PRESS RELEASE – Heading into their seventh season, the East Texas Pump Jacks were in search of something different. The organization wasn’t seeking a complete overhaul, just a little tweak to its look when the team takes the field.
After considering all the traditional options – such as changing logos or new uniforms – the Pump Jacks found inspiration in the most unlikely of places: musical artist and producer, Pharrell Williams.
Pump Jacks players will take the field wearing an adopted version of Williams’ oversized Buffalo hat made famous at the 2014 Grammy Awards. The hat made nearly as many headlines as Williams himself, who was awarded four Grammys while wearing the stylish headgear.
“Pharrell made a fashion statement, and we heard it loud and clear,” said Pump Jacks general manager Mike Lieberman. “Athletes and artists both have been known to set trends, so there’s no reason the Pump Jacks can’t follow Pharrell’s lead.
“Yes, Pharrell’s hat was compared to that of the Canadian Mounties or U.S. Park Rangers, but that’s just a testament to its unique attraction,” Lieberman added.
Although the hat’s style has been made famous lately in the music and fashion industry, the team said nothing like it has been seen on a baseball field. In fact, the baseball caps worn by players have changed little in the last century.
Pump Jacks fans may have to adapt to the new style, but otherwise the look of the hat will resemble the team’s caps from its first six years. The forest green cap will still sport the Jacks’ “Boomer the Donkey” hat logo, while the burgundy version will sport the matching “Derrick the Dinosaur” mark.
Running with a hat that sits so high on the head was thought to be a disadvantage at first. However, it’s believed that such a large hat could offer some protection from head injuries, offsetting any aerodynamic handicap.
“I’m anxious to see Matthew Dickey run in our new hat,” Lieberman said about the 2013 TCL Co-Freshman of the Year. Dickey set a league record last season with 40 stolen bases, and he will anchor the Pump Jacks outfield this summer. “I don’t think anything can slow him down, and it will help him when he slides head first, because his hat will get there a split second sooner now.”
League personnel have not been consulted on the Pump Jacks’ Pharrell hat, but the team doesn’t expect any complications. East Texas will continue to work with the Zephyr, the official cap supplier of the Texas Collegiate League.
For the last several months, the team has been in search of a change to its overall look and feel. Officials made it clear the team was willing to break with convention and consider non-baseball ideas. For instance, the Jacks evaluated sheer uniform tops inspired by much of Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe.
“Our suppliers couldn’t come up with a Kardashian-style jersey that was resistant to grass stains, so we had to go back to the drawing board,” said Lieberman.
Official player caps will be available in the team store once the season begins. A price has not yet been set, but it is expected to be less than the $44,100 the Arby’s restaurant chain spent at auction to buy the hat Pharrell wore to the Grammy Awards.
Looking to the future, the Pump Jacks aren’t planning any other changes to the team’s uniform or logo, but they’re not ruling them out, either.
“Subtle, moderate changes are how we prefer to go about things,” said Lieberman while looking at a design of the new hat. “After all, look at the Miami Marlins. A few years ago, they changed their logo and their uniforms entirely, and they have finished in last place every season since. You can’t just go off the deep end.”
Doing things a little differently is becoming a habit for the Pump Jacks. In 2011, East Texas extended a contract to disgruntled Texas Rangers star Michael Young. A year earlier, the club offered the position of on-field emcee to television host Conan O’Brien, who had been bounced from his position on the “Tonight Show.” O’Brien ultimately chose to have his own show on TBS instead of joining the Jacks.
“All we want to do is have a little fun, so say what you want about our new hats, but you can’t tell me they’re not fun,” said Lieberman. The new lids make their Historic Driller Park debut at the team’s home opener on Tuesday, June 3, against the Woodlands Strykers. The Jacks and their high-top hats open the season on the road on May 29 against the Texas Marshals. The complete Pump Jacks schedule can be found here, and season ticket information is available here.
Yesterday, the Pump Jacks announced Panola College pitchers Marshall Kasowski and Robbie Petty had signed with the team, joining Dickey on the 2014 roster. To follow all the news as the Jacks prepare for the 2014 season, visit the Pump Jacks official web site at http://www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Join the conversation with other members of Pump Jacks Nation by visiting the Pump Jacks on Facebook and Twitter.