An art director in Rio de Janeiro shopping for a baseball cap tried to relate Brazil's attitude toward baseball, a sport many people there say they don't understand. "We can't even understand how a sport like this is so successful," João Ricardo Santos said, noting that baseball in the US "fills the stadiums and soccer doesn't. Like, in our head, that doesn't make any sense." American fans might find this equally hard to understand about Brazil: New York Yankees caps are a huge seller, the New York Times reports, though many people buying them haven't heard of the team, don't follow baseball, and aren't sure why "NY" is even on the caps.
"It's American football? Or is it a brand?" asked a 20-year-old vendor who sells more Yankees caps than any other. "I just know it calls attention. And it looks good on everyone." Most caps sold in Brazil are knockoffs—New Era makes the official cap—but buyers see the design as a status symbol, per the Times. "The logo is super stylish and, I think, sophisticated," said a woman browsing in a New Era shop. "You're sending a sign: 'I'm wearing something quality.'" New Era doesn't even think the sales reflect Yankees fandom. “Ninety-eight percent of Brazilians don’t know it's a baseball team," said the company's Artur Regen. "New York is cool and they want to be associated with it." Red Sox fans have at least one champion in Brazil. Jesus Tacae wears a Yankees cap but said: "My favorite team is Boston. But they don't sell that here." (Read more Brazil stories.)