Gifts! The ceremonial exchanging of objects! It is a tradition most of us engage in, in some manner or another, during the waning days of each year. But in spite of or perhaps EVEN BECAUSE OF its recurring nature, it can be befuddling. Luckily, we’re here to help.
[Ed. note: everyone say a big Thank You to Brittney, who sourced all the gifts in this guide, using her Powers of Shopping for good with a focus on local products and those that support people within the Mariners family. Thank you, Brittney!]
Feel free to use this as a guide for the baseball fans in your life, or if you are that baseball fan, share it on your own social channels in hopes the gift-givers in your life will see it. Or print this out and leave it in strategic places around the house. We don’t judge. Disclaimer: we don’t get a commission or free pizza or autographed photographs of Franklin Gutierrez for any of the links we include, with the exception of BreakingT; if you use our link, we do get a share of that, which helps support us in the work we do here (like paying for some of the subs we’ll recommend below), so thank you in advance for using that link!
The best thing you can do for the baseball fan and for the future of baseball reporting is to purchase subscription packages to any of the following sites: Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs. The shutdown has been hard across baseball, and your gift will mean more on both ends this year. Some of the sites even have cool merch now, like this line that just dropped for BP, so you’ll have something to wrap up for gifting.
Something you can’t wrap up just now but is well worth it anyway: Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook.
Featuring the Mariners’ own Julio Rodríguez on the cover, this giant tome also serves as an excellent introduction to the minors, with comprehensive lists of each club’s Top 30 prospects, plus an additional 10 sleeper prospects. Bonus, each purchase helps support Baseball America, an outlet that was especially affected by the loss of the minor-league season. Pre-order a copy here (and put a picture of a smiling Julio in a box for the gift) (Or hey, if it’s for someone outside of your house, just wait until the next time you see them, when you’ll probably have the book well in hand).
Here are a few more tangible suggestions:
Anika interviewed many of the women who played in the league and helped them tell their own stories, then illustrated them in her timeless, dynamic style. If you purchase the book from her website you can get it signed and personalized, and grab a print or two as well.
Either of these small prints from independent artists is certain to find a loving home on a Mariners fan’s wall. The Kings’ Court sketch, part of a series from baseball enthusiast S. Preston, has been inspiring first hype and now nostalgia in my own sports den for several years. Moonshot, by Seattle’s own Zack Bolotin, has a great graphic punch and the brilliant simplicity of a top-quality team logo.
Not only is “Salami Bouquet” an 80-grade drag name, it’s a real product you can buy from Portland’s Olympia Provisions. Choose 3 “stems” or be like Oprah (apparently) and get six sticks of lovingly-wrapped meat.
Because we’re Mariners fans. Who among us has not been salty? Also look how PRETTY this is. (Have you washed your hands lately? Go wash your hands.)
Show them you know baseball’s not gone in the winter when you wear this hat repping LIDOM team Leones del Escogido, winter home of Mariners org members Julio Y. Rodríguez (the Y matters on this team with two Julios Rodríguez), Luis Liberato, and Joseph Rosa.
Curveball Keepsakes makes jewelry and other accessories from game-used baseballs, often traceable to the exact game and play. Based in Seattle, they always have a good Mariners selection, but you can browse through a variety of other teams and players as well. I’m convinced my Mike Zunino bracelet helped propel the Rays to victory in this year’s ALCS.
The halfliner, with room to score all 81 home games of a regular season, has been my go-to for several years now thanks to its stylish design and ample space. Fill it in with these pencils from the Mariners’ glory days, for luck.
Do you like bed possums? Because this is how you get bed possums.
The Cranklet’s Chronicle is a zine about women in baseball, created by a female fan frustrated by how hard it is to find women’s stories even in a sport where women have been involved at every level. The two (so far) issues are available individually, or as a set.
We all need comfort food this year, and what’s more comforting than a ballpark favorite? Spoil your friends and family with this normal, practical gift that is sure to fit seamlessly onto anyone’s kitchen counter. Pair with some peanuts, fancy popcorn, and beer from T-Mobile park favorites and confirmed Mariners fans Reuben’s Brews.
If socks are gifts then masks can be too, so grab a fun one or three. This tye-dye version is from the Aquasox team shop. This Modesto Nuts option that reads “2020 No Bueno” let you wear your mood right on your face. Which I guess you do anyway. Whatever, just buy the mask.
Local Seattle screenprint shop Cairo pastes Junior’s face onto this sweatshirt that looks so cozy I keep trying to snuggle it through the screen. There’s also a kids’ t-shirt version in a perfect powder blue.
There are a lot of Air Griffeys out there, and even rumors of a rerelease next year, but these are my favorites because they’re... well, kind of weird. They’re also, of course, nearly impossible to find. But what is baseball other than attempting the nearly-impossible over and over and over again? That’s right, it’s basically a philosophical imperative that you buy these sneakers. For me. I’ll take a men’s 9.5, thanks.
He doesn’t have his own shoes - YET - but if you invest in this Kyle Lewis silhouette tee now we’re confident that you’ll one day have kicks to match. Bonus, if you buy anything from BreakingT using our link, you help support LL. EVEN MORE bonus, they’re currently having a sale; use the code BIG15 for 15% off your purchase through Monday.
A Gift That Keeps On Giving
If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want more THINGS, or just want a gift that impacts on multiple levels, consider supporting one of the charitable organizations associated with Mariners players or alumni. A few to get you started:
- 4MOM, started by outfielder Braden Bishop, supports research towards an Alzheimer’s cure.
- The Denard Span Foundation provides tangible support to single-parent households in the form of transportation assistance, groceries, and education funding.
- The Players Alliance is bringing both baseball gear and day-to-day food and hygiene needs to Black communities across the United States. Run by Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia, and Edwin Jackson, they’re supported by a large roster of Black MLB players including JP Crawford, Justin Dunn, Kyle Lewis, and Justus Sheffield.
- The Mariners partner with domestic violence-prevention organization WSCADV each year for the Refuse to Abuse 5k. With domestic abuse tragically increased this year due to COVID isolation, advocates could certainly use a little extra help.
Happy gift-giving season, baseball fans! Happy Holidays from all of us at LL!