This offseason for our Padres has lacked the fireworks of the prior offseason that brought in big names like Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks and Craig Kimbrel. Of course, these names are no longer listed on the San Diego Padres roster and many fans have sold the season as a "rebuild" for 2017 and beyond.
Under the radar, however, have been a series of errors regarding the new Padres caps for this season. While this may not bother a casual fan by any degree, you better believe I caught wind of it. One error has been rectified, while another error is still on the shelves. I'll start with the most obvious cap:
The "infamous" cap. The cap that got me into some hot water is an error cap. Right after I had purchased this cap and its subsequent pulling from the shelves, this cap was sent back to suppliers because it lacked the All-Star Game patch that adorned the cap when it debuted atop Wil Myers' head. The cap then returned to shelves with the All-Star Game patch glued (yeah, these are glued) to the left side.
The most interesting thing about the patch is its construction. The patch isn't the "chroma" patch that's being slapped on every patch cap nowadays; rather, it's more similar to the All Star game patches used in 2014. These patches on our Padres caps have a soft, semi-embroidered feel in lieu of the hard plastic/vinyl of the new chroma patches.
As an aside, I mourn the loss of true-embroidered patches on caps. I enjoyed the feel and look of a true embroidered patch on the side of a cap. To put it simply, the new chroma and semi-embroidered patches feel cheap and tacked-on. It's especially bothersome when a patch cap costs up to $3 more than a standard cap. The new patches feel cheap in comparison and don't represent the supposed added value in a more expensive cap.
I know many of you prefer the cap sans-patch and I'm personally unsure if we'll see the unpatched version reappear. It's a possibility they may come back after the All-Star Game or possibly in 2017 should the team decide to keep the navy/yellow colorway.
Your closest cap retailer should have the patched cap available for purchase.
Surely the return of the awesome brown caps couldn't have been plagued by an error, could it? Well...
See if you can point out what's wrong with this example.
If you said the squatchee/button is the wrong color, you're correct! The new Friday alternates have been bitten by an error as well: the squatchee is brown instead of yellow as shown atop James Shields' dome.
Many of you may already have your own brown alternate cap and note that the button is the correct yellow color. So what gives? This particular error is one of the few errors that stems from country of origin. Generally, on-field caps are made in the USA. Because of the bell-shape construction of the new brown cap, New Era made a preliminary run of the caps in the US (which made it to the Padres store and MLBshop.com) and then outsourced all remaining production to China. The caps that came in from China and sent out to retailers were supplied with an incorrectly colored squatchee.
Many collectors of my ilk have defined tastes when it comes to country of origin. Some collectors refuse to touch caps made in China while some prefer Chinese-made caps due to quality of build or materials. I'm generally indifferent to country of origin myself. If the cap looks good and feels good, then it works for me.
I know some of you may actually prefer the brown squatcho over the yellow. What do you think? The brown-buttoned cap is available via outlets such as Lids, Hat Club, and Bespoke among others. You can still find the yellow-squatchee'd cap at the Padres Team store inside Petco Park. Word on the street is that the yellow-squatcho cap will hit general retailers eventually in case you don't want to pay a premium for a cap with a simple button difference.
Here's the collection all together.
Honestly, I'm just hoping I don't have to buy this many All-Star caps. Let's also hope they keep the errors on the caps and off the field when it counts.