Friday, June 24, 2011

The Senators Won The Cup!!!

Okay, so I'm talking about the Binghamton Senators, not the Ottawa Senators. And I'm talking about the Calder Cup, not the Stanley Cup. But, if some of those kids eventually get called up to the NHL Senators, who knows? This happened nearly three weeks ago, but since I'm getting caught up, I thought I'd mention this. I recently purchased a B-Sens jersey from a guy in Wisconsin who sells a TON of various sports memorabilia. (check out for more info) It was not a game worn, but indeed an authentic, and since it's minor league, that's fine with me. I got this jersey in late April, and since I was moving, and AHL games tend not to be nationally televised, I didn't get a chance to wear this jersey while watching any of the playoff games, but it sure is a sweet jersey. 

And customized with Jason Spezza's Binghamton number 9. Awesome. This is the 2nd B-Sens jersey I have. Several years ago, I purchased this one directly from the team via eBay. Now, that is a story within itself. I still think that the guy who was in charge of merchandising tried to rip me off. It wasn't until I filed a claim with Visa that I suddenly got my jersey after nearly two months. But that's water under the bridge.
Sweet. Worth the trouble.

And of course, I have the official New Era fitted Binghamton Senators cap.
Now I just have to hope that the Sens on the farm winning their championship can somehow inspire Ottawa to win a Stanley Cup. We've got an awesome new coach in former Red Wings assistant Paul MacLean (someone accustomed to winning) and with a crap-ton of draft picks tonight, I am optimistic, albeit cautiously, that good times aren't too far ahead. Just one. All I want is just one. 

Then I can die happy.

Latest Acquisitions (caps... a lot of caps)

Well, there's been a ton going on. There was a move, a lot of traveling at work, and just various other things that have kept me from updating this, or any of my blogs for two and a half months. Being lazy had absolutely nothing to do with it, I swear!

Having said that, as a cap collector, the beginning of a new baseball season is one of my favorite times of the year! So many new minor league logos appear, and of course there are a handful that I want. So far I've gotten a couple of the new logos (Bakersfield, Asheville, etc) and I think they are awesome. The Blaze cap is one of my very favorites. But with being the best source for a wide range of minor league caps, I decided to catch up on some of the logos I've neglected to get over the past couple of seasons. So, without further adieu, here are my latest minor league acquisitions:
Durham Bulls. Triple-A International League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Obviously, a classic since 1988 thanks to the movie "Bull Durham," but at the same time, just an awesome looking cap.

Kingsport Mets. I love it when the minor league affiliate bases their cap logos on the parent team. You don't see a lot of this anymore. Mostly in the lower class leagues. Kingsport is the short season rookie league affiliate of the Mets, playing in the Appalachian League.

Quad Cities River Bandits. Midwest League (single A) affiliate of the Cardinals. They have a cool raccoon logo on their home cap, but I have a soft spot for simple letter logos, which is why I chose to get their road cap.

Now, I have no love for the San Francisco Giants, but I've always thought the simplistic take on the parent team used here by the San Jose Giants (California League, A-advanced) is pretty cool. I have an older SJ Giants cap from the 1980s that doesn't look too much different than this one.

Staten Island Yankees. NY-Penn League (short season A) affiliate of the... well, let's just say this is the first time I've owned anything affiliated with the New York Yankees. But I've wanted this cap since I first laid eyes on it last season. Every time I'd go to order it, they'd be out of my size. I got lucky this week!

Tacoma Rainiers. Pacific Coast League (AAA) affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. I have one other Rainiers cap that I like better than this one, but I just have a feeling this one will grow on me.
 And now, moving on to the Major League Baseball caps...
A customer came into my store about a month ago wearing this cap and I thought it was time to get off the fence and get this cap. I've never been a fan of the cartoonish bird, but this is the Baltimore Orioles cap of my youth, and since I've been acquiring other Cooperstown caps from that era, I figured I'd have to get it eventually.

Los Angeles Angels. Yes, before they were in Anaheim. The team is currently going through its 50th anniversary season and they have been bringing back some of the classic logos. (future blog will feature my Angels cap collection) I have this cap already, but without the silver halo. Thought I should add this one to my collection. As a bonus, it has the Angels 50th anniversary logo on the side.

