The new M’s caps

DMZ · July 5, 2008 at 7:53 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

You may have been saying to yourself “I’d love to go out wearing my Mariners cap, but it’s just not embarrassing enough to wear the logo of one the worst, most ineptly-run franchises in baseball, where the worst hitter in the game gets to DH and bat fourth every game. What if there were something uglier? Something that ties the team into a gaudy commercialize patriotism. Like… the baseball equivalent of a Lee Greenwood song.”

I know I have. If so, our wish has been answered!

Did you just throw up? A little, maybe? Because I can show it to you again.

Plus, it’s not just a craven attempt to exploit fans into buying a new cap for $35. Oh no:

A portion of proceeds from all caps sales will go to the Welcome Back Veterans fund

You might wonder what portion that is, exactly.

Newspaper Tour Guide: And each paper contains a certain percentage of recycled paper.
Lisa: What percentage is that?
Newspaper Tour Guide: Zero. Zero is a percent, isn’t it?

Sorry, wrong quote.

It played out with Uni Watch like so:

MLB PR czar Rich Levin glared at me like I’d just hocked a loogie in his cappuccino or something. “The answer is that that hasn’t been determined yet,” he growled. “But this is a charity initiative — it isn’t about generating revenue.”

“I’m not suggesting otherwise,” I responded. “But there’s a certain level of cynicism out there among some fans, so I was giving you a chance to clarify…”

“We reject that,” he snapped. “We reject the cynicism.”

Uni Watch on the caps
Uni Watch at the press conference

I don’t have a lot to add to that Uni Watch post: these kind of things really annoy me.

But what’s absolutely amazing about this is the raw, unmitigated cynicism of MLB, that they’d launch patriotic themed hats ostensibly to benefit a worthy veterans charity and be totally unprepared to tell anyone what the participation is. I’ve got a pretty dim view of humanity and this shocked me. How could you do this? How do you go lower than this? Are the caps ugly because the program’s ugly? Is this branding a warning by someone on the inside, trying to keep us from falling prey to this program?

I hope. Anyway, I’d humbly suggest if you’re interested in supporting the cause, just go to and donate directly. They’ll get almost 100% of the proceeds from that action.


44 Responses to “The new M’s caps”

  1. killer_ewok18 on July 5th, 2008 7:58 pm

    They’re so ugly, does it really matter what percent goes to veterans? Who would buy one?

  2. galaxieboi on July 5th, 2008 8:01 pm

    Gawd, MLB really is full of a bunch of wankers. I second donating directly to the organization you wish to support.

    Thanks for the info and link, Derek.

  3. tgf on July 5th, 2008 8:07 pm

    “We reject that,” he snapped. “We reject the cynicism.”

    Is Rich Levin 12 years old? What a childish, petulant response.

  4. Mr. Egaas on July 5th, 2008 8:17 pm

    Here’s the only hat I would consider purchasing this year:

    I tried to get one when I went to the Safe down in May, what with the Mariners Team Store taking some revenue on that, but no, they decided not to carry such a hat.

  5. thegroovewrangler on July 5th, 2008 8:24 pm

    I noticed that the Blue Jays are wearing Canadian flag-motif logos on their hats. I’m not sure if that makes me more or less disappointed with their participation in this.

  6. Paul L on July 5th, 2008 8:27 pm

    “America, you declared your independence…from interest rates”.

    That’s the first line of the Chevy commercial that was just on between innings.

    Yea, hard to believe we’d be cynical about the “patriotism” behind these caps.

  7. John D. on July 5th, 2008 8:29 pm

    one the worst, most ineptly-run franchises in baseball, where the worst hitter in the game gets to DH and bat fourth every game.

    HARGROVE, McLAREN, RIGGELMAN – Nothing’s changed.

  8. galaxieboi on July 5th, 2008 8:33 pm

    “America, you declared your independence…from interest rates”.

    Seriously? Bah, I’m not suprised.

    We reject that,” he snapped. “We reject the cynicism reality.”

    Fixed. **** you, Levin.

  9. smb on July 5th, 2008 8:38 pm

    Has Carlos Delgado refused to wear one yet?

  10. dw on July 5th, 2008 8:43 pm

    Patriotism shouldn’t be about turning the flag into crap-ass hats you can sell for $35 with “a percentage” going to the vets that fought and died so you can have the freedom to create these crap-ass tributes to them.

    Honestly, MLB owes our vets an apology for doing this. They should be selling them for $35 with 100% of the price going to this charity. No, 110%. Roosevelt let baseball play on during WWII because it was that important to vets. If you went back in time and handed one of these hats to FDR, he’d be handing the owners guns and telling them to book it for Tarawa.

  11. gwangung on July 5th, 2008 8:44 pm

    If some yahoo called me on the phone, begging for money, answered. “I’m not prepared to say how much goes to the charity”, I’d slam the phone so fast that their ears would be ringing. And report the bunco artists to the attorney general’s office.

