The new batting practice caps are out in Major League Baseball for 2020, and they run the gamut from must have to back to the drawing board.
These are technically called the “Clubhouse Collection” caps by New Era, which basically means these are the caps players wear during pregame workouts and batting practice, but not the actual game caps. This allows teams to sell both their regular caps (plus all the various alternates) and have another type of cap that changes almost every year, which means even more types of caps they can sell.
Getting past the cash grab aspect of these caps, some of them actually look great. Here are the caps, ranked by categories.
Embracing the mascots
The whole point of these caps, at least aesthetically, is to provide a different look. These are best personified with the use of team mascots on the cap in some form or another. It’s especially good if said mascot is in action mode, which make the Reds and Orioles my two favorites of the bunch.
The Twins logo, with a pair of ball-playing brothers embracing while representing the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is another classic.
These four rate 10 out of 10 for me, and I would happily wear these if disposable income were a thing that actually existed.
Most major league teams wear caps with initials to signify the city or team name, so in the theme of providing something different here are the caps with animals on the front.
The Cubs and A’s are my two favorites and the most iconic of the group, and I’d rate both of these also a 10 out of 10.
But there are several other animal-based caps to choose from.
My favorite of this group is the Rays, and the Cardinals get extra points for having the Cardinal wearing a cap on the actual cap, like letting us wear M.C. Escher art. I’d give these four caps a 9 out of 10 rating.
If you can’t put an animal on the cap, embrace the city or area you represent. These give the cap a distinct look.
I love the Rockies mountain, and growing up in southern California I have a soft spot for the old Angels state logo, so both of these get 9 out of 10. The Phillies and Rangers are just a notch below, at 8 out of 10.
Iconic team symbols
There are a few caps that rely on classic totems, including the Red Sox literally having red socks on a cap, which is nice.
The Braves, meanwhile, had a choice to make. They already have an alternate cap worn in real games that features a single tomahawk, a symbol that helps invoke the racist tomahawk chop and chant from their fans. Instead of avoiding that, the Braves doubled down with two tomahawks on this pregame cap. 0 out of 10.
These caps are rather boring, simply slapping a circular version of the team’s logo into the cap in such discordant fashion that it seems attached by velcro.
Caps like these are sold at convenience stores, where you’re almost certain the cap is not licensed in any way but since they cost half the price of an authentic cap any dad worth his salt would buy one to wear while mowing the lawn. Only, these caps are full price, and not worth your time. 3 out of 10.
CAP DESIGN EXECUTIVE: “Remember that logo for the batting practice cap we asked for a few months back? It’s due today.”
TEAM: “Aw crap. Here, just use this boring design that’s basically already on our game caps.”
Kudos to the Indians for taking the opposite path of the Braves, deciding instead to not embrace their own racist logo for their batting practice cap. On the whole, these caps are only worth it if you like the difference of wearing breathable mesh. 2 out of 10.