Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.

Posted by Dave on Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Hats: The Best of The West

In case you missed (trust me, you were missing it, Bob) it, my last post reviewed the NL East and NL Central hats. Before reviewing them, I did two things I deemed necessary before rating hats. First, I described the importance of The Hat in baseball. Second, and far more importantly, I outlined a rubric for rating hats. For those who have forgotten or didn't read the first post, I'll state the weights I assigned to each criterion:

Simplicity: 35%
Symmetry: 25%
Colors: 25%
Lasting Appeal: 10%
Nostalgia: 5%

For a more detailed explanation of each of these, I have to refer you to the first post (I even linked it again, you sloths). This post, I promised to cover the NL West and AL West and I'll follow through on my promise. No long-winded histrionics, no harangues on the importance of lids, just hats.

NL West:

Simplicity - 3: I'm sorry, I have to be honest, there are other Diamondbacks (to be clear, this is a link to other hats of the Diamondbacks - I've done this with all of the teams) hats that are more appealing. But to say they are more appealing is like saying you prefer drinking sour milk to eating fecal matter. So, I perversely wanted to rate a truly miserable hat. With that said, Arizona sure did their best to produce a truly miserable hat. I say that because to make a hat this bad necessitates a desire to produce an atrocious hat. The A has a bizarre jagged line on the left side of it. It also is connected by some sort of concave hexagon which is truly an eye-sore. As much as I want to continue bashing the hat, I have to segregate my insults wisely. I have four more categories! Just one more - if you didn't know what a diamondback was (it's a snake, apparently), you'd certainly get no indication from the hat.
Symmetry - 3.5: Well, they had a nice symmetrical letter, "A." They sure managed to butcher it as much as possible. There's that jagged line (something to do with a diamondback? I'm no zoologist), but the A is tilted bizarrely, almost as if it's italicized. Why ruin symmetry if it already exists inherently?!
Colors - 0: I grappled with this decision, but I can't give the D-backs any points here. Assigning points to colors implies that there are some redeeming qualities for the chromaticity of this hat. There are none. The background is purple - if they had a white A that tempered the awful color that is purple, it would almost be excusable. You might even charitably say that it was distinct with a purple background. No no, though, they didn't stop with a purple background, they had the A be teal. I commented that I've never seen a teal article of clothing worn, and I still stand by my belief. However, combining purple and teal is woefully idiotic. Fusing purple and teal is like merging Bill Bavasi and Danny Ainge managerially. For those who know me, that's saying a lot - I hold enormous contempt for both of them, and that's an understatement.
Lasting Appeal - 2: The reason this has lasting appeal? At any point in the future, people can point to this hat and unequivocally state: "This is the worst hat in the history of Major League Baseball."
Nostalgia - 7: They won the World Series and beat the Yankees wearing this wretched hat. God knows how.

Overall Hat Rating: 2.475

Simplicity - 7.5: I'm surprised the Padres ranked so highly, they had a difficult act to follow. In all seriousness, they have a nice logo. They actually suffer a bit here for a few reasons. First, their logo is very similar to that of the Dodgers. That kind of copycatting is frowned upon by me. Also, the font is actually too plain-jane for my tastes. The letters are kind of boxy and boring.
Symmetry - 6.5: I talked with a friend, and he tells me that N's and S's and other letters in the English language have what's called "rotational symmetry." This is basically like saying that if you go from the origin to any point, you'll see a correspondent point opposite the origin. This is why I called N's vaguely symmetric in my last post. As one of our e-mails pointed out after my last post (no longer necessary because we have comments below - more on that in a bit), it seems unfair to award cities with their inherent symmetry associated with their first letter. For example, if you're the Florida Marlins, you're handicapped by the fact that you're stuck with an F on your hat. Whereas if you're Houston, you've lucked out by getting a beautiful H on your hat. I've thought about it, and I don't care. Sucks for you if you have a bad letter, but I won't be equitable or udnerstanding. The S has rotational symmetry and the D has symmetry about the horizontal axis. It's not a sphere, but it's better than the Braves.
Colors - 8.5: The Astros have similar colors and I believe I gave them a 9. I rate this only slightly below the Astros because the orange in the San Diego hat isn't quite as daring and interesting.
Lasting Appeal - 5: Hopefully with the aid of Petco Park, Kevin Towers (the Padres' GM) can put together a consistent winner.
Nostalgia - 5: What would I remember? I only gave the Pads so many points because A) This category is nearly inconsequential to OHR (Overall Hat Rating). B) I don't know anything about the history of the Padres. East coast bias at its finest.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.125

