All That is Old is New Again: "Trucker" Mesh Caps Return for Spring Training, Lost 2020 Padres St. Patrick's Day Cap Surfaces
Despite the MLB lockout, the new MLB Spring Training caps are finding their way to stores. Much to everyone's surprise, the new caps are "trucker" style mesh caps, the likes of which have not been seen on a professional baseball field for decades. Commonly worn in snapback form from the 70s through the early 90s during spring training, mesh was the last thing I expected to see with all of the fancy high-tech moisture-wicking fabric we have available today. New Era has used "basketball shorts" mesh in the past before experimenting with fancy materials for the past decade such as "Diamond Era", "Prolight", honeycomb-patterned "Hex Tech" and finally "Dash", a material similar to the kind used on jerseys which was used for the past two seasons and will likely continue to see use in the minor leagues.
I can't say I wasn't completely surprised though, as the cancelled 2020 All-Star Game caps were to be made with mesh and the NY Mets had been seen testing out what were likely the prototypes for this spring's caps during last years' spring training.
I purchased the San Diego Padres version as well as the St. Patrick's Day cap. The Cactus League logo is a cloth patch attached to the cap by an embroidered outline. And yes, the mesh is exactly like the caps of old but now fitted and not snapback.
The St. Patrick's Day cap was also made in Laos. No patch or shamrock design on them this season.
Speaking of Padres St. Patrick's Day caps, a source connected with the team sent me some green Padres caps that had been stashed away at the team facility in Peoria, AZ. I initially thought these were leftover 2015 St. Patrick's Day caps, but I quickly saw that they were newer and made at New Era's Florida assembly plant. After speaking with a number of people, the consensus is that these were last-minute replacements for the 2020 St. Patrick's Day cap, which would have featured a controversial logo that made headlines at the time. Since spring training was cancelled before St. Patrick's Day, these caps never saw the light of day.
The black stitches on top of the backs of the tags indicate these were assembled at New Era's Florida facility.