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The six hats of the Arizona Fall League, ranked

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The secret for walking into Coors Field as a fan with instant credibility: Wear a Fresno Tacos Salt River Rafters cap.

The Arizona Fall League spans only 30 games each year, and while every player wears the MLB uniform of their big league affiliate, they all wear the hats of their respective Fall League team. This means Michael Toglia, Ryan Vilade and company are wearing teal Salt River Rafters caps this fall while sporting a full Rockies uniform from the neck down.

You don’t often see Arizona Fall League caps on just any fan. The large AFL patch over the right ear makes them easily identifiable, while the MLB logo on the back of the cap separates it from minor league jurisdiction. The availability on these caps online is extremely scarce, which suggests that a good portion of these caps were purchased at a Fall League game where attendance can be select.

In other words: these are some hats to wear if you want to look like a diehard.

The Arizona Fall League changed all six of their hats before the start of the 2019 season. (Click here for what they looked like before.) The new renditions have more distinct colors than the reds, oranges and yellows of the old caps, and they are a little more detailed. Those in favor of simple, traditional logos on baseball caps might shy away from the intricate logos of the AFL caps, but those familiar with the Fall League will most definitely recognize and respect the detail from afar.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, of course, so a ranking of Fall League caps is highly disputable. Here is a makeshift power ranking, in reverse order:

6. Peoria Javelinas

Highlighter yellow is not a color you often see on an on-field cap. The silver bill makes this cap unique in its own right, and the colors are something that might belong in the “Turn Ahead The Clock” MLB uniform series.

5. Salt River Rafters

Once you see the Aquafresh toothpaste logo, you cannot unsee it.

The Salt River Rafters had an exceptional hat prior to the ‘wave’ logo. The old bat and oar logo is a common hat selection of many employees at Salt River Fields to this day, and it looked exceptional with a Rockies uniform. Teal and purple isn’t an atrocious combo, but black and purple is a little more cohesive.

One upside to the new logo: it’s relatively simple. You can see it relatively clear from across the field and there isn’t a ton of distracting detail. The color alone gives it popularity from many, too.

4. Mesa Solar Sox

There’s a lot of noise on this hat. The sun rays stretch across nearly the entire front of the cap itself; you can definitely tell these are sun rays from across the diamond, but it doesn’t fit the criteria of simple MLB caps that have stood the test of time (the Yankees’ ‘NY’ or Dodgers’ ‘LA’, for example). It’s noticeable, it screams ‘Valley of the Sun’, and some subtle baseball laces inside the sun itself are a nice accent.

Fans get their moneys worth when it comes to the amount of stitching on one of these bad boys.

3. Glendale Desert Dogs

This logo didn’t change after the 2019 redesign. Once you get past the circular logo looking like a trucker hat, this is a pretty solid cap.

It’s tough to match orange with a handful of the Desert Dogs’ affiliates (i.e. the Cardinals and Angels), but the orange bill definitely stands out—especially with a home Dodgers uniform.

2. Scottsdale Scorpions

Reminiscent of the 1994 Michael Jordan-era Scorpions, this hat features a little more realistic-looking scorpion than the previous one. It is the only non-black hat other than the Rafters and the metallic silver around the scorpion itself is an eye-catching touch.

1. Surprise Saguaros

What could be more Arizona than a saguaro? This cap has plenty of design elements — a common theme with a few Fall League hats — but the look of the saguaro itself makes this cap easily identifiable from afar. The old saguaro was a simple, contemporary look, while the new look is another bestseller across the Fall League ballparks.

Bonus question: If you could wear one hat into Coors Field to show people you know what you’re talking about, which one would you wear?

Although a current minor league affiliate would be a respectable choice, let’s dig a little deeper. Options:

Bonus reading from Purple Row’s own Adam Peterson: Ranking the Rockies Affiliate Caps (December 17, 2015) | Rockies Zingers

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On the Farm: Arizona Fall League Edition

Glendale Desert Dogs 8, Salt River Rafters 5

Batting in the ninth position in the order, Willie MacIver had a day on Monday. He went 3-for-4 with three singles and a run scored, raising his AFL average from .154 to .294.

Reagan Todd pitched a scoreless eighth inning; his scoreless start to the Fall League is now at six games and 5.1 innings.

Colorado’s usual suspects at the top of the Rafters order, Michael Toglia and Ryan Vilade, went a combined 1-for-8 on Monday. Toglia brought home three runs, however:

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