The average baseball enthusiast will likely never see any action in a Major League (or minor league, for that matter) baseball game. However, a quick and sometimes cheap way to be as close to the game as possible is to own your favorite team's merchandise and apparel, whether it be a hat, jersey or just little souvenirs to indicate where your allegiance lies very clearly.
The meaning behind sports apparel.
More often than not, the color schemes and logos that appear on professional teams' merchandise do not come to designers at random. Usually, the colors and symbols that represent a team, and most likely an entire city or region. A great example of this is the uniform worn by the New York Mets. Their uniform, a combination of Yankee pinstripes and Dodger blue, was designed to represent the return of the National League's return to New York. Blue and Orange, colors that are still worn by the Mets, are the official colors of New York City. Before the move to Washington D.C., the Montreal Expos wore an interlocking "MEB," which was an acronym for "Montreal Expos Baseball."
Things to look for when buying merchandise.
Purchasing unlicensed merchandise is not as big of a problem as it is when dealing with collectibles. Unlicensed products are produced by 3rd party companies that are in no way affiliated with the MLB. Generally speaking, unlicensed merchandise is a great way to show allegiance without paying an outrageous amount of money. An unlicensed t-shirt can go for under $10, with hats and jerseys following the same, low-priced trend. However, things get a little sketchy when it comes to dealing with official MLB hats and jerseys. An official cap, which comes in fitted sizes, can cost upwards of $25, and fakes are pretty easy to spot. Jerseys are a different monster, as people are getting better at producing a realistic, but unlicensed product. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for an authentic mlb jersey.
* If you're shopping for a gift, and are not familiar with the team you are shopping for, do some research. Merchants selling fake goods prey on those who have no idea what they're shopping for.
* When dealing with authentic jerseys, it's especially important to pay close attention to the lettering on the back. Unlicensed jerseys tend to slip through the cracks with lettering that's completely different from what the team uses, so this is another thing that potential buyers should be aware of.
* Look for terms like "authentic" or "tackle twill." Some teams layer colors, and this is done through tackle twill, so if it seems as if the color scheme of a jersey is missing something, odds are that it's not authentic.
* Authentic MLB jerseys will feature an embroidered MLB logo along the collar line on the back of the jersey, just above the last name of a player. They also include a patch on the bottom left hand side of the front of the jersey that will essentially say "MLB Authentic." If a jersey you're looking at is missing one of these, or either one looks questionable, it's time to move on.
These are only a few suggestions as to how to shop for merchandise, but paying attention to these will help ensure that you get the best bang for your buck, while avoiding being ripped off for large amounts of cash. Play ball!