Ho! Ho! Ho! Salutations and Seasons Greetings! Once again it’s that time of year when stress levels crank up to defcon status and copious conspicuous consumption carries the country. This is Michael Tepid, your friendly neighborhood Rangers minor league blogger, here to bring you yet another installment of my self-serving and ego-driven holiday gift giving guides. I’ve been writing these things for a few years now and well, here’s the first one from 2014, enjoy: https://www.lonestarball.com/2014/12/4/7331179/a-very-tepid-christmas
The inescapable truth is, most baseball related merch is trash. Seriously, there’s some tacky-ass craperoo out there and you’re best off avoiding it. How do you know? It’s like other things in life; you’ll know it when you see it. Anyways, so this being the most current gift guide, I can’t just keep putting stuff from the fine folks at www.ebbets.com or the local wizards of www.warstic.com. I can only tell you so many times that these are reliable outposts for your baseball-obsessesed recipients. But they really are great spots. Still. Dial ‘em up on the ol’ laptop and grab some goodies and do not disappoint. That said, let’s move on to some new stuff for 2018!
- Give. This remains the first and foremost gift an adult can give another adult. I list this as number 1, not only because we live in a country where we’ve all acquired so much physical flotsam that they’re building a “public storage” facility every few miles, but because it’s suaviest of suaves when it comes to gift giving. Learn about a cause that’s important to your recipient, and make a donation in their name. It’s the coolest thing you can do. As my one-time boss, full-time mentor and long-time Rangers fanatic David Gamble once said, “Give.” Give as much as you can as often as you can. And do so in someone else’s name. If smooth hat-tips were presents, this would be the smooth hat tip of presents.
- Speaking of hats, that’s a good place to start. Toddy Snyder is one of the greatest fashion designers on the planet and he believes in the 6-panel baseball hat. So much so, he partnered up with New Era and even got permission to make some with MLB logos. These ain’t Rangers logos, duh, but they’re cool hats, so be my guest: https://www.toddsnyder.com/collections/todd-snyder-new-era
- You can either do this as a serious gift, or as a funny one. Outside chance I send my friends one of these with a selfie plastered all over it. https://www.zazzle.com/customize_family_photo_baseball-256952364320255205
- This next gift is for the tailgate master in your life. The BBQ wizard. The chef (wanna-be or real McCoy). Look proper and tailored at your next tailgate with this beauty of an apron. https://raleighdenimworkshop.com/products/tri-pocket-apron I’ve bought jeans from these denim warlords before and they’re stout as hell, so this apron fits the rest of their bill. This smock is sexy and confident, just like a good cook.
- 40 Man Merch is a brand new company from the daughter of a former big leaguer. ‘Member Steve Scarsone? https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/scarsst01.shtml Well, his kiddo’s charted course and set forth on a new venture and I dig this Tee: https://40manmerch.com/collections/the-first-launch/products/uniform-evolution
- Levi’s signed a collab deal with MLB a few years ago and I was stoked. I mean, Levi’s is legendary and has the geniuses behind the Made & Crafted line at their disposal. Holy crap what a letdown this half-ass was: https://www.levi.com/US/en_US/search/mlb Those aren’t designs, those are existing pieces with a patch or logo sewn on, like a plumber’s uni. Whatever. That said, I ain’t leaving Levi’s outta this list and while it’s not baseball related, one of the only articles of clothing that looks smooth as hell on more than 90% of the earth’s population is a shearling-lined jean jacket. It’s literally almost impossible to look uncool in one of these things and Levi’s realized that and not only started making it in different colors and cuts, but also bumped up their men’s sizing all the way to Mountain proportions (up to a 5XL!). Classic cool mojo available here: https://www.levi.com/US/en_US/search/sherpa
- Eephus League is another rock solid company making swaggy swag for the baseball enthusiast on yo’ list. I’m not a scorekeeping type of fan, but I’m told by those who are that Eephus’ scorebooks are the Ferrari of scorebooks. Imagine if Magnum PI would’ve used an Eephus scorebook while watching the Tigers play before driving away in a Ferrari. Huh. Anyways, I’m a big fan of the hat they made in collaboration with Ebbets Flannels: http://eephusleague.com/product/eephus-league-ebbets-wool-hat/
- Everyone knows that great scene in “Fandango” when The Groovers convince a small town to throw them an entire wedding and that one old man hears Costner’s cockamamie story about an overturned champagne truck near Ft. Bend and the townie asks Coster, “Ya’ll drink beer?” To which KC replies, “Why yes...on occasion.” Here’s a beer made in Austin called “The Knuckleballer”: https://unclebillys.com/beers/knuckleballer/
- I like bucket hats. But you don’t have to. Admittedly, they’re not for everyone. Or most people even, really. But I like them. You don’t have to like them, but this company, Hit Factory has plenty of other great options, so start at this bucket hat and work your way around: https://www.hitfactoryathletics.com/products/bucket-hat
- That cook, the one who wears the cool denim apron you just bought? Buy them this and tell ‘em to use it on the grill too. There’s kids at tailgates, and kids like grilled cheeses. And kids can say funny stuff sometimes. https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/grilled-cheese-maker
- Walker, Texas Ranger: https://www.etsy.com/market/chuck_norris_bag
- Wanna go in the back yard and hit the holy hell outta some baseballs? https://www.amazon.com/Hathaway-Powerstroke-Baseball-Hitting-Adjustable/dp/B07BF24Y7G Wanna do it off the tee the pros use? https://www.amazon.com/Tanner-Tees-TT001-Tee/dp/B00D3PNZB0/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1543872792&sr=1-3&keywords=tanner+tee. Remember, kick the leg and change the scoreboard. Or just blow through some excess energy and make believe every ball you pummel goes 13 rows deep.
- Minor league apparel has been having a moment for the last decade or so and despite one particular design company’s unending desire to make every team name ridiculous and all the logos charmless sneering caricatures, some folks still insist on making cool, somewhat understated swag. Luckily, one such group got ahold of Texas’ new AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds and made these beauts: http://sounds.milbstore.com/store.cfm?dept_id=1330&store_id=87&parentID=1330 There’s plenty of gems in there and giving a minor league lid or Tee to the Rangers fan on your list remains a fool-proof way of showing that person you love ‘em and you “get” ‘em.
- You ever take a photo at a ballgame with folks you love? Print it. Or better yet, slap it on a mug or a pillow or something that’ll remind everyone of that great day at the ballpark. https://www.shutterfly.com/ *edit: I field tested this by surprising my wife with a few mugs showing pics of our kids on ‘em and she started crying in a good way.
- Reservations. You shouldn’t have any. Just kidding. You should have some. The dinner kind. Look, one obvious sociological shift everyone is dealing with these days is feeling overly busy and like they “don’t have enough time.” I have no idea if that’s actually the case, but it sure seems to be how many people feel, so give the gift of time, and company. Make a reservation at a restaurant and put it on your calendar. Put it in the books. Tell your loved one(s), “Hey, my gift to you is that I made a reservation at Bob’s for us to have dinner on Saturday January 19th at 6:45.” Then make it happen. Ain’t shit happenin’ these days without being on the calendar.
So there ya go. 15 baseballish items for the baseballin’ baseball fan on your holiday gift list. I hope this helps. Happy Holidays Everyone! Hang tight; we’ll be kickin’ it in Surprise before you know it!
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!