International Baseball Apparel Design06.2.10   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Fashion   |   By: Nils de Mol van Otterloo
Tags: baseball, baseball hat, japanese baseball hat, japanese design, japanese fashion, Sports
For many people not engaged in our National Pastime, the archetypal look of a baseball fan is summed up by the design of the hat they wear. Most often it is the navy cap with the interlocked NY of the New York Yankees, the red B of the Boston Red Sox, or the sky blue dome of the L.A. Dodgers. Baseball caps are a part of the lingua franca of the sporting world in America, just as soccer jerseys are a part of the sporting world everywhere else. The cap you wear defines you just as much as it gives you a location from where your allegiance is drawn. With teams like the Yankees with a winning history, people everywhere from Poughkeepsie to Wichita want to feel a part of that legacy, and with their hat they can. (However, a friend of mine who is a staunch Yankee devotee was criticized for being from Staten Island, so you can see how serious the Truly Faithful take their religion).
What about the rest of us? Shouldn’t we get to enjoy the summer fun of wearing a cap without having to declare our fandom and risk humiliation? If you feel this way you may be interested in looking into the interesting designs that can be found outside of America. The first place to look is Baseball’s adopted home of Japan, where there are ten national teams, with interesting names and graphic designs like the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, the Orix Buffaloes, and the Hokaiddo Nippon Ham Fighters. Each team has an array of cool caps, some of which look similar to American teams like the Florda Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds, and others that are very different.
But your search need not end there. There are now 16 national baseball teams that compete in the World Baseball Classic. My personal favorite is the Netherlands since my father and most of my family are in Amsterdam (although most of the players on the Dutch national squad are from Aruba or are Americans with Dutch surnames).
My all time favorite baseball cap design, however, is the the 1970′s-1980′s Montreal Expos. This team doesn’t even exist anymore, having been shipped to Washington, D.C. and renamed the Nationals. There’s something about that funky ’70′s design that grabs me and makes me wanna boogie.
Or you could go with a reproduction of the Kaoru Betto Baseball t-shirt worn by the Dude in the Big Lebowski: