The Art of Picking the Right Baseball Cap

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IApril 21, 2009

As the Atlanta Braves began the 2009 season with a significantly different look than in 2008, I decided to follow suit by changing my Braves apparel.

I decided that I would buy a new Atlanta cap to herald the beginning of a new era for the franchise, and because my massive head had outgrown the last cap.

(For the record, I am not taking HGH. I just have a large noggin.)

Considering that I wear a baseball cap at every possible opportunity, I have specific traits that I value in each and every cap that I own.I consider the following three characteristics as desirable for any hat that I will purchase and wear:

1. Durability

The hat needs to be well-crafted and sturdy. I don't want some flimsy piece of cloth with a plastic strap and an abnormal bill. Save those for the little leaguers. I want a good, solid hat. Normally, I buy New Era caps because they specialize in producing hats.

2.  Fitted

I detest straps on my caps. Granted, while the ability to adjust the size may be economical, a strap makes the cap sit on your head rather than allowing you to fully wear it. However, I don't rule out straps as long as they're effective and they do not interfere with the integrity of full wearability.

3.  Full Wearability

I describe full wearability as a cap fitting the head like a glove fits the hand. The cap must be deep enough in order for it to fit around the head. While it should not be too tight, the cap should be the mold of your head size, with a little room to spare to avoid uncomfortable tightness. I always avoid loose-fitting hats because they fall off easily.

4. Reasonable Price

When it comes to penny-pinching, I'm as frugal as they come. When I open my wallet, I find myself constantly brushing the dust and the cobwebs off of my unused bills. As a result, I search for a reasonably-priced cap. However, I am making a long-term investment by buying a cap. I'm willing to go as high as $28, including the sales tax if necessary, but I won't break the bank simply for some headgear.

5. Simplicity

When I buy a cap, I just want the standard solid colors with the team logo front and center. I occasionally aim to buy the on-field cap, sometimes varying slightly in order to accommodate my other four guidelines. As for the Braves, I go for the simple "A" logo on the cap.

With my guidelines intact, I decided to visit the local Lids store to ensure a wide variety of selections and that I would be purchasing a top-notch Braves cap.

Before going into detail regarding my selection process, the baseball cap serves not only as an article of clothing, but as a major sign of "fandom."

Whenever I root for my beloved Braves, the hat I buy will be on my head constantly, through both the good times and the bad times.

The hat will be judged not only by its comfort, but by its success as my primary symbol of my affiliation with the Atlanta Braves.

With that in mind, buying the right Braves cap took on an even greater sense of importance. Therefore, I needed to choose wisely and carefully. 

My first choice was Atlanta's on-field cap. Although they take longer to break in, the authentic on-field cap is as good as it gets as far as baseball caps go.

However, much to my chagrin, when I took the cap off the shelf, the price tag laughed at me as it displayed the price of $33.99.

Since when does a ball cap cost $34? Granted, it's been a while since I've bought a new Braves hat, but I didn't think the price would jump that high.

Distraught by the failure of my first option, I became flustered in my search for a new baseball cap. I failed to account for the possible failure of my first option.

But luckily, I was able to resort to my five guidelines in my attempt to successfully purchase a new Braves hat.

I moved on to the vintage hats that are already faded and are somewhat worn in when you buy them.

I checked them out mainly because I had good memories of a 1974 Braves hat that I had the great misfortune of losing soon after I bought it.

Yet, despite a very good price of $17.99 and its simplicity in style, I was disappointed with insufficient wearability on my standards.

It was a great cap, but it just wasn't the best fit for my head. It wasn't deep enough for my liking, as the medium size merely sat on my head and the large just felt completely awkward.

Despite the discouragement I was feeling after my previous failures, I headed over to the batting practice hats with a cautious optimism.

Although I find batting practice caps the most comfortable baseball headgear because of their mesh stretch fit, they can sometimes become too cluttered with random stripes and swooshes.

Then, my luck suddenly changed for the better as I stumbled upon "The Cap."

The hat I selected was a gray New Era 39Thirty batting practice cap with a navy blue bill, a red Braves "A," and a manageable price of $24.99.

The cap had great wearability and durability, as well as fitting my standards of simplicity in style. I was satisfied.

As I approached the counter to make my purchase, the cashier that had seen me struggling tirelessly in my efforts, half-jokingly said, "Did you find everything you were looking for today, sir?"

I told him that I had, with an inner peace that was suddenly interrupted when I realized that he was wearing a New York Mets cap.

The cashier continued, "I'd prefer that you keep this Braves cap hidden in the bag where it should be rather than wearing it out of the store."

I responded simply by thanking him, taking my receipt, and placing my new Atlanta cap proudly on my head.

"We'll see who's laughing in October," I said confidently as I made my way toward the exit. My new hat had experienced its first moment of "fandom" before I had even left the store.

I have a good feeling that it was just the first of many proud moments that it will experience on the head of this Atlanta Braves fan.


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