Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hammerin' Hank's Braves

     Nine Hall-of-Famers, seven games, and the greatest home-run hitter of all time; this is what the 1957 World Series brought to the table for all to see, and it didn't disappoint. In a series that was won by a team other than one of the three New York franchises, for the first time in nine seasons, it came down to a gutsy victory on the road to take home the title of champion.

     The Braves had just recently moved from Boston to Milwaukee, hadn't captured a National League Pennant in ten seasons, and had six name changes over the course of the prior 70 seasons; needless to say, a tradition of winning wasn't exactly in their heritage. After only losing the NL Pennant by one game in the previous season, Milwaukee certainly had their work cut out for them against the seemingly immortal New York Yankees.

     Thanks to the offensive prowess of a then 23 year-old, National League MVP, Hank Aaron, three victories in the series by pitcher Lew Burdette, and a relentless line-up featuring players the likes of Eddie Mathews and Frank Torre, the Braves were able to seal the series victory, in seven. That amazing feat has inspired this recent release from Although the World Series side-patch didn't make it's way onto New Era on-field caps until the mid-90's, this is an authentic logo used on programs and other merchandise, thus being an accurate visualization of what it would have looked like.

     Along with the fore mentioned side-patch, the cap featured above has a red brim, navy crown, capital "M" front and center, a period correct green under-brim, and the accurate absence of MLB Logo on the reverse. If you're interested in this cap, it can be found HERE. If it seems like something you'd like to add, I'd suggest buying it quickly before it's gone forever.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Burried Treasure

     Sometimes, you find the best things when you're not even looking; similar to walking along one of the world's beaches, finding lost jewelry, an old coin, or maybe even a memento from the past, that was otherwise thought to be lost or gone forever. The latter is exactly what happened, a little over a month ago, while I was hopping from one small shop to another, along the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

     Being an avid collector for years, I've learned to appreciate the hunt for a good cap. That being said, there are always a few in the back of your mind that you don't necessarily pursue, but hope to stumble upon down the road. In this sense, it's more of a desire to find a specific logo. The reference pertains to the stylings of the now extinct Montreal Expos. Since the conclusion of their active history at the conclusion of the 2004 season, dead-stock Expos caps, such as the retro-pinwheel design above, have been dwindling in numbers, thus becoming more and more difficult to find. Sports Collection, located at 1731 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, had this beauty tucked away in the back of the store, along with multiple others unique finds.

     I understand it isn't an on-field cap, which is probably enough to turn some people off from it, but it comes from a time where my fitted collection began. It brings back memories of a time before a closet full of caps, when I could only dream of amassing as many as I have to this point. All that, along with the fact that I paid in the ballpark of $20 for a mint condition cap (sticker still intact) was enough for me to pull the trigger. 

     Other caps in the shop included various logos from the past, which teams have since moved on from, or in this case, from teams that no longer even exist. Unfortunately, if you don't live within driving distance of this place, picking and choosing may be difficult, being that there's no accurately cataloged database of caps they have to offer. That being said, you can still reach out to them through their website, featuring their main store further down the boardwalk. The URL for that site is 

     The cap above features alternating blue and red panels around the crown, a blue brim, red under-brim, an oversized MLB logo featuring the Expos word mark inlaid, and the classic Montreal Expos "M-E-B" logo, centered across the rear 2 panels. 

     If you'd like to add some retro caps to your collection, and have a few minutes to explore, drop them a line at the contact page of the above website. When I was there, they were extremely friendly, and sincerely appreciated my interest in their accumulated stock of great caps. It can't hurt to give it a shot. 




Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Midsummer Classic Returns to New York

     This year marks the return of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, to the great city of New York. The world's top talents from the baseball diamond will descend upon the big apple for a three day period from July 14th to the 16th. It will be the first time the spectacle has been in New York since the final year of the original Yankee Stadium, in 2008, where the events took place. 

     The All-Star Game break usually has a similar format, year in year out; Prospect Game on the Sunday, along with the Celebrity and Legends Softball Game which follows. Then Monday is the AL and NL workout day, followed at night with the Home-Run Derby. Concluding on Tuesday night, with the All-Star Game, itself; it's all very predictable and traditional. There is one big change this year with all that is involved. Any guesses? 

