One of the merchandising opportunities MLB has taken advantage of during the last decade is batting practice. The teams now have special batting practice jerseys and caps. The designs of the MLB batting practice ensembles have oft been ugly. Because of this, the Cardinals have rebelled against MLB's merchandising aims and refused to wear their batting practice caps over the past few seasons, opting instead to wear their home red caps during their pre-game activities. This should change in 2013.
Gone are the silly remnants of the design elements favored in the aughts. The accent lines that were placed in a helter-skelter manner so as to make them not accent anything in particular are gone. No wagon wheels are found on the batting practice caps, either. MLB has ratcheted down the clutter and embraced the traditional design elements of the baseball cap. The result in the case of the Cardinals' batting practice cap is a sharp design that melds the old and new in a fashion similar to the club's new fauxback Saturday home alternate jerseys, but with much better results.
Paul Lukas has the new design images for each of the new MLB batting practice caps at the ESPN.com branch of Uni Watch. Lukas has helpfully included an image of the cluttered old batting practice cap design next to the new design for each team. Per Lukas, here is the image of the Cardinals' old batting practice cap and their new batting practice cap:
Image via Uni Watch at ESPN.com (farm9.staticflickr.com)
It's interesting that the Cardinals have adopted a batting practice cap that is primarily navy in color in the same year they have dropped navy caps as their primary road cap. With its red bill and red logo without a white border, the design is a traditional one that is based on the caps worn by the Cardinals during Stan Musial's prime. However, instead of the stylized "STL" of that vintage, the present day "STL" is used.
The Cardinals' new batting practice cap is honestly the very cap I was hoping they would wear on the home one day, as a nod to the clubs of Musial, Enos Slaughter, and Red Schoedienst. The design would also fit nicely with the new alternate Saturday home fauxback jerseys. For now, at least, the caps will serve to help make the Cardinals one of the best-dressed clubs in baseball during batting practice.