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I'm the cat in the rival team's hat

For years I have worn a Boston Braves baseball cap, even though the team left the city decades ago. I have no strong tie to Boston (being a New Yorker); I'm not even a baseball fan. Rather than reflecting a team preference, I do so because I like having a "B" on my cap, Bill being my first name.

My hats are the only part of my wardrobe to generate any interest among others. Following sartorial convention, from Labor Day to Memorial Day I wear felt, in my case a Borsalino. Over the summer, I wear straw.

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My boater, while I still had it, was looked upon by the carriage horses at Grand Army Plaza as an enticing delicacy.

My present summer hat is a Panama. "That's a great Panamanian," a passerby said to me. Another said, "I like your Havana!"

New Yorkers know more about baseball than straw hats. A number recognize my cap and share with me their knowledge of the Braves, including the team's moves to Milwaukee and then Atlanta.

Needing a new cap, I went to a baseball souvenir store a few weeks ago. I would have preferred a Brooklyn Dodgers cap. The requisite "B" is there, and I have emotional and territorial ties to the Dodgers.

But these caps were all too small, as were the Boston Braves caps. My head is size 7-5/8. Finding a fit is a challenge.

I selected a Red Sox cap. It fits nicely, but I hope I have not made a serious mistake. The Boston Braves, since they no longer exist, are not viewed as a threat by New York sports fans, but competition between the Red Sox and Yankees is intense. Curbside comments about my new cap may be less polite.

Now I am forced to follow baseball standings to determine whether it is wise for me to appear on the street wearing a Red Sox cap. With New York and Boston only a few games apart in the standings, the situation is dicey.

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I may have to revert to my old Braves cap until the season is over.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society