Copywriter Designs MLB All-Star Hats, Fools Sports Media

By Patrick Coffee 

Last night, the sports blog Bleacher Report asked a rhetorical question:

Are These the 2015 All-Star Game Official Hats?

We have an answer: no, they’re not!

From Fox News:

Report: MLB All-Star Game to Feature Pillbox Hats

Nope. Not going to happen.

Darren Rovell of ESPN apparently got the word from Major League Baseball after the (alleged) hats went viral last night.

Lots of confusion in sports media. As indicated by our headline, the man behind the hat(s) is an agency guy with an eye for design: he’s Jesse Alkire, a Windy City agency veteran who most recently worked as senior copywriter at Cavalry.

This isn’t the first time he’s fooled the press, either.

Back in 2014, Bleacher Report and others reported on his “mild” redesign of NFL team jerseys, which you can check out in full on his personal site. (The original headline on BR was “Latest NFL Redesign Might Be Best Yet.”) The story was so popular that it inspired a petition calling on the NFL to actually hire Alkire. Sadly, that did not come to pass.

We got in touch with Jesse this morning. He writes:

“…so far this is exactly what happened last time with my NFL uniform concepts. Had ’em up on my site for about a week now before this hit this morning.

A lot of times these sports design projects will go a little viral because they’re kinda cool and shareable, sports design is so polarizing and tailor made for Internet hits and bickering. But the problem with most concepts are they always look like some kid made them in Microsoft Paint.

I think the fun thing about my work is that people don’t view them as concepts, they actually think they’re real, so my tendency to go viral is a little stronger because of that.”

The best part about the story is that Jesse didn’t pitch his idea to anyone, so it’s not clear exactly who started the trend. The fact that the narrative went viral so quickly in both cases MAY also speak to certain less-than-fortunate trends in digital reporting:

“…I think overall it’s indicative of a larger problem with Internet reporting and the search for hits over fact.”

Of course, we wouldn’t know ANYTHING about running unconfirmed stories…