Must-have gifts for sports fans
Getting a gift for the die-hard sports fan is not always easy. Sure, you can get them a jersey or cap or even some face paint from their favorite team. But why do the obvious?
We've compiled a variety of unique gifts that range from the outrageous to the simple—and even the stylish.
See if there's something here that fits the fan on your list.
Game-day base stools
Here's a gift that will let baseball fans keep their seats all year round. The stools are made from game-day bases used by the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Phillies, Tigers, Giants, White Sox and Pirates.
Owners can plug the stool's hallmarked number, found on the base's hologram, to authenticate the corresponding game.
The items, sold individually, are handmade of welded steel in Berkeley, Calif.
For the avid player, this portable game set may be perfect. Its retractable net expands up to 6 feet, and the game comes with adjustable paddles and two ping-pong balls.
Its drawstring pouch allows for easy storage and travel. Just find a flat surface and serve.
Golf club rockers
Someone needing a little rest after a round of golf would find this is a nice place to sit: a handmade rocking chair, fashioned from reclaimed golf clubs and unfinished Canadian white cedar by Mike Bellino in Massachusetts.
Some assembly is required, and because of their recycled, handmade nature, each chair is one-of-a-kind and varies slightly.
You're advised to to treat it with a polyurethane finish or wood stain, and cover if left outside.
The rockers, sold individually, are available in adult as well as child sizes.
"The Sports Book"
For the reader on your gift list, this book is updated with the latest statistics and world records. It features comprehensive details for more than 200 sports, from baseball to hockey, cross-country skiing to jujitsu, gymnastics to water polo.
It also has an extensive Olympics section, including the London 2012 Paralympics and a look forward to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"The 34-Ton Bat," by Steve Rushin
In "The 34-Ton Bat," the longtime Sports Illustrated writer chronicles the history of baseball through the items players use (baseball bats, sanitary socks), fans enjoy (beer and hot dogs) and both groups wear (baseball caps).
Rushin also lays out personal details of the people behind innovations.
This Andrew Muscato documentary examines the life and career of Ralph Branca. He had a long career in the big leagues but is best known as the Brooklyn Dodger pitcher who served up the historic game-winning "shot heard 'round the world" to San Francisco Giant Bobby Thompson in 1951. (The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!)
The movie focuses on Branca's attempt to create an autobiography that expresses his feelings about being on the losing end of such a dramatic moment in sports.
This board game, from Ryan and Kim McDaniel, is likely to be a hit with aspiring jockeys of all ages. Simply pick your steed, roll the dice and race to win as the stallions gallop down the board. This fast-paced diversion works just as well for big groups as it does for a few friends.
Handcrafted from wood and made in St. Louis, this board game is built to last, the makers say.
Fox 40 two-finger referee whistle
If you know someone who wants to be—or pretend to be—a referee, this may be the ideal stocking-stuffer.
It features a padded finger grip with a design that eliminates freezing and jamming. The whistle also has an adjustable finger grip size and comes with a sound power of 114 decibels.
That's guaranteed to be heard above any crowd.
Franklin Shoot Again
This indoor basketball game has a ball feeder that will set you up to take shots in different positions with its 180-degree rotation system. Announcer sounds and an electronic clock countdown help create an authentic game atmosphere.
It includes a foam basketball and fits on most doors.