Big League Stew's holiday gift guide
Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us. And that means it’s also holiday shopping season. If you’re wondering what to buy the baseball fans in your life, or if you need to put together a wish list for others, Big League Stew has your back. We’ve got gifts for fans of any team and any time in baseball history, so keep on letting that Thanksgiving turkey digest and don’t sweat it.
COVER THE BASICS
A holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without the basic merchandise every baseball fan needs: team stuff! But just because they’re “basics” doesn’t mean they’re boring. These sneakers and high tops from Vans are a great example of non-boring baseball gear; they’ve got little logos on them and look awesomely retro. If you’re looking for cuddly sleepwear to keep you warm during these baseball-less nights, the MLB.com shop has you covered with flannel sleep pants and robes, fluffy slippers, and even footie pajamas. (For both men and women, so no one needs to be left out.)
Tokens & Icons has a lot of great items made out of game-used materials, like bats and baseballs. But the highlight is definitely a winter hat knitted out of the twine from the inside of game-used baseballs. But if you’re looking for a hat that’s a little more baseball forward, this amazing Ken Griffey Jr. cap is what you’re looking for. You can see it at the top of this post — it’s got Seattle Mariners colors and a silhouette of The Kid, backwards hat and all, in the style of the MLB logo. Everyone should want that hat.
SALUTE THE CHAMPIONS
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016! If you happen to have a Cubs fan in your life, you not only know this, but you’ve been reminded of this multiple times a day since the moment they won. If they haven’t been TOO obnoxious, this is definitely an opportunity to get them some gear.
If anyone’s looking for sparkling wine to spray all over themselves so they can reenact the locker room celebration after the Cubs won Game 7, there’s now official Cubs sparkling wine that can be used just for that purpose. (You can also drink it.) If you’re looking for some celebratory glassware, these handsome pint glasses are perfect for any occasion.
If the Cubs fan in your life is looking to continually relive the glory of the Cubs’ exciting, roller coaster World Series, you can order the coffee table book “A Win for the Ages,” the commemorative Blu-Ray featuring their full-season journey and postseason highlights, or the 8-disc set featuring all the games. And if you want to upgrade your W flag to something more appropriate, this Cubs World Champions flag with the World Series trophy is exactly what you need. But if you still love that old W, these socks should get the job done.
If you’re looking to spend a decent chunk of change on Cubs memorabilia, then this insane thing should land in your cart. It’s a framed, decorated shadowbox that contains 12 autographed baseballs, each one from a different member of the Cubs’ 2016 squad. That will set you back a cool $4,000. If you don’t have $4,000 to throw around, though, you can invest in this crystal baseball with actual game-used NLCS dirt, or this creepy photo bobblehead of Kris Bryant holding a World Series trophy. You can also get the Anthony Rizzo version, or a four-pack of mini creepy photo bobbleheads. Creepy photo bobbleheads for everyone!
TAKE A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD (SORT OF)
Something is happening in early 2017 that only happens every four years, and that’s the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 WBC is holding games at three different MLB stadiums, and if you’re close to any of them, you should definitely buy tickets and see the world’s baseball teams for yourself.
Marlins Park in Miami, Florida is hosting first round games March 9-12, between the teams from the United States, Canada, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Second round games are being played March 14-18 at Petco Park in San Diego, and while we don’t know which teams will make it to the second round, it could be any of these teams: United States, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Canada and Italy. The WBC finals will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, March 20-22.
There will be MLB stars all over these games, and they won’t just be playing for the U.S. team. Drew Butera and Francisco Cervelli are playing for Italy, Carlos Gonzalez and Felix Hernandez are playing for Venzuela, and Manny Machado will be on the Dominican Republic’s team. Adam Jones, Jonathan Lucroy, Chris Archer, Nolan Arenado and Max Scherzer have all committed to playing for the United States. And that’s just so far — with the tournament four months away, more stars will start signing on soon.
As of now, tickets are being sold in strips, which is a package of the six games that will be played at the stadium. The starting price for strips in Miami is $60, which at $10 per game is a great deal. The starting price for the San Diego games is $78 for a strip. You can check out the full schedule and buy tickets on the World Baseball Classic website. Make a late winter/early spring vacation out of it and spend a few days watching world baseball, including some of the game’s biggest stars. You won’t regret it.
DECORATE YOUR MLB CASTLE
If your home is your castle, then it’s gotta be decorated with team stuff, right? Right. Your walls definitely need to be festooned with baseball prints, and there are some great ones out there. Ballpark Blueprints has — you guessed it — blueprints of baseball stadiums. You can get a gorgeous rendering of your favorite stadium, a combo of all stadiums from the NL or AL, and you can even get classic parks like Candlestick Park, Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.
If you want a way to celebrate your favorite plays or moments, Prinstant Replays is the way to go. They’ve got prints of everything you could imagine. Mike Trout’s 2015 cycle? They’ve got it. Ichiro’s 3,000th hit? Yup, that too. The madness of the Cubs’ World Series Game 7? Of course. How about Bartolo Colon’s first career home run? Oh they’ve definitely got that. They’ve even got a print with every single Giancarlo Stanton homer from the 2016 Home Run Derby. But they don’t just do recent plays. They even have games and plays from the past, like Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2131st straight game, Willy Mays’ famous catch, and Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 walk-off.
Some walls need art that makes a statement, and for statement art you need to hit Sports Propaganda at That’s My Ticket. They have prints of players and stadiums done in the old WPA style, so it’s colorful and eye-catching. Get a print celebrating the Chase Utley of yore, or a print of Kris Bryant that says “The Future is Now.” (It most definitely is.) There’s a great print of a celebratory Robinson Cano done in Mariners colors, and a hyped-up Bryce Harper with the phrase “This Is Your Fight.” There’s also a “Keep ’em Firing” print with Clayton Kershaw, and a “Pride of the Marlins” print with Giancarlo Stanton.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with using bobbleheads to decorate your home. Put them on the TV, on the coffee table, on your desk, your nightstand, in the bathroom, you could even take one in the shower with you. (Actually, don’t do that.) If you’re already missing David Ortiz, he’s got a bobblehead commemorating his 500 home runs. Annoyed that Jose Altuve didn’t win the MVP? Channel that rage by buying this lovely “turn two” bobblehead featuring Altuve and Carlos Correa turning a double play. Celebrate 2015’s World Series with an Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas bobblehead, or 2014’s World Series (and 2012 and 2010) with a Madison Bumgarner edition. How about some generic celebration with the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson. And the three ace New York Mets pitchers each have a bobblehead of their very own: Jacom deGrom and his flowing locks, Noah Syndergaard and his Thor hammer and Matt Harvey and his Batman cape. But if players aren’t your thing, you can get bobbleheads celebrating the Milwaukee Brewers’ famous (and awesome) Sausage Race: hot dog, Polish sausage, bratwurst and chorizo.
If you happen to have a ton of bobbleheads, then you definitely need a BobbleHouse so they all have a home. This is the best idea ever, and it’s just so cute. You can house all of your baseball bobbleheads in their own BobbleHouse, made to look like a dugout. If you’re wondering if your bobbleheads will be confused to be in a dugout with each other, don’t worry — they’re just bobbleheads, so they won’t know.
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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher