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Over the past few years I’ve often retweeted photos posted by people who’ve removed the New Era logos from their MLB caps. (If you want to learn how to do this yourself, there’s a good tutorial here.) This often leads to the same questions and discussions taking place over and over again, so I’ve created this page to help address most of the points that usually come up.

Ready? Here we go:

Why do you remove the New Era logo from your caps?

Actually, I have never removed a logo from a cap, because I have never purchased or owned a cap with a visible manufacturer’s logo to begin with.

Okay, so why do you tell other people to remove the New Era logo from their caps?

Actually, I have never told anyone to do that. Nobody is trying to convert anyone here. If you prefer to leave the New Era logo on your caps, that’s fine. No pressure, no judgment, no imperatives. Some people like their caps to look a certain way, and other people want their caps to look another way. Both approaches are fine.

I do tend to cheerlead for the people who choose to remove the logo, but I’ve never told anyone that they’re wrong for leaving the logo in place.

Why do you hate New Era?

Actually, I don’t hate New Era at all. On the contrary, I have tremendous respect for the huge role they’ve played in baseball’s visual history. Personally, though, I’m opposed to their logo appearing on MLB game caps (I’m referring to the caps that the players wear on the field, not retail caps), which began in the 2016 postseason and expanded MLB-wide in 2017.

Why are you opposed to the logo being there?

For starters, I think it’s ugly and ruins the clean look of the cap. Moreover, I think the only logo that belongs on a team uniform element is the team’s logo. A uniform isn’t like other types of clothing, because it already stands for a brand: the brand of the team. It’s a tremendously powerful visual signifier — that’s why we root for our favorite team’s uniform, no matter who’s wearing it. That bond between fan and team shouldn’t be watered down with other branding. When I’m watching the Mets, the only logos I want to be thinking about are Mets logos.

You know how they say a player should play for the name that’s on the front of the jersey, not the back of the jersey? I feel like a cap should be about the logo on the crown, not the logo on the side.

I don’t see this same outrage being directed at manufacturers’ logos on jerseys.

Actually, I’ve long been opposed to maker’s marks on all uniform elements, and I’ve been writing about these types of issues for over 20 years now.

So you’re also opposed to the Nike logo on NFL uniforms, and the Adidas and Under Armour logos on various uniforms, and so on?

Yes.

But all these other people who are removing the New Era logo from their caps, do they feel the same way as you? Are they removing logos from their jerseys, or just the New Era logo from their caps?

People seem to be more upset about the New Era logo because it takes up a much bigger proportion of space on a cap than the maker’s mark does on a jersey, plus it throws the cap’s symmetry out of balance. The cap logo really sticks out like a sore thumb.

Why do you hate brands?

Actually, I don’t hate brands at all. On the contrary, a huge amount of my work is about celebrating team brands. I’ve That’s why I’ve been writing about uniforms for the past 20+ years. And before I wrote about uniforms, I wrote about all sorts of consumer brands (I spent a few years as the marketing columnist for Fortune magazine, among a few similar gigs). I just happen to think that the only logo that belongs on a team uniform is the team’s logo, because that’s ultimately what we’re all rooting for.

It makes sense that a company would want to put its logo on its products.

Yes, we all understand why New Era wants to put the logo there, but that doesn’t automatically mean the logo should be there.

But all companies put their logos on their products.

No, actually, they don’t. Quick, where is the visible logo on your desk, belt, pillowcase, door knob, chair, and bathroom mirror? When you’re done looking for those, find the logos on your sofa, bedroom dresser, bookcase, and silverware.

Okay, but clothing companies always put logos on their products.

No, actually, they don’t. I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt right now, and their manufacturers’ tags are both on the inside, where nobody can see them. Do you wear a jacket and tie to work? If so, I’m willing to bet that there’s no external logo on your jacket, tie, or dress shirt. Probably not on your shoes, either. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now, it’s true that some clothing companies use a lot of externally visible logos (Izod, Polo, and Levi’s are three obvious examples), but it’s hardly universal. Anyway, as I already explained, a uniform isn’t like other clothing. It already stands for a brand — the brand of the team. Some of us think that’s the only logo that belongs there.

Yeah, but my jacket and tie aren’t getting exposure on national TV. And neither are my desk, pillowcase, or all the other stuff you mentioned. New Era wants their logo on the cap because it can get big exposure.

Yes, exactly. What you’re essentially saying is that the New Era logo on the cap is a form of advertising. And you’re right — that’s precisely what it is. And some of us don’t want to see ads on our favorite teams’ uniforms.

They have a right to advertise on the caps that they made.

Nobody said they don’t have the right to do it. But just because you can do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.

I don’t think it’s fair for you to oppose the logo being there. After all, they paid a lot of money to MLB for the right to have the logo on the cap!

Hmmmm. When you watch TV, do you pay close attention to every commercial, or do you get up and go to the bathroom? When you DVR something and watch it later, do you watch the commercials, or do you fast-forward past them? When you’re watching a YouTube video, do you watch the entire pre-roll commercial, or do you click the “Skip Ad” button? When an ad pops up across a web page, do you thoughtfully consider it, or do you click the “X” in the top-right corner (or do you just have an ad-blocker installed on your browser)? After all, those advertisers all spent a lot of money on those ads!

