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How Do You Feel About Buying Merchandise For Teams Other Than “Your” Own?

A couple weeks ago, I posted a think piece on MLB’s City Connect Program, which among other things questioned whether or not the program could be considered a success. Long-time reader Judy A. enjoyed the piece, and that led her to come up with a think piece of her own. I’ll let her take it from here! Enjoy…

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How Do You Feel About Buying Merchandise from Teams Other Than the Team You Root For?
by Judy A.

Earlier this month, Phil posed the question of whether, three years since its inception, MLB’s City Connect program could be considered a success or a failure. The ensuing discussion in the comments section was lively and, not surprising, opinions were all over the map. Personally, I find the City Connect program unnecessary – I’m happy with home and away unis and an occasional throwback – but I get that I’m not the target audience.

One of the most interesting comments came from a person who liked several City Connect designs and had purchased multiple jerseys and hats. Now, I generally don’t buy a lot of merch in the first place, but I especially have trouble buying merch from teams that aren’t “my team.” I make an exception when I go to another team’s ballpark, because I traditionally buy a hat as a souvenir from every stadium I visit. I just have a hard time supporting my favorite team’s opponent or, worse yet, their rival.

My rule created a bit of a dilemma this spring. See, I’m kind of opposed to MLB (or any league) having hats for home, away, City Connect, alt, spring training, Father’s Day, Armed Forces Day, batting practice, Clubhouse, and on and on. And yet…some of the batting practice hats were kind of cool. I really liked the BP hats for the A’s, the Brewers, and the Blue Jays. But what’s worse is…I liked the Phillies hat with the Phanatic.

• The Barrelman Brewers BP hat – how can anybody not like this hat?

• The Phanatic cap:

The thing is, I’m a Nationals fan and the Phillies are division rivals, so I naturally root against them. Not only that, but I was a ‘Skins fan on November 12, 1990 and I still haven’t entirely forgiven Philadelphia for the “body bags” comment. Bringing a Phillies hat into my house would feel like a betrayal. And yet… I’ve always liked Trea Turner and I’ve been a Bryce Harper fan since he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old. But mostly, the hat is cool. I’ve actually considered taking the train up to see a Phillies game so I can justify buying that hat.

• University of Texas hat — I’m from Maryland, so I root for UMd (Fear the Turtle!) and I’m sort of genetically programmed to dislike all Texas teams…but the burnt orange of UT is such a cool, unique color. I could never bring myself to wear something that says Texas on it, but is it possible to rock the color without endorsing the team?

So here’s my question: how do you feel about buying merchandise from teams other than the team you root for? Would it make a difference if the team was a cross-town, division, or other “hated” rival? Are there exceptions, for example if you were in another team’s arena?

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Thanks, Judy! Great questions. Readers? What say you?

 
  
 
Comments (0)

    My thought is that you would never buy merch from a team you hate, be it a rival to your team or just one of the teams that are typically loathed nationally (Yankees, Lakers, Patriots, Cowboys, Duke, etc). Because if you dislike the team, why would you want to wear their logo?
    But I think if you were neutral towards another team (obviously except when they are playing your team), it seems perfectly reasonably to buy merch if you really liked a specific logo on a cap / shirt, or if you liked the design of a jersey.
    I mean in the 90s you had schools full of Hornets starters jackets because the color combo and logo were incredibly popular. When I was a kid I liked having different caps, and would usually get one from a local team if my family visited that city, or in general if a team put out a new logo I really liked I’d get that cap. I’m sure there are countless Whalers cap, shirts, and jerseys out there now simply because it is a great look.

    I’m the same way. If I hate the team it’s a no go but if I’m indifferent and I like the design I’ll get it. Especially if it’s a throwback

    I forgot to add Duke to my list of teams whose stuff I won’t wear below. Thanks for the reminder.

    I have jerseys of several hockey teams of which I am not a “fan”, but do not dislike. But I never wear those jerseys to games. I’m not the guy at a Flyers-Bruins game with a Kings jersey on. I do wear those non-favorite jerseys, along with my favorite, when I play EA NHL hockey on the PS5, and yet I’m old enough to have qualified for AARP for some time. Yes, my wife is a lucky lady. I also collect IIHF hockey jerseys because the international jerseys are cool and a whole other world unto themselves. Nike Swift jerseys. If you know, you know.

    I will never wear anything with the Atlanta Braves or Dallas Cowboys on it. I am hopeful that both teams are moved to other cities and completely rebranded out of existence. Or, even better, simply financially collapse and cease operations. I’m still convinced that there were 1970s NFL refs who were on the Cowboy payroll. The only good thing to ever come out of Atlanta was Sherman’s army.

    This is my policy as well. I don’t wear a sports jersey to a game if the team isn’t playing.
    As for teams I don’t follow, as long as I don’t hate them, there has to be a good reason. I bought a Barry Sanders gamer because he was amazing to watch, and Honolulu Blue. Plus, nobody would ever call me a frontrunner. Ditto for my Mariners gamer. But these (and hats) were childhood purchases. Love the throwbacks but never a rival.
    Now, there is a lineman who now left my favorite NFL team to seek his money elsewhere who shares my last name. Might I buy a throwback with our name on it? Perhaps…

    If it’s a great looking logo, hat or shirt, I’m game for it. I own several pieces of what I think are awesome logos that aren’t necessarily teams I root for. I do draw the line with the archrivals, though. You won’t see me sporting any Red Sox, Cowboys, Michigan, USC or (because this state is nauseating with the school’s fandom) Ohio State gear. But a Swinging Friar hat or random small college shirt? Absolutely.

    When you said nauseating, i immediately pictured a “THE” shirt. I’m from CLE, so my default college team is the Buckeyes when i’m not watching MACtion on ESPN 3. But your comment gave me a good chuckle!

    As an Ohio State fan there is no chance I’m wearing anything Michigan related. Just not happening. That said I’ve now lived half my life in KC so while I’m a die hard Guardians/Browns/Cavaliers fan, and sports fan in general, it’s hard for me to not get interested in what’s going on with the Royals/Chiefs. Having had opportunity to meet players from both teams through charitable work in the community it’s hard to not want them to see some success.
    So yes I have some KC gear, but everyone who knows me know if KC and Cleveland line up my allegiance is going to be with Cleveland.

    It depends on the sport for me, but in general I have no issue with it. I have owned over 100 jerseys in my life, mostly soccer, followed by basketball, baseball, and one or two hockey. And probably at least 50 caps, almost all of which are 5950.

    Of course, I wouldn’t buy any merch for my teams’ biggest rivals, but then again soccer is the only sport were I have unwavering, consistent allegiances and interest – as an Arsenal fan from a Celtic family, no Tottenham, Man United, Chelsea, or Rangers for me! And of course no England national team merch either.

    For baseball, I have some Blue Jays stuff, but I more consistently wear Oakland merch. It’s a combination of a longstanding admiration of their aesthetics and a recent desire to get a jersey and their two main hats while they’re still in Oakland (which also work perfectly with my softball team’s colours). I have a Pittsburgh hat and the throwback yellow jersey, which was the result of visiting PNC and a fun play on words due to my last name and the city’s history. I also bought the M logo Twins hat last year which was purely an aesthetic decision.

    Basketball is the sport that gets the least attention from me out of the ones I care about, and I have the most diverse wardrobe there – Lebron x Cleveland, Lebron x Lakers, Wade x Miami Vice (black), Kyrie x Celtic, Doncic x Mavs’ green, Hakeem x Houston, Kareem x Milwaukee, Kawhi x Raptors, McGrady x Raptors purple, Shaq x Lakers black, Durant x Nets throwback. All of those jerseys were bought in a two-year span (that started just prior to the Raptors’ success in 2019), and my interest in the sport has waned significantly since then.

    I’ve crossed into other teams’ merch, but definitely not for rivals. The teams have to be in the “I don’t mind them” category.

    I have a lot of baseball hats and NBA shorts of teams I’m not a fan of. I’ll get a hat or shorts if I like the logo or design.

    I have a few Arizona Diamondbacks hats (black with the red A) and I wear one to softball, so that’s how people I play with and against recognize me.

