Admission time: I wasn’t always the baseball nerd you see before you. There was a time in my late teens/early twenties when baseball simply existed. Busied with work and school and manufactured heartache and booze and punk rocks shows, baseball took up a very small part of my life.
Fast-forward to age 23. I was living in Seoul, doing a lot of drinking and carrying on; adding a little bit of English instruction/shaping the future of Korean society on the side. Away from daily highlight shows and newspaper boxscores, I woke up one morning and realized I missed baseball with every fibre of my being. I took the ebb and flow of the baseball season for granted. I missed it. I attended some KBL games but it didn’t scratch the itch. I needed real baseball. I missed the Blue Jays.
It was a personal baseball renaissance! I pledged to be a better baseball fan when I returned to Canada and promptly did so. I needed to represent the team and city I loved so. Also, I was sick of people thinking I was American. I needed better branding and to represent my city when far, far from it.
My team was the Blue Jays. They still are. The Blue Jays wore these black hats. Which means I did, too. I promptly purchased the newest hat design, the black hat you see just north of the heavily-lidded eyes1 above.
Black hats worked well for because I’m a black hat kind of guy. The Jays logo was a little odd but I certainly didn’t mind. There was no cognitive dissonance rattling around my brain when the Blue Jays donned black hats. Nearly every sports team added some black variation to their look because, frankly, black stuff is easy to do and generally looks cool.
Black hats didn’t anger me nor did they offend my sense of history. I will wear a black hat over a hat of any other color 8 days a week so the “angry bird” won out. The grey hat with the same logo? Not a fan. The toothpaste T? No thanks.
The Jays tried a lot of crap over the years and most of bought whatever they sold. As fans of the team, it is what we do. Did the black hats or muscley birds dissuade anyone from fandom? Of course not. Look at some of the stuff the Jays have trotted out over the years.
Hardcore addicts like the people reading a baseball blog in November know what I mean. With deep regrets, we do what it takes when our team is involved. Now the black hat is dead and many people are happy.
Just as the classic logo and uniform style represents great memories and experiences for thousands of baseball fans across Canada, the black hat came to represent my emergence from the baseball wilderness. It came to stand for the fresh appreciation I had for this city and country after spending time away.
I am happy because the new hats are great but I don’t begrudge the black lids. I wore it with pride because it was a Jays hat, the one they wore on the field. I will continue wearing the black hat with pride, when I play softball or work around the house.
For the new hat designs are spectacular. Amazing, really. I will certainly buy one as soon as I have two pennies to scrape together. They are perfect because they don’t include two different fonts or the cheeseball (to me) baseball backdrop. They couldn’t possibly be better, even if they aren’t black.
1 – Don’t blame me. Blame the Lifetime reunion show I just attended. Best set ever!