It's January, which means it's time to argue about something stupid. It's like we're all characters in a movie about snowbound people in a remote cabin. It's the end of the second act, and we're tearing each other apart because we're all sick of the stupid face of the person next to us.
So let's argue about spring training hats. Seems important enough.
Here are the hats, from MLB.com. We need to find the five best and five worst spring training hats.
When you win a World Series, you get to be a jerk about it for a full calendar year. There is no team that can do it quite like this. The Giants can't wear an extra-extra-extra-extra-large hat to represent their team name. The Angels can't put a caricature of God on their hat to suggest that they've evolved, Pokemon-style.
But the Royals can still put a danged crown over their logo. What? It's just a part of the team name and the general theme. Just a crown. NBD, whatever.
Every year, I like to tweet out a reminder that this Brewers logo has an "M" and a "B" hidden in it to represent the team name. Every year, it blows minds of the people who didn't know. It's so much fun. Then people respond with other logos that do the same thing, like the Expos (with a subtle "MEB" for "Montreal Expos Baseball") or the Diamondbacks (a staple remover standing on end). It's a favorite personal tradition.
It's just a great hat. Look at that hat. Let's talk about Ben Oglivie. I'll be right back to talk about Ben Oglivie.
People think spring training is meaningless, and from a wins-and-losses perspective, they're mostly right. But there's still something to be said about a logo that makes you remember that somewhere, no matter what time it is, there's always something that wants to eat your intestines and smear the gore across the walls.
It's a hat that makes you think about competition, is what I'm trying to say. Competition and our fragile mortality.
4. Blue Jays
Just a solid two-color hat, with a logo that doesn't get in the way, not unlike the Dodgers, Giants, or pre-cocky Royals. It's regional, and it's delightful.
I usually hate differently colored brims, but a team with red, white, and blue in their palette can pull it off. It's a helluva juggling trick, but the Twins did it. It's the genesis of an awful Fourth of July hat that your favorite team will have to wear, and it should be burned eventually, but as a standalone hat, it works quite well.
That is a prison tattoo.
"Okay, so we play in Florida. And you know what they grow in Florida, right?"
"And we're the Tigers, named after an orange animal, right?"
"And I've been up for six days on mescaline, so I wanted a hat that I could see as I ditched my corporeal form and gently floated across the ionosphere."
"Right, right ..."
This logo still looks like Wolverine throwing a baseball out of a disappointing revenue projection.
Look, kids, I lived through the '90s. And I know you think it was all great, what with the Nirvana and rise of the Internet and Super Nintendos that led to Nintendo 64s, and you're right, there was a lot to like.
But there was also Billy Ray Cyrus, the 56k modem, and Sega CD. There were collect calls and payphones. When you wanted to eat at a random restaurant, you had to take the chance that it would be good. When you wanted to edit an encyclopedia entry on your own, you had to scrawl a phallus on a picture in the library's copy because you couldn't just edit dirty words into Wikipedia and send the link to your friends before it was changed back and your IP was banned.
And there were also hats that looked a little like those. Those hats sucked.
The two colors of the brim/back and the face are an abomination. That's before you get to the loud orange, traditionally best used as an accent in the Mets logo instead of the facing of an entire hat.
But it's Mr. Met that seals the ranking. Mr. Redlegs looks like he's calling from inside your house. Mr. Met looks like he's running to get the Monopoly board because he's an only child whose parents never want to play with him, and you agreed to play a game with him for some reason. Do you know how long those games take? Hours, man.
Okay, that's just as scary as Mr. Redlegs, but not in an intimidating way. Baseball logos are supposed to represent the team's history, or the region, or they're supposed to look cool. Baseball logos aren't supposed to remind you of boring, three-hour games that are exciting only to nerds, where the winners all benefit from too much inexplicable luck.