Open Mic: Baseball as American as Capitalism; Don't Like the Flag Hats

McCord RobertsCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2009

SAN DIEGO - JULY 3:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks out of the dugout during batting practice before taking on the San Diego Padres on July 3, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. Ramirez returns to the Dodgers lineup after a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Baseball is unquestionably the most American form of entertainment we as Americans have in our short history.

For over half of our country’s existence since declaring Independence from England, baseball has been there along the way and signals part of the American dream that so many immigrants since coming from their homeland have learned to love.

The fact that it remains largely an American sport played mostly within the lands of the Monroe Doctrine, and dismissed in continents like Europe show how American it is more so than any other export America has to offer.

Having said all that, it brings me up to the topic which is baseball mandating all the teams wear their special USA colors on their caps.

I think it’s a great tribute to our country and well deserved for our national past-time to recognize special American holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

If this tradition had been instituted since the inception, or maybe began at the Bi-centennial celebration in 1976, I wouldn’t question anything.

However, I keep going back to Bud Selig patting himself on the back about how baseball has never been better and is making more money than ever before.

He detailed the entire operation and how Major League Baseball properties sales on the Internet has been one of the larger revenue growths in baseball. Baseball teams used to run their own web sites and Selig got them all on the same page.

It sure makes it easier for the fan to follow baseball, that’s for sure. Selig wasn’t trying to be boastful, he was just looking for more approval ratings in his campaign to be called the best commissioner ever.

I don’t mind the special caps being worn and sold in the same fashion that NASCAR does with the special paint schemes to sell die cast cars, but I do mind when they tie in our flag as a way to generate additional revenue.

You know every die hard Red Sox fan who has the ’75 Fred Lynn hat, the St. Paddy’s day green hat, and the traditional navy hat, now has to get the USA Sox hat.

It’s simple marketing and a perfect way to bilk an extra $25 out of the fan for something they don’t have yet, but using the flag, our stars and stripes regardless of how intertwined baseball is with America just doesn’t sit right with me.

It’s not quite in the same class of Michael Jordan and the other Nike contracted Dream Teamers who used the flag to cover the Reebok logo on their sweat suits in the medal ceremony, but for some reason baseball using the flag to boost sales bothers me. If it were a tradition, fine, but it’s not. It’s a scheme to get every dollar out of their fans wallets.

Pure capitalism is part of what makes America so great. But I would have like to have seen New Era, the company that makes the hat, and MLB get together and make a cheaper version in an attempt to get all fans to own the hat, maybe even a giveaway day.

Fourth of July cap day, or something like that, would have been a very nice tribute to the fans of baseball in America who spent their billions of dollars over the last 125 years to make baseball what it is today.