Last week I had the privilege of spending my vacation time traveling in the United Kingdom. My wife and I saw incredible things.
We were able to fly into Edinburgh and see the glorious castle that dominates the city skyline. We rented a car and learned how to drive on the other side of the road to travel the Yorkshire countryside. We saw Hadrian’s wall, snuck onto St. James campus in Cambridge, watched a minor-league equivalent soccer game at AFC Wimbledon, and wore our soles thin across four days in London, most of which were sunny.
Along the way we found things I never expected. The best scotch I have ever had, for instance, can only be found inside the walls of Edinburgh castle where they sell their own 10-year malt that can’t be obtained anywhere else. I discovered that I absolutely adore English food, despite it’s reputation, because I honestly don’t know what there is not to love about meat pies. But most unexpectedly was the preponderance of baseball hats.
And not just any baseball hats; pastels.
Here’s a sample of such hats, from a gift shop in Gatwick airport south of London. Seeing these gathered together it dawned on me I had seen these hats everywhere, and every time they were the “wrong” colors.
The UK is filled with men and women wearing not just “pink hats,” but an orange Atlanta cap, a bright red Dodgers cap, a bright green White Sox cap, a black Padres cap, a deep navy Cubs hat, and every shade of pastel blue you can think of for the Yankees.
Baseball caps were everywhere, and they were all the wrong colors like a Spring Training promotion gone wrong.
I never had the gall to ask someone why this hat was on their head, as the only strangers I conversed with were either in the gym or once on the London Underground with some rugby fans face painted for the Six Nations cup. So instead, I’m asking you.
Help me understand: what is going on here?
Are off colors the result of manufacturing overproduction, where New Era cleverly flooded the market with the wrong shades? Does it have anything to do with celebrities or the utility of an American style cap? Do off colors, like alternative soccer kits, exist interchangeably and not really matter in the UK?
Why were these hats everywhere?