide."

DC as a logo does not sotranslate. I can recall the morning of the exhibition game at RFK 6 years ago between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Montreal Expos (yes, there was once a MLB franchise in the French-speaking part of Canada!)- Bill Hall hustled to ensure that there were "old Senator's hats - the ones Howard wore with the curly W's"- for city council folks and Sports Commission leaders like himself to sport for the attendant press conference. He bought them at a sports store next to the National Theatre - kind of like the Nationals Theatre, eh?!

Lerners are from Maryland; they are old Senators fans (Mark is really an old "new" Senators fan, which is the whole point...)

They are not marketing D.C. clearly and the Curly W is a phenomenal classic to which they are the beneficiaries (trustees really). They should apprehend though that they are also the beneficiaries of a heck of a lot of spadework and real political capital expended by folks like Bill and Jack Evans to bring the team here, get the stadium approved and constructed, etc. Thus, disbanding the DC logo, ALTOGETHER may not be the most advisable political move at a still delicate point in the franchise's evolution.

Would I say the same thing had they unleashed a few of the moths from their wallets on pitching? Perhaps not!!

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Andrew S--That great the Angels refused to wear those silly Batting Practice Caps. This all reminds me of MLB making all teams wear a GREY AWAY GAME CAP in the late 90's. Its looked silly. And Bobby Cox went NUTS over MLB making teams wear a GREY AWAY JACKET!!. Finally MLB just gave it up. I would imagine next year, we will be seeing a whole new setup once again. This new version BP Cap just doesn't FLY.

BTW--I DO LOVE THE CURLY "W" Its MY WASHINGTON SENATORS LOGO that I am so fond of. Its just that I liked the "DC" with Gold Trim. It was different. Although the "DC" Red Game Cap doesn't do much for me.

VCUKyle said...

hall of fame link is great! I am a big Curly W fan and LOVE THE RED. I hope we redo the jerseys like the CUBS. They to me have the best home uniforms besides the Yankees. Lets not forget we have 70+ years of tradition here and we can be old school like those teams!

joe ward said...

vcukyle, I'm glad we agree on a curly W on the chest, but let's agree to disagree on the RED. If you had seen the Nats dress as the Homestead Grays last year against the Braves, you would agree how spectacular a home club looks when they are wearing the bright home whites offset with a NAVY BLUE hat. I remember the first time I saw the RED hats in 1968 - I felt like I got gipped!