MLB's annual money grab errrrr...... Stars and Stripes collection features last year's white crown, but with the side and back panels in either blue or red. (still not sure how they determine which team gets which color) Naturally, I had to continue the collection here and get this year's Rockies version. I'm sure next year will be white with blue panels. I'll get that one as well.

And last... Black and white Colorado Rockies cap. It was on sale, and though I'm not a big fan of the "pop" colored caps, this one looks sharp. I had never seen one at a retail store, and since it was on sale, I scarfed it up. Cool add to my Rockies cap collection.

So there you have it. All caught up. I'd love to hear any thoughts on my latest, or anything anyone has to say about a favorite cap. Maybe someday I can get 10,000 page views like my friend Matt at The Fitted Diaries. (haha) He is sort of my inspiration for this blog. Always nice to know there are others out there obsessed with the fitteds.

So coming soon I'll feature another of my favorite teams and the reasons why I like them. I missed some opportunities, such  as Manchester United winning its 19th league title. Along with UConn, they are the team I do root for that doesn't suck. But hey, the Rockies are starting to play well again, Ricky Rubio is coming to Minnesota to play for the Wolves, and the Sens are... well, the draft is tonight, so we'll see. Until next time...

Oh, and snapbacks still suck.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Root For: University of Connecticut Huskies

Here in the home of sports futility, I intend on occasionally highlighting the reasons I root for the teams I do. Now, as the image at the top of this blog shows, I have amassed an unusual stable of favorite teams for someone who lives in Southern California. Between the four of them, they have exactly three championship appearances, and zero championships to show for them. But, there are a few teams I like that do have a history of winning. And since we are on the cusp of the NCAA basketball Final Four, I'd like to highlight my favorite team in that realm, the University of Connecticut Huskies, also known simply as UConn.

I really root for two teams in college basketball, the other being the University of Kentucky Wildcats. My father was a big fan of UK, and started watching college hoops in the early 1980s. We have family in Kentucky, so it came quite natural to associate the two. Being young and somewhat naive, I would watch the games with my father and listen studiously to the scoreboard report during halftime. They didn't have the cool, flashy graphics they have now, so usually it was just someone reading the scores. The score reader (usually Brent Musburger, gag) would refer to games featuring UConn. Being a child with a huge interest in geography, I heard this as Yukon. I was fascinated with the thought that the northern Canadian province competed against some of the more esteemed US colleges, and over the course of a number of years I began to develop a soft spot for the Huskies. (you have to admit that it makes sense that a team located above the Arctic Circle would have a Husky as its mascot. At least it did when I was 11) Of course I felt rather silly when I did realize that Yukon was actually Connecticut, but my loyalty was cemented.

The Huskies have made appearances in four Final Fours (1999, 2004, 2009 and the current 2011 tournament) having won the NCAA Championship twice (1999 and 2004) Their opponent on Saturday playing for a chance to go for a third title? Yeah. The University of Kentucky.

Somehow I think my father would understand. He passed away in 2005, and I'd love for the chance to sit and watch this game with him. No matter who wins, I have someone to root for in the finals, but I'm hoping for a UConn win.

Oh, and UConn's women's hoops team ain't so bad either! Maybe they'll sweep again like they did in 2004.

Of course, I have the cap.

My original UConn New Era fitted. I've had this one since 1996. A bit dusty from storage. Note the difference in the embroidery.

And here is my University of Kentucky Wildcats cap. For my dad.

Latest Acquisitions (caps)

Been a while since I update this, and I actually have some new caps to present. This is the calm before the storm, so to speak, because with baseball season beginning, minor league baseball isn't far behind. That means new cap designs! The best place to get current minor league caps is Lids. They have an amazing selection of minor league caps, though usually just one design for each team. If you want to see everything a team has to offer, I recommend going to each individual team's home page. Check this site out: I've probably spent more time on this website than any other over the past 10 years. He's pretty consistent about keeping the links updated. Excellent source for all things minor league baseball.

Now, on to the newbies:

Starting with the new caps from the Asheville (NC) Tourists. The Tourists play in the single-A South Atlantic League and are an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Since they are a Rockies affiliate I have to keep up on the latest gear from them. I acquired the home and the road cap. The home cap is unique because the moon glows in the dark. (The Casper Ghosts lay claim to the first caps to do that, but this is cool as well)  I'm not a huge fan of the home cap just because I tend to favor more simple designs, but from a marketing standpoint, I can tell you that these are genius. And from a consumer standpoint I can tell you that they go quickly. I purchased these directly from the team, and it took me a month to get them because the home cap was out of stock. The marketing manager was very nice and patient while dealing with my emails inquiring about this cap's availability. The road cap, I actually prefer. Simple single letter design, a shade of blue not typical of other caps. That's always a plus as well. I love going places wearing unique caps where people have to stop and ask me about them. Can't find these in your local Lids store, kids.

