2017 baseball holiday gift guide: Find the perfect gift for the baseball fan in your life
Need a gift for someone who loves baseball? We're here to help as the holidays approach
The holiday season approaches, which means it's time to rev up your coin-purses and lose yourselves in the loving arms of durable goods.
If you've clicked on this -- thank you for that -- then you probably have a baseball enthusiast in your life and are wondering what to buy that person for the holidays. On that front, we're here to help.
So let's proceed category by category through some pretty cool baseball stuff that's available for purchase right now. Come with us, won't you?
Should we lead off with the champs? Yea and also verily: We should lead off with the champs. Check out this Astros lid ...
That, folks, is an Astros hat featuring the 2017 World Series trophy. If you're a Houston rooter, then consider this a necessary addition to the wardrobe. Handsome is the head that wears the crown! It's available at the Astros' official online store.
No reason to go around looking like an old sofa, people.
Remember FanKicks? If you'll recall,. Regard ...
Yep, each one of those team tops you see above can be swapped out on the same base with the pull of a zipper. Mix and match if you want. Rep two different teams if you want. All teams available at FanKicks.
It goes without saying, you'll need this look from Loudmouth Golf prominently in your wardrobe ...
Those are some championship textiles, I'm sure you'll agree. Loudmouth's got all 30 teams represented, and they've got pants, shorts, jackets, skirts, and more.
Want to make a statement against sports corporatism? Naming Wrongs is here to help. Here's a winning example ...
There's plenty more examples, including tees that pine for the ballparks of yore.
Check out ArtOfWords.com. Artist Daniel Duffy creates a number of different sports prints using nothing more than words. By way of example, here's a rendering of Wrigley Field field that's made up of the names of every player to play for the Cubs ...
Pretty amazing, no? There are many more available, including one for the champion 2017 Astros.
Now dig this 3-D stadium art ...
That, as you can see, is a three-dimensional framed rendering of PNC Park (the best ballpark in baseball, says this scribe). Multiple ballparks are available, and this one's for sale at the Pirates' online store.
They've got a couple of really cool options over at Hog Wild Toys. First, Stikball ...
I've tried these out, and they're really cool. Specifically, it's a great way to introduce young kids to the basics of throwing and catching in a safe manner. The balls are soft and pliable -- you can use them indoors without fear of doing damage -- and they "stick" to the flat-panel gloves that are included. So young kids can throw and practice moving the glove into catching position. It provides a much more reliable catch-and-throw experience than the velcro-type versions you've seen in the past.
Your correspondent has test-driven a few of these and can confirm that they're fun. The poppers, given a good squeeze, can fire those baseballs a good 20 feet or so. There's one for every team, as what you see above is a mere sampling of what's available.
Use the Hog Wild store locator to find these goodies.
Equipment and training aids
If you've got a pitcher in the family, then the Ball Coach Pocket Radar is worth your while ...
For a long time, pro-grade radar devices were out of reach for most folks thanks to cost. The Ball Coach, though, is much more affordable (93-mph reading not included). A number of major-league organizations use the Ball Coach, and, as the owner of one, I can tell you it's remarkably easy to use. You simply hold down that blue button before the ball is in flight and then release the button after you get a reading. You can also use it to measure the exit velocities of batted balls off a tee. You can also use constant-on mode to provide automatic triggering without having to press the button. It's tested as accurate to +/- 1 mph. Get it here.
Speaking of those with pitchers in the family, here's the Driveline Baseball youth pitcher program ...
This is Driveline's "Hacking the Kinetic Chain" system, which is used by any number of professional pitchers, adapted for use by the youth baseball hurler. It's a data-backed program that focuses on building strong, healthy arms and adding velocity. I've used for my son, and the results are apparent. As well, it's fun. Check it out.
Next up? The Axe Bat ...
Give this a try, while bearing in mind that it takes some getting used to. Whether you're a softball player or the parent of a youth baseball player (or maybe even a high-level baseball player yourself), the Axe Bat may be worth your while. The most visible difference is the "axe handle," which is said to cut down on hamate injuries while allowing a more natural bat path through the zone. I've swung it a bit, and anecdotally, it does feel like it affords a smoother hand path, better bat speed, and less "roll over" with the wrists, while also abetting some whip effect. Also, since the bat features "one-sided hitting," the hitting surface is made especially strong and bouncy -- particularly on the two-piece models. Give it a shot. After all, Mookie Betts uses it. They've also got a line of bats that meet the new USABat youth standards. Get 'em here.
While we're on the topic of bats ...
Yep, those are Louisville Slugger bats that can be emblazoned with the name of someone near and dear and with the logo of that person's favorite team.
Headed for the bleachers? Consider this winning implement of comfort ...
That, friends, is a team-themed portable recliner. It's got backpack straps for easy transport. It's also got armrests, and the back reclines to six different positions. Not many deserve such luxury, but perhaps someone on your list does. The one you see above is available via the Red Sox official store. Other teams are available via their respective online storefronts.
Team tree skirts? Team tree skirts!
Team dog treats? Incoming, people ...
Those delectables are available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Ignore your pets during the holidays at your own moral peril.
Ready for the lightning round? Let's do it ...
- MLB denim jackets from Levi's.
- All kinds of cool stuff from Ebbets Field Flannels.
- MLB player socks from Stance.
- Awesome hats from American Needle.
Go forth, people of baseball. Go forth and exchange redeemable currency for happiness and uplift.
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