Previous “Baseball Bloopers” posts

Hopefully, This Isn’t the High Point 

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

For nearly a decade, this blog has been tracking the baseball exploits of one Christopher Michael “Mike” Carp, in the hopes that he could be added to this list. In 2015, Carp made it to the right city, though he was affiliated with the wrong team. In 2019, news of his independent league baseball success with the New Britain Bees of Connecticut was shared.

It appears the Bees experienced some sort of colony collapse, but never fear. Carp has been picked up by North Carolina’s High Point Rockers for the 2020 season.

Also signed for next season are pitchers Jake Buchanan and Drake Owenby, catcher Stuart Levy, outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder Matt Fields and three from the disbanded New Britain Bees — Mike Carp, Darren Ford and Logan Moore.

Sure, the team’s logo is a rocking chair, an almost painfully on-point allusion to retirement. And yes, Carp hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2014. Of course, there’s little sense hiding from the fact that he’ll be turning 34 shortly, which is surely an unlikely age to return to pro ball. Nevertheless! Until Mike Carp hangs up his spikes for good, this blog will continue to track his career. If we can raise his profile enough, perhaps the Los Angeles Angels1 will finally see the light.


Footnotes:

  1. They’ve got a new/retro name, and it’s damned efficient! Truly, it just looks so good on them. Those wise team owners clearly know a good idea when they see it!↩︎

Those Are Some Bad Hats, New Era

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

While researching last month’s feature on ugly spring training caps, I came upon an entirely different set of awful Major League Baseball hats, one worthy of its own post. Seemingly released in early 2020, the New Era “Big Boys Lil Player” series is aimed specifically at kids. The name of the collection is a clunky, contradictory mouthful, and things just get worse when it comes to the artwork. Here’s a quick appetizer:

A hat with a poorly drawn cartoon of Aaron Judge

Remarkably, this is actually not the most awful New Era cap featuring a cartoon Aaron Judge. It takes second place, behind this ghoulish monstrosity:

Another hat with a terribly drawn image of Aaron Judge, this one looking quite like a stereotypical zombie
I get the feeling somebody at New Era really doesn’t like Aaron Judge.
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

But let’s return to the Big Boys Lil Player 9Fifty caps. If you try to locate these hats on New Era’s website, you’ll strike out. Their site offers what has to be the worst online search I’ve ever seen. It’s truly astounding in its awfulness. To give just one example, a search for “Votto” returns 18 hits: 1 “Rocket Power Otto” hat, along with 17 hats that have the word “cotton” in their names. Adding search terms, which ought to narrow the results, only compounds the folly. A search for “Joey Votto” gives 675 results, starting with a completely unrelated “Joey Logano” hat.

Instead, you’ll need to head to Macys.com to find the New Era Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. It appears Macy’s is the exclusive retailer for this line aimed at kids, and what a coup that must be for them. On the Macy’s website, you can find 25 different New Era® Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. Of course, there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. The five teams missing from the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback cap series are:

  • Atlanta Braves

  • Baltimore Orioles

  • Chicago Cubs

  • Houston Astros

  • Toronto Blue Jays

Frankly, those clubs are the lucky ones, as they can simply be ignored. There are two additional hats show players who are no longer on the relevant team:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Featuring Zack Greinke, who was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of the 2019 season. The hat’s price has been cut more than 50% off, which is nice, but hardly enough.

  • Boston Red Sox: Featuring Mookie Betts, who was sadly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers just last month. This one gets a pass, though it should also now get a steep discount.

The rest of the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY Snapback caps can be seen in all its awfulness over at Macy’s, but here’s a further sampling:


Nolan Arenado, in cartoon form


Mike Trout, in cartoon form


Christian Yelich, in cartoon form

While some of the representations look vaguely like the named player, most really do not. In fact, even with the name stitched on the cap, the Cardinals “Paul Goldschmidt” hat is listed as being for Matt Carpenter, and no one has noticed or cared:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

To be sure, those two men look not at all alike:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter
Paul Goldschmidt on the left; Matt Carpenter on the right

And yet, if one simply adds a beard to the cartoon rendering, it’s clear that it can work equally well for either of them:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

My favorite cap of all is the offering for the Washington Nationals, which features Max Scherzer. Scherzer has heterochromia iridum, which means his eyes are two different colors. His left eye is brown, while his right eye is blue.


