New Era, the hat manufacturer, unveiled a new line of baseball caps Tuesday that caused quite a stir. The so-called "local market" caps featured clip art emblems meant to symbolize the cities where the respective pro teams play. The line was removed from New Era's website soon after it went live, after fans and commentators mocked the hats mercilessly and created modified versions in Photoshop.
CLEVELAND INDIANS LOCAL MARKET 59FIFTY HATS now available from NEWERACAP#newdrop #neweracap #mlb #clevelandindians #indians #ourcle #cleveland #ohio #local #market #59fifty #hats #hatcrawler #fitted #flyyourownflag #stayfitted #caphttps://t.co/prA0KpCKEr— Hat Crawler (@hatcrawler) May 25, 2021
The Cleveland hat, like others, includes the city's zip code — 216 — to the left of the team logo. To its right is the image of a guitar, yet another reminder of Cleveland's Rock n' Roll heritage. The guitar, though, appears to be an acoustic or even classical guitar, one of many imprecisions for which the line earned instant derision.
On the right side of the hat is the image of a buckeye leaf with its trademark nuts, (on which the famous peanut butter candies are modeled), though from a distance it bears more than a passing resemblance to a marijuana leaf. On the back is the image of a pale pierogi that many have said looks more like an empanada, and the image of the state of Ohio with "1901" on it, presumably to represent the year the current baseball franchise began, as the Cleveland Blues.
On the left side is a little patch celebrating the Indians' 1920 World Series victory, the first of two for the franchise, and a "Cleveland, The Forest City" in cursive.
All in all, it's a busy, strikingly ugly product conceived and executed by non-locals that nevertheless had the potential to be feverishly embraced. Like Cavs' city edition uniforms, outlandish or offbeat design choices are often met with resistance out of the gate, but people come around.
New Era killed the line before many of us had an opportunity to move from skepticism to ironic appreciation to genuine appreciation. Alas.