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!

4 comments:

  1. Well of course I'd prefer American made wool caps,but that ship has sailed.
    I'm not crazy about the look of the DE & I like to bend the visors a lot but in general I don't like the feel of polyester caps at all. I guess the next issues would be a straight & intact stitch, then if the cap would retrain its color. Is there any fading on the DE? Will it shrink after sweaty wear or a good hand washing? Honestly I don't buy many caps anymore & don't want to replace a cap after a few years of heavy usage & I take care of my caps now.

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  2. One other issue with the DE caps is that the embroidered team logos on the front have been replaced with what amounts to an ugly prefab patch, and this is not an improvement. The raised embroidery on the logo of the current on-field 5950 is one of that cap's biggest selling points. I also hate the outsized crown on the Chinese caps, which look like they were custom fitted for Herman Munster. I have one of the July 4 DE caps, made in the USA, and the crown on that is fine, but the visor is the same as on the Chinese DE caps — if you try to bend it, you're apt to break it. I doubt that MLB players care about any of that. Their concern is comfort and the DE caps are definitely cooler on the head, so it wouldn't be surprising if those became the standard for on-field wear. Too bad.

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  3. I'm not a huge fan of Diamond Era. sadly if this is the future of MLB Caps? It will be a sad day for the Cap Collectors like myself who actually loves Tradition, I have to deal with changes like from green under brim to gray and black... Baseball Caps should be made of wool.

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  4. I really like the DE material, but the brims are not the best. I recently bought a couple of Diamond Era 3930 stretch fits and I really like them. Great fit, and the brim has a perfect curve. They come in alternate colors but similar style to the 5950.

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