Let's "Well Actually" MLB's Independence Day Hats


Major League Baseball never met a holiday it didn’t like as an opportunity to create novelty hats and uniforms. Its line of special event uniforms for the 2018 season were unveiled earlier this week. You know, pink for Mother’s Day, blue for Father’s Day, camo for Memorial Day, and the like. Those were all largely unremarkable. But the Independence Day getup, to be worn on the Fourth of July, is causing a bit of a stir, thanks to an inscription on the bill of the hats.

Paul Lukas is correct. Quoting the Constitution on the Fourth of July is fine and good and perhaps patriotic, but doesn’t make the most sense when the Declaration of Independence is sitting there, ready to be mined for cool uniform accents. Lots of good stuff about self-evident truths and rights endowed by a Creator to choose from.

Now, is this a big deal? No, not really. But there’s an argument to be made that this oversight is reflective of the larger trend MLB has embraced in recent years: symbolism for symbolism’s sake. Or, more cynically, symbolism for souvenir sales’ sake.

It’s as if the league thinks every special day on the calendar must be celebrated in the most obvious and over-the-top way possible. And if you point this out — or question the deeper meaning behind some of the holiday flourishes — then you’re the person either knocking patriotism or seemingly hating on mothers and fathers.

MLB is banking on 98 percent of the population never thinking critically about this stuff because, well, it’s really not worth making a stink over. That’s how we end up with lines from the Constitution on Fourth of July hats and players decked out in so much pink that they look like an Energizer Bunny family.

So, uh, happy MLB theme days, everyone. Try not to overanalyze what’s going on.