    Also, I wear Raiders hats and shirts because I love the logo. Wearing Raiders gear make me look (and feel) 20% cooler than I actually am.

    Be prepared, if you wear merch from other teams, people will assume you’re a fan and will stop and ask you about it. I have a Mariners cap and people are like, “Go M’s! Are you from Seattle, too?” And you can either lie and roll with it, or just say you like the logo.

    I’ll wear gear from different teams but I would never wear stuff from a team I hate. Like I would never ever wear a Cubs hat.

    I have limited my fandom to two main sports, hockey and football. I am a casual follower of baseball. My teams are the Pittsburgh teams. I would never buy any merch for any professional hockey or football team other than the Penguins and Steelers. I also won’t buy any merch for any minor league affiliates other than the penguins. However, for baseball I will buy hats for teams other than the pirates, but mostly minor league affiliates. Some of the minor league hats speak to me and I can’t pass them up

    Another aspect to consider is what is the reason for buying it? These examples were purely because the designs are cool (in a similar vein to someone buying a band t-shirt because it looks cool rather than to support the band itself). However in my case, I’ve owned a JJ Watt Texans jersey and a Russell Wilson Seahawks jersey because I’m from Wisconsin. In that case, it’s a personal connection, just to the player rather than the team. At the end of the day, it’s up to personal preference and we shouldn’t judge people for what they choose to buy/wear

    I absolutely have merch for teams other than my own. I participate in a random hockey jersey sale every month on Twitter, I have an Atlanta Hawks t-shirt from a game I saw there while I was at a conference several years ago, and I have a bunch of baseball caps for random teams across a couple sports.

    Now, would I ever seek out gear from a rival team? Absolutely not, with a single possible exception. I always had a thought in the back of my head of getting a set of shelves for a room in my house (if I ever get one of those) arranged like the MLB standings, and putting each team’s hat on its appropriate shelf to keep track of the standings throughout the season. For that, I would 100% buy a Mets or Yankees cap.

    That said, I did once end up with a Penguins jersey from the random jersey sale, and the revulsion was so immediate I gave it away as a Christmas gift to a friend who grew up in Pittsburgh.

    (As such, in case anyone’s interested, my current jersey collection is a 2018 blank Flames jersey, a late 90s blank Canucks jersey, a Patrick Kane Blackhawks jersey, an Alex DeBrincat Senators jersey, an authentic signed Max Domi Canadiens jersey, and a newly received Jonathan Drouin Canadiens jersey. Plus an old Mike Richards Flyers jersey I already had. The Pens giveaway was a James Neal.)

    The Penguins are a real challenge for me. On the one hand, I love penguins. I’ve collected penguin stuffed animals, pins – even the door stopper for my home office is a penguin – since I was a kid. If I got another tattoo, it would be a penguin. BUT, to the extent that I follow hockey at all (which isn’t a lot), I’m a Capitals fan. How can I wear a Penguins hat?

    Funny that I just thought about this when Willie Mays died. Growing up in Southern Cal I was a Dodgers and Angels fan. But as a kid I had MLB hats from cities I visited, and one of my favorites was the Giants hat. I also had T-Shirts and sweatshirts from colleges from all over. Even though I was a Nebraska and USC football fan, and UCLA and Long Beach State basketball fan, I didn’t think it was an issue wearing garb from other schools. It was fun to purchase these when our family traveled. Now I’m more tribal, and I’ll stick to my school, or rock bands.

    Rick, you’re one of several people I know who rooted or roots for USC in football and UCLA in men’s basketball – including my own dad, who got an MPA from USC. It seems like that’s less common now than it was in the ’70s and ’80s. Is that still common from what you can tell? And where do your rooting loyalties lie now?

    As a kid I followed both, and obviously USC Football and UCLA Basketball were the better teams. Hard not to like John McKay and John Wooden. That changed when I attended and then graduated from USC. Some people I know grew up in USC or UCLA families, where parents attended, have had loyalty early on. I wasn’t a Cardinal & Gold dye in the wool Trojan fan before attending. In fact, I almost attended UCLA. I’m 66, and I wonder if this has changed now. People are more tribal. I lived in Long Beach, and liked both the Dodgers and Angels. Now it seems like it’s either or. However, back then they never played each other, whereas now there really is no difference being in the National or American Leagues.

    You observations align pretty well with mine, particularly the Dodgers/Angels thing. I root for both, in part because most people I knew when I was growing up in Southern California did too. There was basically no conflict in having an AL team and an NL team.

    Now, it seems like there’s a territorial Orange County/LA County rivalry embedded in the fanbases. I haven’t lived in California since the early ’80s, so it doesn’t affect me. But it’s weird to see that divide, especially when the rivalries I was familiar with when I lived there were always NorCal vs. SoCal.

    If its a beautiful piece, I’d wear it. I’d never buy or accept anything from the Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Giants, Red***ns, Real Madrid or Club America; but anything else is fair game.

    I’m a cap guy and will buy any cap I fancy, but I wouldn’t buy/wear one from a team I’d rather not represent like the Yanks or Red Sox. I have that Phanatics cap, and love it. I also have picked up several CC and BP/clubhouse caps from teams other than my Orioles… Marlins, Nationals, and Reds, Twins BP.

    I collect a lot of sports merch and I love to wear different teams hats/jerseys but I have certain rules to it. I love fashion and grew up influenced by a few rappers and get a good number of style cues from some of my favorite 90s icons so I’ll wear hockey and baseball jerseys of teams that aren’t mine. I’m in my 20s and love 70s-00s designs so I wear a lot of used clothing – Lee Sports and The Game are my favorites. They help me connect with different times and places and the design work done back then is really appealing especially when they make funky/unique designs.

    I won’t ever wear two competing teams from the same league at once (browns shirt and cowboys hat for example) and I won’t wear teams that I hate from competition against my team. No yankees or Red Sox ever since they always beat up on my team in the playoffs growing up.

    I’ll rarely break the rule of not buying teams I hate but if there’s a design I like from an era where the team was bad I can let it slide. Grew up hating the capitals but I had to have a black third Bondra jersey bc I loved those growing up before ovechkin vs crosby broke out. I got a game used cubs jersey for $50 and can’t stand the cubs but man I love that jersey – it was just a guy who played a game or two and went back down. It would never be like a Kris Bryant or someone that hurt my team.

    I only buy MLB, NFL and NHL stuff from the three teams I root for, period. And I will never, ever purchase Shitty Connect, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, All-Star Game, ad nauseum crapola from MLB.

    “the burnt orange of UT is such a cool, unique color”

    I had considered buying an early 70s-style Pirates hat with the muted gold because I liked the look, but have always held off because — what if someone asks me a question about the Pirates? I don’t really root for them, and at this point I barely watch games from my “home” team (Phillies) or local teams (Nats/Os); I’d be hard pressed to name any Pirates at this point. I have a couple of Purdue hats now (son goes there) with that approximate color, though they don’t have the black visor to make it pop.

    For a while I bought jerseys for NFL teams (many retro…some just on sale), but got away from wearing them in general. Other gear – nah, it’s going to be Eagles or nothing.

    The UniWatch hockey jerseys were great — I can wear a jersey without actually repping a team!

    I have my fair share of Yankees and Canadiens merch because they are my teams and almost nothing of other teams. I also have way too much Expos stuff…not my team ever but they’re from a city I’m fond of.
    My advice would be, think of logo merch like a band. If you have a favorite team (I mean band), obviously wear that! If you like another team logo (I mean band) enough that you can make a nice conversation with somebody who noticed the logo, go for it! The teams you hate would be analogous to bands in genres you don’t like. Don’t go there.
    Use myself as a working example, talk to me about Yankees/Expos/Habs all day everyday because I can have an intelligent conversation about those teams. When I lived in Montreal, the Jays wore black and they were bad, so I wore a throwback Jays cap sometimes because I thought it looked cool, I was in Canada, and I could competently say “yeah, this logo rocked, and Joe Carter had an amazing home run.” Milwaukee Brewers? Fun logo but I couldn’t carry a conversation about them so I would feel like a poser wearing that hat. Houston Astros? Certainly not the modern trash can era logo, but I was a New Orleans Zephyrs fan when that was the parent club. Let’s just say if I had to buy an Astros cap to wear to play out a lost bet, I’d find a 90’s cap. I’ll talk about seeing Richard Hidalgo and John Halama as a kid! Red Sox or Bruins? No matter how cool the logo might be, I don’t want to talk about things I hate, so I’m not wearing that logo, especially since I’d feel like the jerk luring a real fan in

    Recently I got Mom’s old box of photos. As I’ve been going through them, and while looking at the photos I already had, I have worn a lot of shirts, jerseys, sweatshirts, hats, etc. from LOTS of different teams. So obviously I don’t have a problem with wearing other teams’ stuff besides my favorites.