     This is the first year, in memory, in which the American League and National League will not (wait for it) have to wear those god-awful 39/30 batting practice caps during the Home-Run Derby. As all the batting practice caps have been made this year, the All-Star Game caps are of the 59/50 variety for once, in the Diamond Era variety; one small step for Major League Baseball and New Era, one giant leap for collectors everywhere. There's finally a fitted version of an All-Star Break commemorative cap, that's worth adding to the collection, in support of your league of preference. It may seem like a little thing if you're not as addicted to the cap culture as others, but believe that it makes a difference. 

     Sure, you could always go with your teams standard 59/50 on-field New Era, with the commemorative patch on the side (and in recent years with the 2 stars alongside the MLB Logo on the back), but this is better...way better. So in an open statement to Major League Baseball's marketing department and New Era, allow me to express the collective thoughts of the fitted-community as a whole: THANK YOU, YOU FINALLY REALIZED THE OLD ONES SUCKED. 

     The American League's version, which I was able to find earlier today at Citi Field (the site of the ASG), is shown at the top. It has a Mets blue crown, a Mets orange back 4 panels, and 2 white front panels. It has a Mets themed logo with a stylized "A" centered. The National Leagues BP Cap, seen HERE, is essentially the same cap, except with the orange and blue switched, and an "N" located in front, across the Mets themed logo. Both are really nice caps, which I would not be surprised to see fly off the shelves. 

     This year's Home-Run Derby will be headlined by one player from each of New York's teams; the Mets and Yankees. The AL will be led by the Yankees Robinson Cano, and the NL will be captained by the hometown hero David Wright. 

     All we can hope for is that MLB and New Era recognize the drastic improvement they've made with the batting practice caps, and keep up the good work. Both caps described above, can be found for purchase HERE

     We have 2 weeks until the fun kicks off, and the competitions commence. Pull hard for your league, because remember, the winner of the All-Star Game clinches home field advantage for the World Series. You could say this makes a bit of a difference. Until next time, enjoy, and keep collecting.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

A New Hope

     165-296; that's the combined record over the past 5-plus seasons it's taken to bring the Nets within only 2 victories of guaranteeing a .500 or better season. That's nothing short of an eternity in between moments of joy and sanity, for the dwindling group of original New Jersey Nets fans out there.

     When Vince, Richard, and Jason left the Garden State to pursue other endeavors, the majority of the fan base jumped ship. All of that is completely understandable, when you consider the following: your local franchise plays in arguably the least aesthetically pleasing arena in the country, the franchise present a G rated product stuck in the early 90's, and chooses to play a starting 5 consisting of Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Jarvis Hayes, Yi Jianlian, and a very raw rookie in Brook Lopez. The days were certainly as long as they were dark for the final 5 seasons in the Garden State.

     Well, it seems as if we've finally reached the other side of the rainbow; and it happens to be in Brooklyn. A new roster is in place, along with a new image, and most importantly a new sense of confidence. Who knew? Money really can buy happiness! (sarcasm). With the teams last victory, the magic number to reach the ever-elusive post-season has come to only 2. The last time the franchise saw the playoffs was in 2007. To put perspective on the situation, George W. Bush still had a little less than two years left in his second term, and the nation was losing its collective mind because gas hit an all-time high of $3.07 for self-serve; if only.

     Regardless, I still try to look for the silver lining in it all. "What's that?" you may ask. It's the true understanding of the word victory. Without a doubt, a win is a win, in all of its glory; but after enduring the downward spiral that the team has recently pulled out of, no "W" goes unheralded. It really doesn't matter if it's a win against the Bobcats in the November, or our most recent on the road in Dallas, the "little things" now come with a certain sense of higher appreciation.

     After all of this, it is still somewhat bittersweet. Sure, the Nets are going to make the playoffs, likely as a 3-5 seed, and have come a long way from the struggles in the Meadowlands. However, they're further from home, now belong to someone else, and will never associate with the "good" times which brought us all to love them. In an eerie metaphoric way, it's sort of like giving up a child for adoption; they now have a better life, more opportunities for success, and better financial backing. At this point, the New Jersey fans can only observe what they once called their own, from a distance, and hope for the best with a keen sense of admiration.

     The two caps above represent a drastic change; a transition from a woeful franchise on its last legs, to a blossoming New York powerhouse, with a hipster undertone. All there is to do is remember the past while ambitiously waiting on the future. The left, reflects the franchises tenure in New Jersey, specifically from 1997-2012, that features a navy blue brim and crown, with the now throwback shield logo on the front, and an NBA logo with according color-way on the back. The cap on the right features the new branding of the team, with a black crown and brim, and the new modern shield logo front and center. On the back, the cap features the word "BROOKLYN" in white, in the current team font.

     The cap on the left is likely gone forever. Sorry, but there's not much I can do about that. However, the one on the right, along with other Nets caps, can be found HERE. Until next time...





Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Got 5 On It

     This upcoming season, the Houston Astros will be moving to the American League of Major League Baseball. This means new opponents, new divisional foes, and of course a complete overhaul of everything logo and word mark related. The Astros organization and their associated minor league franchises could have gone crazy with this artistic opportunity and started from scratch, but thankfully they resorted to finding inspiration from an era of the past.

     The Astos new logo's for the upcoming season (which can be seen HERE) are drawn conceptually from the incarnation of the franchise’s history in 1965, up until 1993. To me, it really screams "baseball" and not sports entertainment; which is what we all really want deep down. I enjoy the simplicity to the fullest.

     Gone are the days of rust orange stars, Craig Biggio, and winning seasons. Although some might be upset with this news, cap collectors will be able to rejoice, as most merchandise of the Greeneville Astros is on sale. The cap shown above is the official road cap from last season for the G-ville Astros, which I bought for 5 DOLLARS. That's correct, 5 DOLLARS. The shipping cost more than the cap, unbelievably. The caps, along with further merchandise can be found HERE.

     The Greeneville Astros are the rookie level affiliate of the Houston Astros, in the Appalachian League. The team has been part of the league since 2004, playing in the West division. In their very first year in Greeneville, they were able to capture both division and league titles. Since then, however, the team has struggled. They haven't finished in first place since, and they've only has 2 players of note make it to the big leagues. Those two men are Felipe Paulino, who made his Major League Baseball debut with the Astros in 2007, and 5'5 shortstop, Jose Altuve; who is arguably the face of the franchise as they move to the junior circuit.

     The cap above, featuring a grey under-brim (which technically makes this an old cap, probably locked in a stock room since 2005), also has a black crown and brim, with the now retro Astros star on the front. In addition, a capital "G" for Greeneville overlaps the star. On the side, the New Era Cap logo is located. To conclude, the back features the Minor League Baseball logo, with the team-according color scheme.

     Check it out. If you don't hate it and they have your size, give it a shot. After all, it is a "throwback" now.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Prehistoric Bird Brings New Hope

     Yes, New Orleans, Louisiana has had an NBA franchise to call its own for the last ten plus seasons, but it never felt quite right. An old team name, old team colors, and a temporary, yet neccessary, relocation to Oklahoma City for 2 seasons, left a feeling of wanting "more" for the franchise and fanbase; well, "more" just knocked on the door of "The Big Easy".

     "The New Orleans Pelicans" was officially revealed as the re-brand name for the Louisiana-based NBA franchise, on January 24th of this year. Albeit a wordy and lackluster name for a professional sports team, it does at least carry a sense of tradition with its direct link to local culture. The pelican, more specifically the Brown Pelican, is the official state bird of Louisiana. The bird is included on the state seal and state flag of the state officially known as "The Pelican State". So yeah, the bird is kind of a big deal; We get it.

     Although naming them the "Louisiana Pelicans" would have been more suitable, may have looked "cleaner", and would have had a better ring to it, we should be grateful for what we ended up with. After all, it could have been one of the other proposed nicknames; those of course being: he "Mosquitoes", the "Rougarou", the "Swamp Dogs", and the "Bull Dogs". Yeah, you read those correctly; no need to adjust your monitors. 

     Along with the name change, new colors (red, white, navy blue, and gold), new logos, and new wordmarks are here. Sure, the America colorway always works and looks pretty, but why not keep with the state-homage motif? Just one mans opinion, here, but I feel these colors would have worked just fine (maybe even better).

     The logos in their entirety, I have no problems with whatsoever; they're all very professional, timeless, and fitting of the teams location. Those can all be seen HERE. The fleur-de-lis and the "Crecent-City" alternate logos are really nice. Hopefully they use them either on the jersey or home court design when the time comes for all of that. 

     The Hornets will finish in New Orleans with what most would call mild success. In their ten-plus years in Louisiana, the franchise has only made 5 playoff appearances, at best losing in the Western Conference Semifinals in the 07-08 season. The one bright spot in the franchises history was the drafting and development of star point guard Chris Paul. In his Hornets career, Paul won the rookie of the year for the bugs in 2006, captured multiple steal and assist titles, was named to 3 all-star teams, and was even named all NBA first team once. He was truly a reason to go to the games, tune in on T.V., and likely even claim the Hornets. Once Paul decided to move on to bigger and better opportunities, it was clear a re-building was on the then current ownerships hands. In April of 2012, the team was sold to car dealership mogul, and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. This would be the beginning of what is now a recurring theme of "out with the old, and in with the new". 

     The new hope for success came in the form of the number one overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Hornets selected Collegiate National Player of the Year Anthony Davis, out of Kentucky. Davis certainly provides a foundation for success. The talented big man, along with multiple trade pieces for the now Los Angeles Clipper, Chris Paul, and key free agent signings certainly puts the club in a decent position to grow quickly. Being in the Western Conference, let alone a division with Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and San Antonio, is no easy feat, but the way things look this year, 10-15 games over .500 should get you into the playoffs. Is it impossible to picture the team in the eighth spot in the West next year? No, but for a franchise that's currently owners of a 19-35 record through the all-star break, the road seems to be uphill. 

     The cap shown in today's post was purchased at Cap City, in West New York, New Jersey. The cap, along with other Pelicans 59/50's can be found HERE. It features a navy crown and bull, with the primary pelicans logo across the front. On the left side, the New Era logo is located in white. On the back, the alternate Pelicans logo is located low and center. A great cap for a budding franchise in the ashes of the old.  

     Maybe with the vacating of the Hornets name, the rights can be sold back to the Charlotte franchise. C'mon, M.J.! Call it a belated 50th birthday present! Bobcats sounds like a minor league team name, anyway. 



Monday, February 11, 2013

World Baseball Classic Preview: Puerto Rican National Team

     It's hard to believe a team with names such as Carlos Delgado, Jorge Posada, and  Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez in its lineage has yet to win the World Baseball Classic, let alone place in the top three. With a fifth place finish in each of the past two WBC tournaments, improvement is certainly the mission.

     As mentioned earlier on The Fitted Diaires, The World Baseball Classic will begin in early March. Pools A and B will begin play on the second, while teams in pools C and D, such as Puerto Rico will start on the seventh. Along with Puerto Rico, Pool C consists of the fore mentioned Dominican Republic team, Venezuela, and newcomers Spain. All things accounted for, Puerto Rico should be able to advance to the second round of the tournament, but as the old adage goes, don't count your chickens before they've hatched.

     It has been a star-studded affair for the P.R. team, but as this Yankees fan will tell you, that doesn't always result in championships. This year, the other-other red, white, and blue team enters play in the 12 spot of the IBAF rankings; not exactly ideal in a field of 16, but results may vary (Official Rankings).

    Although, the days of Roberto Clemente and Bernie Williams are long gone, there are still some names in the program you're likely familiar with:

Nelson Figueroa of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Javier Lopez of the Giants, J.C. Romero formerly of the Phillies, and well traveled starter Javier Vasquez.

Jose Molina of the Tampa Bay Rays, Yadier Molina of the St Louis Cardinals, and Martin Maldonado of the Milwaukee Brewers. 

Mike Aviles of the Cleveland Indians.

Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals, Angel Pagan of the San Francisco Giants, and Alex Rios of Chicago White Sox. 

     Puerto Rico will play its first game of the tournament against Spain on Mar. 8th, followed by a contest against Venezuela on the 9th, and concluding Pool C play on the 10th against the always difficult Dominican Republic team. The one thing going for Puerto Rico, is that all games are essentially home games, despite the necessary designation; this is of course becuse San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of the 4 hubs of pool play this year. All games will be played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium; a modest 18,000 seat park, named after the first Puerto Rican born player to reach the Major Leagues. If the humble island-commonwealth can pack the local setting for 3 games, Puerto Rico should have all the support they need to compete and advance. 

     The cap features a red crown and brim, with a white overlapping "P" and "R" outlined faintly in blue located across the front panels. On the left side of the cap, the Puerto Rican flag is featured. On the back, the WBC logo is centered across the 2 back panels. This is a really clean looking cap, which I originally added to my collection during the first Wolrd Baseball classic in 2006, in its alternate blue colorway, no longer being used. The cap can be found HERE at the official site of the WBC shop. 

