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Green Wave: MLB Releases St. Paddy’s Day Caps

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Good morning! Although today is Valentine’s Day (I’ll have another post about that later this morning), we’re going to start the day by talking about a different holiday, because MLB has released this year’s St. Patrick’s Day caps for all 30 teams, which you can see above.

A few notes:

  • These are basically the same as last year’s St. Paddy’s Day caps, except those were green with white trim, while this year’s are green with gold trim. Naturally, I heartily approve of this change, which really brings out the richness of the green. (Seems like orange trim would make the most sense, since that would align with the Irish national colors. Maybe they’ll do that next year.)
  • One obvious difference from last year: The Twins’ cap reflects their new uni set.
  • The Giants keep using that little bonus “SF” logo on the lower-left corner of the crown, which is a tacit admission that their “G” logo is a flop.
  • Man, the black drop-shadow on the Reds’ cap logo looks so much better when it’s a gold drop-shadow!
  • As usual, the A’s cap just looks like, you know, an A’s cap.
  • There are 17 spring training games scheduled for March 17 (that includes split-squad games), so these caps will presumably get a lot of on-field exposure. It’s not clear, at least to me, whether any teams are planning to wear green jerseys that day.

Two final thoughts: First, if you’re using shorthand, remember that it’s St. Paddy’s, not St. Patty’s. And second, here’s a tip of the green cap to longtime Uni Watch reader R. Scott Rogers, who comes from Irish stock and was actually born on March 17. Happy upcoming-birthday, Scott!


What Paul Did Last Night on Friday

On Friday I went to the Grolier Club in Manhattan to check out their exhibit of Ellen G. K. Rubin’s collection of “movable advertising ephemera” — i.e., printed ads and promos with pop-up elements, volvelles, sliding parts, etc. As a nice bonus, Rubin herself happened to be there during my visit and was really fun to talk to. The exhibit closed on Saturday, but I took lots of photos. For photos that include a QR code, the code links to a video on Rubin’s website that shows the object in motion, which is really fun to see. Enjoy!

Comments (59)

    Don’t make it a partisan/sectarian issue. It’s a holiday in Ulster as well. We wear green as a celebration of all things Irish and orange is frought with sectarian baggage, but if New Era used a little bit of orange trim on these caps, it would be perfectly appropriate and would look great to boot.

    St Patrick’s Day commemorates the arrival of Christianity to the island of Ireland. It is celebrated by the Church of Ireland and the Anglican Church. It is meant to be a celebration of the culture of the entire island. Why exclude orange when the Republic expressly included it in the tricolor for a Catholic-majority nation?

    Yet both fall under the umbrella of the patron saint of the island of Ireland, which wasn’t partitioned by nationalism and sectarianism when St. Patrick arrived…

    Of course, if we are specifically looking at the colours that represent St Patrick (rather than the Irish nation or island) then neither green nor orange (nor gold for that matter) are strictly appropriate. St Patrick has gone through a bit of a Santa Clausing in the sense that the green depictions are a modern rebranding. In the past, he was mostly depicted in blue. Moreover, since we’re on the matter of flags, the only flag that actually bears his name, Saint Patrick’s Saltire, is red and white (and which you’ll all know as it features in the Union Flag of the UK as representing the Irish kingdom since the Act of Union in 1800).

    Any idea why it’s still on the Union Flag, considering Ireland hasn’t been part of the Union since the 1920s and Northern Ireland has its own flag?

    For the purposes of the Union, Northern Ireland is still considered the Irish part of the Union. As for the flag of Northern Ireland, technically it actually doesn’t have its own flag. Officially speaking, the Union flag is its national flag. Welcome to the bizarre world of Northern Irish flag politics!

    I’ve always worn orange for St. Patrick’s Day, not only to represent my Protestant background but also to represent my alma mater, the University of Tennessee. My understanding is that UT’s orange is a reference to Irish Protestants who were some of the earliest European settlers in the area, so the two things are interconnected as well.

    When my daughter went to UT, they told us that the orange was the color of the flowers near Blount Hall.

    And to go a little deeper, green, white, and orange are the colors of the flag of the Republic of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is both a Catholic saint day and a broader Irish holiday, not strictly limited to the Republic. The Republic of Ireland isn’t synonymous with Ireland, the island or the cultural place, in roughly the same way that England isn’t synonymous with Britain. Also, sky blue used to be the traditional color of St. Patrick, and blue and gold was more common than green and gold for Irish colors until the 1640. Green and gold became the common flag and banner colors for Ireland until the 1830s, when Irish nationalists took inspiration from the revolutionary French tricolor. Even then, green, white, and gold was common alongside green, white, and orange, until the early 20th century.

    I love these logo designs, but I loathe the trucker-cap style. If these were regular caps, I’d probably buy three of them.

    On balance, I like the idea more than the execution. The gold trim is an improvement but so many of the logos are majority-green on a green background that they look almost ghosted. And for as bad as the Giants’ “G” monogram is relative to their more iconic “SF”, other teams went even more obscure, and without team colors as clues, they’re baffling. Would you know that the baseball-with-wheat-for-seams is the Brewers? Would you even know if those were stalks of wheat from more than an inch away? If you’re going to deviate from the primary logo, and move away from team colors, you get a lot of confusion. And none of this mentions the odious idea of spending over $30 for a mesh cap meant to be worn for a single day within a period of a few weeks before the season starts.
    No thanks.

    Yeah, the Giants logo isn’t great, but I wonder if the “SF” is to distinguish from perhaps a fashion Homestead Greys cap? Which I would buy 1,000 years before I got that giants hat.

    Green paired with gold is not wholly alien as symbolic of Ireland, and indeed older incarnations of an Irish flag which predate the current one featured gold, usually in the form of a harp. Even today, it’s not uncommon to hear the current flag erroneously described as “green, white and gold” in Ireland though – depending on the situation – that may be a subtle bit of sectarianism on the part of the speaker in preferring not to acknowledge the protestant community who the orange is meant to represent. It’s at least sensitive enough that this official government document from 2018 on the flag actively calls out use of gold instead of orange as “a misrepresentation of the National Flag and should be actively discouraged”: link.

    Besides, the tricolor flag with Green, White, and Orange belongs to Cote D’ivoire

    No, Ivory Coast has a tricolor of orange, white, and green. Literally the opposite of the Irish tricolor of green, white, and orange. Keep up, mate! ;-)

    My grandma taught it to me this way: the green is for the Catholic Republic, the Orange is for the Protestant kingdom, and the white is for the peace that has never existed between them.

    As Bishop Don “Magic” Juan would say, “Green is for the money, gold is for the honey.”

    I won’t be retiring my old-school green Phillies cap from college (with the P trimmed in red), but I may add this to my repertoire (since my wife sings traditional Irish music here in NY and I get to confuse all her friends by being a Philly fan).

    Since they’re for St. Patrick’s Day, let’s suppose you’re out listening to traditional Irish music (could be my wife, most likely one of her friends) during the high holy season of now until the end of March. Your navy blue Yankees cap won’t blend in with all the green. So you have a green one, just like all the prospects will be wearing in Tampa.

    Yet, I’m curious as to why Baltimore and both New York teams are show with a curved brim, while every other team is shown with a flat brim.

    Is it just me, or do several of those cap logos appear to be set unusually close to the brim (rather than centered on the front of the cap)?

    I would like to see these festive hats in blue and gold, the colors of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. With a green shamrock next to the team logos. As Irish as can be without the green versus orange debate.

    Some of these hats looks quite nice. Some don’t. (Looking at you, Giants.) On the Good or Stupid scale, the lovely green and gold color scheme elevates these to… Stupid. (Just maybe not as stupid as they could have been.)

    So I am assuming these caps exist, and are made in new variations each year, because they sell? But I’d be curious to know just how well they sell to necessitate a new version each year.
    No doubt people like new versions of their teams cap each year, but new versions of what is essentially the same St Paddy’s day version? Like how many green Yankees/Phillies/Dodgers/etc hats does a fan of that team actually want?

    I’ve been holding my tongue until now, but it’s fascinating to see that almost all of the comments about these caps are about what they cost, how well/poorly they sell, whether the commenter wants to buy one, etc.

    Nobody has commented on how these will look on the field, which is the only thing that really matters from a Uni Watch perspective.

    Obviously, I realize that these caps are a merch dump, a prime example of the tail wagging the dog, etc. Still, they’re not *only* merch — as I mentioned in the text, there are 17 spring training games scheduled for March 17, so they’ll be worn quite a bit on the field. But nobody seems to care about that. The only discussion is the merch angle.

    As always, if you think they’re too expensive (or too stupid, or too similar to last year’s design, or whatever), there’s a simple solution: Don’t buy them! But either way, that’s not what we’re here to talk about, because Uni Watch is where we talk about what the players wear, not what’s for sale.

    Or at least that’s what we *usually* talk about. But not today, apparently!

    After years of one-off leaguewide caps (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, etc., etc.), I’m having a hard time getting excited about another leaguewide cap promotion.

    Especially for spring training games.

    There’s so many special event caps now the best I can muster is “they’re adequate”. Unless there’s a foulup (the Padres accidentally do another swastika or the Jays get a stars and stripes cap) this is the interest level I think a lot of us have.

    After years of one-off leaguewide caps (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, etc., etc.), I’m having a hard time getting excited about another leaguewide cap promotion.

    Tell me about it. But nobody said we had to get excited about them. I’m just pointing out that all the discussion was about the merch angle, which is technically not even germane to Uni Watch.

    My point is that all of the discussion is about merch because (unlike say City Connect) there’s no discussion about aesthetics to drown out the merch discussion. “I’d buy that HOW MUCH” posts get lost in 300 comments on a City Connect uniform, they’re sitting by themselves here.

