ST. LOUIS – A controversy is brewing in Cardinal Nation but it has nothing to do with the team. It’s all about Cardinal caps and area codes.
The New Era Cap Company makes baseball hats and other apparel for many MLB teams and the company’s latest attempt at making a specialized local hat for each city drew mockery and derision from many fans.
The Cardinal cap features The Gateway Arch, as well as toasted ravioli and a map of Missouri. The front of the cap has a number that’s upset local fans – the 314 area code.
“Just as many as fans in the 618 area as you have in the 314 area,” said Robert Rencher, who lives in southern Illinois. “I grew up a Cardinal fan.”
In Kansas City, they have multiple area codes but the manufacturers left off the 816 code, which is where the Royals play.
“I might try that because if it’s a hot item, I might go after that as well,” said Andy Shifter, owner of Hats N Stuff in Westport Plaza.
Shifter has been in the fan gear business for 27 years. He thinks New Era is testing the waters with just the 314 area code.
“I would think once that gets off the ground and they start getting reaction from customers and the salespeople, they’ll go back to their office and say, ‘We need 636, we need 573,’” he said.
Cardinal fans in Cahokia, Illinois also want to be represented.
“I think there should be no area codes if they don’t include all area codes,” said Kelly Jennings. “Just like I said, my father was a big Cardinal fan and this would have disappointed him.”
One Cardinals supporter in the 636 area code said he doesn’t care.
“The stadium’s downtown, the team’s downtown the area code is 314,” Emil Dyle said.
FOX 2 contacted New Era headquarters in Buffalo, New York but was unable to get a comment. Since this became an issue on social media, it appeared the company has taken down all MLB cap photos with area codes.