A titanium mask for Michael?
Plate shoes for Sally?
A hard shell chest protector for Hank?
Today’s article suggests five items available for under $20 that make outstanding stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts for that special umpire:
Baseball rulebooks are often confusing and umpires need rules interpretations to solve difficult problems. One of the best sources for interpreting the Official Baseball Rules is the Major League Baseball Umpire Manual, available from Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring for $10.00. This manual is the official rules interpretation source for Major League Baseball. No matter what rulebook your umpire uses, the Major League Baseball Umpire Manual aids in deciphering the rules of baseball and is considered a "must-have" for the study of the rules.
Ump-Attire Ultimate Pro Style Ball Bag - $17.99
The Ump-Attire Ultimate Pro Style Ball Bag was named 2009 UMPY Award winner for best umpire accessory. And for good reasons! The Ultimate Ball Bag is functional, looks great, has superior construction, and is loaded with special features. Made of sturdy polyester, the Ultimate uses a nylon backing that keeps sweat from the pant leg away from the baseballs.
The main compartment is spacious and interior pockets keep pens, lineup cards, and a plate brush organized. A zippered pocket behind the ball bag is handy for keeping a car key, mints, or a variety of small items. Available from Ump-Attire for $17.99.
Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks - $12.95
O.K., Mom. . . if you must give socks for Christmas, give the Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks. Midwest Ump's review called these socks "well constructed from a thoughtful design engineered especially for umpires." These socks are comfortable, supportive and long-lasting. If your umpire is ever in an accident at the plate, you can rest easy knowing he is wearing the Force3 Ultimate Umpire Socks. Available through Jim Evans Umpire Academy Store for $12.95.
New York Times reporter Bruce Weber gears up and works the dish to travel in the land of umpires. Weber attends umpire school, works amateur games, interviews professional umpires, and reports . As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of Umpires makes a terrific gift for the umpire on your Christmas list and is available through Amazon.com for $17.16, hardback, of course.