Thursday, April 14, 2011

An expansion of futility

1969 must have been an interesting year. The New York Jets win their first and only Super Bowl, Apollo 11 put the first man on the moon, and Major League Baseball expanded with 4 new teams. These teams were the San Diego Padres, The Seattle Pilots, The Kansas City Royals, and of course the Montreal Expos. Out of those 4 teams, two have moved cities, one has never won a World Series, and shockingly one has never even played in the World Series. Sound like a fun time to be a general manager? I suppose if you're a fan of the old chopping block. We all know the the Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C. and became the Nationals a few years back, and that they have signed multiple top rated draft picks, but lets take a minute to see where they've been and what got them where they are. After Montreal lost the Montreal Royals, a minor league affiliate of the Dodgers where Jackie Robinson once played, there was a demand for baseball in Quebec. Naturally, after holding a version of the worlds fair in 1967 dubbed Expo67, the concept of hosting a big league team in Montreal arose, and soon came approval. Shortly enough, a make shift 28,000 seat stadium in Jarry Park was reformatted to MLB standards, and a home was born. After a brief 7 seasons, the club moved into Olympic Stadium, a converted stadium from the '76 Summer Olympics. Now with a permanent home and a substantial following, the club was ready for success. Not so fast. Over the course of the following 29 seasons, the club would manage to capture ONLY 1 division title. Throughout the years, the Expos had such greats on their rosters as Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Andres Galarraga, and most recently Vlad Guerrero. Whereas this seems incredibly impressive, the team just couldn't manage to get it all together at the same time. It was one shortcoming after another, and a last place finish to boot. To some, a disappointing past, a reason to forget, but to me it is a bittersweet transition. Clearly it was an organization that was willing to fight for success, which signed talented players in order to put themselves in a decent position, but just couldn't manage to get to the finish line in first. With a new home, fan base, and draft picks which have built hype, maybe the the moment where they turn the corner is just a few years away. Perhaps the days of the Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants vying for National League titles are numbered. We will soon find out. The cap above, which served as the home fitted of Les Expos de Montreal most recently, has a royal blue brim and crown with the unique Expos primary logo front and center. The M which is centered overall stands for Montreal, the E on the left in white stands for Expos, and the B stands for Baseball. Classic Logo, with a troubled past. Maybe the new Nationals W will prove to be better luck, only time will tell.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are we there yet?

Welcome back everybody, and happy hump day! The weeks almost over, and we've got one of the most aesthetically pleasing caps of all time today. This cap, which the Seattle Mariners wore in the early to mid 90's served as the crowns to many of the royal family in Kingdome history. Greats such as Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, and Randy Johnson sported this cap in some of the more talent filled rosters in Seattle baseball history. With all those terrific players, can you believe they never once captured the elusive American League Title?; possibly one of the most unbelievable shortcomings in MLB history. After the original incarnation of baseball in the Pacific Northwest with the expansion of the Seattle Pilots in 1969, not many thought America's pastime would return to the region after the relocated one short season later to Milwaukee. Surely enough, King County was awarded yet another crack at it in 1977. Despite a slow start on the track to success, having to wait for their first winning season until year 15th in 1991, the city stuck with the team with hopes of glory one day; they're still waiting. Now in the clubs 36th season, they still have no AL Title, and needless to say no World Series Championship. Along with the Expos/Nationals franchise, they are the only other team to never see the promise land of World Series Baseball. Through the trials and tribulations, here's what they have done: three AL West titles in 1995, 1997, 2001, an AL Wild Card berth in 2000, and won a MLB record 116 games in 2001. 116 games people, thats  70 games over .500 which is truly remarkable. But how do you not win a World Series, let alone miss it all together? In that truth lies the title of the post, "Are we there yet?". The answer: clearly not, because in recent seasons the team has struggled as a whole, missing the post season each of the last 9 seasons. Can they go for a lucky 10? I hope not for their sake; great fans, beautiful newer stadium in Safeco Field, and a developing rotation in the form of Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. Seattle already has one of the higher, if not the highest suicide rates in the country, and another consecutive failed season wouldn't exactly be helping the cause. The cap above, which features a teal brim, navy blue crown, and the beautiful Mariners logo is available at the lids website here if you are interested. Keep an eye on the Seattle Mariners though, maybe they can make a true run at it this year. On second thought probably not, but at least King Felix is worth watching. Enjoy the rainy weather, and the lack of an NBA team, because the baseball won't be much to write home about for yet another season. Until tomorrow, adios!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Full steam ahead for these Captains

