Screenshot of new Atlanta Braves batting practice hat on the Uni Watch blog for ESPN.com.
The holidays are typically a slow time for baseball when what what passes as off-season action--trades and free-agent signings--comes to a crawl.
This is when Major League Baseball tends to fill the empty space with a little preview of the coming season. Like, showcasing new uniforms.
However, when Paul Lukas posted on ESPN a sneak peek--leaked from "an inside source"--of new team batting practice hats for 2013, he set off a wave of negative publicity for the Atlanta Braves.
That's because the new ball cap features an old logo, one long considered insensitive and offensive to Native Americans.
For that reason, the team stopped using the so-called "screaming Indian" logo on regular uniforms in 1989, and even had it removed from the Braves' throwback jerseys last year.
Having already attacked the use of Native American imagery in sports uniforms just a couple months earlier, it was no surprise that Lukas called the new Braves cap "Disappointing," and gave it an "F."
He wasn't alone.
CBSSports.com blogger C. Trent Rosecrans said the Atlanta design is "Hands down, the worst" of the whole MLB bunch.
On Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Kaduk in the Big League Stew blog dedicated an entire post to the hat, saying he hoped fans would "be spared the sight of Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward awkwardly wearing these caps around the cage next spring."
Filed under "Racism" on Deadspin, writer Tom Ley deadpans that the logo depicts the character "in mid-shriek as he watches either a Braves home run or the forcible uprooting and assimilation of his culture."
With a much lengthier and more nuanced post on Capitol Avenue Club, a Braves blog affiliate of ESPN, Franklin Rabon uses the controversy to plumb the complex nature of racism in America, particular to Native Americans, and how it plays out in the imagery used in sports.
But as commentary on the blogosphere grows--now including non-sports blogs--the one voice still missing is an official one from Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves.