Friday, January 3, 2014

Are Diamond Era Caps The Way of The Future?

In 2013, New Era introduced a new cap material that they've dubbed "Diamond Era" due to the diamond-shaped pattern in the fabric, which is made of 100% polyester. These 5950 fitted caps have replaced the 3930 stretch-fit caps for both spring training and regular season batting practice. Players had long complained about the 3930s, which have a material that has been described by players as feeling like a "wet towel" once it starts to absorb sweat. They made their debut at the 2013 MLB Spring Training. Several teams also wore them in a few regular season games. Diamond Era caps are made in China, as opposed to normal on-field caps which are made in the USA. However, the patriotic caps made to be worn for the 4th of July were made in the USA (with "imported fabric" according to the tag).

I purchased my first Diamond Era caps a few months back after dragging my feet for most of the 2013 baseball season. I currently own three; a Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and an Oakland A's worn in spring training by their bullpen catcher. I've read reviews and discussed these caps with my fellow cap aficionados, and concluded that these caps are plagued with the same problems that affect Chinese-made caps; an uncomfortable fit, stiff, hard-to-bend visors and bulbous crowns. I especially had issues with my Giants DE cap, which has an awkwardly-shaped crown and the visor creased in three places when I tried to curve it. The material is very thin and flimsy. It's almost paper thin. In fact, I though that it might tear if I bent the visor. Luckily it didn't. The material does its job, though. I wore the caps while exercising, and noticed that it kept my head cooler and reduced sweating. Also, if there was a breeze, it went right through the cap. However, I learned that these are not to be worn in cold weather. They will not keep your head warm as the cold air goes right through it. In my opinion, DE caps are great for hot weather and exercise but that's it.

DE caps have started showing up in "custom" colors, and will be replacing Minor League 3930 stretch-fit batting practice caps this upcoming season. Rumor has it that several MLB teams will be replacing some of their regular on-field caps for DE caps this upcoming season, and some teams will be wearing DE caps in regular season games on a more regular basis. There has even been some talk of DE caps becoming the standard on-field caps and replacing the traditional style. Nothing official has been announced yet, but only time will tell. What is your opinion? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section!