[Photo credit: MLB.com]

As you can see, heterochromia iridum is tremendously distinctive. They could have made the rendering on this hat incredibly obvious, just by including this very rare trait. Did they?

Swing and a miss!

Ultimately, the drawings on the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback caps are just plain bad. For the most part, they don’t look like the players they’re supposedly modeled after, nor do they look very good at all. Worse still, they seem to be ripping off a lot of the style of Gen X favorite “Beavis and Butthead”:

Jacob deGrom next to Butthead
Jacob deGrom does not actually look like Butt-Head.

Macy’s has probably sold scores of terrible New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback® caps to well-meaning grandparents around the country. Perhaps Mike Judge should sue for royalties.

The Houston Astros Should Knock It Off 

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

It’s going to be a very long season for the Houston Astros and their supporters, not to mention baseball fans in general. Hell, I’m tired of the stories of their cheating already. Still, I have to give credit to this clever headline.

No Nazi Friars 

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

After much ridicule, at least one MLB team has pulled away from their poorly designed spring training caps. The San Diego Padres will largely be avoiding wearing their not not a swastika caps, sticking instead with a more traditional interlocking SD logo.

These Designs Are Bad and the Designers Should Feel Bad

Monday, February 10th, 2020

For many years now, sports leagues have attempted to sell more merchandise to fans by creating all sorts of alternate logos and designs. Sometimes these arrangements are well done, and often times, they are not.

For Major League Baseball’s 2020 spring training games, all 30 teams got new hat designs. As the headline of this post might tell you, they are mostly not good at all.

Let’s first dispense with a couple logos that did turn out pretty well. The Detroit Tigers have the only outright winner, using subtle tiger stripes to accent their “D” logo in wonderful fashion:

The Toronto Blue Jays have something a bit different, but it’s solid overall:

There are a couple other decent results, but it’s far more fun to look at the crap. Many of the caps look like they were misprinted, from the New York Yankees:

…to the Milwaukee Brewers…:

…and most especially, the San Diego Padres:

At the very least, it would be difficult to state definitively that there’s not a swastika in there.

Possible neo-Nazi designs aside, the single most ridiculous logo belongs to the Baltimore Orioles, which sort of looks like a bird with either a giant head or a tiny body:

My favorite, however, are the creepy logos. The buccaneer mascot of the Pittsburgh Pirates is staring at you through a picket fence:

While the Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be attempting to get you kicked out of the garden of Eden:

But it’s Mr. Redlegs, of the Cincinnati Reds, who really takes the cake. He is really creeping on you something fierce:

I know it goes against all logic and reason, but it really seems like shoving one logo inside of another logo is not a great way to design a third logo.


Update (February 13th, 2020): The Padres, at least, are opting not to use their hats.

Meet the Y’alls 

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

There’s a new baseball team in Kentucky, and they’ve got quite a name: The Florence Y’alls. The name is a reference to the Florence Y’all water tower, seen below, which features a truly ridiculous tale of ingenuity.

Minor and independent league baseball often has the best branding.

Rusney Castillo’s Golden Handcuffs 

Friday, September 20th, 2019

In 2014, the Red Sox signed Cuban player Rusney Castillo to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract. Now, due to arcane rules surrounding baseball’s luxury tax, that deal is actually preventing him from playing in the big leagues.

One Hell of an Origin Story 

Monday, August 12th, 2019

I don’t know if Nathan Patterson will ever make the major leagues, but if he does, he’ll have an astounding story of how he got signed.

The Dream Remains Alive

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Since 2012, I’ve been hoping Mike Carp would make his way to the Los Angeles Angels, joining an elite school group of players who share a last name with a type of fish. In 2015, a minor league contract brought Carp close to the right city, but the wrong team. In 2016, he fell out of pro baseball entirely, before his 30th birthday.

However, Google Alerts never say die. A recent email showed me that Carp is now playing for the New Britain Bees, an independent league team, as he attempts a return to the majors.

A Google Alert with news on Mike Carp

Better still, the Alert included news of recent Bees game, where Carp had an RBI base hit. Keep it up, Mike, and hopefully the Angels will come calling soon.

They Really Metsed It Up 

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

This is a real Mets move, or string of moves, really.