I guess I really don’t mind the caps, as long as the New York Mets also served Lucky Charms in the clubhouse; you really should go all the way with this sort of thing. Some people might get upset at their rich and complex heritage getting boiled down to the image of a tiny mythical buffoon in an outrageous gold-buckled hat, but I’m not easily offended. Then again, I did unfriend two people from Facebook for using “St. Patty’s Day” in a sentence; Padraig/Paddy is Irish (awesome); Patrick is English (less than awesome); and Patty is the diminutive of Patricia (completely un-awesome for dudes of any nationality).
Yes, the hats inherently bothered me, but not after I noticed the Mets at least knew a proper shamrock has three leaves, not four. Even if that was a design-based decision, it’s close enough. Like the idea of stereotypes themselves, I’m a bit of a wild card. And instead of bothering to be angry about the Mets’ nod to St. Patrick’s Day, who was a British-Roman, anyway, I’m really starting to worry about what kind of stress medication I’ll need if Ruben Tejada is still with the team on Mar. 31.
On a serious note, the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and, yes, even Notre Dame are a few of the organizations that have received public criticism because of their chosen names and logos. There deserves to be an ongoing conversation about this; are the Atlanta Braves an example of institutional racism or an honest acknowledgement of the native warriors who came before us? Think about it before joining in the next “Tomahawk Chop” when the Braves are down in the seventh and need an authentic “Indian” rallying cry.
Engaging these topics through a sports-focused lens gives us the benefit of removing some of the tensions associated with them. Practically speaking, professional baseball is nothing more than grown adults thwacking around a ball for a few hours, but as fans we know the games mean so much more than that. The games are important — as much to our culture as what they say about our culture.
I don’t know if leprechauns, or chiefs, or Vikings on hats are universally offensive, but I know the amount of money those hats generate is quite obscene. That should bother people. Now, speaking as a fan, I don’t care if Mr. Met slides down a rainbow waterslide into a pot o’ gold swinging a shillelagh every time Daniel Murphy hits a double and the team makes a commemorative jersey about it – as long as the Mets put that extra coin into a slugging first baseman.
But as a human being, yeah, I’d feel the need to say something about it.