Cap Bigamy: Four Ways It’s OK

A cry for help.

Last week, FanGraphs’ Joe Pawlikowski posed the above question to the entire world. Since I’m technically NotGraphs’ advice columnist, I thought I owed him a response.

First Joe, let me say this: I hear you. Being a Yankee fan is boring, in so many little ways, and doubly so when it comes to apparel. Those same uniforms, year in, year out, just little changes to the details on the dugout jackets. And the caps — or should I say cap, since there’s just the one.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants caps aren’t your escape route. I need hardly remind you that those teams were direct, bitter, existential Yankee rivals during their defining periods. Imagine a current-day Los Angeles Dodgers fan donning a San Francisco Giants cap. Hard to see, right? Now imagine if the Dodgers and Giants played in the same city instead of just the same seaboard, and also that city was sports-crazed New York. That’s exactly what this is like.

Your counterargument, I suppose, would be that these are historical teams. Wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap is like being a fan of baseball history, right? Maybe… except, not if you’re a Yankees fan. The Dodgers and Giants may have moved west, but flags fly forever. Remember 1929? Giants over Yankees in five. 1955? Dodgers over Yankees in seven. Think of the Yankee fans who came before you, Joe.  Don’t dishonor bygone Yankee fans of yore.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on this, but for me there are only certain enumerated exceptions to the rule against wearing other teams’ caps.

It’s a team in the other league from your favorite team that is not a particular rival of your team. For example, Joe can wear a Rockies hat. Or Mets (zing!).

It’s a historical team that was not a particular rival of your favorite team. For example, Joe can wear a Seattle Pilots cap. Mets fans get to wear Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants caps because the Mets are the spiritual successor.

You have more than one favorite team for some good reason, like you grew up in city X, but city X was too small for your big ideas, so you moved to more important city Y, and you never want to leave now, because you don’t even know the you who came from city X anymore, but you still kind of support your childhood baseball team because they’re better than the city Y team, but you’re also trying to build in some flexibility going forward.

You are or were somehow employed by the team. For example, Matt Stairs can wear all the hats.

Take solace Joe. You can always pick up one of those oldey-timey Yankee caps like Short Round had.

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I agree. Growing up as a die-hard A’s fan I wont even consider wearing the cap or anything else of any team in the AL. However, having lived in St. Louis the past 6 years, and having been present at game 5 of the 2006 World Series, I believe it’s ok to don some red when going to Cardinals games. Also it’s a great way to meet girls.