Just for comparison's sake I've included pics of the previous two Tourists caps, including the infamous "Ted E. Tourist" cap, which my wife hates. Me? Of course, I think it's a classic.

New Asheville Tourists home cap.

New Asheville Tourists road cap.

The previous late 2000s design.

The "Ted E. Tourist" design used before 2006.
Next up we have the latest from the Bakersfield Blaze, who play in the high-A California League and are currently an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. I first went to their games when they were the Bakersfield Dodgers, then they went independent and became the Blaze. Their initial cap did not appeal to me, but when they became affiliated with the Texas Rangers and rebranded in the middle of the last decade, they made headlines, and of course I had to get the cap. Originally purchased in 2005, I had to repurchase it in 2007 after an unfortunate incident involving a break in. Naturally they wanted this cap:

Flaming maple leaf? Or some other sort of burning leaf?
Not a very good design, in my opinion, but it got people talking and presumably buying. They kept this design for five years, I believe. In that time I also managed to acquire a Blaze jersey, which I actually like very much:

#19 on the back, naturally.
Anyway, now they have jerseys where the Blaze is scripted. Awesome. So the new cap design was revealed in February, and it is awesome as well. No more Mary Jane. I had to have one. Behold...

Simple. Black. Orange. Awesome.

This does not disappoint. Of course it probably won't sell as well with no cartoon character on it, but damn it sure looks good on my head. Purchased directly from the team. Bravo, Bakersfield!
Next up, a cap I acquired from eBay. It's an old Rancho Cucamonga Quakes cap. It's the first tweak they made to the original design, unnecessarily incorporating their mascot "Tremor" into the design:

The sequel is never as good as the original.
So why did I purchase it? Well, because it was fitted, the correct size and I just had to have it. The original design is indeed a minor league classic. Prior to the Lake Elsinore Storm "No Fear" design, the following Quakes cap was the best selling cap in the minor leagues:

Simply awesome.
To see the current Quakes caps (they've rebranded twice since) check out their official website.
And finally, a vintage New Orleans Zephyrs cap. I've coveted this cap for years and was ecstatic to track one down. I purchased it from the same eBay seller I acquired the Quakes and Whiskey Jacks caps from. He's got a couple more I have my eye on as well. Anyway, New Orleans got the Zephyrs from Denver, when they moved upon the arrival of the Colorado Rockies in 1993. A very simple design, like I prefer:

New Orleans Zephyrs
Their current cap has a different styled "Z", which I do own, but I like this one much better. They also have a road variation which has "NOZ" on it. You can check all of the current Zephyrs designs here.

Speaking of the Denver Zephyrs, I must take the opportunity to highlight the cap they wore. I acquired this cap in 2009. It's more than 20 years old, but still in wearable thanks to my New Era ReCap Kit. It's a bit tight, but I love the colors. The team didn't really do much with the design after relocating.

Denver Zephyrs. 1980s New Era fitted.
Until next time...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Latest Acquisitions (Northern League baseball caps)

So I'm a little behind, but I wanted to show off the cap I received last week:
Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks. Playing out of Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada) the Jacks were one of the original six members of the independent baseball Northern League. They played as the Whiskey Jacks from 1993-1998 before relocating to Schaumburg, Illinois as the Schaumburg Flyers. This cap is a fitted New Era 5950, and is one of three such Northern League caps I now own. The other two are as follows:
Duluth-Superior Dukes. Playing out of Duluth, Minnesota. Played from 1993-2002 before relocating to Kansas City, MO and now are known as the Kansas City T-Bones. I acquired this cap last summer.

St. Paul Saints, from St. Paul, Minnesota. This team still exists, although they now play in the independent baseball league known as the American Association. This cap, which I actually purchased in 1996 is one of my very favorites. A very simple, classy and classic logo. No fancy cartoon characters or funky fonts. Just a stylish meshing of the letters making up the initials of the city it represents. I love this cap and I would kill to find a duplicate. It's a good thing I take care of my caps.