Simplicity - 8.5: I'll start with the team that everyone has been hating this offseason, the Dodgers. This is a nice classy hat. The interlocking LA makes for a nice classic look. They didn't futz with the font too much either, unlike the Braves or Mets, adding to the simplicity.
Symmetry - 6: The A has some symmetry, but the Dodgers net a six because the letters are placed nice and neatly.
Colors - 7.5: I picked this hat because I like the gray and blue. Gray can be worn with literally anything, making it a great every-day hat. My sister yells at me when I wear gray and blue together, but it's not a particularly dark gray so the synergy of the colors is kept.
Lasting Appeal - 7: If only they got to the playoffs. If only they had real fans (though that has been improving lately thanks to Eric Gagne and their penchant for playing nail-biters)
Nostalgia - 6: Kirk Gibson's injured walk-off Grand Slam will always be remembered by me.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.35

Simplicity - 6: I mean, the Rockies have a decent hat, but it doesn't really do much for me. The C and R look bizarre with their white outline on the black background for some reason. Maybe it's due to the purple inside, but it may also may have something to do with the strange font. Also, as if the National League West hadn't beaten the concept to death, the diagonally connecting letters the Rockies use are flat-out overused with the Rockies employing them now.
Symmetry - 5.5: C's got some symmetry, that's the only reason they got an extra .5 points.
Colors - 4.5: I think this is what really irks me about the hat. The purple with the black looks very odd, and your senses are deceived the moment you set your eyes on this hat. Also, aside from the purple, there's no color of interest. As the Diamondbacks merchandise sales would indicate, purple is not a good choice for a hat color.
Lasting Appeal - 5: They haven't been around very long, and I think there's a much better insignia they could be using. I would enjoy a nice mountaintop covered slightly with snow - the mountain could even be that god-awful purple if they wanted. Just anything to make the Rockies hat distinct in some fashion.
Nostalgia - 3: Everyone wants to remember mediocre players hitting 35 bombs...don't...they?

Overall Hat Rating: 5.25

Simplicity - 8.5: Nice hat the Giants have here. The hat has class with the interlocking letters, but it also has some pizzazz with the flaring on the ends of the letters. They don't get docked the points for the diagonally tiling of the letters because they and the Dodgers were the first to do it.
Symmetry - 5: The S has some, the F does not. It's nice that the letters are compact.
Colors - 8.5: I picked this hat because I really like the colors. Granted, the orange doesn't go with much, but you'll never see anyone wearing an orange hat. People would never do it because orange is generally too bright a color. This incarnation seems just soft enough to wear, however. The black lessens the impact of the orange, which is good because the orange is pretty daring on its own.
Lasting Appeal - 7: Fans over at PacBell should be proud of their team, management, and hat. All are good, and seem to have a solid franchise for years to come.
Nostalgia - 7: The Bay Area battles, the World Series earthquake, Bonds' destruction of the HR record, and Bonds' godfather Willie Mays - all these will be remembered fondly with this hat.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.4

AL West:

Simplicity - 7.5: This Athletics hat is yet another hat I own. I've come to the realization that I own it simply because it's green. I like color diversity with my hat selection (after that last look at the Giants' hat, I'm eyeing it as my next purchase), and though the A's have a good hat, objectively it's not that great. The A's is simple, but the font has a little too much flair for my taste. They could've done away with the " 'S" but I think that would make the hat confusing given the consistent practice of MLB teams to use the first letter of their city name on their hat.
Symmetry - 5.5: The A and S both sort of have symmetry. I just envisioned an Oakland hat with a beautifully embellished O. Imagine how incredible that hat would've been. Alas...
Colors - 8: There are no other green hats, and this is a major reason that the A's net an 8. They could've rated even higher if they had changed the yellow A's to white. The yellow is a bit strange against the green, and it limits what you can wear it with. I still love the forest green though.
Lasting Appeal - 8: As long as Billy Beane GMs, I'll want an A's hat. Leading the objective revolution in baseball is something I can only dream of doing.
Nostalgia - 6: LaRussa and the Bash Brothers wore this hat. The Athletics franchise experienced some turmoil prior to setttling down in Oakland.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.1

