The Insane Holy War Over Flat Brims In MLB

The following was an article published on Forbes.com on August 17, 2015 by author Maury Brown.  You can follow him on Twitter @bizballmaury.

I thought this was an interesting debate that applies directly to Pro Image Sports’ business and customers.  Let me know what you think.

Baseball is in the middle of a holy war (or, at least it is to some). It isn’t whether this player or that used PEDs, or whether the designated hitter should be dissolved or put in both leagues. No, in the some ways, this crisis strikes a nerve far deeper.

Commissioner Manfred, the 30 owners, or team executives in Major League Baseball don’t have an issue with it, but some fans sure do. What’s this thing that has fans up in arms?

Players wearing the brim of their cap flat.

If you’re scratching your head, this issue is serious business for some purists (those that wear them flat don’t seem to have a problem with it). On social media I heard it described by a member of the fashion police as (I’m not kidding here) “disrespectful.” Caps should be worn “relaxed” style, with the brim bent, otherwise, it’s desecrating the uniform. After all, says these purists of the game, the idea of the brim is to block the sun.

This meme has been making the rounds on social media, and gets to the heart of it:Do you agree with this opinion?

Do you agree with this opinion? 

Those that aren’t baseball fans have to be wondering what the big deal is. And if you are somehow serious that baseball hats with flat brims are disrespectful and somehow wrong, my response is to channel my inner Sargent Hulka from the movie Stripes and say, “Lighten up, Francis.” It’s a baseball cap, not the downfall of society.

There is a serious note to all of this, and I don’t think the “flat brims must die” crowd is going to like it.  I never hear that “flat brims must go” from young people. I do hear some comments from some over-40 white males that edge closely into racism. As one Facebook comment was made, “The next thing you know, these players will be wearing their pants below their [butt],” a clear reference to those “gangstas”. This is where the flat brim as fashion moves from being a silly commentary on personal preference and into something larger. The word “thug” wasn’t used, but I was waiting for it.

Many seem to have an issue with Fernando Rodney of the Seattle Mariners who not only wears his brim flat, he <GASP!> wears the brim off to one side. Never mind that Rodney could do this simply because he wants to, but it’s done partially to throw off runners on first by not being able to have eye contact. Rodney is public enemy #1 by these baseball fashion police. To them, Rodney is spitting on the near religious status of the uniform.

The problem here is, how one chooses to wear a cap is personal preference, and wearing it flat isn’t just men of color.

Going through and looking at official head shots used by Major League Baseball of players, flat brims are not the domain of just African Americans or players of color. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs wears his flat, and that’s but one example.

But, here’s the thing, you old, cranky, purists: If kids are wearing the caps some way you don’t like, well then, at least they’re wearing them. Part of baseball’s problem has been this perception that it’s a starchy, piece of bland, white bread. The league is trying to reach a young demographic, and as long as the league is fine with how a uniform is being worn, then so should you.  You’ll bemoan the fact that there has been a decline in the number of African Americans playing baseball, but by golly, don’t try to somehow relate to them if they infuse their own sense of style into things. That’s sacrilege.

This just in: the more the younger people–regardless of race–playing baseball, the better. And if kids get to thinking that baseball players are cool, it’s that much the better.

So, let’s get off the holy war over how caps are worn. It’s something only uptight fans seem to really care about. The fact that athletes are choosing to play baseball should be something to applaud, and how they  wear their brim is of little concern.

And finally, there’s this. It wasn’t too terribly long ago that many wore their brims (yes) flat. Take that, you baseball fashion police.

Milwaukee Braves cap from the 1960s

Milwaukee Braves cap from the 1960s

Request Info

Leave a Reply