So all I need now to complete my quest to have all six original Northern League teams in a fitted New Era are the caps of the Rochester Aces, Sioux Falls Canaries and the Sioux City Explorers.

The journey continues...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Latest Acquisitions (caps)

So yesterday was Valentine's Day. And yes, chocolates were exchanged with the wife etc... but, what made it an over-the-top better than usual Valentine's Day was the shipment I got from  containing two more New Era caps to add to my collection!
This is a New Jersey Devils cap in their original colors, used from 1982-1992, of a hunter-esque green and red. Fans affectionately refer to this color scheme as the Devils' "Christmas colors." Now, I'm not a Devils fan by any stretch, but given their pre-New Jersey history, it is something that I feel compelled to have in my collection. For the record, the colors they've used since 1992 are just a simple black and red. Same logo. Simple and awesome, I have to give them credit.

I also received a Colorado Rockies cap (my 3rd different one) What makes this one different, is that this one has a blue crown and a red visor. I currently have an all blue and an all red. I just had to have the two-tone. The Rockies were the incarnation of the Devils prior to relocating to New Jersey, and played in Denver from 1976 to 1982, for six awful seasons. I happen to be obsessed with this franchise, as I have collected quite an impressive amount of memorabilia over the years. But most important of them all are my New Era fitteds. 
This here is my favorite of my Rockies jerseys. It is customized with #9 Wilf Paiement, who was the first player drafted by the Scouts, and did play for most of the Rockies tenure in Denver. This jersey (a CCM, by the way, just like my Canucks jersey) was acquired from  I once wore it to an Anaheim Ducks game, where sitting under the press box, received attention from the Ducks broadcast team. They called down to me to compliment the jersey. That was pretty cool.

So let's complete the puzzle. This franchise actually got its start as the Kansas City Scouts, and played there for two unremarkable seasons, from 1974 to 1976. You're wondering, do I have a Scouts cap? Surely, you jest:
And a beauty it is! I love this cap because the logo is so unique. Sad that Kansas City couldn't support a franchise, but without that, there would have been no Colorado Rockies. And though it's sad that the Rockies franchise didn't work out, if that hadn't happened, there would likely be no Colorado Rockies baseball team today, so everything is somehow relative... Wow, how did I get here?
So, that does it for the history lesson portion of the post. One last thing, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have a Devils cap which, though not the original colors, was close enough for me to acquire it several years ago. You'll notice the green is quite a bit brighter. Now that I have the actual colors, I don't know what I'll do with it. Check it out:

Right. Who am I kidding? It stays in the permanent collection, currently sitting at 293 and counting. When I say permanent collection, these are the caps I display, not a total count of my caps, which has to be over 400. Yipes! Maybe I need help. Is there a New Era Caps Anonymous?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Expansion Sucks

So I'm preparing for a yard sale tomorrow and I came across some old articles of clothing that I suppose would be considered "vintage" these days. Though I'm not selling them, it is sad because I have no prayer of ever fitting in to these. Apparently, when I bought these 15+ years ago, I did not consider (as I do these days) that I would not always weigh 130 lbs. Anyway, I thought I'd share.

This is a California Angels Starter dugout jacket 1) before the Disney-era logo and 2) before the dugout jacket designs got stupid with the lame alternate colored left sleeve. When I bought this jacket, I was actually looking for an XL (I have a Rockies jacket in the same design) but all they had was an L. For some reason I thought that was okay and I bought it. Yeah, well I don't think I've ever worn it. Even though I'll never fit into it, it's just too nice to part with. Sigh...

As you can see by the numerous holes, I literally wore this sweatshirt out. It is actually an XL, but a small XL at best. I wore this every Sunday during football season for probably 10 seasons before it just got too worn out. I did break it out during Super Bowl XL thinking it might bring some good luck. We all know how that turned out. This is an instance where I should have thought ahead and bought two. But in 1993 (when I estimate I purchased this) why would I have thought that I would 1) ever get older, and 2) that the Seahawks would change to their ridiculous colors and logo? Sigh...

