Long live the Dodgers! We’ll wear our LA hats forever

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(Jessica de Jesus / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Even in loss, with nothing but regrets for another heartbreaking playoff loss to the Braves. I’ll wear a Dodger hat with pride anywhere. Even in San Francisco.

In 2021, nothing communicates civic pride more than a Dodger hat. If I see a Dodgers hat in the wild, and especially in any city outside of Southern California, I immediately feel a kinship with that person, even if that person doesn’t care about baseball at all. I associate this hat with all the things I love about the city and all the history that goes with it. The Dodgers unite us and are the easiest thing to chat in LA with strangers because, in many ways, they are synonymous with the city itself. Sure, we love our Lakers, but the appeal of the Dodgers transcends the sport. The hat is the reason why.

I own somewhere in the vicinity of 20 of them. I have four hats just to commemorate last year’s World Series victory. I have daddy hats, mesh trucker hats, white hats, a green Aimé Leon Dore hat, and a replica of the 1959 All-Star Game hat with a sombrero embroidered on it. The star of the show is the interlocking white “LA” logo. It has barely changed since 1958, and in 63 years has generated a visual identity for the city in a way that previous abbreviations – say, the one made in this article in 1882 – could not. Like the Yankees hat, the Dodgers hat represents the entire city with a deceptively simple design. An L and an A together, no letter can exist without the other.

The interlocking L and A are iconic – and a fashion statement. It can be found on everything from stickers on laptops to the October staple, the car flag. It is beautiful in its simplicity. So simple, in fact, that you can reproduce with fingers the good Lord gave you. All fashion is about communicating to complete strangers who you are and where you are. The Dodgers hat and LA logo accomplish this better than any garment you can buy.

It’s even hard to imagine LA without the Dodgers logo, but it hardly came true. When the O’Malley family decided to move the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, the most crucial design element that had to change was the hat logo. In Brooklyn, the Dodgers hat was adorned with the letter B in a Gothic font. But LA demanded something new. (There were no “dodge” wagons in Los Angeles in the 1950s.) Initially, Tim McAuliffe – owner of the sports equipment company responsible for designing and manufacturing new equipment for the Dodgers – favored the L and the A standing aside on the hat. But the front office of the team preferred nested letters. Back then, the Minor League Angels had a similar “LA”. with a slight difference; Instead of the top of A sticking out slightly, the letter was square at its top.

The iconic status of the Dodgers version of the logo is now undeniable. And while fans of the modern Angels major leagues can still spend time mocking the Dodgers for stealing their ancestors’ logo, they should also spend time explaining how a baseball team that plays in Anaheim can use the Dodgers. words “Los Angeles” in its mark. Better to avoid the subject altogether.

The Dodgers logo and cap weren’t necessarily created to unite the city. After all, the O’Malleys wiped out an entire thriving Latin American community in Chavez Ravine to build Dodger Stadium, and it took decades of outreach to bring the Latino Angelenos into the fold. But somehow, the Dodgers hat has become a symbol of connection and collective purpose. The Dodgers hat transcends cultural and social boundaries. Dodger Stadium may be separated by income levels thanks to ticket price fluctuations from section to section, but we’re all here for the same reason. When we win, wearing it is a badge of honor. When you lose, it’s a way to share a little collective pain.

My son was born the night of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. If you’re reading this and love the Dodgers, you already know where this is going. I wore Dodgers gear from head to toe in the delivery room: an Andre Ethier Players Weekend blue jersey with his nickname “Daddy” on the back and the Dodgers hat I rubbed dirt in for a while. FanFest particularly intoxicated two years ago (before starting to charge to go to the field). The night before, we had made the rather bold decision to name our son Scully in case we won the championship. It seemed entirely appropriate to commemorate our double blessing with an impromptu decision that we might one day regret.

Of course, by the end of the second run, it didn’t look so good for the whole Scully affair. We were down 5-0 and my son was on the right track. As the contractions started to build up, a nurse kindly asked us to turn off the game. “I think it’s for the best,” I muttered. As thrilled as I was to meet my son, I was almost as happy to have missed the bottom of ninth.

I kept my swimsuit and my hat on for the rest of the night, almost like a shroud of death. The nurses and cafeteria workers happily congratulated me on the birth of my child, but stopped whenever they noticed my Dodgers hat. “Sorry, tough game,” they said. “Maybe next year.”

We would eventually break through and win the World Series in 2020, in a year where we could barely touch each other. Still, the Dodgers hat could break down the barriers we had to build to come together as a city. Instead of kissing strangers or shaking hands, I just showed this simple logo on my hat. That says it all.

Dave Schilling is a writer, humorist, and fashion enthusiast whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Guardian, New York Magazine, and GQ.. He is also the host of the “Galaxy Brains” podcast.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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