Hats and Other Head Games

There are few things that will tip my wife over more quickly than me telling her I am in desperate need of some new piece of Arizona Diamondbacks merchandise. Usually this results in yet another lengthy lecture where she tells me that I already own every piece of Diamondbacks merchandise ever made.

This of course is an exaggeration. I know of at least four items that I don’t have and that’s even before I go out to the Arizona Diamondbacks web store or visit the Chase Field Team Shop. I’ve told her a million times that she shouldn’t exaggerate.

Today for a moment I forgot about the lecture when I commented that I was in dire need of a new Diamondbacks hat. While Trina began recounting every hat I owned in a voice that sounded eerily like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba Blue as he named the various types of shrimp, I was already lost in visions of a new hat.

This was not just any hat I was talking about; this was the new Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Training and batting practice hat. When the Diamondbacks changed colors at the end of the 2006 season, it meant I had to re-buy everything that I owned in purple and teal to be Sedona Red and black.

This was not the first time we had this discussion. When Major League Baseball first announced the new hats I knew it was inevitable that I would need one. Still, my wife insisted that I not buy one because, “your birthday is coming”.

The problem with the birthday excuse is that it only works up until your birthday. Once the birthday actually passes and you didn’t get the hat, the argument ceases to be relevant.

So now that my birthday was nearly two weeks ago and I am still without a hat, I figured it was fair game, an argument my wife was still not recognizing as a fact.

The problem with the batting practice hats is that they do not follow any conventional sizing. Hat sizing as a rule is a black art. I have no idea what the whole number means and I am even less sure what the fraction represents.

All I know is that since high school I have worn a size 7 ¼. I would love to say that 7 ¼ is the same for every hat but I have learned through the years that no two hats fit alike regardless of the size and that your best bet is to try on everyone on the rack until you develop a bond with the hat.

In a sense it is kind of like the sorting hat in the Harry Potter books. You put the hat on and it decides whether you are the owner or not. Of course if I ever stick a hat on my head and it starts talking to me it was probably be time to call the guys in the white coats in the white van to take me somewhere serene and peaceful with padded doors.

Oh and as for Harry Potter and the sorting hat, I am pretty sure I would be in Slitherin. I mean where else would you put a Diamondbacks fan than in the house of snakes? Sorry, I got off topic there for a second.

So while every hat in the world goes by the number and fraction formula, the batting practice hats come in sizes: Small/Medium, Medium/Large, and Large/Extra Large. When I went to the hat store I asked for a Diamondbacks batting practice hat in size 7 ¼. The guy behind the counter just stared blankly at me like a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

I repeated my request at which time he explained the “new” sizing just for these hats. Now it was my turn to stare at him like a Pirates fan. Clearly we were not getting anywhere and neither of us was comfortable being compared to a Pirates fan.

Instead we took all of the hats off the rack and began testing each to see which equated to a size 7 ¼. What I learned was that a 7 ¼ is exactly halfway between a Small/Medium and a Medium/Large.

The Small/Medium fits snugly while the Medium/Large is rather loose. I left the shop frustrated and without a hat. I could either have a hat that fit perfectly if I shaved my head or gave me perfect hat hair when I removed it for the National Anthem.

I am now left sitting in front of a computer with a browser opened to Google trying to see if there are any exercises I can do to shrink my head without resorting to black magic. Getting a new hat should not be this hard.


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