Good afternoon fitted fans, feast your eyes on one of my favorite logos in all of minor league baseball; that is up until this season. The cap shown above is the previous home cap of the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League of Minor League Baseball. The captains sail the high waters of the Eastern Division along with such previously featured teams here on TFD as the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The captains are the A ball affiliate of the neighboring Cleveland Indians, and have been since way back when the team was known as the Columbus RedStixx from 1992-2002. If you aren't aware, in A ball, titles are awarded by division for first and second half divisions of the season. Since the franchises creation and humble beginnings in the early 90's, the club has attained 7 first half division titles, 4 second half division titles, and even a league title in last years 2010 campaign. Despite the constant flow of talent on its roster, being that it is a minor league club, they always seem to play into contention, which can only mean great management. In the clubs first year in Lake County, the team managed to make it to the league finals. Although falling short, the franchice set a season attendance record by drawing 458,533 fans despite the cozy confines of their ballpark. That season, the Captains played to a 97-43 record including playoff games. To this day, the leaders of the ship play at Classic Park, a 7,273 seat facility which has seen some of the more incredible seasons in minor league history. Some of todays more noted and accomplished players, that once donned a Captains hat are: Fausto Carmona, Jhonny Peralta, Victor Martinez, and outfielder Ben Francisco. The cap shown, which is still on sale on lids website, features a navy blue crown and brim, with a slightly cartoonistic captain with a bat on his shoulder. Let's hope that with the new logo designs for this season that the magic isn't lost, and the club can continue to turnout successful baseball for years to come. Their season begins tonight a 7p.m. vs the Dayton Dragons; will we see a ship begin to sink, or the powerful engine churn forward into the dog days of summer? The journey begins now, hope they're ready. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Gimmick, Just Around The Curve...

I don't know if you guys have caught wind of this little concept yet, but a minor league baseball team in Pennsylvania is taking the first step into onfield cap innovation this season. That's right, as the illustration above shows, the Altoona Curve, of Altoona, Pennsylvania are sporting reversible home caps this season, which features a rally cap for those late game desperation moments. This past Tuesday, April 5th, the team posted a Press Release displaying the cap shown above completing a 100% team image overhaul. The Altoona Curve are the Double A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and have been ever since their inception into minor league baseball in 1999. They play in the Western Division of the Eastern League, and have found moderate success over the past 12 seasons winning division titles in 2004 and 2010, and capturing their first league title in 2010 as well. The Curve play at Blair County Ballpark, a 7,210 seat facility in its 13th season, which is repeatedly ranked among the top as far as popularity goes in minor league parks. It's most notable features are its beautiful architectural design, the roller coaster from the amusement park next door located behind the right field wall, and also the Allegheny Mountain range view off in the distance. As you can imagine, some of the teams most famous alumni now in the major leagues, are subsequently Pirates of present or past. To name a few of the more successful players: Jose Bautista, Ian Snell, Jack Wilson, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Ryan Doumit. Going back to the cap for a moment, to my knowledge this is the first ever attempted reversible cap, with intentions of "Rally-Cap" possibilities. The intended outside of the cap features the new team colors and logo, with a red brim and crown. The "Rally-Cap" side features orange embroidery throughout, and eyes on the front as if to imitate the teams mascot "Al Tuna". Ahh...minor league baseball: so quirky and odd at times, yet undeniably fun. I ordered mine last week as soon as I found out about it, and I suggest you do the same if you want to be a part of fitted history, because I guarantee once people around the country start getting word of this they will fly off the shelves. The cap can be found here . Hope you enjoyed this one, I know I did.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Everyone ready for their weekends? I know I am, and in honor of the stress I intend on relieving tonight, lets blow off a little more steam with a red hot fitted. The cap you see above is the home cap of the Visalia Rawhide. The Rawhide, who are the single A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, play in the North Division of the California League. They are currently in their third season as the Rawhide, after the recent change in name from the Oaks, which they had been since 1995. The club gets their new name from one of the biggest income producers in Tulare County, Holstein Bulls. Holstein bulls are a large contributer to the success of the dairy community, and as a result Visalia is one of the largest providers of milk in the county. The "hide" play their home games at Recreation Ballpark; a 1,888 seat facility, which opened its doors in 1946. This is definitely one of the lower capacity parks I have ever heard of, being that it houses less fans than college parks I've been to. The teams mascot is named tipper, after the fun loving past time of "cow-tipping" which was put on display in the classic Chris Farley film Tommy Boy. If "Tipper" believes in being due, he should be extremely optimistic; the Rawhide franchise hasn't won anything since 1978 when they won a league title. Keep your head up Tipper, your team only plays in front of remotely no one, and never wins, but it's only a matter of time!...or something. The sweet cap featured above features a black brim, black crown, and has an encircled V as if to imitate a branding iron. Cool cap, which features a cultural icon in reflection of the culture of the area. The cap is available here: Pick it up if you like it, if not at least you learned something new today. Until tomorrow, peace out cub scouts.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So you guys are pirates, without the boats? That makes sense...

