With the Kansas City Royals about to clinch their first division title in 30 years my head has been a little baseball focused these days. This afternoon I came across a new interactive ad from Gatorade designed to work in Chrome, or the latest mobile app version of YouTube. Yes unfortunately for some, you have to check this out in Chrome.
What we have is a 360 degree virtual reality baseball experience that puts you the viewer in Bryce Harpers Point of View (I wish it was a Royals player though). When you load the video you can pan around the stadium from the on deck circle while waiting to get up to bat in the bottom of the 9th. Then you get to go toe to toe with a Major League pitcher and see if you can smack a fastball out of the park.
It’s a great use of technology with little product placement or marketing going on. It is however memorable and there is a tiny little Gatorade logo in the bottom right corner of the video reminding you who brought you this experience.
Hey, you wouldn’t have to hold your hand up to your eyes if you wore your hat correctly.
OK, I’m just going to cut to the chase and say it. Gentlemen, there is no way that backward baseball cap makes you look cool. I’m sorry, it makes you look like an immature jackwagon that is trying to hard. If you are past your early teen years and you are wearing your hat backward you look like an idiot. I’m sorry that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
Here are some things you should think about before turning that hat around and stepping out into the world at large.
The bill on the hat has a purpose. It is designed to keep the sun out of your eyes so you can see better.
If you need to shade your neck, get a hat with a brim that goes all the way around your head.
This only looks good on children under the age of about 15, and 15 is pushing it.
The only people that look OK with their ball hat turned around are baseball catchers and welders. By the way, most catchers and welders turn the hat front facing when their face mask comes off.
Wearing your hat backward does not make you look like a rapper.
Wearing your hat backward will not help you get laid
Wearing your hat backward doesn’t make or work with any fashion statement you are trying to achieve or create.
Wearing your hat backward in the car prevents you from comfortably resting your head on the head rest behind you.
If you wear your hat backward for a long enough period of time on a sunny day, and it has an adjuster, you will sunburn a half circle on your forehead. This will make you look like an even bigger idiot when the hat is off.
Wearing your hat backward doesn’t make you look bad ass, tough, or edgy. It won’t make you any of those things either. What it will do is make you look like an adolescent twerp.
So let’s look at the baseball hat from a historical and design perspective.
Around 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors added to their uniform what would become the modern day baseball hat. The original had a flat top, but the purpose was the same. “Keep the sun out of my eyes so I can catch the ball”. By 1900 the Brooklyn style hat had transformed to a look that is almost identical to what players wear today. It featured a vented round top, with a curved bill. During the 1940’s with the advent of new materials like latex rubber (used to stiffen the hat brim), the modern baseball hat was born. This new material allowed the brim of the hat to be lengthened to better shade the player’s eyes. A design enhancement that was never intended to shade a players neck.
Fitted baseball hats are normally sewn together from six wedge-shaped pieces of cloth. The six sections are matched to a top covering the “squatchee”, and they are vented with metal or fabric grommets to allow the hat to breathe on warm days. The curved bill is specifically designed to shield your eyes from sunlight allowing you to see better. The bill is stiffened with paperboard in order to hold the curved shape. The curved shape of the bill provides ample shade across the face without impeding peripheral vision.
The humble baseball hat was designed with a purpose and has a storied history. Wearing it backward ignores all of this and makes pretty much everyone who does it look like a fool. What I don’t get is, if you don’t want to wear the hat the way it was intended to be worn, why don’t you just wear a beanie? or cut the bill off the hat? You’ll pretty much achieve the same result if you do.
Whether you agree with the politics or not, one thing about this animated piece you have to agree with is, the animation and motion graphics are brilliant. Personally I like Bill Maher. I think he’s funny as hell, and pretty spot on about what he says, but like him or not, this is worth watching because it is an outstanding piece of animation, design, and motion graphics work.
I’m not a huge baseball fan, I haven’t been since the baseball strike a few years back. I have other issues with baseball too, my home town team sucks, it feels as though the teams are really set up so rich teams get all the good players at the expense of other teams sort of stacking the deck… I am however, a fan of good design, and good user experience design. This is why I have to say, I really like the iPad application “Pennant” from Vargaton.
Whether you like baseball or not, you will enjoy going through the data visualizations that are presented here in a clean and easy to understand format.The application covers baseball history, games, players, and stats from the 1950’s to the present. As the developer puts it, “This is an interactive exploration of baseball data that allows users to quickly and accurately recreate and investigate the history of the annual race to be the best team in Major League Baseball.”
This application is simple, and elegant with stunning graphics that make baseball attractive to even the most un-interested sports fan. It features a limited color pallet with easy to read typography, and charts. The application flow is simple, seamless and easy to navigate making the overall user experience one that encourages exploration.