New Era apologizes, pulls caps mocked on social media

FILE New Era Cap Co.
Posted at 4:53 PM, May 26, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — New Era says it pulled a lampooned line of Major League Baseball hats from its website Tuesday and is apologizing for design inaccuracies on the caps meant to pay homage to communities with big league clubs.

New Era spokesman Mark Maidment said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the “Local Market” collection was launched in November of 2020, but the company was only made aware of issues with the designs when social media users began mocking them en masse Tuesday.

The series included one cap for each team featuring the club’s primary logo, area codes for the surrounding communities and various iconography meant to represent the area.

The area code selection was inconsistent, though, with several notable omissions. Among them: the Tampa Bay Rays’ hat didn’t include St. Petersburg, where the team’s stadium is located, and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ version had no area codes at all.

“One of the design features incorporates the local area codes of the respective MLB teams,” the statement said. “It recently came to our attention that a few caps omitted a relevant area code. In light of this, we removed the collection from our website so we could review the design accuracy of all the caps. We apologize for any unintentional design mistake with regard to this collection.”

Decals on the hats were also ridiculed as tacky, generic and at times inaccurate — Cincinnati fans had particular beef over a poor rendering of their beloved local chili. Users ragged on New Era for a lack of creativity: a slice of pizza was used for both New York teams, most California caps included tacos and palm trees, and both the Phillies and Nationals had emblems featuring “1776,” even though Washington wasn’t founded as a city until 1791.

The Royals social media team derided the Kansas City edition by changing the bio on the club’s official social media account to read: “Located in Kansas City, Mo., we love Kansas area codes, saxophones, the flag of Kansas City, pigs, Missouri and the 1985 World Series.”

The caps were never meant to be worn by players in games and were strictly for retail use.