Hey everybody, hope everyone is having a happy Thursday. If it isn't going so well, tomorrow's FRIDAY! If you're one of those people who is having a less than stellar day, maybe this post will change that; or at least distract you for a few minutes. The team featured today is the Bradenton Marauders. You probably don't really know what that is, as I didn't a mere 3 days ago. If you're keeping score at home, a marauder is an outlaw or mercenary who is sustained by looting; as the post title explains, it is essentially a pirate without a boat. Pardon me if I am incorrect, but isn't the boat the whole point of a pirate? Anyway, The Marauders are in their second year of affiliation with the (you guessed it) Pittsburgh Pirates, and they play their home games at McKechnie Field. The Bradenton ballpark, which served as the Pirates spring training home this past March, was built in 1923 and renovated in 1993. The stadium seats 6,602, and is unique in the aspect that it hadn't had lights for night games until 2008. A great way, in my opinion, to keep the game pure and pay homage to the past, but that's gone now. The franchise, which was most currently affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, has captured 2 Southern Division Titles in the Florida State League, but has still yet to taste the glory of a league title. The team lost the division championship series in three games this past season, but still managed a 76-62 recored in the process. A new team, with a peculiar name, and a bright future (note merely due to the installment of stadium lights). The cap shown above is the home fitted of the club, which features a black crown, black brim, and a slightly playful caricature of the afore mentioned Marauder. Crisp cap, that keeps a fun playful atmosphere involved, which is what minor league baseball is all about. The cap can be found here at the team store: With a sweet logo like that, it really is hard to ARGGHHHue with. Until tomorrow, enjoy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In a land far far away, named Cooperstown

Sorry for the absence of posts the past few days, as it is registration time for the next semester of school (Yay, more school!). I've tried to put together a fun post in honor of my weekend trip up to Cooperstown, New York to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It had been close to 10 years since my last trip up to the holy land, and this visit did not disappoint. After a tumultuous 5 hour bus ride, we arrived to 3 floors of pure heaven. The NBHOFAM, was opened in June of 1939, and has 295 baseball related personalities inducted into its glory. Baseball has been around for over 150 years, and as you can imagine there is quite a bit of history behind it. The museum displays game used items, such as jerseys, caps, cleats, balls, bats, warm up attire, lineup cards, and trophies. Additionally, it houses multiple lockers of notable players such as Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron. There were some new additions since my last visit, such as the Viva Baseball! area, which has interactive video displays featuring such players as Alex Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero incorporating baseball in the Caribbean. There was also a women in baseball section, which featured some artifacts and history from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. The beauty of this museum is that it incorporates everything that represents baseball; MLB, Negro Leagues, AAGPBL, minor leagues, and international baseball. It truly is an interactive history book of sorts, as you can experience hands on learning in its most effective form. The Museum plays host to over 350,000 visitors a year, which truly is amazing if you haven't ever been there. Why you ask? Because the town is TINY. From June to August the town must be packed, let alone induction weekend. The museum only displays a relatively small amount of "the goods", as it has additional storage areas, which houses over 35,000 pieces in the collection. For a mere 20 bucks, you can really treat yourself to a weekend retreat of some interesting history, an authentic experience of Americas pastime, and a quaint little town in upstate New York with a beautiful lakeside view in the summer. The cap above, which was purchased this weekend, features the Hall of Fame's logo on the front, and the words 'Cooperstown, N.Y." on the rear. A clean cap, which represents so much more than words. It represents a century and a half plus worth of history, and the hard work that the sports founding fathers exuded during the dark days of wooden stadiums and dead balls. The official website of the hall is where additional info, and the cap can be found. If you live in America, and you love baseball as I assume you do, do yourself a favor and take a trip to Cooperstown, New York. You won't regret it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Just tryin to get a nut...

Why do Squirrels swim on their backs? well... Never mind. How was everyones opening day? Hopefully great, if not, don't sweat it; you still have 161 games to go! The cap you see above is the official on field cap of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. If you're a relatively big minor league baseball fan, and don't recognize the team name, don't worry. The team is only in their second season in Richmond, as they are a transplant, as a good amount of minor league teams are. Since the Double-A team has been in affiliation with the San Francisco Giants, the club has had 3 team names, 2 locations, and only 1 Western Division Title in the Eastern League. If that doesn't seem like a rough road to success, I don't know what does. The one division title came in the 2009 season, when they were known as the Connecticut Defenders, which provides some optimism for current fans. The team, now managed by Andy Skeels, plays their home games at The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia. The Diamond is a near 10,000 seat facility with over 30 seasons of history, as it housed the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves from 1985-2008. Where as it isn't a glorious new facility, it's still a place to call home for somewhat of a nomadic franchise. As a nod of confidence to the teams future in the capitol of Virginia, the $1.5 million has been invested in renovations for new seats and a team store in order to make the old park more warm and cozy. Additionally, the club plans to add indoor batting cages to provide space for extra practice space before games and at-bats for players. After all is said in done, if it doesn't work out as a permanent home, at least Richmond has VCU in the final 4 this year. If you like the cap, its available for purchase HERE . If not, come back tomorrow and maybe you'll see something you like. Until tomorrow, enjoy!