    My only rule is that I won’t wear anything from a team I actively dislike. So no Raiders, Eagles, Flyers, Celtics, Lakers (I used to wear a Glen Rice jersey, but that was before I got sick and tired of the Lakers about a decade ago), Pistons, baseball Giants, or Sox (either one).

    It has to be a team *I* dislike, not just the rival of a team I like for me to not wear their apparel. For instance, in the 70s and 80s I was a fan of both Pitt and Penn State football. My relatives in PA kept telling me I needed to pick a side, but back then I wore shirts from both teams. Same thing with the Twins and Brewers when they were in the same league and the same division.

    If you have a good design and I don’t dislike you, I’ll wear your stuff.

    Forgot to add Duke and Indiana Basketball to my no-no list.
    And Ohio State…any sport.

    I’m mostly against it but I do kind of give an exception to soccer jerseys because they are more casual wear than other jerseys. Also agreeing with Charlie Steele (runners) above I wouldn’t get a jersey of a rival team but I’m not opposed to getting a jersey of a player I like or one I think looks cool.

    I have a couple of random soccer jerseys I wear and it’s cool the random convos people can strike up with you.

    Rivals, no way of course but I think some teams occasionally get really nice designs that transcend the sporting world and just look good in general. At least that’s how I felt getting one of those Nets “Coogi” jerseys 1,000 some odd miles out of New York.

    I’m with you on buying a cap as a souvenir when I visit an out of town ballpark. Been doing it for years.

    It’s fun to sport a different style, color, logo with a cap once in a while. Mix it up. And if someone does call me out for wearing an out of town teams cap, at least I have a story.

    As a Dallas girl, I would never wear another NFL team’s gear, however, when I travel for work, I buy my kids NHL shirts as souvenirs because the logos are so cool.

    Cool logos that teenage boys would wear is pretty much the standard

    Dallas used to be on my “no way I’m wearing that” list, but if I found a 70s royal blue Cowboys jersey (especially if it’s Mike Clark), I’d gladly wear that.

    I try to avoid buying “officially-licensed merch” anymore but when I did, these were my two very simple criteria
    1) It had to be a team I either liked or didn’t really give a shit about
    2) I had to like the way it looked

    I’m not sure why but for some reason, I was given as gifts a LeRoy Butler Packers jersey and a Brett Favre Vikings jersey. I will never even consider wearing these unless I lose a bet or something but they are still hanging in my closet.

    “they are still hanging in my closet.”

    You should donate them for Vilkmas ;)

    NFL and MLB are basically the only leagues this would apply to me. I don’t have a single “my team” in either. Being from Portland, OR… never really had a home team, not even the Seahawks or Mariners.

    MLB – I just attended an A’s game and bought a cap I really liked. Now I kinda want to go the online MLB shop and get similar looking caps to the other teams I’ve seen in person: Giants, Nationals, Phillies, DBacks, Mariners. Don’t care at all about AL vs NL, rivalries like Nats/Phillies, etc. Just a little way to acknowledge the places I’ve been.

    NFL – I really only root for former Oregon Ducks on whatever team they play for. So right now, someone like Justin Herbert and the Chargers, but I still wouldn’t call them “my team”. Maybe some t-shirts from various teams.

    But NBA? Blazers and nothing else. MLS? Timbers. EPL? Chelsea. NCAA? Oregon Ducks all the way, wouldn’t catch me ever in any other school gear unless some future kid of mine goes to whatever college if they so choose.

    Great duscussion topic!

    Living in Italy, when I was a kid my passion was football (soccer) and I rooted for Juventus. I also collected football shirts, but I wouldn’t have never considered buying an AC Milan, Roma or Inter shirt! But I had no problems buying Man UTD (my favorite UK ckub), Liverpool, Leeds United and other UK clubs… I also collected national teams shirts, no matter the rivalry with Italy.

    I was also an (American) football fan, rooting for the then Los Angeles Raiders. I always had a Raiders hat on… Not being able to find a Raiders jacket, I bought a Redskins Starter jacket… It was a cool jacket, but it always felt awkward to have it on, especially if I was wearing the Raiders hat… I also bought a Bengals hat but I don’t remember if I ever wore it…

    I bought a Houston Texans cap once when I was driving through Texas. It was in the early 2000s and the franchise was pretty new. I would occasionally wear it over the years and sometimes people would ask if I was a Texans fan and I would say “no, I just liked that hat” and then I realized I didn’t even like the hat. It was just sort of an impulsive truck stop buy, like a Slim Jim.

    I can’t think of any other time I’ve bought merch of a team that I didn’t root for. Somebody gifted me a Golden State Warriors jersey once. I thanked them for it, shuddered internally, and then dropped it into a donation box the first chance I got.

    This article…could have been written by me. I’m from the DMV, am mostly a DC sports fan – go Nats, go Commies, boo any and all Philly teams (and I went to UMD, so I cheer for the terps as well). I also have the goal of visiting all the major league ballparks and will often buy a hat to remember it, and wear them. My Cubs hat is probably the one I wear the most, despite not following them at all.

    BUT. There are certain teams I just will NOT, not EVER, wear. Philly is one of them. For football, Dallas (throw the Rangers in as well, since they share a parking lot). Boston and the Yanks as well (growing up as an Os fan, this was a no-brainer). And the Astros (cheaters). But that’s about it? I like having a variety of colors in my wardrobe. One of the plights of being a DC fan is that so many of our teams are boring old red, white, and navy, like so many others out there. I love my retro Mighty Ducks hockey jersey, and I have a Calgary Flames one I wear as well. I have yet to buy any MLB jerseys aside from Nats and Os, but with Oakland on their last year and the beautiful gold and green likely leaving, I might acquiesce as well.

    So I guess the answer is…it depends? Not much of an answer, but it’s all I got.

    My only rule is hats. My head is a sacred place for my teams. I’ll wear another jersey or sweatshirt, but my head is only reserved for my teams.

    Interesting! In my experience, hats are the least resisted item of clothing when it comes to fandom. But that may be a price thing above all else.

    I’m close to that. I have jerseys for nearly every team, because with a jersey, the number lets it be about the player in addition to the team. And I like oddball ones, like I have a Piazza Marlins, and fictional characters, my Red Sox and Cards are Sam Malone & Tony Micelli. But a, I usually pair with a Mets hat in a color that matches the jersey, and b, as a Mets fan in the Philly suburbs, now I can go to Phillies games and always have the opposition jersey.

    One time I was at an interleague game in Cleveland. Don’t remember who the visiting team was, but I didn’t have any of their stuff. So I wore a Mets cap and a Padres T-shirt.
    If anyone would have asked me why that combo, my response was “National League.”
    I know blog posts have been written about how “blasphemous” it is to wear gear from a different team other than the two in front of you. Well, sometimes there’s a reason or a story behind it.

    This topic strikes a nerve with me, since I do like to collect jerseys, especially in MLB and NHL, and hats in all sports. However, there are some lines. As a Devils fan, I have made it a point to NEVER support the Rangers in any form, so no gear from them. In baseball, I’m a Mariners fan, and since they don’t have a true archrival, I do have some other AL West gear. Since the Nets left NJ, I don’t have a team, but NBA jerseys are the items I collect least. And with the Steelers being my No. 1 NFL team, I’m pretty loyal in only buying gear from them. The only other NFL gear I own is for the Seahawks.