  12. Hoover on July 5th, 2008 9:06 pm

    As an alternative and if you are of the Cult of Doyle, you could order a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs cap — maybe show our guy support for him coming off the disabled list…again. Anyway, it’s good for a puzzled look or two if you wear it to Safeco (“You an Arkansas fan?” “Nah, Iron Pigs. I’m a Doyle supporter!”)

  13. BillyJive on July 5th, 2008 9:36 pm

    Ha I kinda like the hat. I wouldn’t buy one…but it doesn’t offend me. The team offends me more than the hat does…

  14. bratman on July 5th, 2008 9:48 pm

    13 – I agree – it shouldnt really bother people that they are trying to support a charity with American flag hats.

    This is America – even if you do have a problem with the way things are run right now.

  15. MedicineHat on July 5th, 2008 9:53 pm

    I do like the hat. In fact, I’ve already ordered two. I don’t care if it is the “wrong” color blue or how much of the proceeds goes to the charity. It is what the hat represents to me that matters. I am a flag-loving American. I like showing pride in my Country. Whether it be a flag made out of aligned baseball bats on my t-shirt or a hat that happens to have patriotic colors with my favorite teams emblem on it.
    The $35 price tag. Who cares? IF you don’t want it, can’t afford it, or just plain think it’s ugly, don’t buy it. I understand we live in a complaint society and if people couldn’t complain about something they wouldn’t be talking, but for Pete’s sake…is this really what you want ot spend your 4th of July weekend fretting about? The color of a hat? How much of the proceeds go to a charity? WE know the MLB is a capitalistic cow. It’s been about greedy owners trying to make money for along time now. I get it. You get it. We ALL get that. Now….can we got OVER it please?

  16. gwangung on July 5th, 2008 9:57 pm


    This is what those MLB greedheads are counting on…

  17. MedicineHat on July 5th, 2008 10:02 pm

    #16…I don’t care what they are counting on. They are capitalists, I choose to live in a capitalist society….the math seems to fit. If I like it, and I can afford it, I’ll buy it….and I don’t care if it makes the rich richer.

  18. Graham on July 5th, 2008 10:10 pm

    Now….can we got OVER it please?

    Without wanting to touch the rest of this comment, I’m glad you’ve decided to celebrate your country’s independence by complaining about a fellow countryman’s freedom of speech on his own blog. Well done.

  19. aaron c. on July 5th, 2008 10:13 pm

    No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

    This is an excerpt from the United States Flag Code. There are lots of other things in there that are ignored for marketing purposes, several of them applicable to this situation. Pretty shameful, if you ask me.

  20. joser on July 5th, 2008 10:25 pm

    Actually, of the designs like this done for the various teams, it’s one of the better ones. Though given the way the team has been playing this year, they really should’ve made it look like the flag was upside down.

    Meanwhile, I’m getting me one of these.

  21. msb on July 5th, 2008 11:04 pm


    “Rich Levin, Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Major League Baseball, has been named the 2007 winner of the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence, it was announced today.”

  22. CaptainPoopy on July 5th, 2008 11:12 pm

    Where were these hats made? Sure shows “American Pride” if they were made in Taiwan or China (et al).

  23. John in L.A. on July 5th, 2008 11:33 pm

    MedicineHat rejects your cynicism!

    MedicineHat rejects your rejection of jingoistic, wafer-thin, consumerist patriotism!

    To prove his point MedicineHat will buy TWO!

    (God help whoever has to pretend he likes the gift of his extra one. “Gee, thanks, MH. It’s… like a meaningless bumper sticker for my head.”

    MedicineHat loves his country two hats worth more than you.

  24. Omerta on July 5th, 2008 11:36 pm


    The irony in that would be delicious.

    I don’t have an issue with that hats themselves…and the MLB will naturally take a profit for creating a desired product. They didn’t have to attach it to a charity at all, really, and how tacky would THAT have been?

    BTW, I’m fairly sure I’ll be getting a “Rays” version of this hat for my birthday…

  25. tomas on July 5th, 2008 11:36 pm


  26. John in L.A. on July 5th, 2008 11:57 pm


    MLB PR czar Rich Levin glared at me like I’d just hocked a loogie in his cappuccino or something. “The answer is that that hasn’t been determined yet,” he growled. “But this is a charity initiative — it isn’t about generating revenue.”

    Then what you do, Levin, is you simply say that “all profits will go to charity.” Problem solved.

    “A portion of the proceeds” combined with “We reject that!” is weasel talk. Don’t be a weasel, Rich. No one likes a weasel. Except other weasels, I suppose.

    And I thought Aaron C. nailed it. I’ve never understood why people who claim to love the flag love to desecrate it.

    Why do people who you think would know better ignore the flag code so easily?

    “What can we make it? What can we make it!? My hat! A sticker! My belt buckle! A dance belt! A truck wheel flap! My yellow page ad! My business card! My daughter’s tramp stamp!

    I want to tattoo a star for all forty-nine* states on my ass!

