I guess the concept of the “Pink Hat” became known to us shortly after the Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. People who never followed the team before became overnight super-fans and the quickest way to identify these johnny come latelys was that the majority of them thought it was cute to buy and proudly wear a pink Red Sox Hat. (No self-respecting real fan of the Red Sox would be caught dead in a pink hat.)
To a lesser extent, this trend continued when the Celtics won and when the Patriots won the Superbowl, but the Patriots not so much because despite the cuteness of Tom Brady, being a Patriots fan (even with a Pink Hat) meant enduring very cold weather.
Now I mention this small segment of the sports fandom, because as you know unless you have been hermetically sealed in a closet somewhere, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. The pink hats are in heaven.
I have been a Bruins fan my whole life. My dad had season tickets in section 101 of the old Boston Garden, so we went to most every game. I have followed them on TV win or lose, and most years in September we go to training camp to watch them, dating back to The Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg where they trained during the previous '70 & '72 Cup years to the present location in Wilmington. Curiously, every year would end with me having exclusive ownership of the team. Co-workers would approach me and say, “Gee Dave, I see ‘your’ Bruins got eliminated.” This year I no longer have exclusivity; they are apparently everybody’s Bruins.
I watched the seventh game the other night and after the Bruins won the Cup, went anxiously on-line with credit card in hand fully intending to buy a hat and T-shirt as they showed on TV. Curiously I got a message in big red letters that said: "The merchandise you have ordered is event specific and won’t be shipped until after 6/30/11.” Huh? This didn’t make any sense.
So I killed the order. When I got to work the next day someone said they heard Modells Sporting Goods was open all night and that all the hats and T-shirts were gone. When I got home at lunch the newspeople verified all the hats and shirts were sold out. People were camping out at sporting goods stores so they could beg and grovel when the next shipment came in. Sadly, since I have a job, I was excluded from purchasing any merchandise.
It seems to me that the merchandise most certainly was bought up by the pink hats; people who had absolutely no interest in the team at all during the regular season but jumped onto the bandwagon as they advanced in the playoffs-amazing. Real year-after-year fans have no access to merchandise- pink hats who don’t work camp out and scoop up each shirt and hat as they arrive at the store.
I cannot for the life of me understand how such a merchandising boondoggle like this could occur. Someone must have been asleep at the switch and now nearly a week later the problem continues. As late as this morning, I saw fans posting questions on the “Bruins Fanatics” page asking where they can buy hats and shirts, and apparently various locations are still receiving dribs and drabs of shipments. Now try to get your mind around this. The economy is terrible. People are clamouring to buy this merchandise and have been for over a week now and yet no one has taken the problem seriously enough to remedy it.
As for me- I won’t be buying any of this merchandise- i am sick of being treated this way. Shame on the Bruins for allowing this to happen to their loyal fanbase. It is a black mark on an otherwise super year.