    Like Mike above, my gear often confounds people who equate fandom with location. The other night I was wearing an Oilers jersey for Game 7 at a casino in the DC area and several people asked me, “Are you from Alberta?” I usually just tell people I like to collect jerseys or just pretend for a brief moment, especially if I know my fandom will make them happy.

    I’m a Phillies fan and I bought a nationals city connect hat. The granite and pink color scheme with the cherry blossoms is fantastic.

    Now I kind of feel like since you’re a Phillies fan buying a Nats hat, if I (a Nats fan) bought a Phanatic hat, it would kind of restore balance to the baseball cosmos.

    I think you could justify getting the Phanatic hat, because you could say you are supporting the Phanatic, not necessarily the Phillies team.

    I’d almost never buy full price merch because I’m cheap (and I have so much already) though every now and then I’ll stumble across a super cool garment at a thrift store. As an Atlanta fan these days I mostly stick to Braves / Falcons / Hawks / UGA gear, these days I mostly only buy Braves merch. Falcons / Hawks / UGA only if it’s really sweet.

    In the past I’d buy other team’s gear at thrift stores, but have sold off almost all of it on eBay or Poshmark. I just passed on a sweet Willie Stargel jersey. Exception might be a cool bobblehead or maybe a unique jersey or team gym shorts or Stance socks. My only non Atlanta team is the Grizzles.

    Like a lot of people, I buy T-shirts for MLB teams that I have visited. My best one is the Tigers shirt I got on June 1, 2003, which was the day Roger Clemens faced the eventual 119 loss Tigers in search of his 300th career win. In true Tigers fashion that year, they came back from a 7-1 deficit to knock Clemens out, then take the game to the 17th inning before eventually losing 10-9.

    link

    As someone who travels to ballparks to see any and all baseball i buy i ton of caps, but never for teams i truly dislike like the Cubs, Brewers, Reds, or Yankees. Every other team is fair game though. I never do this for other sports though and just stick to my Broncos, Blues and Grizzlies.
    Only CC hat i have bought was for the Royals as it is an actual cool design.

    When the Nationals were “born” in DC me and all of my transplanted friends supported other teams (Mets myself) but decided it was more important to show that the area could support a team as well as show some civic pride in our adopted home. I decided that I would retire my Nats’ caps once the team became good and the last time I wore my official cap was Strasburg’s first home start. After that (admittedly awesome game and experience) my fandom won out. Ironically, I no longer have any Mets’ merch.

    Generally speaking, there are some beautiful hats and other team merch that I would absolutely wear (ex. Pirates pillbox cap) if I could only get past my fandom.

    My son has played t-ball and Little League for the Indians, Rockies, Yankees, Braves, and Cubs. I bought a Cubs t-shirt to cheer for him this year. I don’t think I would have bought one for the Yankees when he played for them.

    I also bought a throwback Devil Rays t-shirt that had Fred McGriff’s number on the back, both because of the “classic” old log and because he’s cool.

    Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers fan here. I only own Jets, Knicks and Rangers gear, but I do purchase other non-Mets MLB team hats that I think look great or are just classics. I have one rule – NO Yankees hats and NO NL East hats (Expos are the one exception). I just love the history of baseball and it feels like it’s OUR game. Wearing the hats of 100+ year old clubs just feels very American and nostalgic. I also tend to wear the non-Mets hats in the MLB offseason.

    I used to collect MLB caps, but I stopped wearing them because people would assume I was a fan of the team and start conversations about how they’re doing this year, etc. I had to either explain I wasn’t really a fan or play along. I don’t like either option.

    For the NFL, on the other hand, I would never wear anything but Ravens merch. I’m not sure why I feel that way, but football feels more tribal, so donning another team’s gear would be like turning traitor.

    I don’t wear college merch for any team but my alma mater, for that matter, either.

    I will never wear any other NFL team cap, however, with baseball my rule is no AL East teams or Texas teams. I try to get a cap from every stadium I visit and my favorite non-O’s hat has to be the brown and tan SD hat I got back in the Mid 2010s.

    Fantastic post. I struggle with this all the time. I’m an 80s kid born and raised in Baltimore. I love my Orioles and Ravens and anything Maryland. There are always things I’m interested in buying to wear, but feel the internal doubt of “how much do I know this team? And does it make me a bandwagon fan?”

    It’s easy for me to grab stuff where I’ve lived (Balto, Denver and Dallas) but hard to wear a team I’m not passionate about. I will never wear something of a rival. I’m a sneakerhead and won’t even buy sneakers that have Steelers colors :). That being said, I’ve been grabbing some Bulls stuff because I have so many sneakers with black, red, white. My wife even asked me, “why Bulls? You’re not from Chicago nor a Bulls fan.” And I tell her…”well I grew in the 80s, and was a Bulls fan because of MJ. And they match my shoes.”

    I dabble in soccer/futbol jerseys as they are easy to wear and have some great looks.

    When I wear something that isn’t “my team” I feel like I have to know the team well enough to manage a conversation. A stress I put on myself, instead of just saying, “I liked the look of the jersey/hat/jacket.”

    Great piece today, Judy! Such a great though exercise, and I loved how you added color to it with your own experiences. Here’s hoping we see some more great contributions like this from you in the future!

    It’s been fun reading everyone’s responses to the questions. My own opinions very much correspond with Greg’s in the first comment, and my experiences are very similar to RICKAZ’s (in terms of buying hats and t-shirts of various pro and college teams when I would visit their cities when I was younger but dialing that back to my favorite teams as I’ve gotten older) and Mike Chamernik’s (in terms of being presumed to be a fan of those teams when I wear the apparel).

    My favorite story of being mistaken for being a fan of another team came about seven years ago. My dad had vacationed in Australia not long before and had brought me back a grey and orange polo shirt featuring the logo of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, an Aussie rules football club (link). I probably wouldn’t have bought it for myself, but I appreciated my dad thinking of me while he was traveling.

    While out and about in Denver while wearing the shirt, I came across a young woman wearing a San Francisco Giants hat – not a common occurrence in Rockies country. But she did a double-take when she saw my shirt, pumped her fist, and yelled, “F**k, yeah! Giants!” in my direction. Not really knowing what else to do, I smiled and nodded my head.

    The irony, of course, is that as a Dodgers fan from my youth spent in Southern California and a Rockies fan based on living in Denver, I have no love for the San Francisco Giants. It was the first time it had occurred to me that someone might mistake me as fan while wearing that Aussie rules shirt, and I don’t think I ever wore it again.

    I don’t have an NHL, or NBA team nearby, so to me they are free game to buy merch for whichever team if I like the looks

    Won’t buy anything from a team I’ve not rooted for, and even then I don’t remember the last time I purchased anything from a team I have rooted for. Official hats/jerseys/clothing costs much more than I am willing to pay, so no need to have it. Plus, a shirt or sweatshirt for a team (custom ordered online with an old school logo, so no one else at the event will have it) is able to be worn more than a hockey sweater or basketball jersey is.

    I can confidently say I will win apparel from ANY team, if something about it appeals to me. On this subject, a friend who feels otherwise told me, “You will never know what it’s like to hate someone because of the color of their t-shirt.” Yes, sometimes you are asked questions only a fan can be expected to know. I accept that as a calculated risk.
    An acquaintance had a warm-looking Canadiens’ parka, but was a die-hard Islanders fan. I asked him, “What if the coldest day of the year came the day after Montreal creamed the Islanders?” He said, “I’d just find something else to wear.”

    I’m a Chicago Cubs, Bears and Anaheim Ducks fan. Although I find a lot of other teams gear interesting, Pittsburgh skating penguin, Hartford Whalers and St. Louis Cardinals jersey, pre Nike of course, I would never wear it. It would just sit in a box or closet and collect dust.

    TLDR up front – no problems.

    My story, I recently moved from Tampa to Cleveland. Born in the Tampa area, and living there most my life, all my sports teams are from my home. However, to embrace my new city, I have bought Browns and Guardians merch, because I want to assimilate into the new scene, as well as support my new home clubs. They still aren’t MY teams, but I will root for them when they aren’t playing my teams.

    Anyone from Tampa knows this feeling in reverse, as for years people would have season tickets to the Bucs and 7 of 8 games they are decked out in Bucs gear, but the Giants/Jets/Cowboys/Eagles come to town, they are in opponents gear. Same with the Lightning. 20 years ago, people would wear their Lightning stuff, until the Rangers came to town.

