Let me start this post off by making something things very clear: I fucking hate the New York Yankees, nothing would bring me more joy than seeing them never win another World Series again in my lifetime, and Derek Jeter is a poor mans Nomar Garciaparra. With that said, let me make another thing very clear: I love their hats.
***my dead relatives roll in their graves***
You see, your motherfucking boy was born in central Massachusetts and has been riding with Red Sox nation since I came out the womb (besides a very brief stint in 2006 when I was a big Miguel Tejada guy), and that is something that will never change. To keep our 4 European readers in the loop: The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have a historically intense rivalry, arguably the biggest across all American sports, and both sets of fans despise each other. It would be completely sac-religious for me to rock a Yankees hat on my dome piece, and yet my desire to throw one on couldn’t be higher.
You see the Yankees hat has transcended the sport of baseball in a way that George Steinbrenner likely would have never thought possible, to the point where I would legitimately argue that a Yankees hat is the most worn lid in the WORLD. I’ve put my feet to the streets in quite a few countries across the pond (big flex alert) and have seen an abundance of Yankee caps in every city in the EU/former EU (#brexitboyz) I’ve hit, places where they more than likely don’t watch the MLB at all. When you think about it the hat is almost the most perfect tourist item one could ever purchase on a trip to the big apple, it shows you’ve seen the city of bright lights in all of its trash smelling glory and the typical white logo/solid color cap (Usually navy) works with pretty much any fit. Not only that but given NYC’s reputation as America’s art/fashion/economic hub, it makes sense that the cool guys/gals of the world have adopted it as their universal lid, a status symbol so to speak. A Yankees hat is CLEEEEEAAAANNNN, iconic and immensely popular piece because of the place it represents, Jorge Posada is not the reason Jorge from Catalonia wants to wear a navy NY fitted, the city itself is.
However my infatuation with this forbidden Yankee cap fruit has far less to do with the city itself, but instead with the people that hail from the former New Amsterdam (that’s a deep cut for my history heads): Hip Hop rappers of the early 2000s. A much yunger me could not keep his eyes/ears away from the rap videos of the early aughts, whether it was the down south slappers from UGK or the West coast fire from acts like The Game, I was HOOKED on the look and sound of the era. All my favorite shit at that time however came from 1 city: New York (obviously that’s what this fucking article is about). 50 Cent & G-Unit, The Diplomats, Fat Joe, Jay-Z, Nas, Jadakiss, JA RULE, I MEAN NYC WAS ON FUCKING FIRE MY GUY AND WHAT WERE THEY ALL ROCKING ON 106&PARK?! Yankee hats in every color under the sun.
When I saw the video for Ja Rule’s “New York” for the first time I remember floating the idea of copping a timberland brown color Yankee fitted, to pair with a brown Rocawear velour tracksuit and Timbs of course, but my mom reminded me that the “Yankees suck” and that I was from cul-de-sac in the suburbs. It clicked, I had seen enough rap videos at this point where I knew me rocking a Yankees fitted would be the equivalent to rocking a rival gangs colors, I mean I was in the heart of Red Sox nation after all, and though my desire had literally nothing to do with baseball, I buried the idea deep in my mind.
Fast forward to my freshman year at college at University of Hartford (🅱️illyer 🅱️oyz stand up), the school is sending a group of us freshman to a Yankees game to help us meet friends/break the ice. While this trip did end up being one where I really got to know/bonded with one of my future best friends in the world (a die hard Yankees fan who also writes for this blog), it was also one where I said “FUCK IT” and did the unthinkable: a copped a Yankees fitted (several actually). You see, Jay-Z was due to play a show at Yankee stadium the following week and to celebrate this HOVA collaborated with New Era on an all black fitted with 3 red stripes on the side, mirroring the artwork of his recently released Blueprint 3 album. Me being a streetwear entrepreneur at the time decided to take advantage of this limited collab (which was only available on site) and copped several fitteds to sell on the secondary market. I sold all but one, which just so happened to be my size, and after much internal struggle I decided to throw it on for a stroll around campus, because I thought “it’s all black, and it’s a collab with one of the people that sparked this desire in me, nothing wrong with this, it’s not a Yankee hat it’s a Jay-z hat, Yankees still suck.” I felt DIRTY, I took the hat off upon my return, never rocking it again to my knowledge…..
FAST FORWARD AGAIN to my senior at college, this time at a separate institution of learning, where I was studying the worlds most vital industry: fashion. A group of Kanye West protégés known collectively as BEEN TRILL had been making waves in the streetwear scene with super limited graphic heavy bootleg inspired jawnz, the most coveted of which was their #NY# SnapBack caps done in collaboration with the fat booty slappin GOD 40oz Van. Featuring BEEN TRILL’s signature multiple hashtags graphic and a reverses Yankees logo in the middle, that deep desire once again reared it’s head: “this isn’t even an official Yankees hat, it’s that fire BEEN TRILL shit, WE NEED THIS FAM”- my subconscious. So under my own internal lie that I would eventually resell the cap, I copped off of KITH.com (before that brand went to shit and Ronnie blocked me on Twitter…another story for another time) and wore that hat damn near every day in 2013.
Explaining it wasn’t really a Yankees hat to anyone that busted my balls over it, as I was still completely self conscious at the time about it.
A recent trip to the big apple once again sparked this desire in me, I have not acted on it yet, but it really got me thinking: what exactly is the big fucking deal? I know I love the Red Sox, do I really care if other people know that? Do I really have to explain my hat to anyone? The answer to all the above questions is absolutely fucking not. I love city of New York and I love their rappers even more, I understand without this long winded tale of me explaining myself I would just look like an asshole walking around Boston in a Yankees cap, and if people want to think that by all means let them.
I know my reasoning is maybe quite silly to some of you reading this, but Jay-Z did say “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can,” and he really fucking did in this kids eyes. Eve ate the apple, the forbidden fruit, and while shit might have been hella uncomfortable at first, everything worked out just fine in the long run. Wear what you want, like what you want, celebrate things YOUR way, but above all else remember: the Yankees still fucking SUCK.