Hit up any big-box sports apparel site right now and you’ll be inundated with marketing copy and images pushing their MLB Playoff gear. Stuff like this hat. My problem with that is simple: What happens if your team is eliminated? You’re stuck with a 2016 MLB POSTSEASON hat that will forever remind you of your team’s failure to get the job done. Hello, garage sale.
(And yes, I realize this is an overly pessimistic viewpoint, but I’m a Dodgers fan and have co-workers whose parents hadn’t even met the last time L.A. lifted a banner. Give me some grace.)
Here’s the other thing: I love the lifestyle aspect of sports, and have been writing about the football version at The MMQB for the past few months. This week, I’m on loan to the SI.com team and they asked me to lay out the best gear for fans geeked about the MLB Playoffs. So below, I tackle the eight teams remaining and make my favorite picks based on style, wearability, comfort, weather, value and originality. And since ladies love the long ball, too, I asked my wife for help making the women’s selections.
Boston Red Sox
• Bat: Mitchell Bat Co. No. 1. Red Sox fandom is like a family heirloom, passed down each generation. This hand-painted bat would be a good representation of that.
• Jacket: Mitchell & Ness Authentic BP Knit. The Red Sox are staples in October, so you’d get good wear out of this jacket for many falls to come.
• Belt: Smathers & Branson Cooperstown Needlepoint. Be the envy of Cape Cod in the summer with one of these needlepoint belts.
• Hat: New Era Low Profile 59FIFTY. No need to overthink this one. Best hat in the American League.
• Tie: Vineyard Vines Print Silk. Because the working man needs to show off his pride too. Just promise you won’t wear it to the ballpark.
For the Female Fans: It’s impossible to overdo what is arguably the best logo in the MLB. Go with this sleek half-zip and tasseled knit beanie for home games, this sweatshirt if you’re cheering from the couch and these because saying “Sox socks” never gets old.
• T-Shirt: GV Art Cleveland Windians. Cleveland folks swear by GV Art & Design apparel, and I like the original look of the tee.
• Jacket: Under Armour MVP Decoration Full Zip. Don’t love the Indians down by the sleeve cuff, but willing to look past it for Chief Wahoo and the overall simplicity.
• Jersey: Ebbets Field Flannels Cleveland Buckeyes 1946. Nobody does vintage better than Ebbets. If originality is important to you, it’s a safe bet you’ll be the only one at Progressive Field wearing it.
• T-Shirt: Cleveland Clothing Co. Bertman Ballpark Mustard. Fell in love with this on a trip to The Jake in the 90s. Old-school, baseball-related brands are the best, like this one from Homage.
• Hat: 47 Brand Franchise Cooperstown Collection. Set off the P.C. crowd with this older version of Wahoo, which features a more straight-on look.
• Hoodie: Nike MLB Performance. As much as I enjoy Wahoo, it’s hard to deny the glory of the simple “C” too. Really like this hoodie.
More Playoff Picks: Red Jacket shirts are super soft, and the design on this one is on point. ... Didn’t like it at first, but this Nike hat is growing on me. Tribe is the best nickname of a nickname in the game.
For the Female Fans: Some call it a jinx. Some call it faith. If this is your year, this is your sweatshirt. … If your mom had a tribe pullover stashed in the back of her closet from the 70s, it'd look like this.
• Jacket: Nike Cooperstown Tempo Performance Track. Oh man, the light blue. Embrace the past, Rangers fans, while cheering for the present.
• Hat: 47 Brand 1993 Cooperstown Cleanup. I like a red lid. Brightens everything up and easy to spot should your friends or family lose you at the ballpark.
• Pullover: Nike Dri-Fit Touch Fleece Half-Zip. See, I can like new logos too. Really like the nod to baseball raglan styling here, as well.
• Wallet: Smathers & Branson Needlepoint Card. For those who like a streamlined wallet, this will fit a couple cards (credit + license) and some cash. What more do you need?
• Bat: Mitchell Bat Co. MBCO-A2. What will you do with a striped bat? Display it. Hold it. Take it to batting practice. Limitless possibilities.
• T-Shirt: Fresh Brewed Tees Adrian Beltre for President. Easily the most fun player in baseball. I’ll be rooting for the Rangers to go far, just so we can see more of his and Elvis Andrus’ antics.
• Jersey: Ebbets Field Flannels Texas Black Spiders 1938. I’m not a big jersey guy, but I’ll make exceptions for these awesome Ebbets’ reproductions.
Toronto Blue Jays
• Print: Prinstant Replay Touch 'Em All Edwin. It’s already been a memorable postseason for the Blue Jays. Commemorate Edwin Encarnacion’s wild-card walkoff with this cool print.
• Hat: American Needle 1972 - 400 Series Snapback. I’m jealous of those who have the head to pull off a flat brim, because I don’t. Hats like these make me wish I did.
• Hoodie: Majestic Distressed Tri-Blend Full Zip. A little too hipster? Sure. But comfortable AF? You bet.
• T-Shirt: Cooperstown All-Star Exclusive. Throw it on back to the days of John Olerud and Joe Carter with this cool blast from the past.
• T-Shirt: Mint League Blue Birds. Maple Leafs and Baseball. That’s what Toronto does.
For the Female Fans: Women usually have to choose between looking stylish and staying warm, but not with this pullover. Think how well your Joey Bats Brooch Boyfriend—oh yes, that’s a thing—will look against the blue background of this hoodie.
• T-Shirt: 500 Level Bryce Harper Cartoon. Bryce Harper is a national treasure and it’s time we start treating him like one. This caricature shirt is a good place to start.
• Hat: Cooperstown Collection 1953-60 Throwback. The loopy, cursive W has never been my favorite, so go with this old-school version, produced when fonts were much simpler.
• Key Fob: Smathers & Branson Needlepoint. Subtlety in fandom can go a long way.
• Vest: Under Armour Performance Vest. Vests are perfect layering options for the fall, when weather can vary. Plus, it’s easy to rip off in case Dusty’s managerial decisions leave you hot under the collar.
• Long-Sleeve T-Shirt: Distressed Tri-Blend Raglan. As tempting as it will be to wear this under the vest mentioned above, please don’t. One logo per outfit is plenty. (If you must go two—and I get it; you’re excited, it’s October—then hat/scarf/accessory + shirt/hoodie/jacket is acceptable.)
• T-Shirt: Nike Tri-Blend DNA. The buttery soft material on these tees is perfect for a casual game watch at a District bar.
• Bat: Mitchell Bat Co. A-1. Maybe your dad’s a Nats fan, and you’ll be looking for Christmas ideas in a couple months. Here ya go.
• T-Shirt: Mint League This is The Year. Novelty Cubs shirts are a dime a dozen, especially around Wrigleyville, so stand out with this one from Mint League, a new kid on the block.
• Scarf: Wrigleyville Reversible Split Logo. If the Cubs play as late into October as everyone expects (hopes? prays?), this scarf will be useful.
• Hat: New Era Logo Cuffed Knit. I’m all for any way you can incorporate that perfectly round, iconic “C” onto your person.
• Hoodie: Mitchell & Ness Away Team. This looks insanely soft and wearable, perfect to cloak yourself in and provide comfort when the Cubs tear out your heart and stomp on your soul. Again.
• Hat: 47 Brand Cooperstown Circle Logo Fitted. The Cubs have such rich history and so many awesome logos, it’s almost unfair.
• Wallet: Fielders Choice Goods Banks Billfold. The wallet is named after Cubs legend Ernie Banks, so let’s buy two! (Really, one will suffice.)
• Print: Art of Sport Chicago North. Can you wear this? Of course not. Should it stop you from framing it and putting it on whatever wall you prize the most in your home? Nope.
For the Female Fans: If Anthony Rizzo comes barreling at you to catch a foul pop-up, you’ll likely catch his eye in this fuzzy lumberjack hat. For a slightly more subtle statement, we’re digging the drawstring waist and alternating red and blue lettering on this hoodie.
San Francisco Giants
• Long-Sleeve T-Shirt: Majestic Cooperstown Will Clark Raglan. It’s way too easy to hop on the Giants bandwagon now. If you’ve long been loyal, you know the glory of Will The Thrill and should show it with this raglan.
• Hat: 47 Brand MLB Breakaway Cuff Knit. If you’re headed to the Cove and place a high value on feeling your ears, this is a must.
• Jacket: Ebbets Field Flannels 1940 Seals Authentic. Technically, it’s a San Francisco Seals jacket, but it’s so awesome—and perfect for cold AT&T nights—I had to include.
• T-Shirt: Red Jacket Twofold Crewneck. It’ll be Halloween soon, so Giants apparel for now, pumpkin costume for later. Win-win.
• Hat: Fielders Choice Goods SF Rivalry Series. Wool hat, green satin under the bill, leather adjustment strap and old baseball glove accents. Perfection in hat form.
• T-Shirt: Fresh Brewed Tees Mad Bum. I can’t lie: as a Dodgers fan, I LOATHE Madison Bumgarner. All baseball fans outside San Francisco do too. Giants fans know this and can revel in their hero’s hot-headedness by sporting this shirt.
Los Angeles Dodgers
• T-Shirt: Vin Scully Microphone ($23.95). The man worked the same job for 67 years. The least you could do is wear this shirt to pay your respect.
• Hat: American Needle Soft Mesh Back ($23). I own this, and it gets my full endorsement. So comfortable, you’ll forget it's there—until Dodger bats go flat and you reach for a rally cap.
• Hoodie: Majestic Tri-Blend Full Zip ($79). First-pitch temps in the 70s and final-out temps in the 60s calls for the most overused piece of clothing in SoCal: the hoodie.
• Sweatshirt: Nike CP Hybrid Pullover ($85). It can get deceivingly cold at Dodger Stadium at night, so this is a good option if you’re headed to the Ravine.
• Flask: Smathers & Branson Needlepoint. True story: My Tennessee buddy shipped up a bottle of good bourbon this week, the result of a lost fantasy football bet. It’ll come in handy, like this flask, for calming October nerves.
• Bat: Mitchell Bat Co. A-22. Remember how Tom Cruise thought better with his bat in “A Few Good Men?” That’s a useful way to utilize these.
Dominic Bonvissuto writes about Football Lifestyle every Friday at The MMQB. Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. have affiliate deals with some of the brands featured and receive commission on certain purchases. Have an item for consideration? Share it.