    Also, there are certain players I become a fan of for whatever reason, and I see no problem getting their jersey. That’s why I own a Drew Brees Saints jersey, even though I absolutely hate the Saints.

    No. Only buy and wear my teams. On occasion I might buy or wear a college hat or shirt if it is meaningful or has a certain appeal to it, however never for a rival. That is few and far between though.

    I have a collection of about 100 ‘baseball’ hats, the majority of which are for teams I root for (Mets, White Sox, Jets, Blackhawks, Hope College) and would never consider getting any merch for one of their rival teams, just on General Principles alone. Specifically, since I cannot abide The Evil Empire and all things associated with that team from The Bronx I purchased a ‘Yankee Hater” hat back when they first came out (link). Watching people’s reactions as their synapses fired when they realized that the logo wasn’t quite right was priceless, and doubly so since it looked like one of the (too) many ‘fashion caps’ out there in various colors that are not Pantone PMS 287C. It’s a little less fun to wear it nowadays, so I got one of these: link

    I wouldn’t buy merch for a team I hate, but if it was a team I really didn’t care about, but dug the look, then absolutely.

    Case in point, the University of Washington means nothing to me, but I got a very cool hat from the campus store when I visited Seattle a long time ago…

    I treat it on a sport-by-sport basis. For football (soccer), I will not buy or wear any merchandise from teams other than the one I support – I go as far as to avoid wearing red at all, which is the colour of our traditional (and more modern) rivals. For basketball, I’m a Hornets fan but I also collect vintage jerseys. I’ll happily collect teams I don’t like, but I wouldn’t wear any merch either in private or out in public. For hockey and baseball, I don’t support individual teams, so if I like the design, it’s fair game.

    Guess I’m just “old school”. I don’t buy merch of any teams other than my own. Even though I try to go see a game in any city I might get a chance to when on vacation/work. I prefer the atmosphere when I do. Just don’t buy any merch. Heck, I live 3 hours south of Nashville and always were my Bears jersey when I attend games. Also wear my Cubs merch when I catch Redbirds games in Memphis (we normally only go when they play the Iowa cubs). My step-daughter and her husband both are Mississippi State alumni. But, I won’t even wear MSU merch when attending games with them LOL

    Mixed feelings. A (still) lifelong Phillies fan relocated to Tampa 38 years ago. Before they had an MLB team. Married a native Tampa woman. Happened to be in Pittsburgh last week for the Pirates-Rays City Connect game. To please my wife I wore a Tampa Bay Rays shirt and old “Devil Rays” cap. Used that night’s Pirates Reynolds promo t-shirt as a rain hood during a brief rain shower in the game. Cheered for the Rays win. But kept my eye on the out-of-town scoreboard for the Phillies-Diamondbacks score. And I occasionally unearth my 2008 Phillies World Series shirt much to my wife’s dismay. I believe she threw out her 2008 WS “Beat Philly” shirt in 2008!

    My wife and I have a deal. She wears Padres gear (my team) when we see them play and I will wear Cardinals gear (her team) when we see them play. Unless they’re playing each other and then it’s wear your own team’s gear and let the trash talking commence.

    Die hard Yankee fan/New Yorker here, and honestly, I find the City Connect hats great. I’ve bought a San Diego & Nationals hats, went looking for the Toronto hat last week.

    They are great designs and a great way to show love for cities I like, without really feeling like I’m showing allegiance to their teams.

    Being from Baltimore, die hard O’s, and Ravens fan so of course rivals are off limits, steelers, Yankees, redsox, browns, etc…

    But I am huge Clemson fan (master’s degree), so I have a couple jerseys and/or shirts of Clemson pros on other pro teams. Travis ETN was one of my fav players in college, so I have his jaguar’s jersey. I have Brian Dawkins eagles jersey, since he is only Clemson player in football HOF.

    When I was a teenager I loved getting gear from other teams, but now that I’m older I feel a bit like a fraud wearing someone else’s stuff. Definitely would never wear any gear for teams that are my team’s rival, no matter how good it was.

    Mostly no, but exception is possible. To me, wearing a team hat carries some weight, signifying that the team and/or its city are meaningful to me in some way.

    For example, I bought and wore a Blue Jays hat when I lived in Toronto for just a brief interlude, during a memorable period of great change in my life. I liked the city, my experience there was important to me, and I still have the hat as a keepsake.

    I was a housing parent for a junior hockey team for a decade. With no NHL team in Wisconsin, I have purchased more than a dozen NHL jerseys of Green Bay Gamblers alums who have made to the show. So, in a way, still supporting the local team, but you may see me in a variety of jerseys at the games. I also have college jerseys for where my players went, even though not my school.

    3-4 years ago when Balleys made it impossible for some people to watch their local sports teams, I got the MLB package because I love baseball. My favorite thing to do to wind down after work is watch baseball. Both the Rangers and Astros were blacked out and I didn’t hate the Astros yet. So I chose to follow the Padres because they have mostly 9pm start times and it worked for my schedule. They are uniquely colored and genuinely harmless. I bought some Padres merchandise and wore it proudly. I took some crap because Texans typically hate California,but I was comfortable with my choice. Once Fubo got Balleys, I went back to the Rangers.

    This is an interesting one, um so my fantasy football league the winner of the league gets a jersey of a player from their team and 2nd place gets a shiresy of a player from their team. That is where our league dues go. So I have a Rams Stafford shirsey even though I do not like the Rams. I’m a Philly sports guy so it feels weird to wear it, but I wear it because it’s very comfy shirt haha.

    For starters, merchandise is an all-encompassing term, which can lead us in unintended directions. I’m a stadium chaser and collect lapel pins from each sporting venue I visit. I don’t wear them; they are displayed on my wall and mean nothing other than that’s a venue I’ve visited. I’m not openly supporting the team, although I’m sure they got a small portion of my $8.99. I also collect souvenir beer cups from venues, in hopes of one day having enough friends to come over and drink beers with and share the stories of my travels. Do they count as merchandise? Is it an ambiguous term?

    As for wearable merchandise, this is even tougher. As a child, I loved Frank Thomas and Charles Barkley (this has nothing to do with Auburn, I’m actually a ‘Bama fan now), so I had a ton of White Sox and Suns gear, even though I lived just outside of Boston. When the Orioles dropped their gray hat in the mid-90s, I loved it, and immediately found a way to buy it – my first fitted hat. But these instances were all when I was a kid, so kids get a pass, right?

    As I moved into my late teens, my sports identity began and ended with the Boston teams. Pretty much every item of clothing in my closet was branded for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, or Boston College. The only exception here was Starter jackets. My mother would only buy me a Starter jacket if it had purple on it somewhere (moms, amright?), so I continued to rock Suns jackets, along with a Vikings version and a Rockies version that I still have. I pretty much stayed this way until I moved from Massachusetts to Las Vegas in 2004.

    Wearing Red Sox gear outside of the Boston area was an eye-opener. I had enough player tees and jerseys to support most of the team. If Billy Mueller hit a walk-off, I’d wear his tee the next day, but in Vegas, no one seemed to care. Over time, the amount of Boston sports items I had in my closet dwindled down to single digits, despite the massive successes these teams were having on the field/court/ice. Living on the west coast also introduced me to Minor League Baseball, where I started to become a fan of individual players moving through the system, instead of anyone and everyone who wore a specific jersey. I loved Matt Kemp and Cody Ross, so when they made it to The Show, it was a no-brainer for me to grab their shirts, even though I wasn’t a Dodgers fan. My whole mentality was shifting from supporting a team to supporting players. And that was okay – the Red Sox survived without me wearing a Jon Lester shirt every day and still managed to win a few World Series.

    Then came City Connects and Minor League food identities. As a lover of fine stadium foods, I immediately purchased hats from the Buffalo Wings, Reading Hot Dogs, Nashville Hot Chickens, Pawtucket Hot Wieners, and Maine Whoopie Pies, despite the fact that I have no connection to these teams. I also added a Miami Marlins City Connect hat because it has my initials on it. None of these items have a connection to their actual team identity, and no one has ever mistaken me for a Marlins fan.