However, I did find a sweatshirt that works the opposite way:

This is the original (and superior, in my opinion) logo of the Lake Elsinore Storm, then the class-A California League affiliate of the California Angels. The sweatshirt is rather gaudy and not a style that I would purchase today, but apparently 17 years ago I had the foresight to purchase this in a 2XL. Since it's pretty much been in deep storage for the past decade or more and it's in good shape, I'm going to wash and air dry this sucker, and see how it fits. Perfect excuse to wear my Lake Elsinore Storm caps during the offseason.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Latest Acquisitions (jerseys)

I don't purchase jerseys like I used to. I've maybe acquired 3 or 4 jerseys (baseball, hockey) in the past two years. When I do get one, it is one I really want. Today, I received this one (a late Christmas present from my wife):

A vintage Vancouver Canucks jersey made by CCM. I've coveted one of these for years. I had a Canucks throwback many years ago, but it was made by a different manufacturer and was more cottony and didn't fit as well. In my opinion, nobody makes better jerseys than CCM, and since Reebok is making the authentics, I love getting these throwbacks. CCM jerseys are just so much more comfortable to me. But I digress... this jersey is gorgeous. There were a lot of players whose names I could have had put on the jersey, but Markus Naslund was an outstanding player, and the fact that he wore (and recently had retired by the Canucks) the number 19 made it a no-brainer.

Two weeks ago I acquired this jersey:
A minor league Modesto A's jersey probably worn in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I've never been a fan of the Oakland A's, but this jersey was a steal at $15 on eBay. I have a Kansas City Athletics cap in the same colors that I could wear this with if I wanted to. Nobody would know. And yes, that it was the number 19 made it so much sweeter.

I'll have to explain my obsession with the number 19 someday. It's an interesting story. Okay, it's not really interesting, but I'll explain it someday anyway.

The Canucks jersey was purchased from based out of Canada. I've purchased numerous jerseys from them over the years. The best place to go to get the real thing.

Let The Rebuilding Begin

 In a move that is sure to be the first of many, the Ottawa Senators have begun to dismantle, and are going into rebuilding mode. This morning, my beloved Senators traded Mike Fisher to Nashville for draft picks. I've been anticipating moves like these for weeks, and when rumors started to surface that Mike Fisher was a candidate to be moved I was really upset because next to captain Daniel Alfredsson, Fisher has been the consummate Senator. Most beloved by fans and the community. The move to Nashville makes sense if for any reason, because his wife is country music superstar Carrie Underwood. I suppose as the season slides toward the playoffs, I will have to shift my loyalties toward the Predators. I have nothing against this team, and much like when I rooted for the Boston Celtics to see Kevin Garnett get a ring, I will do the same for Mike Fisher. Best of luck to him and Carrie.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Latest Acquisitions

There is no feeling in the world like coming home to a UPS delivered package containing one (or more) newly acquired New Era caps. So yesterday was particularly thrilling when I came home to find a package with my latest purchase. This, on top of the the two caps I received last week. Here they are:

California Angels (1972-1989) New Era Cooperstown Collection

This is the cap I've been waiting YEARS for. I have nearly 400 fitted caps, and this is a replica of the first one I ever purchased. (yes, I still have the original, but it's too small) For years, the only CC cap New Era produced was the Angels logo depicting the fatter "A" worn between 1990 and 1992. So thanks to a blog I've been following I discovered that this cap is being produced. A bit of searching and it is now a part of my collection. I will explain in more detail at a later date, but I grew up a fan of the California Angels, and I do still root for them as my #2 team. This cap represents the team I loved during my formative years. I attended many games at Anaheim Stadium with my father. Such fantastic memories. I actually had to buy two of them just so I have a backup.

Seattle Mariners (1981-1986) New Era Cooperstown Collection

Of all of the Mariners logos that the team has been through since the early 80s, this one was always my favorite. It's probably just a nostalgia thing, but I had always told myself that if I ever found a New Era version of this cap I would buy it. Fortunately, the place I purchased the Angels cap had this cap available as well.

Texas Rangers (1972-1985) New Era Cooperstown Collection

Again, I went with a cap that was being worn when I began following baseball. Weird that I own and actually wear caps of teams which are division rivals of teams I like? Perhaps, but that's not necessarily what collecting is about, in my view. This is just a classy, nice and simple logo for a cap. Dare I say, vintage? Either way, I'm happy.

So there they are, my latest acquisitions.

All three caps purchased from An awesome site, especially if you're looking for a wide selection of Cooperstown Collection caps. What would you expect? They are located in Cooperstown, NY.