I got home from work after tonight’s All-Star Game was already well under way, so I missed a lot of the action, such as it was. Alas, my arrival was still plenty early enough to get an eyeful of those godawful caps they had the teams wearing. What did MLB do, make all the players go buy their caps at a gas station out on the highway? My mom, of all people, said they looked “chintzy” and for once I agree with her.
What exactly is wrong with the teams’ usual headgear? Oh, I know–this is about merchandising, looking to make another quick buck. That’s the thing that really bugs me about this: I know that the next time I go out to the park for a game, I’ll see at least one clueless dope wearing one of these things, after plunking down $30 for a cap that looks like it’s not up to the quality of the trinkets they sell inside the lobby at your local car wash.
I understand that grumbling about stuff like this comes across as old and out of touch, but I see this sort of thing as evidence of all the wrongheadedness that permeates so much of the sports world these days. Tonight, it’s just about selling some caps; but it’s the same sort of thinking that led to the nods and winks of the steroid era. Few people had much grumbling to do about that at the time, but after the fact a lot of people sure got their dander up about it–and continue to do so to this day. We could, possibly, avert some of the future grief if we call out the nonsense in real time, and not wait until the horse is way down the road to close the barn door.
They’re not just caps. They’re not just butt-ugly caps. They’re symbols of a game that’s distracted–by money, merchandising, marketing–to the point where it’s losing, if not selling, its soul.