    As I typed this all out, I came to the realization that one’s tastes change as one grows and matures. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Wear what makes you feel good. Wear what makes you happy. That’s what I’ve done all my life, and my styles have evolved with me. Although, I wouldn’t be caught dead in anything from the Yankees, Lakers, Canadiens, Bills, Jets, Tottenham, Auburn, or NY Liberty.

    I was in Portland (Maine) a couple summers ago when they were doing a fauxback to the Maine Whoopie Pies. I of course wanted the Whoopie Pies hat because the hat is cool and that’s the team I saw that night, but I like the Seadogs logo, so I ended up buying both.

    I bought a non-favorite team apparel once. I was at an outlet store near the Mexico border and they had really nice knock-off NHL long sleeve shirts. All were black with the name/logo on the front and long orange stripes on the sleeves with the team name. Yes they were ugly but in a way that I loved it and for $10 I had to have one. They didn’t have my LA Kings but Canadiens is really the only team I wouldn’t wear. So I dug through and picked a Devils shirt.

    20 years later and it’s still holding up as I wear it every once in a while.

    As an Auburn alum, I will buy pro jerseys and shirts from guys who played at Auburn, even if it isn’t for the pro teams I root for. I most recently purchased a Walker Kessler Jazz jersey and a Jabari Smith Rockets jersey, to go along with the various ephemera of Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Cam Newton, Takeo Spikes, Tim Hudson and of course Charles Barkley jerseys and shirts.

    I only buy/wear merchandise for teams I root for. Would feel like a poser otherwise.

    For me, I have a lot of gear from teams that I don’t normally cheer for. I have a jersey collection and I’m trying to get all the NHL teams, so I have quite a few non-Red Wings jerseys (even a Penguins one—my least favorite team. I justified it because it was cheap and didn’t have Crosby on it anywhere, lol.) I also have quite a few ball caps because my dad loves taking us to baseball games. Mostly Tigers and Cubs, but there’s a random Toronto CC in there and another few miscellaneous ones. And, even though I’m a Buckeyes fan, I really liked TTUN’s Rose Bowl look, so I found a couple of good quality Chinese knockoff versions of those too (I do live in Michigan, after all, so maybe I could bust them out for a bet with coworkers come November…)

    There are some teams I won’t buy merchandise for—Michigan State, UNC, Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City football team—but, for the most part, I see no problem with it. In fact, now that the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings have unveiled their great refreshed sets, I think I’ll try and find some cheap versions of those ;).

    Mets fan, first and foremost, so I would never wear a Yankees cap, but I used to enjoy wearing caps of other teams if I liked the look. In NY nobody would question it because there are 9 big four teams there anyway (counting the Devils and Nets) so there’s a lot to choose from to begin with, and I had a nice little collection of caps of MLB teams from other cities. It’s when I started traveling for business and people would stop me and say “Are you from Arizona?” or “You must be from Seattle” that I got tired of saying “no, umm, I just like the hat”. I’m no longer in NY now but I still wear my Mets, Jets and Rangers caps (glutton for punishment).

    I have caps from several different MLB and MiLB teams, but will never buy anything associated with the Dodgers, Yankees, or any of their farm teams. For football, I buy nothing but my team’s merch. Not even caps, and I consider myself a collector of caps. For hockey, mostly my team, but I do have a couple of minor league team caps, neither of which are affiliated with my team.

    I love sports merch. I do have a handful of items from teams that are not “mine.” It’s almost entirely aesthetic.

    -Coyotes Kachina away jersey, because I love it.
    -Jason Collins Brooklyn Nets jersey after he came out. I wore it to Pride for a couple of years.
    -2015 LeBron Cavs wine-and-gold jersey because, I loved those colors.
    -Pedro Martinez Expos jersey, because I love Pedro and I love the Expos.
    -Vermont Green FC jersey, because I thought it was really nice. (link)
    -A Tampa Bay Bucs Super Bowl LVI champions sweatshirt, bought because I’m a Brady fan

    When I was about 13 or 14, I was given a Daunte Culpepper Raiders jersey for Christmas by some aunt. My Dad was a huge Raiders fan. Being a good New England boy growing up in the Brady years, I was of course a diehard Pats fan to his chagrin. I did have a Raiders cap for a couple of years around then as well.

    I also have a pretty big collection of MLB and MiLB caps, bought mostly for collection and aesthetic purposes. Rarely are they in my regular wearing rotation.

    I have several jerseys/caps from teams I don’t cheer for. If merch looks good, it looks good, period. Maybe that’s the difference between a collector or lover of uniform aesthetics and just a fan, idk.

    When I was in high school ( mid 1970s), I had a collection of t-shirts from colleges that had what I considered to be “interesting” names, like Upper Iowa, Calvin College, Canisius. Since I graduated from Linfield College (now University) I have had a hard and fast rule that the only college merch I will own is that from my alma mater.
    When it comes to pro merch, I buy stuff from “my” teams, but also avoid the rivalry issues by buying merchandise from defunct teams like St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators.

    Never bought it for my self but while I root for Boston teams (Red Sox, Bruins), my son, likes the Dodgers and Kraken so I’ve bought stuff from them for him. He really wants to go to Dodger Stadium and when we do, I suppose I’d be willing to buy a Dodgers cap to wear to the game, but I’d get it adjustable and just give it to him later on when he grew into probably.

    You could get a Brooklyn Dodgers cap, the B looks very similar to the Red Sox’s B.

    Never, never, never.

    My biggest conundrum is that as a Giants fan, I went on a California road trip and went with a Marlins supporting mate to Dodger stadium to watch the Marlins beat the Dodgers. It was a cap givaway day, so I actually own a Dodgers cap!

    I hate throwing anything away, so don’t know if I’m being the worst Giants fan ever, or if I might ever need it… for a ceremonial burning.

    I’ve been mulling this dilemma over since 1997, and the Giants have won more World Series than the Dodgera since then, so it can’t be doing my karma too bad…

    I have a goal of visiting every MLB ballpark and some MiLB parks. As a souvenir, I like to get a hat from each ballpark. I collect fitted hats, especially the New Era low profile. I have no issues buying a rival team’s hat in baseball. I know where my allegiance lies and am not concerned about what others think.

    Baseball hats have a unique culture compared to other sports leagues. In baseball and hockey, it’s more accepted to wear a different team’s merchandise that isn’t playing on the field. However, in the NFL, MLS, Euro Soccer, and NBA, there is a different stigma attached to wearing other teams’ merchandise.

    I bought a Pirates hat at a game in Pittsburgh (the only time I’ve ever been to Pittsburgh) and Manny Sanguillen was there signing autographs. I wore my Manny Sanguillen autographed Pirates hat around for years, despite not being a Pirates fan. When I moved to California people kept stopping me on the street to ask me if I was from Pittsburgh, and I’d say “no, but…” None of the people who stopped me were from Pittsburgh, nor were they Pirates fans. They were also all Black people (I’m white people). It was confusing to me. After four or five of these interactions I learned that the Pirates cap was the designated headwear of the Piru Crips, and these people were just looking out for me!

    I’ve owned:

    -San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds jersey (home creams)
    -Oakland Raiders Jerry Rice jersey (black)
    -Washington Wizards Michael Jordan (Bullets retros)

    I would NEVER wear:

    -Anything Yankees (although, as a kid, who knew no better, I asked by brother to bring me a Yankees hat when he visited relatives in NY)
    -Anything Patriots/Steelers

    I WOULD wear:
    -A Boston Red Sox David Ortiz jersey.
    -A Cleveland Browns Joe Flacco jersey (maybe – although I’ve never worn a Ravens Flacco jersey. It’s always been either Reed or R. Lewis)
    -A Seattle Mariners/Cincinnati Reds Junior Griffey (although neither team are “rivals”)
    -A myriad of other basketball jerseys, as I don’t really have an allegiance to a team

    As a kid of the 70s-80s I would always wear other team’s jerseys especially NFL and MLB (thanks Sears). Nothing wrong with it.