Simplicity - 7: The Rangers have a nice T. They butcher its simplicity by adding unnecessary font distortions to the T and by adding a shadow to it. Why? It was better left alone.
Symmetry - 6.5: It's there, but destroyed by the shadow, I feel.
Colors - 8: I just came to the realization that I judged this hat too harshly in the past. Maybe I couldn't get past their incredible ability to finish in the cellar seemingly every, single, year, but their hat isn't shabby. The white, red, and blue are classic American colors, helping to symbolize the idea of portended by Rangers.
Lasting Appeal - 6: It's a nice hat, but they really need to start winning again.
Nostalgia - 3: I can remember Ryan...and...

Overall Hat Rating: 6.825

Simplicity - 9.5: The Mariners should've never messed with a good thing. I understand why they did though - the team was something of a loser for awhile and they wanted to usher in a new perception of the team along with the Kingdome. My buddy Tom (Brodie for those who frequent Talking Baseball) wanted me to comment on the nautical symbol. Unfortunately, that doesn't exist by itself in any incarnation of a Seattle hat. Another problem: this hat is simply awesome. The Mariners stuck with a simple M and had the clever idea of making the M pronged, in the shape of a trident. This creates a lot of synergy with the idea of being a Mariner and does it in a fashion that doesn't ruin the purity of the hat.
Symmetry - 9: The trident is symmetrical about the vertical axis. This hat definitely is aesthetically pleasing.
Colors - 8.5: The combination of blue and yellow isn't fantastic, but it's surely unique and interesting. The presence of the blue prevents the yellow from negatively impacting the wearability of the hat.
Lasting Appeal - 8: I just wish the Mariners had stuck with the trident, this is really a beautiful hat.
Nostalgia - 2: I certainly can't recall any Mariner glory days. There simply were none (to my knowledge).

Overall Hat Rating: 8.6

Though this is the front of the hat, I'm going to do something a little unorthodox in analyzing this hat. I'm going to analyze its aesthetic quality from the back. Some like to wear their hats backwards, and I've often thought that this hat is a perfect choice for it. So, from the rear, the hat looks like:

Simplicity - 9.5: Like the Mariners, the Angels really cleverly construct their hat. The Angels simply add a halo on their A and enhance the symbol's attachment and synergy with the team name, the Angels. More importantly, the halo is very uninvasive and doesn't destroy the natural aesthetic beauty of the hat.
Symmetry - 8.5: Doesn't get much better than this - the A is perfectly symmetrical about the vertical axis.
Colors - 8.5: Blue, red, and white will always receive high marks for me. Some bonus points here for not making the halo yellow - it would destroy the chromatic simplicity.
Lasting Appeal - 8.5: Because it seems to be the best hat to wear backwards, it should attract a niche of loyal wearers.
Nostalgia - 6.5: Lucking into a World Series title (okay, that's a bit harsh) always will give you some points.

Overall Hat Rating: 8.75 (for the back, however - it'd probably get in the low 8's if we were to look at the front simply because the same simplicity/symmetry/colors are equalled or better for many teams for the front of the hat)

That's it for this edition. In approximately four days I'll be adding the last of the Hat Posts. I'll be analyzing the objective quality of the AL East and AL Central hats and then compiling a leader-board. We'll see how it stacks up - I have a feeling I may be mildly surprised with how I rated some hats. Before I sign off (in the post, and from Instant Messenger), I want to call attention to the tremendous aesthetic and functional improvements in the blog. First, I know a number of you were experiencing difficulty with the sidebar. For some it was too large, for others people couldn't physically see it. This has been remedied entirely - now there should be no problem. Truthfully however, I'm far more excited for the addition of the ability to add comments. Now, instead of e-mailing, you can quickly and easily voice your opinions through the comments below each post. We'd love to hear your opinion about each post - and the other readers would enjoy reading your thoughts as well. In other words, give us feedback as much as possible - it makes us feel loved and it's like your way of thanking us for the articles we write on a daily basis for you, the interested baseball reader. In the wake of multiple consolidations of weblogs (over at all-baseball.com and at TheHardballTimes), the baseball blogosphere is in a bit of disarray. Here's to continued consistency and prosperity for Talking Baseball :)

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