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Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.



Posted by Mike on Thursday, March 18, 2004

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A Re-Cap
Updated 4:47 PM

Talking Baseball has become an analytical baseball cap website. How did this happen? Simply, the excitement over the arrival of spring training arriving has disappeared and has been replaced by the realization that preseason baseball games are meaningless and often boring. Too many undeserving players are scraping for a roster spot and too many others are trying to recover from previous injuries or offseason surgeries. These sorts of things are fun to muse about for a few days but ultimately not nearly as much fun to discuss as actual regular season baseball. This is why we here at Talking Baseball have devoted so much time recently to discussing baseball caps.

There has been some extremely negative feedback to Dave's last two post about baseball caps. The hats he has been analyzing are not official MLB game worn caps but instead a selection of popular "Franchise" caps made by Twins Enterprises. A number of them are variations of caps worn by their respective teams but with altered color schemes. This is why I found the need to talk about the real caps worn by MLB teams.

There is a major flaw in Dave's analysis and that is the rating system that he used to create his "overall hat ratings." He uses fixed and arbitrarily proportioned point values in five areas; simplicity, symmetry, colors, lasting appeal, and nostalgia. The problem here is that there is no fungibility between the different categories. There needs to be a degree of "give and take" when looking at caps rather than trying to break them down into basic elements. Sometimes one element more than compensates for deficiencies in other areas - the Brewers cap is probably the best example of this being ignored. Therefore, I've eliminated the reliance upon the weights that Dave put forth. This allows for me to create more inter-reliance on the categories.

The "lasting appeal" and "nostalgia" categories are essentially redundant. Greater nostalgia should effectively boost lasting appeal especially in combination with good scores in the design elements. A cap with nostalgia should also have lasting appeal among fans because nostalgia keeps fans interested in certain teams. Teams like the Devil Rays have no nostalgia and no lasting appeal. Teams like the Yankees and Cardinals have a great deal of nostalgia and subsequently a great deal of lastying appeal.

Dave also selected each hat he judged for every team in a somewhat random manner. There is no consistency but most are variations or resemblances of game worn caps. I will only be evaluating the caps worn at home games for each team. Away worn hats might be evaluated in a later post but I'm trying to keep this simple for the time-being.

The Rating System - I will be using an A to F scale. Pluses (+) and minuses (-) will be used for borderline determinations. Please remember that all of these ratings are arbitrary.

The NL East



Atlanta Braves

This cap isn't neccessarily bad but it isn't really good either. The "A" just doesn't work and the bright red brim stands out a little too much in contrast to the rest of the cap. It has decent balance but could have been better with a more appealing "A." The Braves have a positive history and momentum coming out of the 1990s but this cap really does nothing more than say, "I'm a Braves fan." Now that Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine have left Atlanta a great deal of the identity that this cap carries is gone with them. It should be interesting to see how the Braves are viewed once John Smoltz leaves them as well.

Simplicity - B
Symetry - C
Colors - B
Nostalgia - B
Overall - B-



Florida Marlins

There is little good that can be said about this cap. Maybe if the logo were just a simple "F" then it would be better but as it stands right now this cap is genuinely ugly. A general rule of thumb is that the team mascot should not make an appearance anywhere on a hat. The Marlins' marlin is prominantly displayed as flopping by the giant "F" on the front of this cap. Not attractive. The "franchise" caps I discussed above sometimes have a mini-mascot in the back that looks just fine. In the Marlins case the mascot is the most visible decoration on the cap making it look cluttered and unpleasing to the eye. The only factor preventing the Marlins cap from receiving an outright "F" is that the franchise has won two World Series titles in the last seven years.

Simplicity - F
Symetry - F
Colors - D-
Nostalgia - C
Overall - D-



Montreal Expos

The Expos will not be in Montreal much longer, and when they move I'm sure that they will change their name and logos. As a result this cap is dated and soon will cease to exist. There are few Expo fans right now and there will be few who remember them in the future. The Expos do not have much nostalgia working in their favor, a situation that would likely have been different had the 1994 World Series not been cancelled. Ultimately, the colors are good and the design is unique (although incomprehensible) but it all adds up to a slightly above average cap.

Simplicity - B
Symetry - B
Colors - B
Nostalgia - D
Overall - B-



New York Mets

The Mets entire uniform is a combination of the old Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants colors and logos. The cap color (blue and orange) is just a little bit funky but not bad enough to hurt the cap's overall presentation. The logo is absolutely one of the best in the majors because it is both unique and elegant. I struggled with the Nostalgia rating because the Mets have had so many bad seasons but their two World Series titles are so memorable that I decided that I couldn't give them any form of a "C."

