Practicality explains why baseball players may want to wear a billed cap. But why does every player always wear a hat? Because it’s the right thing to do.
Every baseball player wears a hat. Few bother to ask why? Because those few are truly insane enough to ask the question. But here you are. Welcome. This is where you belong.
No. No hat-wearing mandate exists in MLB’s official rules. No rules explicitly states ballplayers must wear a hat. Two related rules
03 (a) – All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs.
03 (c) – No player whose uniform does not conform to that of his teammates shall be permitted to participate in a game.
By the letter of the law, no single player can take the field without a cap if the rest of the team continues to wear hats.
However, should an entire team decide to take the field hat-less, nothing in the rules would prohibit them. Only a rogue umpire with a pocket full of pop rocks would start lopping off hat-less heads should a team be so bold. Though he may be in the right.
Because it’s fun. Don’t you like fun? Wearing a hat properly, while a joy, cannot satiate vibrant personalities with a flair for the dramatic. Sometimes an ordinary flat-billed cap pointing directly forward doesn’t cut it.
So fun players like C.C. Sabathia, Pedro Strop and Fernando Rodney tilt their cap to the side to have fun and mentally torture furious, purist opponents insistent on forward facing cap bills.
And sometimes there’s more to it. David Lumia from Fox Sports has the scoop on why Fernando Rodney tilts his cap to the side:
Rodney says he wears his cap tilted to the left side of his head as a tribute to his father — Ulise Rodney — who died six days before Fernando made his major league debut with the Tigers in 2002. Ulise was a fisherman in the Dominican Republic and wore his cap tilted to the side because “that’s the side the sun hits his face.”
Wearing a hat backwards more directly flirts with a rule violation. A tilted cap offends The Law less than one fully reversed.
In terms of the rules the same situation applies here. Nothing in the rules prohibits an entire team from turning their hats around. But one player isn’t allowed to do it on his own.
You’ll most commonly see ballplayers turn that cap around at informal events like a Home Run Derby, batting practice or warmups.
Once the game begins, the bill turns forward and order is restored.
Because wearing a hat is better.
Hat-wearing is the activity of the distinguished gentleman. The honorable among us. Be wary of suspicious nearby males who travel wielding an unencumbered skull.
Baseball is a game. But baseball is also our National Identity. Baseball players set the example for who we are as Americans.
Do we desire a nation of repellant, perverted men who bare all skull even among strangers? Do we desire a hellish descent into an anarchy in which you cannot ascertain a man’s devotions from the logo upon his forehead?
Baseball players wear hats because that’s what they do. And that’s what we do. Because we are civilized, enlightened men. Because like our heroes and representatives on the diamond, we must be better. And it starts with a hat.