‘The Yankees Cap Goes Viral in Brazil: “Is It Basketball?”’

Jack Nicas, reporting for The New York Times from Brazil on the nation’s most popular headgear:

More than any other sports paraphernalia, the Yankees cap has become its very own fashion trend, unmoored from the sport or the team it represents. Lifted by starring roles in hip-hop videos, celebrity endorsements and collaborations with Gucci and Supreme, the hat has gone fully global, crossing borders to lands where mentions of Babe Ruth and Aaron Judge will elicit blank stares — never mind trying to explain the “Evil Empire.”

This week, the Yankees start playing meaningful baseball once again, and Yankees fans in New York will pull on the caps to show their allegiance. But to many others in places like Brazil, China and Nigeria, the interlocked NY insignia will remain simply a classic piece of Americana, a status symbol, or a generic — perhaps chic — emblem of the West.

“The logo is super stylish and, I think, sophisticated,” said Natalia Monsores, 40, while checking out a wall of Yankees hats in a luxury-mall shop owned by New Era, the Buffalo, N.Y., company that makes the official Yankees caps. “It’s the symbol of the brand, right? New Era,” she replied when asked what the logo meant. “You’re sending a sign: ‘I’m wearing something quality.’”

Super stylish and something quality, indeed.

“It’s American football? Or is it a brand?” said Carlos Henrique, 20, hawking Yankees caps off a metal rack he was carrying on Rio’s Ipanema Beach. Either way, it was his best seller. “I just know it calls attention,” he said. “And it looks good on everyone.”

Someday soon, one can hope, it will look good on Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Thursday, 30 March 2023