     Next, we will feature a recently debuted cap representing a rebranded NBA franchise for the 2013-2014 season. Stay tuned.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

World Baseball Classic Preview: Italian National Team

     Italy! A nation known for great food, beautiful landmarks, fantastic culture, and baseball? Yes, baseball. This spring, Italy will compete in the third installment of the World Baseball Classic; Once again, with high hopes of making it out of the first round of pool play.

     That was, perhaps, a little bit cruel to a nation which prides itself in other athletic areas than the baseball diamond. However, the rude awakening might as well happen now, before dreams are shattered against the likes of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

     Yes, Italy is currently ranked 9th in the world for all nations fielding baseball programs. That being said, they are, what most would considder, generously ranked 2 spots ahead of Mexico, and 5 ahead of the Dominican Republic. Do the rankings need a facelift? Perhaps past #3. (Rankings)

     Regardless, let us take the optimistic outlook on their forthcoming Pool D. performance, and review the high points of the green, white, and red roster. The most notable pithers on Italy's roster are that of Pittsburgh Pirate Jason Grilli, and former major leaguer Brian Sweeney. Behind the plate, some may recognize the name Francisco Cervelli; a Yankees minor leaguer with major league experience. In the field: Alex Liddi of the Mariners, Nick Punto of the Dodgers, Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, and Chris Denorfia of the Padres. No, it's not comparable to the Dominican Republic or the United States rosters, but stranger things have happened in baseball than an upset. The games still need to be played.

     The Italians, however, do have one of the nicest on field 59/50 New Era Caps in the entire tournament. Above, is the official WBC cap of Italy. It features a royal blue cap and crown, with a sleek looking capital "I" centered on the front. On the left side, is the Italian flag of green, white, and red. On the back is the WBC logo. HERE  is where you can buy the cap if you'd like.

     Tomorrow, we feature Puerto Rico. See you then.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

World Baseball Classic Preview: United States of America National Team

     In a mere 48 days, the United States of America will try to capture the ever-elusive crown of World Baseball Classic Champion. For this group of state-side all-stars, let's hope that the third time really is the charm.

     Over the two previous installments of the WBC (World Baseball Classic), The United States has fielded very talented teams, by standards, but has fallen short of the ultimate goal each time. Regardless of names like Griffey and Rodriguez on the team in 2006, and Jeter and Rollins in 2009, the Red, White, and Blue has had no one to blame but themselves for their shortcomings. With a second round elimination in 2006, and a fourth place finish in 2009, a better result is expected by all from the nation credited for the invention of the game.

     In this years edition, The U.S. will begin play in Pool D, against Mexico, at Chase Field, in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, March 8 at 9 P.M. (ET). Along with those two clubs, Pool D consists of Canada's and Italy's National Teams. Once again, there seems to be no shortage of talent on the U.S.A. Roster this time around.

     In 2013, The United States pitching rotation will consist of starters the likes of R.A. Dickey, Derek Holland, and 2012 World Series Champion Ryan Vogelsong. The bullpen features notables such as Heath Bell, Craig Kimbrel, and Kris Medlen. In the field, We'll see players such as Mark Teixeira, David Wright, Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton, Adam Jones, and Ryan Braun. Rounding out the field, behind the plate, the U.S. will feature former batting champion Joe Mauer. If all that wasn't enough, the team is expected to be coached by former 9 time All-Star and 2 time manager of the year Joe Torre.

     Needless to say, for the U.S. National Team, failure is most certainly not an option. Teams to look out for this WBC will undoubtedly be Cuba, Japan, and as always the Dominican Republic. 

     Although baseball is widely considdered to be "America's Game", the World Baseball Classic is as good of a reminder as anything of how quickly and vastly this game has grown. It truly is an amazing sight to see places like Great Britain and Pakistan ranked in the top 25 of National Baseball Teams in the world. The sky really is the limit. (Full rankings here).

     The cap above, which is the official on-field fitted of team USA, features a navy blue brim and crown, with an interlocking "U" and "S" in front of a silver star centered on the front. on the cap-bearers left side-pannel the flag of the United States of America is stitched on. On the back is the logo of the World Baseball Classic, centered across the two back-pannels. 

     The official New Era Cap can be found HERE

     The tournament begings Saturday, March 2, with Japan, a host nation, playing Brazil in group A. Let the debate begin ladies and gentleman. Oh, and by the way; BASEBALL IS BACK.