    Ha ha… it’s complicated! That is what I say to my friends all the time when they ask why I might be pulling for Texas and/or Texas A&M. Obviously, I grew up with the Southwest Conference. And I love everything about the SWC. When I did my SWC Stadium Tour in 2019 and went to a football game at every old SWC school (the core nine). At every stadium I would buy a retro hat and shirt (love the retro graphics) from the home team and wear it – supporting that school that day – except for the TCU/SMU game at TCU. I just couldn’t do it that year. I was ingrossed in Sonny Dykes success and the TCU fans were so obnoxious, I started cheering for SMU – much to the confusion of the TCU fans around me while I was wearing a TCU shirt and cap! And I celebrated that win with the cheerleaders on campus on the walk to the car – still wearing my crusty frog TCU garb.

    Vilk said it perfect – actively dislike. There are times I pull for all of these teams (I have even finally come around to liking Arkansas again (a little) even though they are the ones that started the whole mess and ended the SWC) and there are times I can’t. I graduated from Texas Tech but actually attended A&M as a freshman – and have rooted for the Longhorns my whole life. As a student at A&M, I actually wore burnt orange striped socks under my jeans once to a game. Like I said, it is complicated. I find it hard to “pull” for TCU in these days TCU and Tech are so against each other – but was all in for TCU with Max Duggan. I have somewhat given up on my Aggies because they sold out to the SEC – to the point I like the Aggies less than ever now. But will I give up on Texas too now that they have gone to the SEC? Not sure how it plays out with a world where college football is just broken.

    Similarly, I am a lifelong Cardinals fan because my dad was. When I graduated and moved to Houston I became an Astros fan. And we had seats at the Ballpark in Arlington (and I actually IRL have those exact seats) so I have liked the Rangers, you know, still a Texas thing. But would I wear anything Rangers at the moment? Not on your life, I am a rabid Astros fan now. But I love the game of baseball – the whole of it, all 162 games (and hopefully more than 162) of it. So when I went to Chicago, I HAD to go to Wrigley Field. At the time Cubs were a no – so I found a Wrigley Field hat. But… I did buy a sheet of Cubs World Series Champs magnets because it was fun to see the Cubs finally win the year before. Plus the minor league Cubs were in Midland for a while when I was little.

    I generally don’t buy merch for teams I don’t root for, but with general exceptions. If the team doesn’t exist anymore or if I have been gifted something. Of course, I have much Vancouver Grizzlies merch I’ve bought but would never cheer for the Memphis Grizzlies. Looks like a different team anyway now.

    I have a Minnesota North Stars hat but would never, ever get anything Minnesota Wild or Dallas Stars. I have and wear a Seattle Kraken toque that I got for free going down there for one of their games (against the Canucks). Hey, for NHL I will wear anything Cleveland Barons or California Golden Seals!

    When it comes to CFL, I have an Atlantic Schooners t-shirt. Until they actually exist I will continue to wear it. I would also have no problems wearing Shreveport Pirates merch if i came across some.

    As a kid, I rocked merch just for the logo, colors, design. As I got older, some of those teams became rivals, and now I couldn’t stomach wearing their merch, though I do have nostalgia for the childhood stuff.

    I’ve recently got back into buying hats, and while it’s not well loved on this page, I’m a big fan of “unique” team wear. Alternate logos, designs, colors… something just so boring about most teams “day to day” designs. Bonus points if there’s no identifier to the team, and it’s just random colors and a random logo. To outsiders it’s just an interesting fashion choice. To those who know, it’s a nod to your teams.

    I’ve been tempted to pick up other teams hats, just out of admiration of the design or aesthetic, but man, it gets spendy quick. Best for my budget to stick to my teams.

    I knew a woman in Seattle who was from Boston and her daughter’s Little League team was the Yankees, and she told me in her still-strong Southie accent, “I can’t send my bruddas a pitcher of her in a freakin’ Yankees cap — dey’d KILL me!”

    I’m surprised she let the girl play. I’d’ve been like, “Well, sweetie, maybe it’s time you tried soccer, or hockey, or basketball, or literally anything else.”

    I’m generally a Cleveland fan, but I’ve bought several jerseys from other teams: a Toronto Canada Day red jersey, a Nationals jersey (I live in the DC area), and then several Negro League jerseys (Detroit Stars, KC Monarchs, etc.) and minor leagues not affiliated with Cleveland (Everett Aquasox, Spokane Indians w/ native language script).

    That’s wild – I just met somebody recently who was wearing a Spokane Indians shirt with the native script. I didn’t know that existed and now it’s come up twice in a week.

    The only way I’ll buy merch for a team not my own is if they are defunct. Of course I object to buying merch of anything.

    Got a few teams that I do support but i never feel like I *really* connect with them that much, nothing too deep. Ended up just generally being into collecting any jerseys (various soccer ones, MLB, NFL, NHL, got a few NPB ones even). Doesn’t help that I can’t really find all that much in my country, so I try to grab anything that’s interesting. Hoarding cool designs/vintage items/whatever is nice.

    A few teams i do dislike – Astros, Niners, Bayern – but I dont reeeeally think I’d be against those being in the collection either.

    Don’t really wear any of the stuff I have regardless (aside from while at home). Just never feels convenient.

    I have quite a few Minor League Baseball hats from teams other than my team. Some of them are affiliates of my Detroit Tigers, some aren’t. If I like the design, I’ll buy it, unless it is a rival. I will also buy hats or shirts if I am visiting a different arena or stadium. Quite a few years back, I worked for a company that that had a vendor contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Being a Tigers fan, I didn’t really like the Cardinals because they swept the Tigers in the World Series, but seeing how I was in St. Louis for business quite a bit, I would occasionally buy a Cards shirt or hat from the Team Store at Busch (I also got the vendor’s 40% off which helps).

    I’m pretty flexible as far as what I’ll wear. My only exceptions are for teams I hate (all Boston and Philly teams, plus the Cowboys). If it’s a cool or unique look, I’ll probably wear it. Baseball is by far my favorite sport, so I have more of those than any other sport. I’m a Yankees fan, so 95% of my baseball jerseys are Yankees-related. I also love jerseys from fictional teams/players and currently own a Jimmy Dugan Rockford Peaches jersey, a Rick Vaughn Indians jersey, a Roy Hobbs Knights jersey, a Charlestown Chiefs Hanson jersey and a Clark Griswold Blackhawks jersey. They are great conversation starters and are just cool to own and wear.

    I’m an O’s fan, so I’m partial to black and orange but in the 70s and 80s, living in upstate NY, every time we went to Cooperstown, I’d get a Red Sox shirt, a Blue Jays jersey (NEVER Yankees), a Cubs hat, and some random team gear because it was there and you could put your hand on it, and you couldn’t get this kind of stuff anywhere else, well maybe Manny’s Baseball Land or Brad Sham’s Big League Threads. This was in the days well before Fanatics. I’m in the DC area now and have some Nats hats and an Expos hat and shirt but that’s it for anything other than Orioles.

    I *almost* won’t wear gear for teams other than my own (all three Pittsburgh teams, for the record, and San Antonio for basketball). My one exception is a 1971 California Angels cap that I received as a gift ages ago – I love it and can offer no explanation/apology.

    I work at a hospital that partners with the Tampa Bay Rays and I get offered LOADS of complimentary gear. Can’t bring myself to accept despite there being no historical rivalry whatsoever ‘twixt the Rays and Buccos.

    I grew up in Miami when the only pro team was the Dolphins. I rooted for the Sonics in basketball because they were in the Finals in 78 & 79 when I was 11 and 12. I rooted for the SF Giants because they were my Pop’s team growing up in NY. And I rooted for the Sabres because they were in the first hockey game I saw on TV and they were playing the Bruins…and there was no way I was rooting for a Boston team. So I have had swag from each of those in my house.

    Obviously the Heat and the Stanley Cup winning Panthers are front and center, but my relationship with the Marlins is less enthusiastic due to the way they have purged every player I cared for off the roster on a regular basis. The Sonics are gone, and the Sabres have faded from my wardrobe, but I will still wear my Giants gear to a game against the Marlins at home.

    Other than that, I won’t wear out of market gear to a game or anywhere else.

