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Ball Cap Mojo

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As a long-time Twins fan, like many of you, I have collected a fair number of Twins caps over the years. I wear them to games, while doing yard work, and sometimes in my office. I wear them when watching Dick-n-Bert. I wear them while listening on my MLB GameDay app. I wear them while reading the Twins blogs and news most every morning.

A few years back,during the middle of the 2001 baseball season, I developed a bit of what some people might call a "superstition" regarding my headwear. Instead of just grabbing the hat that struck my fancy on a given day, I started to consider whether the hat I was wearing might possibly help my favorite team.

It began innocently enough. After a Twins win, I would set the hat I was wearing on the night stand and put it on the next morning, hoping a little of the luck it seemed to carry would transfer to the local nine and bring another win the next day. And the next. And the next...

After being worn during a loss, the cap would be banished to the back of the shelf to (hopefully) rejuvenate its mojo.

I started noticing what seemed like patterns. A cap that had a hot streak early in the season would go cold when June rolled around. Some caps were streakier than others. Do some caps do better in interleague play? Do some create large run margins and others lead to close games? Are some caps good for certain pitchers?

I got better at picking the cap I wore, and the team's record improved as well. 85 wins in '01. An amazing 94 wins in '02, and a successful divisional series against the once-again-hated team from Oakland, the only ballpark that rivaled the Dome in crappiness. Things were looking up. This little baseball cap game/superstition thing was fun!

And then it all began to come crashing down, as my cap choices were unable to defeat the California Angels of Los Angeles and Anaheim. Several successful seasons followed, only to end in despair when the playoffs rolled around. Clearly I harbor a ball cap superstition built for the regular season, but unable to hold up once October rolls around.

The best evidence of how bad it's gotten was the '06 series against the wild-card Athletics. The twins dropped the first game in close fashion, but I had fourth row third base tickets to Game 2, so I made a calculated change in the headgear department. Looking at my shelf, I chose a Kelly green TC twins cap, and a green St. Paddy's Day BP jersey to match. They even sported shamrocks. The Twins went down by 2 early, but Morneau and Cuddyer hit back-to-back home runs to tie things in the 6th. I had my ball cap mojo workin'!

And then things blew up. Torii Hunter misplayed a Kotsay single into an inside-the-park homer, and I was crushed. Later, watching the game at home on TiVo, I saw a full-frame "agony of defeat" fan reaction shot of myself wearing my carefully-selected green Twins Gear. Devastated. I am clearly NOT doing the right things in the wardrobe department to help my team win.

How is a guy to know which cap to wear? Baseball being a game that leads itself to record keeping and statistical analysis (neither of which are strong points for me), perhaps I should start tracking my caps' Wins and Losses, Win after Win percentages? Wins vs. Left-Handed Pitchers?

After last season's near-century of losses, I am at a loss. I packed the caps away, and licked my wounds again, turning to German Football, and the New York Yankees of the Bundesliga, Bayern München, to salve my sports-fan wounds.

With Spring training underway, perhaps it's time to dig the hats out again, and take a closer look at how my ball cap collection and selections really perform. I invite you to join me here this season as I launch the Society for American Cap Research.

That's right, SACRemetrics, here I come!


  1. John Bonnes's Avatar
    I completely do this.

    Do hate it when one of your favorite caps is consistently unlucky? I do. I keep wanting it to be lucky, but all it brings is heartache. I blame myself and my favorite hat for the '08 season. I just couldn't quit it.

    And yes, I wish I wasn't serious.
  2. John Bonnes's Avatar
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