Cap Bigamy: Four Ways It’s OK

A cry for help.

Last week, FanGraphs’ Joe Pawlikowski posed the above question to the entire world. Since I’m technically NotGraphs’ advice columnist, I thought I owed him a response.

First Joe, let me say this: I hear you. Being a Yankee fan is boring, in so many little ways, and doubly so when it comes to apparel. Those same uniforms, year in, year out, just little changes to the details on the dugout jackets. And the caps — or should I say cap, since there’s just the one.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants caps aren’t your escape route. I need hardly remind you that those teams were direct, bitter, existential Yankee rivals during their defining periods. Imagine a current-day Los Angeles Dodgers fan donning a San Francisco Giants cap. Hard to see, right? Now imagine if the Dodgers and Giants played in the same city instead of just the same seaboard, and also that city was sports-crazed New York. That’s exactly what this is like.

Your counterargument, I suppose, would be that these are historical teams. Wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap is like being a fan of baseball history, right? Maybe… except, not if you’re a Yankees fan. The Dodgers and Giants may have moved west, but flags fly forever. Remember 1929? Giants over Yankees in five. 1955? Dodgers over Yankees in seven. Think of the Yankee fans who came before you, Joe.  Don’t dishonor bygone Yankee fans of yore.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on this, but for me there are only certain enumerated exceptions to the rule against wearing other teams’ caps.

It’s a team in the other league from your favorite team that is not a particular rival of your team. For example, Joe can wear a Rockies hat. Or Mets (zing!).

It’s a historical team that was not a particular rival of your favorite team. For example, Joe can wear a Seattle Pilots cap. Mets fans get to wear Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants caps because the Mets are the spiritual successor.

You have more than one favorite team for some good reason, like you grew up in city X, but city X was too small for your big ideas, so you moved to more important city Y, and you never want to leave now, because you don’t even know the you who came from city X anymore, but you still kind of support your childhood baseball team because they’re better than the city Y team, but you’re also trying to build in some flexibility going forward.

You are or were somehow employed by the team. For example, Matt Stairs can wear all the hats.

Take solace Joe. You can always pick up one of those oldey-timey Yankee caps like Short Round had.

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24 Responses to “Cap Bigamy: Four Ways It’s OK”

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  1. TheGrandslamwich says:

    I agree. Growing up as a die-hard A’s fan I wont even consider wearing the cap or anything else of any team in the AL. However, having lived in St. Louis the past 6 years, and having been present at game 5 of the 2006 World Series, I believe it’s ok to don some red when going to Cardinals games. Also it’s a great way to meet girls.

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  2. Kroot says:

    Great caption

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  3. LondonStatto says:

    The moral of the story is: Don’t be a Yankees fan.

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    • Kris says:

      Yankees caps aren’t made for Yankees fans. They’re a public service. They’re the international sign for “Douchebag Approaching” and if you choose to wear a different cap, you must ensure your Ed Hardy T-Shirt and Tribal Band tattoos are UNOBSTRUCTED and the appropriate semaphores are used within 500m of any mammal population.

      The only cap-oriented substitute is wearing St. Patricks Day Red Sox garb, but that signals that the douchebag approaching is drunk and self-loathing.

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      • LondonStatto says:

        “Yankees caps aren’t made for Yankees fans. They’re a public service. They’re the international sign for “Douchebag Approaching” ”

        Good point. Very true over here, especially if the brim is flat.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Yeah, I don’t see how it’s possible to cheat on the Yankees. That’s like cheating on a…

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      • Dodger300 says:

        True in Asia, too.

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  4. MonteroSmash says:

    I’m a Yankee fan and it’s not boring. C’mon guys

    and I’m not a d-bag either, at least what my friends tell me. Not as d-bag as talking $hit about other teams’ fans

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    • Kris says:

      As the great Plato once wrote, “Yankees fans know no reality but the cave and the dancing shadows that the Yes Network casts upon the reverse wall. But take a single Yankee fan out of the cave –hose him down and sanitize him, obviously — and introduce him to an alternate reality and his perspective will be flipped and his reality warped. Enlightenment! Through self-realization, he’ll conclude that it is he who possesses all qualities douchebaggish. Then, as quickly as you’ve removed him, send him back into the cave and let him explain this new reality to those that’ve never seen it. “We are all ridiculous douchebags,” he’ll proclaim! They will, without doubt, mob and beat the poor fool for being such a douchebag and accuse him of being a “hater”. Over his bruised and battered body, they’ll claim that Derek Jeter has a positive defensive value and “haterz always gunna hate””

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      • glassSheets says:

        I was thoroughly humored by both posts of Kris. However, I would say that Yankees fans who have a legitimate tie to New York generally are in par with any successful team’s fanbase. Only in a slight rub it in your face style that only true New Yorkers can do. The Yankees fans from the midwest, south, west, etc can be more aptly characterized by your descriptions.

