The holidays are approaching which means Big League Stew is on the lookout for the neatest baseball-themed gifts for enthusiasts of what's still our national pastime. Welcome to another installment of Big League Stew's Holiday Gift Guide '08.
The image of a choo-choo train riding atop tracks that are laid around the tree remains an indelible image of Christmas. This holiday season, Hawthorne Village marries that icon with another from U.S. society, baseball. Yes, the Baseball Fever Village Collection ($349, collectiblestoday.com) comes in four different team themes — White Sox, Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox — and is sure to put a little baseball hop in your holiday step.
However, you must hurry if you want to buy either of the Chicago villages beccause they say so much of thie Windy City has been sold already. Allegedly.
Of course, it's the details (listed below) that make this gift essential:
• It contains accurate-looking miniature stadiums! We know that anything with a miniature stadium is cool, especially if it has accurate details. These seem to fit the bill. Plus, with ol' Yankee Stadium heading for moth/wrecking balls, you get to hang onto history in three miniature dimensions.
• It contains part of the home team's respective skyline! Anything with Chicago's John Hancock Center, Boston's Prudential Tower or New York's Statue of Liberty is boss. The White Sox set also includes buildings that light up the words "Sox Win" and "Sox Pride," a reminder of the team's World Series run when actual buildings in the city displayed similar messages. Even better, you can presumably point home plate toward downtown Chicago, like they should have done with the real U.S. Cellular Field in the first place!
• It contains a running trolley! Yes, including exact replicas of the New York Subway, Chicago's "L" or Boston's "T" would have been ideal, but stop complaining — at least there's an old-school trolley here. There's also a blimp that "flies," so you (or your 12-year-old) can pretend it's the old NBC Saturday Game of the Week with Bob Costas and Tony Kubek.
Downsides of the village include the price (there is an installment plan) and the fact that it comes in "issues" (i.e., not all at once). I want my Quincy Market and I want it now!
Last, but not least, there is no sign of the "Q" winged serpent that infested the Chrysler Building back in the early '80s.
Make sure to check out Big League Stew's previous gift ideas, which include caskets and urns styled for your favorite clubs; the "Bullpen Buddy" inflatable aid for relief pitchers; a chair and ottoman shaped like baseballs; a portable bathroom and a peppermill that looks like a bat. Happy holidays, shoppers!