Friday, November 20, 2009

Hardcore Haberdashery

Would He Wear a Blue Hat?  DoubtfulThough it's been a while since any Jays news moved me (apparently I've been writing for the AV Club under the pseudonym "Jason Heller"); a recent twitter back-and-forth between yours truly and the class of the Blue Jays blogosphere focussed on hats and logos and shook me from my doldrums. The Tao, as you may well know, is a dyed in the wool blue loyalist, wearing his black hat hatred with as much pride as his anonymity. Myself, I'm decidedly on the other side of the fence. I quite enjoy the black hats. I own three different versions of the same cap, one purchased every other year since 2005.

These three hats are the only pieces of Blue Jays (or non-soccer jersey) sports memorabilia I own*. My quest for complete ironic detachment prevents me from wearing a baseball jersey in public and team sanctioned merchandise (Property balls) is generally gaudy and, well, uncool. I was in Asia when the Jays made the switch and I bought up the new black hats as soon as I returned to Canadian terra firma. Why did I wait? I don't really like blue hats. There, I said it. Especially the two shittastic logos they rolled out over the preceding 5 years.

Yes, they're the Blue Jays so I suppose they're hats should be blue. But that doesn't mean I have to wear a blue hat. Let's look at what's available down ye ole hatshoppe and who might be in the market for such goods.

If you own this hat, there's a better than average chance you love Cito implicitly. You appreciate the corporate tie-ins from days gone by for their simplicity and upfront honesty. You enjoy the traditional logo and the traditions it represents. You hate the brown stains (or "stink lines") that creep through the white front as you sweat out a Jason Frasor save attempt on Flashback Friday. Especially if you're Jason Frasor.

Brim Curvature? 60% of owners will curve the brim in a tasteful manner, 30% leave it flat for the modern throwback look, 10% bend it severely.

This hat is awesome in that it embodies everything that is awful and unfair in the world. The hideous, arbitrary color scheme coupled with quite possibility the cheesiest logo of all time? Where do I sign? Hey, it's even on sale and can be mine for the low, low price of $27.99? Bonus.

Let's talk about that logo for a second? What the fuck was going on in the late nineties that we needed everything to be cutesy and cartoonish? What a nightmare. If you own this hat, we can never be friends.

Brim Curvature? Nil, at least not applicable. No single person on Earth ever has or will purchase this hat. It is an abomination, the perverse lovechild of ill-advised marketing and poorly conceived branding all in one. May God have mercy on our souls.

When looking ridiculous just isn't enough, why not reach for the hat that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you're from Oakville. Generally worn precariously perched atop of the head of someone who loves buying shoes on eBay and outlandishly coloured hoodies, this hat is another sure sign that your slow march towards old age and death is well under way. Asking the wearer of this hat to name a Blue Jays player is likely to result in head-scratching (don't knock the lid!) and a sentence that starts with "Shhiitttttt, I dunno..."

Brim Curvature? Are you kidding? The sticker might come loose!

These all blue numbers &mdash like your kid sister's chronically undersized dorm twinbed&mdash definitely get slept on by more than one Jays fan. It represents a particularly dark time in Jays history and is washed from our minds by the garish wave of red that followed. If you rock one of these, there is a good chance you know what the fuck is up. You also remember the negative side of Cito and are nonplussed that he's sticking around. We could definitely hang out, just don't tell your sister.

Brim Curvature? Absolutely. Without a doubt. Sweat stained to the core and proud of it.

What an odd combination. The all white says "I enjoy wearing linen pants and drinking on chartered boats that circle Toronto Harbor until a fight breaks out; causing the barely-seaworthy craft to gun it for Scarborough, where the totality of its passengers live. Also, my hat features a logo created over a smoke break by someone in merchandising who needed to increase sales by 3% to activate a bonus."

Brim Curvature? Doubtful. This is the kind of hat that is worn once and promptly lost or stolen. Pay if forward.

If you wear the awful red and blue hat, we can't be friends because I won't be seen in public next to that monstrosity. The modern hats, while not blue, are pretty awesome. The logo is no great shakes but it doesn't embarrass itself or you by wearing it, something we can't exactly say about past designs. So go ahead, rock an old school blue and white or a modern logo upstart. Just don't bring them together, the results could tear the style-time continuum!