I could go on, but you get the idea. Just because advertisers have paid a certain price in order to get our attention, that doesn’t mean they’re automatically entitled to that attention. Removing the logo from the side of the cap is just another kind of ad-blocker.

Do you remove the branding from your car, too? Or your microwave? Or all the other products you own that have the manufacturer’s logo on them?

You’re missing the point. This isn’t a crusade against branding. Some people just think the their team caps look better without the maker’s mark. That’s all.

It seems really inconsistent to oppose a manufacturer’s logo on one product and not on another.

Okay. But some people don’t care if a stranger thinks they’re being inconsistent. They just want their cap to look the way they want it to look.

The New Era logo isn’t as bad as the corporate ad patches on NBA jerseys.

You’re right, the NBA ad patches are way worse (and it would be great to see people removing those from their NBA jerseys too). But just because you can point to something even worse, that doesn’t automatically make the New Era logo okay. Cancer is worse than pneumonia, but pneumonia is still pretty miserable.

True cap fans know that the New Era logo is the mark of quality.

Okay. But some people liked it better when the mark of quality was on the inside of the cap, not the outside.

Big league players wear the New Era logo on-field, so removing the logo makes the cap less authentic.

Okay. But not everyone cares whether the cap is “authentic” or “official” or anything like that. Some people just want a nice-looking cap for their favorite team and think an MLB cap looks nicer without the maker’s mark.

If you wear an inauthentic cap, that makes me think less of you as a fan.

Okay. But some people don’t care whether a stranger is judging their fanhood. They just want to wear a hat that they like.

If you don’t like the logo on the cap, don’t buy the cap.

Not every situation boils down to “Take it or leave it.” In this case, instead of taking or leaving it, there’s lots of middle ground — like, say, customizing a product to make it more to your liking. Removing the logo from a cap is no different than painting a desk a different color, or getting some detailing for your car, or renovating your kitchen, or countless other ways that people customize their personal property.

Think of it this way: Many cap fans like to curve the cap’s brim just so, to get it exactly the way they like it. This is no different: Some people prefer to remove the New Era mark to get the cap just the way they like it. Simple!

It seems wrong to deface a nice cap by removing the logo.

Some of us think the logo is the thing that’s defacing the nice cap.

Okay, Boomer, we’ll get off your lawn. Only old people care about brand logos on caps!

Actually, plenty of my younger readers tell me that they care about this issue. But for the sake of argument, let’s say the only people who care about it are all over 55. So what? If older fans feel a certain way about the New Era logo, what’s wrong with that? Older fans’ opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s. In any case, nobody’s trying to convert you; everyone’s free to wear their cap however they like. This page is just for explaining why some people happen to like it without the maker’s mark.

Maybe a few people care about this, but most don’t.

Oh, for sure — it’s not a mass movement or a huge populist groundswell, and nobody ever claimed that it was. It’s just a niche thing for a group of fans who happen to feel a certain way about this topic. But what’s wrong with that? Life is full of niche interests.

The people who tweet these photos of their caps after removing the logo are just looking for attention.

Well, yes — and what’s wrong with that? People with particular interests or hobbies look for attention all the time so they can connect with other people who share their interests, or just as a form of show-and-tell. It’s no different than posting a photo of a cake you just baked, or a model train set you just set up, or whatever.

It really annoys me to see people doing this.

A lot of people have told me that, and I honestly don’t understand it. If someone chooses to customize their personal property to suit their own tastes, why should that annoy you? What does it even have to do with you? You can do what you want with your own cap, and other people can do what they want with theirs.

I do think it’s sort of fascinating that so many people appear to be triggered by the knowledge that other people are removing the logos from their caps. The whole thing has turned out to be an interesting sociological experiment.

You only came up with this idea to remove the cap logos because you sell seam rippers, so this is a money-making thing for you.

Actually, people started using seam rippers to remove the New Era logo on their own, without any encouragement from me, at least as far back as the spring of 2017 (as you can see in this tweet). I continued to retweet and support people who were doing this for two years, and then people started suggesting that I sell my own Uni Watch seam rippers — it wasn’t even my idea! I didn’t begin selling the rippers until the fall of 2019, more than two years after the phenomenon had started. The page where I sell the rippers includes a link in the very first paragraph where people can buy less expensive rippers without the Uni Watch logo, so everyone’s free to do that if they want — no need to buy my versions. And based on the photos that people are posting, most of them aren’t even using Uni Watch rippers, which is fine by me.

In case you’re curious, I make about $3 profit per ripper — and as we already discussed, this is a small niche interest — so I’m not exactly raking in the bucks here. Just a fun creative project, which in turn helps other people with their own creative projects, all of which I’m proud to be a part of.

I hear what you’re saying, and I even agree with a lot of it, but I just can’t be bothered to remove the logo, or even to get all that worked up about it. It doesn’t feel like a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I totally get that. Life is busy and we all have to choose our battles. Some people have chosen this one; you may choose other ones. Nobody’s trying to convert you to the cause or tell you what to do with your cap. I’m just explaining why some people feel the way they do about this issue.

I’m fine with the logo being there. In fact, I prefer it!

That’s great! Like I just said, nobody’s trying to convert you. But some of us feel differently, and we’re going to continue to express our point of view. Thanks.