    I’m a big collector of baseball caps so I buy one whenever I go to a park, be it major or minor. I now have hundreds. There used to be a website/catalog company called Starstruck which had all the teams and their caps. It was my goal to try and get one of each and thankfully I failed at that. My bank account thanked me really. I do have a Chargers SEAU navy jersey because they were the first team I ever fell in love with solely for their uniforms. I also have a Phoenix (not Arizona!) Coyotes white kachina jersey because it’s one of my favorite hockey logos. I have been thinking of getting a Kraken jersey because my last name starts with S so I guess it would be like wearing something monogrammed. My white whale for hockey jerseys would be a Dallas Stars “Mooterus” jersey. And as much as I think Ohio State has the best football uniform I could NEVER buy any Buckeyes fan merch.

    Ah – speaking of the white whale… Many years ago I was in a bar in DC and saw a couple people wearing a green Capitals jersey (shirsey? I can’t remember) that was obviously a St. Patrick’s Day tie-in. It had number 8 but the best part was the name on the back was “O’Vechkin.”

    I’ve searched high and low for that and I can’t even find a picture of it online.

    For football would never get anything but Raiders gear, same with NBA, only Clippers. For baseball, bit different, I’m an Angels’ fan but would and have gotten caps for other teams, provided I like the logo or colors. There are exceptions though, I would never get anything Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, A’s, M’s, Rangers or Astros.

    For the majority of my life I’d say if I venture outside “my teams”, I’ve gone by these rules;

    1. If said team/logo is defunct.
    2. If said player is iconic (for example Jordan)
    and/or retired.

    Otherwise it feels like cheating to me.

    I’m doing my bucket list of visiting every MLB park. Part of my “thing to do” is buying the hat the home team is wearing.

    It was hard to do in Philly and Yankee Stadium, but they’re all going on display, so it’s not like I’ll wear them ever.

    First of all—I was just thinking about how, despite a readership that is overwhelmingly pro-equity, I couldn’t recall a guest post from a woman! Thanks for your post Judy!

    Second—when it comes to the big 4 (and now that the MLS is in STL, I’d say big 5) I would NEVER buy a jersey from another team. Those allegiances are so engrained I just can’t. My mom bought me a Rockies hat because she had a conference in Denver the year the team debuted and it just gathered dust in the back of my closet.

    BUT when I got my current teaching position 6 years ago, there was a tradition among many faculty and students to wear soccer jerseys on Friday. I didn’t have strong allegiances in international soccer so I’ve taken to collecting cool kits to wear on Fridays. I’ve come to have my teams that I now support fervently (many I gained through collecting!) but I especially love new teams that are using kit design to build their brand.

    Thank you Drew!

    I was at the final Purp Walk last month and aside from the random girlfriend/wife of an attendee, I feel like I was the only woman there. Would love to hear from more women who Get It (TM).

    Thanks Drew!

    I was at the final Purp Walk last month and, aside from a few girlfriends/wives of attendees, I think I was the only woman there. Would love to hear from more women who Get It (TM).

    Its a tough call for sure! As a BlueJays fan I would never buy anything with a Yankees or Red Sox logo on it!
    So as I make my way around to all the stadiums (will be 1/3 of the way after Baltimore in late July!) I get a fridge magnet from each stadium and try and get one with the stadium itself depicted as opposed to the team logo – especially for other AL East teams.

    But there are some great logo’s & mascots out there. Haven’t been yet, but I would definetely get that Phanatic hat or a Barrelman hat to go with my Mr Mets and Cubs logo hats!

    As a yinzer, there’s only three teams I can never root for; the Browns, Ravens, and the Flyers. Thus, I could never purchase anything that would suggest support for those teams.

    Otherwise, I have no problem wearing or buying other team’s gear. I have a pinwheel Expos hat that gets a comment anytime I wear in public and an LAFC hat I bought as it was the only hat that fit my big head and looked good on trip to Los Angeles a few years ago. I almost bought the same hat in the same style but with the 80’s Phillies baby blue and burgundy on my trip to Citizens Bank Park last year, but didn’t in a move I’ve since regretted.

    Unlike many I’m a good 7 plus hours from any city with a major league team (and probably minor league too). Locally there is only university (hockey) and summer collegiate (baseball) at the highest levels. Don’t watch much sports television these days but much what was available and I watched when younger was “Toronto-centric”, eventually to my disgust with regards to hockey and acceptance to a degree with regards to baseball.

    With regards to American college teams, I have close to zero interest in them. I do have a couple UMD items and one retro looking logo hat of the Minnesota Gophers.

    Have many minor league, and some international hockey jerseys with not a lot of NHL (and many of those defunct teams). Almost all of these teams I’ve never seen them play a game. It is mostly about the jerseys and logos.

    I’ll buy Leafs and Canadiens items for others but I don’t wear either of those. My extreme dislike of anything Yankees goes down deep.

    When I was a kid I would have given a kidney for a Reds or Bengals jersey. Later, in the early 2000’s I got a couple Bengals and Titans jerseys (live in Nashville now). Then I remember rewatching the Crumb doc where he talks about the irony of paying to be a walking advertisement. It resonated then and still does now. Since that day I’ve been loathe to wear any sports team stuff, or band shirts etc. Occasionally I’ll wear maybe a Frankenstein or classic monster shirt as that stuff is part of my DNA. Sports teams are not. Its weird I can love the look and culture of classic baseball, but never wear it.

    As a long time Buckeye fan I vowed to never ever wear anything from the team up north. Then one day my son decided to go play for them. It was either disown him or put that silly hat, and gear on and cheer for him. Since he was getting a free education, and I love him no matter what that hat and gear was fine to wear for 4 years. But this year it’s back to the scarlet and grey.

    I generally only buy merch for teams/schools I like or support and couldn’t really fathom ever doing so for a rival or team I actively hate.

    The obvious exception would be if a child/family member end up going to that school or working for that organization.

    I shutter at the thought of possibly having to wear a “Duke Dad” shirt if my daughter goes there.

    This is a question that’s been on my mind recently. I used to have a fairly extensive hat collection when I was younger, with a wide range of major/minor league teams across the different sports. I’ll still wear merch for teams that aren’t necessarily “my” team but are someone worth rooting for. The reason it’s been on my mind is because my least favorite MLB team is the Red Sox but the stadium I most want to visit is Fenway just for the history. Will I buy some merch there when I finally make it? I don’t know! I’m hoping for a Fenway Park shirt without the Red Sox logo.

    I was a Yankees fan as a kid but started rooting for the Orioles many years ago because the company I worked for had season tickets in the final season or two at Memorial Stadium. I took a long hiatus from rooting for the O’s because of Peter Angelos – the same way I took a long hiatus from being a Skins fan because of Daniel Snyder. But I’m sort of back on board with both of them.

    Despite being a Yanks/O’s fan, I’ve never had a visceral hatred for the Red Sox because my dad was from Worcester Mass and grew up loving Teddy Baseball. So a few years ago I had a chance to go to Fenway, and it was such a perfect baseball experience. Following my tradition of buying hats for all the MLB and MiLB teams I visit, I bought a Sox hat… and then accidentally left it in the trunk of the rental car.

    Bought a Minor League Lake Elsinore Storm hat once. Cannot remember if they were ever (or only briefly) my local MLB’s farm team or not, but the pair of menacing eyes were cool so I bought one.

    I went to a Lake Elsinore game a few years ago and got a Cadejos cap – their Copa de la Diversion alter-ego. Honestly I think the white logo doesn’t show up very well, so it’s one of my least favorite caps. I wish I just gotten a cap with the eyes.

    My teams, and only my teams. No others…with one exception: minor league baseball. I live in northern MD and grew up an O’s fan. I’m close to the Aberdeen Ironbirds (O’s high-A). But if I’m traveling for work in the summer, I will 100% try to attend a random minor league game *and* acquire a cool or unique team-branded item. (Shirt, hat, pint glass)
    I love the pureness and the grind of minor league baseball. And the mascots, names, and marketing are phenomenal.

    I’m just a fan of MLB period. Yes, I do have a favorite team(Brewers) but I own hats from all 30 MLB teams.

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