Virtual Catalog kicks off holiday season

Virtual Catalog kicks off holiday season

It's that time of year
When the world falls in love ...

When the Virtual Catalog launches at the MLB.com Shop -- signaling the official start to another season of holiday shopping.

When you put out the Forever Collectibles Holiday Decor. It's still early so let's get right to those ornaments, snow globes, stockings, candy canes and whatever else you might need to get your home into holiday mode -- baseball-style. It's what many of your fellow fans are doing right this second, and these essentials start at only $14.99.

When you need the official site to be sure, when you know it's safe and easy, when you need help navigating the upcoming shipping deadlines. The MLB.com Shop will make it easy for you to manage these. Guaranteed To Get There reminders will keep you organized if you push things to the deadline, as so many of us do.

When a new World Champion drives the momentum, and that is happening right now with the much-anticipated "27 Collection" arriving at the MLB.com Shop. Order the Yankees 27-Time World Series Champions cap or maybe a 27-Time Dynasty T-shirt. The line that will feature fleece, tees, fitted caps, jackets and hoody items, adding to the largest selection of title products in sports history.

"The idea behind this is to own Black Friday as far as licensed sports apparel is concerned," Howard Smith, senior vice president of licensing at Major League Baseball Properties, told Sports Business Journal. "None of us really imagined 27 would be what consumers would be focusing on, but since it is, that's where our focus will be."

It's that time of year ...

When the Fall Classic is fresh in your mind, and everyone would love to have the A&E Home Video Official World Series Film Collection DVD Set. This is a complete history of the world's greatest sporting event -- spanning 105 years of baseball broken into 14 eras, and featuring more than 50 hours of World Series highlight films, a foreword by Bob Costas and glossy photos and Hall of Fame memorabilia, specially packaged in a collectible, 58-page, full-color, coffee table book holding 20 DVDs.

When the Shout Factory comes out with its World Series DVD. This one is a must for every Yankees fan, so preorder this compilation of the great moments of the 2009 World Series on one disc and it will be available Dec. 1. That's $19.99, and for another $10 you can have the same version that will be released on Blu-ray. That one will be available Dec. 15.

When your calendar is running out of pages and it is impossible to resist that new one from AllStarLineup that features your favorite team's 2010 schedule -- and your own last name on the back of players pictured on each month.

When you click page 16 of the Virtual Catalog and find a Screen Crystal Combo Missing Long Sleeve T-shirt for just $29.99 and you know right away that she will want it. She might even want to wear one of Alyssa Milano's signature Draft Day Jackets over it. The women's selection is endless in 2009 baseball shopping.

When an MLB.com Gift Card is sometimes the best and easiest measure. Sure, you'd rather have that Mitchell & Ness Authentic Jersey that you've always wanted. But realistically, we know that it's 2009 and for many shoppers a gift card is faster and faster wins. These come in denominations ranging from $25 to $250. They work just fine, too.

It's that time of year ...

When the temperatures fall fast for most of us, meaning someone needs another great sweatshirt they will wear until it falls off. Try the Pregame Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt from Nike, or maybe one of those AC Therma Base Practice Performance Hooded Fleeces like Derek Jeter wore through the postseason (he cut the sleeves off at the elbow).

When closets get out of date because of player movement. Customized jerseys are always in high demand, and accordingly they are the first thing you find when you open the Virtual Catalog. Nab an Astros Authentic Home Jersey with the new 45th-anniversary patch, or ride the future with that No. 48 Braves Tommy Hanson jersey.

When next year's tickets gradually start to show up. Indians Opening Day and Six-Pack tickets go on sale Monday morning. Mets Gift Cards are available now, as are D-backs season tickets. Look around and check your team's status.

When someone is ready to open a new ballpark. Last year it was both New York clubs. Now Minnesota fans are excited about the Twins Inaugural Season Collection. -- and so are average baseball collectors. Order someone special the same look that Twins players will wear when they move into new Target Field next April.

When babies enter the baseball fold.

It's that time of year ...

When game-used memorabilia is exactly what you or that special someone wants under the tree. Consider what is available right now from Yankees-Steiner memorabilia. Maybe you have your eye on that Hideki Matsui World Series MVP Mini Dirt Collage. Maybe it's the Jeter Record-Breaking Replica Lineup Card to remember the night he passed Lou Gehrig as the Bombers' all-time hits leader.

Authentic Cool Base Gamer Jacket. You probably saw your favorite players or manager wearing this garment around the field on cooler days during the past season. It is a lightweight jacket with generous sizing, so it also could go over a sweatshirt for even more warmth.

Yankees World Champions Ultimate Fan Bundle. For under $60, you can get an authentic locker room cap, official celebration towel (not soaked in champagne) and Rawlings official World Series baseball in a cube display. The cap alone is still considered one of the hot commodities around Yankees Universe.

When you already are counting the days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. The 2009 season just ended, and already many of us are looking forward to the first sound of the ball hitting a catcher's mitt or a bat as harbinger of another Opening Day. The holiday shopping list could include one of those travel packages to Arizona or Florida.

Right now, baseball season has given way to holiday shopping season. The Virtual Catalog is here. Soon enough it will be Black Friday, leading right into that wonderful Cyber Monday excitement on Nov. 30, and then one shipping deadline after another on into the magical holidays of December, when the presents are unwrapped.

It's that time of year
When the world falls in love.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.