Hey, what's the deal with all these NYC criminals wearing New York Yankees hats? Could it be the ubiquitous and overwhelming popularity of the Yankees in NYC, where they're based? That's a boring theory. Can't we blame Jay-Z somehow?

Criminals might be wearing Yankees merchandise not because they are fans of the team, but because they are fans of the cocked-hat look popularized by Jay-Z and other rappers, said the criminologist, Frankie Y. Bailey, an associate professor at the University at Albany, who is writing a book about the role of clothing and style in criminal cases.

"He wears it and makes it look cool," Ms. Bailey said of Jay-Z and the cap. "It's almost like the Yankees have acquired a kind of street rep, a coolness."

Criminologist: still considered to be a real job, in some circles. There's no word on whether the men who broke into a home wielding toy guns and were then shot by the homeowner were wearing Mets caps, but we can't rule it out at this point. What's next, hip-hopping thugs in California wearing hats of their own local sports teams, while "rapping" about their criminal exploits?

[NYT Pic: Getty]