One of the biggest trends in Major League Baseball these days is the explosion of home run celebration props, and the prop that’s caused one of the biggest sensations is Atlanta’s “Big Hat,” which is exactly what it sounds like — a giant cap that’s placed on a player’s head after he returns to the dugout following a home run. (Yes, it looks a bit like the padded cap that pitcher Alex Torres once wore with the Padres and Mets.)
But now Big Uni has put the kibosh on the big hat, according to an Atlanta-based memorabilia firm called More Than Sports, which posted this tweet last night:
The Atlanta Braves big hat is no longer. New Era has called and shut it down. They are the exclusive on field hat for Major League Baseball.. #bighat #rip
— More Than Sports (@MTSMorethanspor) April 26, 2023
I’d never heard of More Than Sports, so I got in touch with the author of the tweet, who turned out to be More Than Sports founder/CEO Nick Radosta. He told me the following:
We work directly with some of the Braves and a ton of Georgia football players. We made the big hats go viral during Georgia’s playoff run this past season. I had the idea of it being the home run hat this year for the Braves, so I cooked one up for them and I gave one to Ozzie [Albies] and one to A.J. Minter.
We don’t sell the hat. This was just meant for the Braves to have fun with and I passed out a couple to Bally Sports as well as a blooper. Sadly, they got the call from New Era that they had to shut it down.
I’ve inquired with New Era and will update this post if I hear back from them.
If Radosta’s story checks out, this would appear to be the very definition of corporate douchebaggery. I’m not the biggest fan of home run celebration props — they tend to feel played-out and rote within a few games — but shutting this one down because it isn’t an official New Era product seems really, really petty, and a good example of what’s wrong with the increasing corporatization of sports these days. Sigh.
Update: Although I never heard back from New Era, the team has now confirmed the story with an Atlanta news outlet.
(My thanks to @miketfrick for bringing the More Than Sports tweet to my attention.)
This is so incredibly lame. Clearly the players aren’t wearing this instead of the New Era caps on the field. People who are going to buy this generally aren’t going to make a choice between this thing and an official cap. They’re likely going to buy both (and probably going to buy multiple New Era caps). I legitimately don’t see this impacting New Era’s bottom line at all and it’s a bad PR move.
God forbid we let the players have a tiny bit of fun.
You have got to be fucking kidding me
Effing hell New Era, now go shut down the Detroit Tigers too. They put on a (definitely not New Era) Red Wings helmet and take a slap shot in the dugout as their home run props. Same schtick so you might as well be a consistent corporate douchebag!
Did I mention in another comment that we are truly living in the stupid times?
Oh, FFS – come on New Era.
I was so ready to run out and by myself a Big Hat to wear everyday instead of an official New Era hat.
Corporate douchebaggery is at an all-time high.
New Era doesn’t make cheeseheads, so is the Brewers’ celebration in jeopardy, too?
Plus whoever it is that has the Viking helmet!
Assuming Radosta’s story is true (and I have no reason to doubt it is) you just know that the Braves will have an “official New Era Big Hat” within the week.
With a ridiculously large maker’s mark on the side, of course.
Meh. Home run props are such a farce. It just feels gimmicky, forced and lame. I applaud New Era for this so that I don’t have to see that “big” hat anymore.
Seriously. These home run gimmicks definitely feel forced and contrived. It’s tone of many things currently turning me off of the game.
Indeed. The proposition of “Behave as if you’ve done this before.” is completely lost on virtually all of the Big 4 pro athletes in the States these days.
Two seconds of showing someone with a large hat were bothering you that much?
Right? “Feels gimmicky” because it is gimmicky, but so what? It is also fun.
Breathtakingly tone-deaf to piss all over MLB’s little moment of joy (contrived as it may be) and shine the light on NewEra’s nit-picking, Money-grubbing, bitch-ass selves.
OATH (yes I know this comment is way too late, I work a lot, OKAY). Imagine sports being, ya know, FUN. Couldn’t be New Era, nope dot avi.
It’d be nice if New Era shut it down for its stupidity, not its infringement.
Glad I’m no longer a fan.
I can’t believe New Era would want to shut it down, rather than insist that New Era start producing the big hats and selling them in the team store.
Having an interest in this sport suddenly makes me feel so dirty.
Seems like the perfect opportunity for an agreement to slap a New Era logo on that big hat and please everyone.
Definitely won’t please some of us!
I disgree. If a sponsor pays for an exclusive opportunity, they should receive it. They aren’t being douchebags.
Fair enough. We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether a comically oversized prop hat worn for a few seconds in the dugout truly infringed in any meaningful way on New Era’s “exclusivity.”
“Exclusive” means sales of a property. This giant hat wasn’t being sold.
The corporations want to expand the definition of property to own the very thoughts in our heads.
The definition of property is not God-given or eternal, it’s changed all the time by those with the money to buy lawyers and politicians. Look up the Enclosure Acts to learn how we get brainwashed about the meaning of property and how that deforms our ideas about freedom. Then consider what happened to the Fair Use Act in our lifetimes.
New Era is the on field hat producer. The dugout isn’t on the field. It is a lame prop, but NE should shut up as this isn’t interfering with the on field product.
Two things can be true: 1) This sort of home run celebration is lame; 2) New Era’s conduct here is foolish. Just make up a compatible New Era logo patch and add it to the prop. Or, even better, ignore the whole thing. Making the team stop doing a thing that players and a lot of fans seem to enjoy – where’s the benefit to New Era in doing that?
