Cardinals Batting Practice Hats That Didn’t Make the Cut
When word came out earlier this week that each and every Major League Baseball team was rolling out redesigned “batting practice hats”, two thoughts instantly came to mind – 1.) clearly MLB is pushing another sales vehicle by tweaking something as basic as a batting practice hat and 2.) wait, people actually give a crap what the players wear during batting practice?
In any event, the Cardinals went pretty basic with their version, calling on a classic look that Stan the Man wore during his heyday.
But knowing how calculated the decisions are at MLB headquarters when it comes to even the most minuscule revenue streams, we know the new look wasn’t chosen without careful consideration. And knowing how far brands like New Era have leveraged their exclusivity with MLB when it comes to the absurd hat market, we can conclude that nothing was off limits.
We managed to mine some of our insider sources to take a peak at the other options that were on the table…
Option #1 Business Case: If a simplistic stuffed animal like Fredbird can muscle parents into plopping down some coin, imagine what would happen if the team partnered up with the heaviest of heavyweights when it came to the child manipulation characters. Seeing Mickey freaking Mouse on a hat during batting practice means that by the third inning, mom and dad will be forking over $30 to shut their kid up.
And maybe inserting the 3D, sinister-looking Cardinals option as an alternate could entice the geeks who buy every Angry Birds piece of memorabilia they stumble onto.
Option #2 Business Case: If Cardinals Nation has one thing in spades, it’s fans who love history. And by “history”, we mean “old shit”. Toss a urinal cake on a table at Winter Warm-up with a sign that says “used in old Sportsman Park bathroom” and the thing would go for $100 easy. So there would be no hesitation in thinking the fans would buy a beat up old painters cap as a souvenir because they saw Red Schoendienst wear it one time while hitting fungoes on the infield.
Option #3 Business Case: : If trendsetters like Nike and Under Armour have told us one thing, it’s that neon colors are apparently still cool. Yes, most normal adults in 2012 thought that we could pack that crap away alongside our stone-washed jeans, but from looking at uniforms such as Oregon’s football attire and Baylor’s basketball getup, it’s clear that the youngsters are still love have their retinas burnt when they turn on a sporting event.
And let’s be honest, some people are probably a little pissed that the Cardinals never got in on the “every team must wear teal” phase that swept through professional sports in the early-90′s. Both problems solved with some not-at-all subtle batting practice caps. Screw tradition, it’s 2013.
Option #4 Business Case: Real St. Louisans want to rep this city when they put on their headgear. Buying a hat like this isn’t just a show of support for the Cardinals, this is a way to have the Cardinals players show support to the town that pays their salaries.
The black and white color scheme shows the gritty, urban edge that this city has. The skyline shows that, yes, it’s completely possible to blow up a random photo and plaster it on a hat that includes the Cardinals logo. The hobo bathing in the fountain that you can almost make out at the bottom of the hat? That’s just St. Louis, bro. Man up and show some pride.
Option #5 Business Case: : Clearly the target market here consists of two groups:
1.) The fan that has always dreamt of wearing a hat with hundreds of Cardinals player signatures on it…only not the type who is so passionate that they’ll really care when they inspect it more closely to determine that they aren’t really autographs so much as just random squiggly lines
2.) Parents who want the peace of mind not to care when their toddler inevitably pulls out a Crayola marker and starts going to town on their new cap.
Surely there is some Venn Diagram that shows those two groups overlapping enough to justify this monstrosity:
Option #7 Business Case: : This pitch relied on one very calculated strategic assumption – that Zubaz are coming back in style. And when they do, and fans are piling into Busch Stadium making the stands look like a giant magic eye puzzle, the 2013 batting practice hats will already be on the shelves ready to complement the hell out of them.
Option #8 Business Case: Yo! MTV Raps was and remains cool. We have no idea why New Era produced a hat that looks like a graphic novel about Yo! MTV Raps but, considering that they are available, professional baseball players should wear them.
Despite the well thought out business cases for each, it appears the league went with a more conservative approach for the Cardinals. But knowing what we know about the plentiful options MLB has in front of them, let’s not act surprised when the Miami Marlins break one of these babies out mid-season.