- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2007

Major League Baseball is replacing its wool caps with polyester-blend hats this year. What’s the difference between the two?

• Wool

As a natural fiber, wool can shrink or stretch to fit conditions.

“When you look under a microscope, the fibers are like an asparagus, with cuticles that interlock,” says Rita Samuelson, marketing director for the American Wool Council. “It does all this multitasking that man-made fiber does not.”

However, New Era, the cap manufacturer, says wool doesn’t wick sweat as well as some man-made fibers — something pro ballplayers need.

• The new polyester blend

New Era says the new poly-blend caps will offer better “moisture management.”

It is true they won’t shrink or stretch; the shape and size in which they arrive is the shape and size they’ll stay. The company sees that as a plus, though some civilians, who like to shape their own hats, may disagree.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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