Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, we lost an experiment the world was not ready for on Tuesday. New Era rolled out its MLB ‘Local Market’ hats, then took them off the market a few hours later, presumably killing the product. Cause of death: Endless mockery.
Now, I know I’m in the vast, vast minority when I say this, but the ‘Local Market’ hats were kitschy perfection. It was a chance to turn your dome into a flair-adorned Outback Steakhouse vest. Were they tacky? Yes. Tasteless? Also yes. Utter perfection? Absolutely.
Anyone can have a rote, boring team logo hat. Sure it’s iconic and classic, but it’s not THIS.
Edgar Allan Poe looks exactly how you'd expect someone to look when telling them their face will be on one of these hats pic.twitter.com/OQvDCJ13iW— Casey Drottar (@CDrottar19) May 25, 2021
I refuse to believe this is embroidery, but rather that every Orioles hat was imbued with a small piece of Edgar Allen Poe’s soul, like a Horcrux. It’s probably even a long-lost story of his the world hasn’t been privy to called “The Cap of Havre de Grace.” Nothing would be more terrifying in Poe’s macabre world than his visage being attached to the head of a sweaty dad mowing his yard in 90 degree heat while listening to a podcast about woodworking.
The best and worst of the MLB ‘Local Market’ hats
Everyone got mad at the Royals’ hat for omitting the city’s area code.
The Kansas City Royals play in Kansas City, Mo. The area code in the city where the Royals play is 816. For some reason, MLB put out a dumb hat with all of these area codes & none of them is 816. pic.twitter.com/AH48cfhnpK— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 25, 2021
But I think it’s performance art. See the saxophone, that’s jazz man, it doesn’t adhere to the conventions. It subverts our expectations. Think you’re getting the actual area code of the city the team plays in? Hell no, here’s some random Kansas area codes.
The Yankees hat had everything, for everyone. Seriously.
This looks like a bootleg hat you’d buy in the part for $5 back in 2002, and here New Era is selling it at a premium in 2021. It’s the late-stage capitalist nightmare I always feared, but hey, at least it has pizza on it!
The point here isn’t that the ‘Local Market’ hats were bad, it’s that they were so bad they were good. Like watching a B-movie, or sampling a new fast food menu item — the hat wasn’t meant for long-term enjoyment, but fleeting joy. We were deprived of that, before we ever had that joy.
Rest in peace, goofy looking hats. We hardly knew ye.