Baseball—you hit the ball wherever the other team isn’t, then run as fast as you can in a counterclockwise direction until you’re back where you started. That’s it, right? Oh no, there’s so much more—the peanuts, the hot dogs, the home runs, the wave! Serious fans will tell you, it’s the match-ups and the statistics that make the game. The rivalries and the history too.
The biggest match-up of the year begins this week. It’s World Series time! Even if your team wasn’t a playoff contender this year, it’s hard not to get into the excitement of the season’s final series and an American tradition 108 years old.
So Rangers and Cardinals fans, may the best team win! And for baseball fans from coast to coast, here’s 20 amazing gifts sure to knock it out of park.
At the Stadium
Seeing a game in person is always a treat—here’s a group of gifts to make the experience even better. Exposure to the elements means that seats and bleachers can be hot and sticky or sometimes too cold to sit on depending on the time of year—that’s no fun! Heated cushions and seat covers with built-in backrests will make your recipient extra comfortable and ensure they’ll be able to give the game their undivided attention.
If the issue isn’t comfort, but proximity to the field, binoculars like this waterproof pair from REI make a wonderful gift. Watch the game as though you’re right there on the field. Just be prepared to share. Everyone will want to give them a try.
For the baseball fan all about the statistics, get them a scorecard to keep track of hits, runs, and RBIs. USA Today makes a 100 page scorecard book for old school number-crunchers, but for a completely modern experience ESPN’s iScore app is the way to go. It’s shiny, new, and simple to use with features you just can’t get from traditional scorecards, including the ability to track hit locations, calculate pitch speed, and lots more!
Show Your Spirit
Jerseys are a fun way to show your spirit, but you know what’s even more fun? A custom jersey! Put me in coach!
If gear is what you’re after then the MLB Shop is the place to go. From shorts to sweats, ball caps to undies, you’ll find everything a true fan needs to get decked out for the game. There’s even the VS Pink line by Victoria’s Secret, made especially for the ladies (and quite frankly, their guys too).
The Arm-Chair Fan
Can’t make it out to the stadium? A subscription to MLB.TV is the next best thing. It’s an online streaming service that lets you watch every MLB game for every team, all in HD. It’s a great deal too, especially for someone who’s away from their team and can’t watch the games locally. And that’s right, I said EVERY game, not just your favorite team. Sometimes it’s fun to see the bad guys lose, amirite?
To tide a baseball devotee over during the off-season, why not gift a baseball video game? The best of the bunch is definitely the MLB: The Show series for the PS3, and the most recent version even works with Playstation Move, meaning that players can actually simulate swings through their controllers. This level of interactivity makes the game a whole lot of fun to play with friends, especially during the winter months when it’s too cold out to run to the park for batting practice or even a quick game of catch.
Home Runs at Home
Any baseball fan will tell you, there’s no place like home. These gifts go outside the stadium, beyond the television, to the front door and up the wall, letting their love of the game shine all throughout the house.
The Well-Read Fan
Help a baseball fan transition into winter with some hot cider, a crackling fireplace and a good book. Moneyball, recently made into a movie staring Brad Pitt, is written about Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A’s. It tells the story of how he met the challenge of creating a competitive team with the lowest budget in the MLB. Other good choices include Babe (you’ll never guess what it’s about), The Natural, and Bang the Drum Slowly.
A Piece of the Park
When stadiums get old, they get torn down. For those having a hard time letting go, pieces of old stadiums—bricks, grass, even dirt—can be theirs, preserved neatly in a display case or frame. A gift that holds both historical and sentimental significance for the baseball lover who truly has it all.
Here’s to squeeze bunts, inside-the-park home runs and you, baseball fans! Which team are you cheering on? What gifts are you wishing for?