Why are the Los Angeles Dodgers wearing the caps from Nagoya’s professional baseball team?

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Is the storied L.A. franchise ripping off the uniform of the Japanese club, or is this just a case of “What goes around comes around?”

Unlike a lot of other teams in professional baseball, the Dodgers don’t really tweak their uniforms very often. When they relocated to the West coast from Brooklyn in 1958, they adopted their iconic interlocking LA logo. They’ve kept it for every game since, barring about a half-dozen games in 2011 and 2012 in which they donned caps with the Brooklyn B to honor their roots and legendary former Dodger Jackie Robinson.

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As one of the most enduring logos in professional sports, just seeing it instills a sort of pride in Los Angeles sports fans. Come spring training, though, the Dodgers will be rocking a new design in selected games which replaces the initials of their home turf with a D.

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It’s not a bad look, and rendering the D in the classic font in which “Dodgers” is written on the team’s jerseys makes it instantly understandable what the letter stands for. The shift is also sort of appropriate for spring training games, which are played in Arizona of Florida (with the corresponding state highway signs on the side of the hat). Some local spectators catching an exhibition game might even be more enticed to buy a cap and support the team since the new design won’t have the side effect of making them look like they’re ready to start singing “I Love L.A.”

Since the start of spring training is still a few months away, you can’t buy a blue and white D cap yet. Well, at least not in America. In Japan, on the other hand, they’ve been available for almost 30 years.

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That’s the cap worn by the Chunichi Dragons, who play their home games in Nagoya, from 1987 to 1996. But before you go calling foul on the Dodgers for lifting the Dragons’ logo, here’s the jersey the Dragons wore during that same span of time.

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Hmm…where have I seen something like that before?

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The Dragon’s uniforms from the late 1980s to mid-‘90s were just the Dodgers’ with the text changed, but the exact same font, spacing, and number placement. The above Fernando Valenzuela jersey is from 1983, and the Dodgers had been using this design for several years prior to that.

This isn’t the only instance of a Japanese team heavily borrowing elements of its uniform from an American club. Unless you notice the subtle difference in hue, it’s extremely easy to mistake the Hiroshima Carp’s hats for the Cincinnati Reds’. For many years, Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants copied the uniforms, colors, and even name of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

In the Dragons’ defense, they’ve gotten a little more original in the uniform department in recent years, and have even switched to caps with an interlocking CD logo. Taking that into consideration, there’s really nothing wrong with the Dodgers rocking the D caps during spring training. The Dragons aren’t using them, and really, the Dodgers are just taking them back.

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