Simplicity - A
Symetry - A
Colors - C
Nostalgia - B-
Overall - B



Philadelphia Phillies

I don't wear Red Hats but if I did I think I might be convinced to choose a Phillies hat. A very clean and balanced style of its own make this one of the better looking MLB caps. The Phillies have some history but right now they just emerging from a rebuilding phase that began after their last World Series appearance in the early 1990s. As they continue to win games I'm sure that the Phillies will also rebuild their reputation and their nostalgia rating...

Simplicity - A
Symetry - A
Colors - A-
Nostalgia - C
Overall - B+

NL Central



Chicago Cubs

I've always liked the caps that the Cubs wear, both home and away. The away version is one of very few that looks good with a brim of a different color than the rest of the cap. Their home cap is simple, sharp, and appealing to the eye. The Cubs don't have much of a nostalgia factor because aside from last year they're not often in contention.

Simplicity - A
Symetry - A
Colors - A
Nostalgia - B
Overall - A-



Cincinnati Reds

Good but not great. Aside from the fact that this cap represents Cincinnati there's nothing really wrong with it. Overall the design is pretty sharp but its nothing special. Black and red with a big white "C" on the front. This team was great in the 1970s but recently they've been terrible and the current Pete Rose controversy hasn't helped. I don't personally like the cap very much but it rates well because I think in the eyes of others it would be appealing.

Simplicity - B+
Symetry - A
Colors - B
Nostalgia - B
Overall - B+



Houston Astros

The Astros have always worn ugly uniforms and caps. At one time they wore caps with the Astrodome on them. Let me restate that. At one time they wore caps that on the front prominantly featured their stadium. The old rainbow uniforms are desirable now but I don't think they could ever be confused as being attractive. The current Astros cap is bland and features a rather ugly logo.

Simplicity - C+
Symetry - C
Colors - C+
Nostalgia - D
Overall - C



Milwalkee Brewers

An ugly cap that represents a team with no history and little future. The "franchise" version that Dave reviewed is a much more unique and attractive cap. Their game-worn home cap has no redeeming qualities past it's standard navy blue color.

Simplicity - C
Symetry - D
Colors - B
Nostalgia - F
Overall - D



Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have been using this style of "P" as their logo for a very long time now. It's a rather unique "P" and honestly without it this hat probably wouldn't have gotten it's overall "B" rating. I don't really like the yellow because of the bumblebee effect in combination with the black. Conservative but with personality this is a solid cap.

Simplicity - A
Symetry - A-
Colors - C+
Nostalgia - B
Overall - B



Saint Louis Cardinals

Another red cap but this one isn't as sharp as the Phillies' home game hat. The Cardinals are known for having as strong and knowledgable a fanbase and having a rich history. The logo on the cap is a little out of control but to some degree it works. The "S-T L" is a little busy but because the letters themselves are simple the design manages to remain appealing.

Simplicity - B-
Symetry - C-
Colors - A-
Nostalgia - A
Overall - B+

NL West



Arizona Diamondbacks

Ugly. So very ugly. The colors, the logo, the everything. If not for the 2001 World Series title then this hat, like the Marlins', would receive an "F."

Simplicity - D
Symetry - C-
Colors - D
Nostalgia - C
Overall - C-



Colorado Rockies

Another ugly cap. Better colors and then we'll talk.

Simplicity - C
Symetry - C
Colors - D
Nostalgia - F
Overall - D-



Los Angeles Dodgers

A reoccuring theme... simple with nice colors. There's little symetry with the "L" and the "A" but it doesn't really matter because the overall presentation of the cap more than makes up for that one deficiency. This is simply a nice cap.

Simplicity - A
Symetry - C
Colors - A
Nostalgia - B+
Overall - A-



San Diego Padres

Pretty much the same thing as the Dodgers cap but with a different font for the logo letters and less history behind the team.

Simplicity - A
Symetry - C
Colors - A
Nostalgia - C-
Overall - B+



San Francisco Giants

This is a good looking hat. It's well balanced in all areas (there's a little symetry with the way that the "F" is used as a sort of central axis) and has no real deficiencies. The logo uses a unique font and is simple but with personality. I really wanted to give this cap a better grade but the logo feels a little too busy.

Simplicity - C
Symetry - B-
Colors - B+
Nostalgia - B+
Overall - B-


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