Ever since 2003, when the major league All-Star game began rewarding home-field advantage for the World Series, the event has been marketed as having extra (or, perhaps, actual) significance. Another marketing directive 11 years later has made it so the caps the players wear during the game at Target Field in Minneapolis also reflect this.
MLB announced Wednesday day that All-Star game caps in 2014 would take on a unifying design for the first time. The caps still will feature dominant elements from the individual teams — the Los Angeles Dodgers cap that Yasiel Puig would wear still says "LA" on the front, for example — but all of the caps across the board otherwise look, kind of, alike. The theme is based on the caps/batting helmets the Minnesota Twins wore in the late 1970s, a design that's become popular again with the team.
Chris Creamer of Sportslogos, whose opinion should be considered on matters of uniform, doesn't really like this change, saying the new All-Star caps just look like another version of the "holiday" caps that MLB has trotted out for special occasions in the past few seasons:
One of the great things about watching the All-Star game has been seeing the players in their regular uniforms all on the same field together. It was the ONLY time you'd see so many different uniforms and colours at once. Yes, the players still will be wearing their individual team jerseys this year (but how long until we see special All-Star versions, right?) but by not pairing them with the actual cap, it really loses what made that special.
He's right that the "All-Star themed" jersey is inevitable. The All-Star batting practice jerseys always seem to sell well, so there's no need to cannibalize the game jersey entirely, but the tweaking of the game cap is a sign. It breaks a barrier of sorts by continuing the marginalization of the player's regular uniform. It's much more than a patch (which, it seemed, people liked having on there).
The question is, does the purist in you mind? The All-Star game, while fun in the moment, had no actual meaning (aside from bragging rights) until '03. Making it "count" as the determining factor for the World Series was the most radical thing MLB could do, and it's done it. Changing the uniforms, almost literally, is window dressing. It's hard to get too ruffled about it.
Still, it's a baseball uniform and most fans will have an opinion. And if your opinion isn't that the Dodgers' All-Star cap is an abomination, then you can't be helped.
The Twins' one is nice — but mostly because it looks like the Danny Goodwin era.
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