While it seems fun now, it is just going to get worse and worse as teams try to “out do” the others. Hopefully it’s just a fad. My favorite home run celebration is ignoring a rookie when they hit their first homer. Now THAT’s funny!
If I’m one of the players, I’d keep doing it anyway. What’s New Era gonna do, take away their own hats?
Thanks for the birthday chuckle!
New Era pays millions of dollars for the exclusive on field rights. This should 100% be shut down. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no clue on how business works. Plus the big hat is lame ass hell
Phil, using that link to support your argument is wrong and definitely does not apply here. While I understand what you (actually the article) is trying to say it is a flawed argument. So, New Era, who pays 10’s of millions of dollars every year for the on field rights is expected to just let another company come in and have their caps in the dugout. With your argument, it would be be OK for Pepsi to come in and start selling soda even though the stadium has a contract with Coke ?? Is that Ok??? Or is it OK for a Knock off company to come in a sell untested medication ? Where does it end ? Anyone who thinks this is a bad business decision on New Era’s literally has no clue on how the real world works. Yes, I understand they it’s just a “big hat” and a novelty at best. But this is why we have contracts in place. Should I just start a website using uni-watch and pass it off as the real website. I think they would have something to say about that. Take some business classes then reply with an intelligent comment
this is the best satire I’ve read in the comments section here in years. Bravo, Riff!
I saw this on Shark Tank. I thought Mark Cuban decided to invest in it, but I could be wrong. I’m not a fan of these hats because with my luck I’d have some guy in front of me wearing one and I wouldn’t be able to see the game.
So apparently big hats are a real thing. And now I feel really old for never hearing of it until now:
This whole thing screams to me a bunch of middle managers on both sides not wanting to push back on the other side. When that happens common sense always loses.
New Era is the official on-field cap of MLB. Does the dugout count as on-field?
My guess is that the exclusive rights cover the entire stadium (dugout, locker room, media room, etc.) But if not, there seems to be a loophole.
Yeah, I’m not sure what all counts there. I’ve definitely seen guys being interviewed in the clubhouse/locker room while wearing non-New Era (though also non-team/MLB-related) hats.
The on-field rights include the dugout.
I’d argue that the dugout is not technically the field, therefore the ‘exclusive on-field hat’ shouldn’t apply there. Everyone should start wearing big hats in all the non-foul territory bullpens, too.
Only some out of touch Lumberg would think that is going to cut into sales. Pathetic.
Seems like it would be better for New Era if they just did nothing. Now they have a bunch of bad press. At the very worst they could have just had them slap a New Era logo on the side. But instead they come off as the fun police making sure no one has fun unless it’s sanctioned by the corporations. It’s a small thing, but another example of how the monopolization of sports equipment contracts makes everything worse for everyone except the monopolists. I would love to get some high quality wool hats like Cooperstown Ballcap Co used to make or even something from Ebbet’s Field (even though they’re owned by Fanatics now), but instead all you can get are the terrible New Era hats in their endless stupid colours. You don’t have to make a good product when you have exclusivity rights.
Actually, New Era is one of the few companies that still actually makes wool caps. You just have to look for the correct cap. I’m in the hat industry and am very familiar with all the cap brands. If you really want to be mad at a company, it’s Fanatics that you should be mad at, not New Era. Fanatics is probably the worst company in the industry.
Ya they make some wool hats. But it’s still a new era hat just made with wool. It’s not the same quality as those other companies. I want the option to get a handmade hat with some MLB branding and new era can’t provide that. And ya Fanatics is easily the worst company around and is the biggest example of how terrible monopolies are. I’m sure it won’t be long until they own New Era as well and there won’t be any options not under the Fanatics umbrella. All hail Fanatics
Agree about Fanatics being the worst company in producing hats and ruining brands like Majestic and Mitchel&Ness (and probably Ebbets Field in the future as well). But New Era should not have reacted in this way, it looks very greedy and no fun allowed. They should have approached the big hat company and say: hey guys, what if we slap a New Era logo on it? Here is the money. Or even better: ignore it. Let the players have their fun, nobody will buy less New Era hats because of it.
New Era jealous the big hat looks better than what they’ve been turning out?
If you’re going to suckle from the corporate t*t, you need to expect this. MLB loves to cash those sponsorship checks for absolutely everything related to its game, so expect those same sponsors to flex their muscles and demand some exclusivity.
shame on you, new era. just for fun, they should wear it again and hand write No Era in white marker on the side of the hats.
The big hat is more fitting than the Reds and that ever-so-lame viking helmet.
The Angels had a cowboy hat but now it’s a Samurai helmet. Is New Era upset about that? Or, I guess, Rawlings? Should Louisville Slugger be upset about the Mariners trident??
If I were the Braves, I would seek out a gigantic batting helmet, because eff all this.
I say get a BIGGER hat.
Your corporate mandated fun is no longer corporate approved. Cease enjoying yourself at once. Stop.
Corporate douchebaggery indeed. Hey New Era…get a life.
(How long before we see a new version with a to-scale New Era logo on the side? If that happens, Paul should send them an equally to-scale seam-ripper.)
How about this arguement….what makes a hat a hat? I keep seeing it typed as ” “big” hat “when it I think it should ” big “hat” “. I feel this just falls into category of simply a “prop” and wouldnt cause any product confusion on the marketplace. Its more akin to a helmet or wig to me, it just happens to be a similarly shaped like a hat.
Why not just send the the BRAVES equipment staff a stick on logo? Win-win and you don’t come off looking like a bunch of jackasses, even though you paid for the rights.
New Era should have ignored this and let the players have fun.