The Padres will take the field in 2017 wearing navy and white. That particular point has been nitpicked and beaten into the ground more than its fair share over the weeks since the uniform reveal. Another major change to MLB On-Field caps made apparent during the playoffs is the addition of the New Era flag to on-field caps. In this day and age of marketing and advertisement, many saw this move as a pure marketing play; people should know these baseball players are wearing New Era products, and we’re going to make it very obvious.
Collectors of my ilk threw their hands in the air at the announcement. Now there is nothing differentiating On-Field caps from fashion caps. The flag always served as an indicator that a cap was either worn on the field of play or was meant for pure retail. Most laypeople shrugged and said, “You mean, that logo wasn’t on the cap in the first place?”
My personal take? I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll now see a logo on the on-field cap. It didn’t bother me as much as some of my fitted brethren, though I do feel that it cheapens the look of the product a bit. The side of a cap should be clean unless there’s a side patch, and even now the patches will be placed on the wearer’s right side with the inclusion of the flag, further loading the on-field cap with stuff to look at. It’s a bit clunky, in other words. But I digress.
Let’s have a look at what’s new for the 2017 Padres caps that have hit the market so far:
Here’s the cap the Padres will wear at home and on the road and during some Sundays this season. As you can see, it resembles the cap we’ve grown used to seeing over 12 seasons. The newest inclusion on the cap is the aforementioned New Era flag on the wearer’s left (cap right) side.
Another change made to the 2017 caps is the absolute elimination of a third color: the Batterman logo is completely navy and white.
What do you mean, lack of third color? It’s always been navy and white, hasn’t it?
Well...no. There’s reason to believe that even last season the navy on-field caps still had a sliver of sand in them. I’ve yet to see any evidence to the contrary; the home cap had a navy/white/yellow Batterman and the away cap by all accounts had the sand remaining in it.
I miss a third color too.
Underneath the cap remains the same as last year with a black underbrim and sweatband. Of note is the cap construction, which is now indicated as being made in the US with imported materials. Some see this as a step up from the purely Chinese-made caps (some collectors abstain completely from Chinese caps) while others see it as no real improvement. I’m indifferent.
Also hitting the market at the same time as the home cap is the older Sunday alternate cap. The Padres indicated that the Navy and Marine camouflages would be swapping roles this season, so it makes sense that we’d see the Marine uniform cap compliment be released. Much the same as the 2017 Home cap, this cap also features the New Era flag. Why is it white? Visibility, I’m sure. You’ll probably see the New Era flag stitched in as much contrast against the crown color as possible for marketability in all the new caps for 2017.
The MLB Batterman logo features two different shades of olive green within the logo.
The underneath of the cap is boilerplate for on-field caps: black underbrim (which I just realized is missing its sticker) and black sweatband.
There is one more notable change made to each new on-field cap. Can you see a difference between the two (besides the New Era flag)?
That’s right: the S and D interlock on the 2017 example. In the 2008 example, the S lays on top of the D (snicker) and doesn’t interlock at all. The same phenomenon occurs on the Sunday alternate:
Have we been living a lie with the interlocking SD this whole time? Has the SD truly never been interlocked since 2004 and is just barely being fixed now?
Well...yes and no.
Fellow SD Cap Collector Tony Losoya and I researched a few caps and found mixed results.
Both of these examples are relatively recent Padres examples and feature the S overlaying the D.
This Mexico City Series cap (courtesy of Padres Jagoff) has the S and D interlocking.
And finally this 2016 Spring Training example has the S overlaying the D.
Tony also noted that the Stars and Stripes cap from 2014 has the correct interlocking SD. We can only conclude that the interlocking of S and D occurred arbitrarily throughout its existence from 2004 to 2015 (more than likely within the past 5 years) and is finally being addressed in the on-field product in 2017.
Stay tuned for the Friday Alternate to be released; last year’s examples went through two different countries of origin and a squatcho error, so I expect they’re being manufactured as of this writing and will make an appearance before long next year alongside the new slate of Spring Training caps. All of them will have the New Era flag on the side.