* - I do own a Carlos Delgado bobblehead that I picked up on the eve of Alex Rios's big league debut. They didn't give them away that night, but I had an acquaintance in the ticket office whom I got acquainted with off and on for a while. They hooked me and El Leal up with Delgado bobbleheads though I soon after ceased acquainting said acquaintance.


  1. My poor kid sister gets dragged through the mud more than an Internet baseball writer who didn't vote for Chris Carpenter.

  2. Well played, sir.

    At present I have six Jays caps, which I keep buying mostly just to have them. I'll confess to only wearing them in public on weekends when my hair has been neglected and is not safe for public consumption.

    Also, I generally only wear caps that have been worn on the field, so my most outlandish one is a green St. Patty's Day cap from 1998.

    You might have to take my distaste for the black lids with a grain of salt, seeing as how I liked the T-Bird (honestly) and I liked the carbon-grey caps that were shunted out of the rotation as quickly as Miguel Bautista.

    As for my anonymity: I don't wear it with pride. I wear it with the shame of a man who wants to tell the world who he is, but also wants to keep paying the Man what I owe.

  3. I have to admit being in lockstep with the merchandising people on this one. I wasn't big on the grey and they turfed them.

    THAT SAID, I do NOT support the black jerseys as anything more than a once-a-week day game treat. Wear black pants too, spring training ends in March.

    I respect your anonymity, the character sketch I've cobbled together (gleaned from 3 years of reading) gives me reason to think (guess?) at your vocation and I know how it works in that business. I think.

  4. Basically, we could be straight bros, yo, as I'm known to rock the all blue around my parts. I'd like to think I know what the fuck is up and I am definitely nonplussed at Cito v2.1.

    You might end the association quickly though, due to my fondness for the black T logo cap over the black logo cap.

  5. Well done Drew. However, I do not get the reference that describes the all blue number as representing "a particularly dark time in Jays history." The Jays were sporting that hat in the glory years of 92/93, no?

  6. I'm pretty sure the all Blue came about in 96 or so? Devo et al still sported the white front panel as far as I can recall.

  7. The Jays were wearing the all-blue old school cap when they clinched the first World Series. When they moved to the button-front jerseys in 1989, they brought in the blue cap as a road cap.

    In 1993, the white panel was used sparingly, and by 1994, it was phased out.

    Check it in the Dressed to the Nines database:

  8. Beautiful work here, Drew. Out of all the lids shown above, I only own the throwback with the white front panel - velcro back, not fitted.

    With Jays caps, it's not about quantity it's all about quality. I have two faithful caps I rotate between - the batting practice "T" hat and the Throwback cap.

  9. This was one of the most well-written, and funniest blog posts I have ever read.

    The part about the tour boat made me laugh so hard I almost died.

    Respect due.

  10. If I remember correctly, that was also the game where Alfredo Griffin received a standing ovation by you and I and where some awesome random fan let a Mr. Figgins know what he thought of him.

  11. First of all, I'm glad you brought up this topic as it doesn't get enough attention on the suddenly super-serious DJF. I also have to link this site because it's awesome:

    Now, I just want to express how much of an abomination the 'T' logo was. We went from having that timeless blue bird logo to that late 90s Paint job (why did everyone's sense of aesthetics die after about 1996? I blame the Internet) to a fucking MUSCULAR BIRD wrapped around a big T with a maple leaf TATTOO on its arm. Fucking kidding me?

    The current logo is OK with me. I originally felt we should've kept the original logo and colors as a showing of superiority over "corporate culture" teams changing logos every other year. But let's face it, we're not the Dodgers/Cards/Yanks/Cubs/Sox, etc and we don't have their rich history. So, the new logo is pretty cool with me.

    I'm with Tao on wanting more blue, though. That just has to happen. Black should be an accentuating color, not the dominant color of any design. Also, I hate that new wavy T hat they wear during BP or whatever. I remember Frank Thomas wore it in his press conference after signing. Hideous.

    - Nonplussed truly

  12. I'm not a huge fan of the white panels on the front. It would get dirty too quickly, I'd think. I have a few black ones kicking around somewhere, disgustingly dirty from wearing them to work for about a year at a time.

    Wear an all blue one now, but I'll probably have to replace it soon.

  13. If I'm going full out on ostentatiousness, I'm totally going for the Toronto skyline hat. How else am I going to perpetuate the self-imposed notion that Toronto is indeed the best city in the whole entire world? Don't hate how Toronto home boys roll, son.


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