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        • Kris says:

          Thanks and I completely agree with you. The Yankees dominance from ’96 to ’03 (i think) seems to coincide with when my peer group got into sports. This peer group has since matured to the point where they’re in their mid-to-late 20’s and have been Yankees fans for more than half of the time they’ve spent on this planet. The length of their allegiance doesn’t change the fact that instead of cheering for their hometown squad, they wanted to cheer for a team that would almost certainly win. They wanted their ball-cap to say, “Check me out, I love winners!” while their t-shirt said, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is too mainstream, I LOVE 2PAC!” Their desire to be different was hedged by the fact that they didn’t want to be too different, they just wanted attention.

          So across your great country (and mine too!) there’s a group of douchebags that roam the streets and they haven’t changed a bit. They still want to be different (I cheer for the Yankees!) but a safe kind of different (while wearing an AFFLICTION TSHIRT UFC RULEZ)

          These people plan their wardrobes so that their Yankees cap doesn’t clash with their Moose Johnston Cowboys ’93 throwback jersey because ’93 Troy Aikman just wouldn’t be different enough.

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          • Dodger300 says:

            Please revise your dates.

            World Series Winners:

            2001: Diamondbacks
            2002: Angels
            2003: Marlins

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  5. Big Mike says:

    I’ve got a different approach to hats. I have, and wear, the hats of almost all the teams, and I don’t feel bad about it. As a (primarily) Cubs fan, however, I do not, nor never will have, a Cards or White Sox hat. I mean, if I’m wearing a black shirt to work, I can’t really top it off with the blue and red of the Cubs hat; it requires something like an Orioles or Rox or Astros hat – more muted. Likewise, if I’m wearing green, I need that A’s hat.

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    • Leo Martin says:

      This is the hyper-liberal position. However, I respect your observance of the basic principle: no direct rivals.

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    • Jamie says:

      I’m trying really hard to imagine the dress code where you work, and how the color-coordinated baseball hats fit in.

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    • Eddie says:

      I’m a Cubs fan as well. Won’t wear the hat of any other team, ever. As far as I’m concerned, there are 29 evil franchises and 1 paragon of good and light. And I have since moved to an AL city too.

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    • Gomez says:

      Same here, although my limits on what I won’t wear are: Houston, Texas, Oakland, Los Angeles(both), Arizona, Colorado, San Diego, and Florida

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  6. Jim says:

    It’s allowed, as long as the hat is tranny.

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  7. Leo Martin says:

    To be clear:

    Personally I have nothing against Yankee fans. I wouldn’t want to be one myself, but I’ve been to many games at old and new Yankee Stadium, and the fans there are absolutely above-average in terms of knowledge, energy, and dedication.

    So I didn’t mean this to bash Yankee fans. They do deserve a little ribbing from time to time though, as a modest tax on their 47 World Championships.

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  8. taite says:

    I think the coolness factor of the hat is important.

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  9. varmintito says:

    Who knew that the revolving door of 70s/80s uglitude would be more blessing than curse to White Sox and Padres fashionistas? Even the supposedly timeless Red Sox fell for the pullover jersey and the pants with the contrasting elastic waistband, and if memory serves, the Cubs rocked the powder blue away outfits for a while.

    Having a more-or-less unchanging uniform (Yankees and Dodgers) means the quest for variations becomes more subtle. For the Yankees it means going back to older cap profiles where it was tighter to the skull with the short brim. For jerseys, it means going back to flannels.

    For actual different designs, it means the striped caps of the early 20s, and the pre-pinstripe Highlander uniforms of the 10s. I could see some demand for the striped cap (Ruth wore it his first few years in the Bronx), but how many Yankee fans want to plunk down $250 for a Mitchell & Ness ’04 Willie Keeler/Jack Chesbro jersey?

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  10. Dodger300 says:

    Kris says:
    Yankees caps aren’t made for Yankees fans. They’re a public service. They’re the international sign for “Douchebag Approaching”
    They definitely serve that purpose here in Hong Kong.

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