Monday, March 12, 2007

The Game Hat

In yet another milestone in the giddy march to the start of the season, yesterday I went out and bought a new game hat. I think most regular game attendees like to have a good, reliable game hat to wear, even the ones who don't like to get all 'Metted out' (player jersey, hat, fandini, zoobaz pants…). The black fitted hat I wore to the 2000 playoffs, the Bobby J. Jones Game, is a little small for my head, leaving me wondering how my head could have grown in the last six years. (I know what you're thinking, and no, that's not it.)

Last year, lacking proper headgear, I went to most games in my trusty New York Baseball Giants cap, which I love but isn't a game hat candidate, for obvious reasons. I've also got one of those Mr. Met caps, but I don't see that as a good regular game hat; an okay alternate, maybe, but not the gamer. What I wanted was a simple, casual, fan's hat, not necessarily something official and "authentic," so I went to Sports Authority and picked up an adjustable blue cap with orange NY logo. In fact, this is it:

Why am I going on an on about a stupid baseball cap? I'm excited for the season, for one thing, and buying the game hat is like suiting up for opening day. Also I have a sneaking suspicion that baseball fans of any stripe – even pinstripes – have special relationships to their favorite caps, the ones they break out for trips to the ballpark. And now, since thanks to Faith and Fear and James Wolcott we're starting to get some readers up in this piece, I thought we could use the comments to share some favorite game hat memories: the one you had for 20 years and wouldn't throw out until it disintegrated, the one you lost moving, the one you thought was turned into bad luck so you burned it, whatever. Post your game hat memories.


Krup said...

here's a little game hat story. it's not much but it's got some nice pictures:

love your blog! i have a feeling it's going to get me through the season (you know the season featuring, according to new york magazine, a starting rotation of "Old Guy, Hurt Guy, Unproven Guy, Other Unproven Guy and Pitcher TBA" -

Chris said...

This year's game hat will be a hat I got late last season. At my wedding. My two best men, perish the thought, are both Yankee fans, and started their speech wearing Yankee hats. About halfway through, though, they both switched to brand new Mets hats, to raucous applause. I kept one, and I've been wearing it all off-season. This year, my wife bought me season Saturday tickets for Valentine's Day, so come out to Shea and see the Wedding Hat. :)

I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks to Greg and Jason again for mentioning it.

Mets2Moon said...

I have had many game hats over the years. I would wear hats to games frequently as a child, however I can't say I know whatever became of them. My first was a Blue mesh hat that I got at Shea in 1987.

However, I first began to trackmy Game Hat in 1998. That was the first season of the Black Hat, which was what I had. This hat lasted until the end of the 2000 season, when the plastic adjuster pieces began to fall out, leaving the hat mostly useless. Also didn't smell too great.

Following that, I had an all-black Shamrock Mets hat from Irish Night, 2000 which I used for the early part of 2001.

I used a fitted wool Brooklyn Dodgers cap in the latter part of 2001 and through 2002. That hat also became rather funky over time. And the blue wool ran, and ended up turning the white B on the cap blue as well.

I may not have even worn a Game Hat in 2003 or 2004. I believe I had just become tired with the hassles of keeping up with one for those years. But it returned in 2005 with the classic fitted all-blue cap, which lasted for the full season into early 2006, when I purchased my newest Game Hat, a fitted Black with Blue Rim cap with the 2000 World Series logo on the side.

Thus, the History of my Game Hats. What shall be next?

G-Fafif said...

I have to admit I go the other way. I switch caps all season long, at least until one proves effective. Sometimes it's feel, sometimes it's fashion, sometimes I take potentially karmic factors into account.

For example, I have an adjustable, mesh California Angels cap I wore to the Sunday Night Subway Series game last May. I bought it in 1986 (good year), I bought it at Yankee Stadium (first Yankee game I ever attended -- Mets were off -- and the Angels won in the ninth) and if Octobers 2002 and 2005 proved anything, it's that the Angels are a good thing to be on the side of when the Yankees are the opponent. Mets won (though for the ninth inning, I switched to an actual home team headpiece, the one I got at the Chevy cap trade-in table; I swapped out a Coca-Cola Charlotte Hornets cap that had outlived its kitschy usefulness).

NLDS Game One against the Dodgers last year? I stressed this for days, but it had to be my New York Baseball Giants cap, picked up at Shea on New York National League Nostalgia Day 1995 (choice of NY or B...I dragged my wife so I could have both). Versus the Dodgers? On the day after October 3, aka Shot Heard Round the World anniversary? It was, in the parlance of noggins, a no-brainer. Saw a guy in a Brooklyn Dodgers cap on the train in and I stared him down. The Dodger B is history. The curly NY lives on.

The only game cap that gave me any kind of run of good fortune last season was the black model with the 2000 WS logo on the side. I used to identify that with winning a National League pennant. In 2006, it came to remind me of the five late October games that followed. I think I kind of hoped my luck would run out in it because I was having Timo/Sojo flashbacks every time I put it on. Thus, Rule No. 1: Never put your head into a cap you're not totally behind.

G-Fafif said...

And of course those Giants and Dodgers caps were given away in 1994, not 1995, even if both years were eerily similar there for a while. Nevertheless, score it E-Fafif.

El Guapo said...

krup: I was at that Jon Stewart first-pitch game too. Did you see him make fun of himself on the Daily Show? I'll have to track down that YouTube link.

chris: Great story!

g-fafif: I tried to stick to fit and fashion this time out, and hope the superstition/karma stays at bay. I at least tell myself I'm not superstitious (until the chips are down, in which case I'll reach for anything that "works").