    I am so ****ing proud! SO proud of myself for being randomly born someplace! I am awesome!**”

    *F**k California

    **Isn’t that like being proud you rolled a six to see who goes first in Parcheesi?

  27. josh_h on July 6th, 2008 1:09 am

    That is one rad hat.

  28. joser on July 6th, 2008 1:19 am

    Forget the flag-draped “S” for a second, and just focus on the red and black spiked ball in the foreground. Compass rose my ass: doesn’t it look rather evil, like some kind of medieval weapon (or something worn by a color-blind Raiders fan)?

    No, wait, I’ve got it: it’s actually the eight-fold version of the “Major League” Mohawk Ball.

  29. scott19 on July 6th, 2008 1:40 am

    There are lots of other things in there that are ignored for marketing purposes, several of them applicable to this situation. Pretty shameful, if you ask me.

    Bingo. Interstingly enough, when Jimi Hendrix played his legendary instrumental version of The Star-Spangled Banner to honor America at Woodstock in 1969, he was criticized to no end for doing so. Yet, just seven years later in 1976, nobody seemed to have a problem with Sylvester Stallone wrapping his rear end in the “flag” to play Rocky Balboa in a flipping movie!

    Just saying.

  30. frankb. on July 6th, 2008 2:21 am

    I like that there are lots of choices for M’s hats. This one doesn’t look near as bad as several on the hat wall in the team store. Hip hop flowers and shit. That’s not baseball.

  31. kevlar on July 6th, 2008 3:04 am

    Not one of the best hats I’ve ever seen, but it looks amazing compared to the jerseys that the Reds were wearing.

  32. b_rider on July 6th, 2008 6:08 am

    My wife and I went to see the Rochester Red Wings (AAA for the Twins) on the Fourth, and their whole uniform was flag-designed. Even the numbers were blue with stars.

  33. msb on July 6th, 2008 8:24 am

    This is an excerpt from the United States Flag Code.

    as a former Scout flag-bearer who had the flag code drilled into them at an impressonable age, I am always surprised at how the basic rules for displaying the flag are ignored.

  34. msb on July 6th, 2008 8:46 am

    but then, I am also surprised at how “God Bless America” is treated as though it were the National Anthem.

  35. cody on July 6th, 2008 8:49 am

    Would’t a patch on a sleeve and one of those “Donate X amount of money for every run scored” have been better? Maybe even throw in 5$ seats for veterans and their families? I understand its about making money but the amonut of money lost would be small compared to our fat cat sucktastic piles of overpaid crap generated payroll.

  36. shortbus on July 6th, 2008 9:47 am

    Yesterday I went to pick up after my dog in the back yard. I ended up with a sack of crap. The next time I go to a game I could wear it on my head and it would look better than this hat. Unfortunately, the M’s would be likely to confiscate it, and bat it fourth as DH.

  37. radiowxman on July 6th, 2008 9:49 am

    As someone who works in the media and delved into public relations (fortunately, briefly), whomever works with baseball needs to be fired immediately.

    1. That was a simple question and one that should have been answered immediately.

    2. If you don’t have an answer to a question, you don’t act like a petulant child. You cheerfully say “That’s a great question, but unfortunately I don’t have the answer for you right now. But I promise to get that to you by the end of the day.” And then you do just that.

    3. If you’re going to do a charity event like this, and promote it as such, you have to donate 100% of the profits, or else you look like a bunch of money-hungry morons. And since MLB owners look like money-hungry morons anyway, they should probably think about this before they send out someone with no PR skills to a press conference.

  38. galaxieboi on July 6th, 2008 11:04 am

    Baseball teams have tons of ugly ass hats. I’m certainly not opposed to that. What I’m opposed to, and it seems Derek is also, is baseball’s blantant use of our collective respect and sympathy of returning vets for their own monetary gain.

  39. wabbles on July 6th, 2008 1:15 pm

    Another great post DMZ. I heartily agree. And here’s something for you or me or other USSM readers to watch for. In December or so, the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office releases its annual charity Fundraiser report. It lists all the fundraiers licenses to do businessraising money in Washington state. The results range from fundraisers keep 1 percent to funderaisers upwards of 90 percent. Let’s look for this fundraiser group in this December’s report and see how they do.

  40. galaxieboi on July 6th, 2008 1:29 pm

    Nice, wabbles. I’ll be keeping me eye out.

  41. north on July 6th, 2008 1:33 pm

    I would not wear that hat if I was paid $35 by the team to do so.

    (shortbus at #36 said it best)

  42. bratman on July 6th, 2008 4:23 pm

    Check out the caps the 2008 Indians had to wear.

    What is wrong with this picture?

  43. Steve T on July 6th, 2008 7:17 pm

    Those Indians caps burnt my soul down to a little pile of ash and cinders.

  44. John in L.A. on July 6th, 2008 8:27 pm

    Oh, good God, Bratman.

    You win.

    But we all lose, really.

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