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Monday, April 20, 2009
Carlo and the CapsSo I was playing outside with my son on Saturday. Nice sunny day here in Ohio, the kind of early Spring day on which mothers remember that sunscreen and hats and sunglasses and asbestos underwear are required lest their children immediately turn into a tumor. Bald husbands too, so Carlo (a/k/a Son of Shyster, a/k/a ShysterBoy, a/k/a Buddrow, a/k/a Buddy) and I both put on our caps. Though I'm not a slave to wearing my own team's colors, I'm currently sporting an Atlanta Braves all-navy roadie (In recent years I've also featured Tigers, Giants, and Dodgers caps for various aesthetic and political reasons). Buddrow has a blue plaid number with a cute little doggy on it. Since he last wore it in the fall, however, his head and/or his hair* have grown to the point where it simply doesn't look comfortable anymore, so I decided it was time to get him a new cap. A real one, though, not one with a cute doggy on it. The big man is three now, and it's time to put away those childish things.
*Though I am as bald as Matt Williams and Lt. Ilia's love child, my son has long, gorgeous, curly locks. My wife says that letting his hair go all wild man like that is in no way a reaction to the fact that she's married to a cue ball, but I have my doubts.
I'm not one of those guys who thinks that my boy has to root, actively or passively, for my own team, so it's not like I was going to run out and get him a Braves cap. To the contrary, I decided that I'd let him get what he wanted to get, with the caveat that I'd issue a veto if he decided he liked Chief Wahoo. I mean really, how much crap would I get if someone who reads my occasional Wahoo screeds saw Buddrow in that cap? Still I hoped he would go for a cap that had some kind of tradition behind it on the off chance that the hat serves as the basis for his eventual rooting interests. No, there's nothing wrong with liking the Diamondbacks or the Rockies, but I just tend to think that if, like us, you don't have a really strong proximity-based argument for your rooting interest, historical richness is a pretty good one. His favorite color is green, he says, so maybe he'd pick the A's, which would be perfectly acceptable. Maybe he would like one like his old man wears. I was curious to see how he proceeded.
Stopping by Lids at the mall, I pointed him towards the kids' hat rack. Though Wahoo was well-represented, there were multiple options available, so I liked my chances. And thankfully he didn't pick Wahoo. He picked Spongebob Squarepants. The lesson: kids can't be trusted with any important decisions in life. I might have lost the will to fight him at that point, but thankfully his mother stepped in and said that she didn't want him wearing a Spongebob hat all summer either, so we extracted him from the store with promises of cookies and stuff.
The next day I called up a webpage with every Major League cap on it, put Carlo on my lap and asked him which one he liked. He smiled at all of the options before him and took some time about it. Then, after a minute or so, he pointed at a Cubs' hat. He started writing his own name not too long ago, and I think he liked that the "C" on it was curvy like he writes it as opposed to the pointy Reds' C or the blocky alternate Indians' C. I think it's a pretty good choice. The Cubs certainly have history. And we actually get Cubs games here, so maybe he'll be a superstation-based fan just like his old man was. Sure, there's the potential for looking like a bandwagoneer if the Cubs win it all in the next year or two, but who's gonna hate on a kid in a Cubs hat? Besides Cardinals fans I mean, which is their right and duty.
I don't have the cap yet, but I'll probably order it in the next day or so. If anyone has a preferred online source for kids' ballcaps -- or if you simply want to try to persuede my son and I that beyond the choice of a Cubs' hat lies death and despair -- my all means, leave me a comment or drop me a line and tell me.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:34pm
Jim Casey said...
Show him a Nationals cap. Nice curly W, and rooting for a horrible team like that, with nearly daily disappointments, will be good training for the pain and trauma of adulthood.
Posted 04/20 at 01:34 PM
Chris H. said...
