Major League Baseball is in a weird place right now. Trading your best player to shed salary because you definitely weren’t going to try to re-sign him is sold by an extremely profitable baseball team as a good thing, for example. It’s also February and still cold and gross in a lot of places baseball thrives come summer.
That said, we’re starting to get some indications that this dark grey reality will break into a slightly warmer reality in the coming months, which means baseball is back. And this year, New Era and Major League Baseball are mixing some things up by giving each team a new logo to put on their batting practice hats. For some teams, this means simply putting their secondary logo inside their primary wordmark, which is exceedingly not cool.
Some others, however, truly explored the space to some positive results. They should be celebrated, while others deserve a cacophony of wailing that will last until free agency drags on far too long because, curiously, all at once no team wants to pay good players money to play professional baseball. Anyway, let’s do a quick ranking of the five best and five worst hats.
5) Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have a history of using a large maple leaf in their alt logos, so this is kind of a throwback of sorts. And it looks really nice! This is a bird that wants you to remember it plays in Canada, and it’s doing a damn good job of it. Good job, bird.
4) Minnesota Twins
“Hey what if we put the secondary logo inside our wordmark and then just took an extremely long lunch? OK, cool, I’m thinking Arby’s.”
I’ve changed my mind on this hat. The logo can best be described as “Iowa’s Hat,” which is not a great place to be these days. But it’s actually a pretty solid-looking hat, which has to count for something. They should have used the dudes on the scoreboard or something more fun, but this works, too.
3. Miami Marlins
This hat looks great and has a nice secondary logo on the side that features a secondary logo. There’s the marlin next to the M on the side, then the M is inside the marlin. Kind of like a clicking Hot Pocket, if you will. Nice.
2) Philadelphia Phillies
The “Phila” prefix has some good buzz in Philly sports, and for good reason. This makes sense: the Liberty Bell gets some run, the wordmark is easy to read, and the red and blue pop. Bonus points to this looking extremely like a batting practice hat, but also one you could wear if you were not cranking dingers on slow pitches. Nice hat!
1) Oakland Athletics
The Athletics elephant rules. It’s extremely good and should be used more often, and superimposing “OAK” on it is great. If only the elephant were carrying a bat. Elephants should have more bats. Write this down in your copybook now, please.
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
This is extremely busy, and also should have just been a snake, right? Why trap the snake in the A and then put a baseball in its mouth? Why must the snake be trapped? Let it free to roam, like a baseball player who gets to be a free agent without having to go through the totally ridiculous arbitration process that serves the interest of owners first and foremost.
4) San Francisco Giants
I really want to love this hat because International Orange rules, as does the Golden Gate Bridge. But there’s just something off about this. I get exactly what they’re trying to do, but the bottom of the F being all orange and the varied lines makes the top of the S look bloated. It’s so close to being great, and the side logo is excellent. This one needed another revision, though.
3) Milwaukee Brewers
Milwakuee’s regular logo is a brilliant use of space that really is under-appreciated. This, unfortunately, does not work. Hard pass.
2) Pittsburgh Pirates
The logo looks like it’s haunted by the concept of having Major League-caliber players on the roster. Truly uninspired.
1) Baltimore Orioles
The proportions of this logo are all off in a Jason Momoa Super Bowl commercial kind of way. If you’re going to do a bird logo here, that’s fine! But adding weird arms and baseball legs on a giant bird head is terrifying.