My hat is not off to the Yanks
This just in: The New York Yankees wore navy blue caps with the white interlocking "NY" for all three games this weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This qualifies as news now.
The traditional cap, the one worn by Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio (they were good old-time baseball players in case all you stat-vomiting twentysomethings and thirtysomethings are unaware) wasn't good enough for the series with the Mets. And so the Yankees wore white-brimmed caps at Yankee Stadium for the first two games of the series and gray-brimmed for the two games at Citi Field.
The slogan du jour goes, "The 2014 New York Yankees: Our history. Your tradition."
Raise your hands, Yankee fans, if your tradition includes white-brimmed caps.
OK. Now let me just say this: There are only 10 zillion things more significant than a baseball cap. And so if Baseball Cap Talk irritates you, stop reading. No, really. Get lost.
Otherwise, I must say that bastardizing the most iconic uniform in the history of the world, all to make a few bucks, makes me lose my sunny disposition.
Makes you wonder if Joe from Joe's Bar & Grill ponied up a million or two to the Yankees whether the official "Joe's Bar & Grill" patch might make the sleeve of the Pinstripes.
Now it's true that an old Don Henley line - "the more I know, the less I understand" - surely applies here. I don't pretend to understand marketing. I don't know much about money because I don't have any. And I'm not necessarily against greed. As late sportswriter Bill Conlin once wrote, "money's money and there's only one Mother Theresa."
Still I ask: Must the Yankees acquiesce to every company that comes at them with a marketing pitch?
Isn't there some aspect of the brand that's hallowed?
Wouldn't the uniform qualify?
And if not, why not?
The genesis of the bastardized caps was a marketing agreement with New Era, a cap company. New Era, no doubt, picked a high profile series to hawk a new product. And then selected dopes sitting at home, the ones whose biggest responsibility in life is to update their fantasy team, buy it. They just can't be a minute out of fashion. A white-brimmed Yankee cap goes well with their dress sandals.
This is who's important now.
And sorry. It's not enough to suggest that those of us who are offended simply don't buy the product. That's a cop out. Know why? Because even a hint of reverence for an institution requires some form of protest when the institution acts like a bunch of sellouts.
It's just not acceptable.
And someone should let the Steinbrenners know that this is an unacceptable business practice.
My guess is that their father would have told New Era to stick those caps where the sun doesn't shine. George may have been irritable, but at least his respect for the tradition of the Yankees never wavered.
The Yankees still do right by their fans, mostly, by committing their considerable resources into the team. They need revenue streams, sure. That's why advertisements are everywhere at Yankee Stadium, even the tarpaulin.
But does it ever stop?
They bastardized the uniform. The Yankee uniform. Who signed off on this?
I understand the Yankees are at the mercy of Major League Baseball on holidays, for example, when their Memorial Day and July 4 caps bear a patriotic tint. And I also understand the Yankees have worn different caps in the past for charity.
But this? This was nauseating. Almost as nauseating as the way it was completely ignored or mocked by all those big, tough media guys who issue a dismissive wave and act like they know one more fact than the rest of the world on the subject of bastardization.
Sorry. Fandom is important. I, for example, root for laundry. And the laundry for the Subway Series was an embarrassment to the franchise. A complete embarrassment.
They play the Cubs on Tuesday at Wrigley.
Hope the Cubs didn't sell out, too.
We'll know if the Ivy is purple.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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