There was a brief period – while I was at art college – when I had a baseball cap. It was a simple, cheap, black one without a logo or anything on the front. Its use was primarily to keep my long hair out of lathes and band saws, but I soon noticed that it meant not having to groom my hair so much, so it stuck around for a year or so. Since that time, I’ve shied away from any sort of hat. My parents’ genes have blessed me with a fairly large head (my hat size is 7 5/8), so virtually all hats tend to look like a tea cup resting on a football. It is impossible for me to wear an adjustable cap without looking like a fool.
My summer of softball has taught me that baseball caps are a good idea when playing a game which often involves staring at a ball flying through the sky while the sun behind the ball burns my retinas. (Slight tangent, but where does the sky begin? The air, the atmosphere, begins above the grass or concrete that we stand on; but is it correct to refer to that as sky?) Even though the softball season is over, I still wanted to buy a cap in New York in case I play the game again.
And because of my allegiance to the New York Yankees, it felt correct to buy one of their lovely fitted on-field caps (ie. the cap that the players wear, rather than one of the gazillion fashion-y caps that seem to be available).
The downside of being a Yankees fan, and wearing a Yankees cap, is that you see lots of other people wearing them. Maybe the three or four people per week that I see in Berlin with Yankees caps are Yankees fans. But I rather suspect that a fair few of them just like the logo. As logos go, it’s a fairly recognisable “brand.” And the caps are probably souvenirs from holidays in New York; just as the Dodgers caps one sees fairly often are likely to be souvenirs from holidays in Los Angeles.
Still, I’m not gonna worry about that too much. What I will worry about is how damn new this cap looks. No matter how long I spend flexing the bill, it still hasn’t bent much and still looks like one of those train driver hats. And because the vast majority of my life has been a hatless life, I feel ridiculously self-conscious wearing it. When I pass someone on the street, I can feel their eyes laughing at my stupid hat. But, because I’m trying to get it a little bit worn-in when I’m indoors and alone – I’m wearing it right now – I can’t really nip to the shop without it, because of hat hair.
And going through my mind the whole time I’m wearing it, are the words of Pete Doherty in “Time for Heroes”: There are fewer more distressing sights than that/Of an Englishman in a baseball cap. But, really, the words of a rather pathetic junkie shouldn’t be bothering me, should they?
An afterthought: when you look at the portraits on their web site, even a good majority of the Yankees players look a bit crummy in their caps: