That new Chrome Clock is ticking on the countdown to Opening Day, and the average visitor to MLB.com these days is spending much of that time looking around the MLB.com Shop. Here are 20 new items for 2012 to scope out before those first ceremonial pitches are thrown:
1. Nike Men’s, Women’s and Caps. The Shop is loaded with new Nike gear, ranging from a Mets Tactile Swoosh Stretchfit Cap to a Royals Women’s Old Faithful T-shirt to a Cubs AC Dri-FIT Legend Team Issue T-shirt.
2. Baseball Base Bobbleheads. These are hand-crafted and hand-painted, and some of these look a lot more like the real players than others. Mariano Rivera is gripping a cutter and Tim Lincecum’s right leg is straight up. Other than that, you will just have to take the player name on the base at its word.
3. Men’s 2012 Authentic Collection. Look for new items such as the Change Up, Tech Fleece and Featherweight Tech Fleece. The regular season will start as chilly as usual in many places, and now is an ideal time to think about an Authentic Triple Peak Premier Jacket.
4. Fireball Black Mugs. Memory Company’s new mugs for Home Office hold 15 ounces and feature your favorite club’s logos and colors. Specially made for those who stayed up all night watching their team’s extra-inning thriller.
5. Tops from ’47 Brand. If you just want a comfortable cotton fit with a vintage distressed screen print, then here’s a new batch of scrums, fadeaways and pullovers.
6. 2012 Commemorative Baseballs. Encased Rawlings baseballs bear the official logo for each of five different anniversaries, including Fenway Park at 100, Camden Yards at 20, Dodger Stadium at 50, plus the 50th anniversary for the Astros and Mets franchises.
7. Cooperstown Snapback Adjustable Caps. Remember when players wore wool caps with six panels stitched together? There is just enough wool (15 percent) in these to make them a throwback along with the panel count, and for each club they come in different colors. The Montreal Expos caps are likely to be big-sellers for nostalgia buffs.
8. Jetstream V-Neck Fashion Jersey. This new jersey style by Majestic Athletic is not going to make its way onto the diamond in 2012, but it will be a new look in the stands. The short-sleeve, 100 percent polyester raglan features contrast neck tape, color-blocked shoulder and upper-body piecing, a straight bottom hem (unlike field jerseys), and mixed labels and embroidery.
9. Cardinals Baseball’s Greatest Games: 2011 World Series, Game 6. The Rangers were a strike away from winning the world championship, twice. Led by World Series MVP David Freese, the Cardinals did the unthinkable and forced a seventh game that they would win. Get this 3-hour, 45-minute DVD/Bluray combo from AE Home Video, the latest addition to their “Baseball’s Greatest Games” series, and you can keep the memory alive in two discs.
10. Mitchell Ness T-shirts. You know them more for those precise throwback jerseys like the one Juan Marichal wore 50 years ago for the Giants. But you need to look at their new tees for spring, featuring many styles with a vintage touch.
11. Palmetto Franchise Fitted Caps. You see these relaxed caps with a weathered vintage look more and more, but this batch from ’47 Brand is fitted so be sure to check out the sizing chart.
12. OYO Collectible Mini Figures. A lot of people are talking about the little OYO dudes. If you have kids, or are a kid yourself, then you may be part of that crowd. These are “compatible with most other brand name building toys,” which many parents will decipher as code for “they work with Legos.” Check out Buster Posey — legs work great.
14. Mini Pillow Pets. When the Velcro strap is attached, Pillow Pet is a stuffed animal. Release the Velcro, and it’s a pillow. But what’s even more interesting is the subject chosen. The Yankees’ is a teddy bear and the Dodgers’ is a dog, examples of no-mascot teams. But the Giants have Lou Seal as mascot yet they went with a panda here, a nod to Pablo Sandoval.
15. Pet T-Shirts. Speaking of pets, your real ones need some Shop love. Your dog will want to live in this, depending on his or her favorite team. If you have an English Bulldog like me, make sure to measure the neck first.
16. Topps 2012 Opening Day. Collecting trading cards is a tradition almost as old as the game itself, and it is going strong at the MLB.com Shop. For $35.99 you can get the Hobby Edition featuring 36 packs per box, seven cards per pack. For $9.99, you can get the Opening Day Blaster featuring 11 packs each with seven cards inside. The base is 220 veterans and rookies, including 74 Series 2 preview cards, featuring the 2012 Opening Day logo.
17. Design Your Own. If you haven’t tried this out yet, then give it a spin. And by spin, we mean clicking one of those four views to choose where to design. Do this by 11:59 p.m. ET Monday, and you save $5 on a tee and $10 on a sweatshirt.
18. Kids’ Items by adidas. A good way to introduce new fans to the national pastime. The newborn long-sleeve coverall is a hot new style for MLB’s youngest demographic, and you can even wear a Derek Jeter or Cliff Lee jersey as an infant.
19. Emblem Beach Towels. Here are the new towels that will be used for this summer at the beach or maybe just everyday use out of the shower. There’s one in there with a big World Series trophy on it just for Cardinals fans, too.