Thursday, August 24, 2017

Blatantly Turning A Blind Eye


  Trying to keep kids interested in Major League Baseball is something to be totally in-on and support with all your might. Without the support of future generations, it would be rather difficult to sustain funding for a business where each of it's 750 (on-field) employees all make well upwards of a half-million dollars. The real question to ask is, is it worth the cost of completely selling-out tradition in the process? On the eve of the inaugural "Players Weekend", this is the inquiry at hand.

        Major League Baseball will jump into the deep-end of the proverbial highlighter-pool, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday as they debut sets of 30 in-game uniforms, featuring florescent colors and nicknames, amid many alterations. This series of temporary changes stems from the current on-going Little League World Series, in which MLB hopes to link the sentiment of love for the great game of baseball across all ages, beginning with the youth. Fans young and old will once again "remember" how fun and special the sport truly is.


       Not that baseball can't be fun, but surely we don't need to go to these drastic marketing lengths to keep fans involved. If the argument is that it's "for the kids", think again. These uniforms and caps are being sold in adult sizes, too.

        The New York Yankees seem to be the one franchise that resisted to the eye-popping modifications, as far as the On-Field New Era Caps are concerned. They went with a rather simple navy interlocking N-Y over a monochrome road-gray brim and crown. That much is tolerable but what comes next seems asinine and downright sac-religious.

        The fore mentioned interlocking N-Y, traditional blue pinstripes and white background have all been removed on the home jersey. Additionally, the "Yankees" cursive word-mark has been placed across the chest, in white font, over a navy blue body and road gray sleeves. Lastly, they too have nicknames on the back. To make mild alteration is one thing, but to completely butcher it? Awful. This is a traditional design, originating in 1915.  (see below)

        Surely, there was a better way to link the lineage of the little leagues and the big leagues. This is blatantly just a petty plea to sell jerseys and caps to anyone willing to shell out the money. In fact, it's so ridiculous that MLB Shop itself has to remind its shoppers that, in fact, these abominations will make it onto all major league fields.

        In conclusion, this, in its entirety, is a messy, rushed disaster of a marketing attempt. If Major League Baseball has to go this far to draw in the casual fan, they have bigger problems than they think and that is something to really have concern for. 

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What Is Old is New Again

     Whether it be a familiar scent, a sight for sore eyes or a memorable sound, nostalgia can be triggered at a moments notice. It seemingly comes out of nowhere but as soon as it hits you, you are magically transported to times of pure joy and simplicity. 

     It is not always easy to elicit these feelings, but, for many in the fitted-cap community, New Era has recently done exactly that. With the release of their "MLB Retro Classic" collection, many baseball fans have been launched back in time to their fledgling stages of days at the ballpark. 

     Being a "fan" is a funny thing that can be defined in many ways. True, going to games is a great way to show your support; there's really nothing quite like being there. Getting a player-tee is another fantastic way to show everyone who you specifically pull for on your club. Of course we need to mention the addition of an authentic jersey, which really puts you in that upper-echelon of supporter. However, perhaps, the official On-Field New Era Cap is the best way to link us all in a subtle simplicity of shared armor. It's an unmistakable and classic way to represent your organization and let everyone know what you're all about. After all, it is "The Cap The Pros Wear".   

     New Era's recent "MLB Retro Classic" line is one, in the opinion of most collectors, has been a long time coming. In 2007 New Era and Major League Baseball completely overhauled the iconic 5950 cap. The major change; no more wool. The company moved to a primarily polyester-based cap, which was geared to decrease troubles to athletes based off of sweat accumulation. The caps still fit well and looked great, however to many fans of the popular pro-model of past, some things seemed to be missing. In addition to the material change, looks were mildly altered over the past 10 seasons, being capped off this season with the New Era Flag being permanently affixed to the exterior of the hats.

     Everyone can finally breathe. Salvation is here. A select run of styles in various teams have been produced and are now up for purchase HERE at New Era's official site and HERE at Lids official site. New Era opted to turn back the clock with some of baseballs most iconic caps and team logos accordingly, in full accuracy of the originals. The flat team logos and "Batterman" logo have returned to the iconic cap along with the light-gray under-brim. The interior sweatband is again white, the way it was initially designed. There is no New Era Flag on the wearers left side and finally, the cap is once again 100% wool. 

     Undoubtedly, these will be received rather positively among the masses and they will likely sell out in the most popular sizes quickly. All that can be hoped for is the realization on New Era's part that they have done a fantastic job in the reproduction of these and that there is an absolute need for expansion and further production of the line. 

     Until then, appreciation is to be had. Good things have been done. A large corporation has chosen to look into the past at something that had been deemed vestigial by a major partner and managed to find value in it in the eye of the consumer. That is truly something worth celebrating. This should be regarded as a victory for collector and fan alike. It seems as though even those at the highest rungs of the business world can too reference their youth, as fans, and appreciate nostalgia as well. 

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi