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A last minute Christmas gift guide

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For the baseball fan in your life.

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Washington Nationals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

So, at the moment there is very little for rumors and far less for news in the Blue Jays world. I’d love some real news. Or a really good rumor (I remember thinking Alex spoke to every available free agent and talked to every GM about every player who could be available in trade, but the new front office might even outdo him).

So let’s talk about Christmas.

Some ideas:

I love art. I can’t draw at all. I can’t make a stick man that looks decent. There is a lot of great Blue Jays art out there.

I have a few prints and one original from Chris Ripley, who is here in Calgary. A couple of examples:

Ballpark Blueprints have, well, blueprints (surprise) of ballparks. And they put them on tee shirts now too. The Rogers blueprint doesn’t show the dirt base paths, which might cause you not to want it, but it is fairly cool.

Games:

You all know I’m a big fan of OOTP Baseball. Great game, even though my current team, who I thought would make the World Series easy, has had the early part of the season ruined by an incredibly bad bullpen. Guys that were good have ERA in the teens. They can’t hold any lead. I’ve made trades to try to improve, but 10 games under .500 (30 games in) might be too late. The game is on sale at the moment.

But I wanted to mention Franchise Hockey Manager Four. I haven’t played enough to give a few review, but if you are a hockey fan (and you understand the rules of NHL player contracts), it’s a fun game. UFAs, RFAs, salary caps, all that stuff. Want to be the GM of the Golden Knights? Or maybe build your own league? Or just build your team around Connor McDavid?

If you are around my age, and you’ve been into baseball, odds are you played Strat-o-matic Baseball, the board game. They called me asking for some input on the defensive ratings of the Jays players. And they sent me the latest version of the game. I used to spent hours playing the game. And I’ve enjoyed the nostalgia of opening and looking at the player cards (that was always the best part, getting the new player cards and looking through them). They also have a computer version of the game, which I haven’t tried. But if you have someone on your list, who played the game in their younger days, they would be thrilled to see it again.

Other stuff:

Want a Josh Donaldson bobblehead, from when he played for Auburn? They say if you order by Tuesday they will deliver for Xmas.

Or maybe a customized Blue Jays bat (I want one).

In case you are looking for something for your wife or girl friend. My wife has this purse (and a few dozen others, which is ok, I have a few pairs of shoes):

And there are no end of books:

Smart Baseball, by Keith Law.

If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige I went thru a phase were I was reading everything I could about the Negro Leagues. Paige was so interesting. This is a new book on him.

Casey Stengel: Baseball's Greatest Character. Another one that I could never read enough about, and he has a new biography.

Baseball Life Advice: Loving The Game That Saved Me. Something a little different, from Stacey May Fowles. It’s nice to be reminded that baseball isn’t only numbers. A good read, and it could turn a non-baseball fan into a one.

And a couple of my favorite non-baseball reads of the year: Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman. I love Neil’s writing and it’s a great subject. Beautiful Scars, Tom Wilson. Wilson is a Canadian singer/songwriter. He’s been a rocker, with Junkhouse, a countryish guy, with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and an ‘acid folksinger’, with Lee Harvey Osmond. But, he’s also got a great story (and tells it well). He found out, at the age of 54, that he was adopted. It is a very good read.

What baseball related stuff are you wanting for Christmas?