One Hat, Two Hat. Red Hat, Blue Hat. Black and Yellow hat?

At Pilates this evening, I enjoyed a quick chat with a White Sox fan. Last season I introduced her to the cheap ticket wonders of StubHub and gave her information about the Big A so she could see her guys play – she was concerned about our “scary” freeways – and we’ve been friendly ever since. As I was leaving the parking lot, a group of guys in Pirate caps, one of them quite old school, walked by. On the freeway drive home, the usual mixed bag of bumper stickers streamed by as speeds increased in the final fade of rush hour. In and among the honor roll proclamations, fading Obama/Biden stickers and occasionally humorous sayings was an eclectic array of baseball stickers – Dodgers, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. Nothing new here.

Los Angeles is not like other places. The billboard signage proclaims that this is Dodgertown and that is true to a certain extent. But a sufficient number of Angels fans call Los Angeles County home to warrant equal representation in the team gear sections of our local Targets and Costcos and the same is true in reverse with Dodger fans in neighboring Orange County, home to my Halos of the absurdly lengthy and geographically challenged name. I read as many of your blogs as I can find, and more and more each week as Spring Training brings more sleepy bloggers out of hibernation, so I know that two team towns are nothing special. But Los Angeles is a little more complicated than that.

In and among the Dodgers and Angels gear, you can usually find a fair bit of Yankees and Red Sox items. White Sox caps and shirts are becoming more common as well and, if the number of Cubs fan Chicago transplants I ran into in Orange County last year is any indication, I expect to start seeing the occasional Cubs logo on the sales racks in the next year or so. Native Angelenos like myself are rare, you see. In Los Angeles and, increasingly, Orange County seemingly everybody is from someplace else. And even among the natives, most of us are only native by a generation or two. My grandparents and their families all came out to California during the Dustbowl, which is very common story.

When it comes right down to it, this is one of the things I love most about living here – so many different people bringing pieces of their home to mine and mixing them together in new and different ways. I love that I can go out for authentic soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung (the only location outside of China), hit a jazz club hosting a band from New Orleans and then finish off the evening line dancing at a club opened up by Texas transplants who thought it might be fun and profitable to bring a little bit of home to Los Angeles. Authentic street tacos, a cheesesteak place opened up by a couple of guys who moved out here from Philly, New York style delis, a German deli where more people are speaking German and Polish than English on any given day, Kansas City style BBQ joints, all of these offerings are within easy driving distance of my house, and it’s amazing.

And the sea of different baseball caps? Dodger, Angels, Giants, Red Sox and Pirates at my office’s summer picnic alone. Enough nowadays that, seriously, if I were a kid, I’d give up playing “States” and play “MLB caps” instead. It’s just one more manifestation of what I think of as the real Los Angeles – Dodgertown yes, but kind of Everytown at the same time. I know that Los Angeles is far from the only big city to experience this phenomena, but I wonder if any other city sees their diversity carry over into their baseball cap offerings at non-ESPN type stores? I would definitely be interested in learning if this is so if any of you care to share.

I went to Costco on my lunch break this afternoon and did some of our grocery shopping with this post percolating in my mind. I decided it would be funny to take a picture of the souvenir baseball jersey rack so you could appreciate the wild mix of logos we tend to stock out here but, apparently it’s a little early for baseball still at Costco. However, serendipitously enough, when I walked out to my car this is the picture I was presented with. What are the odds? Well, around here? Fairly good, actually:

Halos BoSoxIMG00071 - web.jpg

9 Comments

SoCal has many more transplants than other big cities, as people move for warm weather, switch jobs, go to colleges, etc. My favorite part about being in NYC is that you DON’T see caps from lots of other teams – just Yankees (and a few Mets).

http://www.janeheller.com/confessionsblog

Kristen,
Take my dept at work. Out of 17 of us:
3 born in Southern Cal, two of them Hispanic.
3 born in England
2 born in the Phillipines
1 each born in China, Korea, India, Canada, Japan & Honduras (me).
1 each born in Maine, NH, Nebraska.
.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

I was gonna write a comment about different hats and jerseys in Chicago, or the lack thereof. But instead I just want to say that I’m really enjoying your posts. To take something as mundane as seeing different baseball hats and turn it into an interesting couple of paragraphs that people can enjoy reading is a great skill. I look forward to additional post.
http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

Internet access at last! We’re spending the long weekend in Cambria (CA Central Coast) and while all this stormy weather is gorgeous, it’s more than a little hard on the internet connectivity.
Jane – LOL, I figured you would prefer local baseball caps only in Yankee territory.
Emma – That sounds like a really fun group of coworkers and very, very Los Angeles!
Russel – Thank you! I always wonder how my “weird” baseball posts, as opposed to my more traditional ones are going to go over and really appreciate the comments.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Definitely right about the diversity. I used to live in NoHo and every time the Cards came to town I’d go all decked out and was always surprised to see so many fellow Cardinals fans show up to support. It was awesome really. Cards fans run deep everywhere, but never thought LA would be a place they’d call home… me included. Then again, I live in Chicago now…
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

In the Twin Cities, you see your share of Twins caps – but there’s plenty of others floating around. Plenty of Cubs and White Sox ones – since there are some ex-Chicagoans living here (some for political reasons that I will not get into here…). Plenty of Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Brewers (darn Wisconsinites…), Tigers, Reds and, yes, Dodgers, too. But, I’m rest assured the majority of us wear the T-and-the-C around these parts…a fact I’m assured of every time I walk through the Sprawl of Pathetica (i.e. MOA)

- Randy
http://heirloom.mlblogs.com

Jeff – Come to think of it I have seen a lot of Cards caps in that part of town – I grew up next door in Burbank. Yeah, you never know where school, jobs and life in general will take you.
Randy – Okay, so Los Angeles is not completely unique in this regard, which makes sense, given the job magnet of the Twin cities…though in the studio parts of Los Angeles (I grew up in Burbank) as you probably remember from your youth, the east coast caps come close to equaling the Dodgers caps in number.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Jane is right about NYC…I wandered all over town one day in Phillies gear and could not take more than 5 steps without a comment tossed at me. It is rare to see other teams’ gear there. Most New Yorkers were very kind though. I guess it is harder to bash a silly girl with pony-tail braids than a tough looking Philly guy ;o)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Jenn – That’s a fun story. I think it’s more a case of it being more fun to joke around with and tease a fellow baseball fan than it is to bash them, especially when the fan is a smiling girl with pony-tail braids. :)
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

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