An excellent choice. Clearly, your son has taste and vision. We will welcome him into Cub Nation, and he shall not be accused of being a fair weather fan when we win it all in the next year or so.
p.s. Lt. Ilea FTW
Posted 04/20 at 01:38 PM
I must say that I appreciate not forcing your kids to be fans of your teams. I have 2 kids and have not and do not think that I will. (Full disclosure - I can’t say for certain this would be my attitude if I had boys.) Anyway, it may be due to my own youth growing up a Yankees fan in a Phillies household. Could I tolerate my girls being Phils fans? Yes, I guess. But how about Red Sox or Mets fans? Tougher, but probably still yes. Part of “allowing” it might be because of a Yanks/Mets game I went to at Shea in 2001. Near our seats there was a Yanks dad with his 13ish-year old Mets son. Yanks were up the whole game and the old man was talking major trash. The Mets rallied in the 8th and the kid gave it right back. They had a better time at that game than anyone. Here is the box score:
Awful loss for the Yanks. For the record, this is the only game I ever saw at Shea because I couldn’t stomach going back. Still get pissed that Torre didn’t bring in Mariano during the 8th inning meltdown. (He had used him 3 days in a row…but then of course didn’t need him for the whole next week.)
Posted 04/20 at 01:56 PM
Pat H said...
My thoughts are definitely to allow him to wear a Cubs hat….for now. Just remember, when we grow up we put away such childish things. (And move on to the $125+ I spent on Astros items for my daughter and I at the Juice Box yesterday….)
Posted 04/20 at 02:07 PM
I grew up in the Northstar State, but never wanted (or was allowed to own) a Twins cap, because the franchise was stuck in the ‘M’ logo phase, as opposed to the classic ‘TC’. The family went to Chicago one summer, and we saw a game at New Comiskey, as it was then called, and my sister and I were both allowed to buy caps of any team we wanted. I chose I white and blue brimmed Royals hat, while my sister bought a Brewers cap with that horrific late-90’s interlocking ‘MB’. 10 to 12 years later, we’re still Twins fans. Sure, part of it has to do with her finding Joe Mauer hot(t), but when you grow up in a baseball house, you’re likely to follow the traditions presented to you. Carlo’s growing up, but as long as you don’t start cheering for the Yankees, he’ll be fine. Although it’d help if the Cubs sink to a Brewer or Royal level of suckitude.
Posted 04/20 at 02:14 PM
Alex K said...
It’s clear your son has excellent taste.
Posted 04/20 at 02:24 PM
“who’s gonna hate on a kid in a Cubs hat?”
Any sane, rational human being. Luckily for Cubs fans, though, they barely even notice these things.
Like you, I grew up in a vague section of Ohio. I was, I guess, *supposed* to be a Reds fan. But I was far enough away that I didn’t feel very connected to that team, so I went another way entirely when I was ten.
Posted 04/20 at 02:47 PM
I applaud your parenting skills. Not necessarily the way I would have handled it (my two-year got several Red Sox hats as gifts, so the work was done already) but very diplomatic and fair. I’m sure Carlo will enjoy being a Cubs “fan” for at least a couple of weeks.
BUT…should this new fandom of his last, what a cool answer to the question, “Why are you a Cubs fan?”.
Posted 04/20 at 04:12 PM
Children really are the most knowledgeable of creatures.
My child will have a choice between Cubs or Twins. Really, I’m diplomatic, so I’ll throw in all teams not called Yankees, Red Sox, or Cardinals.
I, however, am currently searching far and wide for Brooks Robinson apparel thanks to our viewing of the 1970 and 1971 World Series on MLB Network yesterday afternoon.
(Part of me thinks I want children just to dress them in sporting apparel. Isn’t that why all women want kids?)
Posted 04/20 at 04:36 PM
Your son is going to be disappointed by the Cubs for another 100 years
Posted 04/20 at 04:57 PM
Being a Cubs fan, i think Carlo made a terrific choice! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) my kids were not presented with a choice of team to root for. It’s the Cubs 1st, and after that you pick whoever you want, but in my house, we root for the Cubs.
Not the most diplomatic or open minded, but it is what it is.
Posted 04/20 at 04:58 PM
Try MiLB.com for some Minor League gear. Lots of unique names and logos that appeal to kids without necessarily any strong attachment to a Major League team.
Posted 04/20 at 07:16 PM
I think there’s nothing wrong w/Mr. Squarepants.
Posted 04/20 at 07:48 PM
Nick C said...
Poor kid…for at least 100 reasons he made a bad choice. He picked a team with a tradition. A tradition of suckitude like no other.
Posted 04/21 at 12:02 PM