    Also – on the aesthetics – when I see a leaguewide program like this my first thought is “this is a New Era thing that somehow escaped onto the field.”

    Your point is taken but it is a little disingenuous to detach the marketing aspect from the aesthetics, consider that the pictures came from, and even if I am being a little cynical, I can’t believe all 30 teams would participate in this one-off if the directive hadn’t come down at the league level to do this as a cash grab. I remember growing up when very few teams (Phillies, Reds, Mets, and maybe 1 or 2 others) would actually wear some green on St Paddy’s, but now we are here. I wouldn’t wear one or buy one at any price; colorway aside, they’re trucker hats, poorly designed and almost all not in team colors. I would feel the same way about camouflage, pink, light blue or “Murrica-themed.

    Actually, nobody “detach[ed] the marketing aspect from the aesthetics.” I said that it’s a merch dump. Same goes for City Connect, Reverse Retro, Color Rush, etc. — duh, they’re ALL cynical merch dumps. But they also appear on the field, and that’s what we discuss here on Uni Watch. We talk about them as uniforms, not as merchandise. We talk about how we’ll respond to them as fans watching the game, not as consumers considering a purchase.

    Or at least that’s how it usually works — except today, apparently. Which is what I was pointing out. That’s all.

    I would just say this instance, more than most cases of the tail wagging the dog in terms of retail/on field, feels especially bad. I think the combo of trucker hat, being spring training, and the green St Paddy’s gear having existed for years as merch not uniform, put that all together and it just feels like this is an instance of the teams wearing a product on the field, and not a special, one day uniform element.

    I don’t entirely disagree with you, Greg. And what you’ve just provided is a critique of these caps *as uniform elements* — you’re saying that when they appear on the field, they’ll feel sort of illegitimate, or feel like props, etc. In other words, as I think we all agree, this is a cynical merch dump.

    That’s a perfectly valid critique. But that’s very different than saying, “They cost too much” or “I don’t like wearing trucker caps.” Those sorts of comments are assessing the caps *as merchandise,* while your critique is assessing them *as (failed) uni elements.*

    See the difference?

    As an offender relating to this observation, I say, “Fair point!” For me, I hardly register this sort of one-game promotion as an on-field uniform. It’s primarily a merch dump, and anyway it’ll happen in games that may not be widely televised or seen at all. If a player wears a forest-colored hat but nobody is there to see it, did it look like anything? Also, for St. Patrick’s Day caps, I sort of “price in” an assumption that they’ll look like crap for most teams on the field. If, as most teams do, the cap is paired with regular non-green uniforms, it will most likely be ugly. MLB doesn’t intend for these caps to look good on the field of play, so I discount “will it look good on the field of play?” as a topic of concern.

    Just by way of explaining how I came to judge and comment on these caps, not to argue that Paul is wrong in his observation here. Mea maxima culpa!

    I definitely expect a team or three will do this. Every season there are always a couple teams who sport a green jersey for St. Paddy’s.

    On a side note, anyone else feel that the G on the Giants’ cap in the image provided looks lopsided on the verticals? The right verticals show how raised they are, but appear thicker than the left vertical stroke, which almost doesn’t look raised at all. I went to the Lids website to compare against the other views. In the straight-on view, the strokes appear to be the same width, as they should be, and in the left 3/4 view the G looks as I would expect it to look, Compare for yourself: link

    To everyone asking why they should want/buy/care about these – they’re not for you, and that’s okay! It’s not that far-fetched to think there might be Blue Jays/Cubs/Diamondbacks fans out there whose favourite colour is green! (Or a million other reasons).

    One thing that MLB has gotten really wrong is the uniformity between teams for promotions like this. I despise that these hats, like the Mothers Day, etc… promotions makes every team look exactly the same. Some of these hats look good. But every team looking the same is deeply stupid.

    Do the major sports leagues do specials for any other foreign country’s patron saints?

    If not, why St Patrick’s Day?

    Well, I think the bigger question is whether we in America celebrate holidays for other countries’ patron saints. Since we do celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, it seems fine to have that reflected in our sports uniforms.

    As for whether we *should* celebrate St. Paddy’s Day (and/or any similar holidays connected to other countries), that’s a separate issue.

    Top three days for alcohol binge drinking in US…..Mardi Gras, New Years Eve and St Paddy’s Day…

    Sometimes less is more. Flipping a team’s primary color to green and leaving everything else alone is just the right touch. link

    I used to work for the Giants and the reason for the tiny SF in the corner, is that each team must have a primary logo on the front of their hat they wear on field. The “G” logo is the Giants city connect logo, thus not primary. Also a decision was made that the G alone was not recognizable enough to be considered a Giants hat.

    “Also a decision was made that the G alone was not recognizable enough to be considered a Giants hat.”

    Bingo. That’s what we’ve been saying all along…

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