The 2019 MLB season is nigh, which means it's time for our annual look around the best promotional giveaways at ballparks this season. We'll go through each team and highlight the best -- in my personal opinion -- item and give the date. Some teams provide images of the giveaway on their official website and some don't. Sometimes promotions are announced in the middle of the season. 

In general, I'm always a sucker for the Star Wars and Game of Thrones themes. There are also lots of other theme days that deserve special mention such as honoring troops or raising awareness to issues across the board. My personal shout-out here is to all the teams who have an Autism Awareness day. My daughter has autism, so I consider this a personal appreciation to the teams doing so this season. It means a lot. 

We aren't going to rank these, but we have champions in three different categories. Off we go. 

Baltimore Orioles: 'Why not' shirts

Generally, the Orioles haven't been great in the giveaway game the last few years and this season is no different. At least they can be forgiven this season due to not having many marketable players. We'll go with their best being Aug. 9, a 30th anniversary celebration of the "Why Not?" comeback kids. The giveaway is a T-shirt. The backstory is that 1989 team won 87 games, following the 1988 disaster that went 54-107. I guess it's fitting that this comes a season after the Orioles went 47-115. 

Boston Red Sox: Martinez HR counter bobblehead

Lots of good stuff here, including Mookie Betts "Time to Party" bobblehead and Andrew Benintendi's ALCS catch bobblehead. I'll go with the J.D. Martinez home run counting bobblehead, though, because that's a fun interactive feature through the season. This is given away May 14. 

New York Yankees: Rivera-Captain America crossover bobblehead

A bit light given the franchise history, but they make up for it with this one. On July 12, it's Marvel superhero night and they are giving away a Mariano Rivera Captain America bobblehead. 

Tampa Bay Rays: Cy Zilla bobblehead

It doesn't take long for the best one. It's March 30 with a Blake Snell Cy Zilla bobblehead. 

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays: Gurriel bobblehead

One of the weakest collections. We'll go with April 24 and the Lourdes Gurriel #PinaPower bobblehead. 

Chicago White Sox: Baines HOF plaque

On Aug. 11, it's Harold Baines Hall of Fame day. Fans will be given replica Baines Hall of Fame plaques. That's pretty cool. 

Detroit Tigers: Sparky bobblehead

They didn't have pictures, so I don't know what exactly the July 6 Miguel Cabrera bobblehead picture frame is. Given this, I'll pick the Sparky Anderson bobblehead (June 29). 

Kansas City Royals: Whit oven mitt

Unfortunately they don't have a photo of it, but I love this one for practical use. On June 8, it's a Whit (Merrifield) oven mitt. That's creative and a conversation piece to boot. Great work, Royals. You win runner-up to an award we'll reveal later. 

Minnesota Twins: Mauer bobbleheads

They are really good at putting together series. Last year, they did so with their outfielders and they were even attachable to each other. This time around, it's all Joe Mauer. On May 24, it's him as a high schooler (in St. Paul). On July 19, it's 21-year-old Joe Mauer debuting at catcher for the Twins. On Aug. 24, it's Mauer winning the MVP, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in 2009. On Sept. 7, it's Mauer in his final game last season. 

Houston Astros: Hugs for homers bobblehead

A pretty good variety of jerseys and bobbleheads here. We'll go with this one on May 6: 

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels: Trout cooler bag

 If there's a winner for best self-awareness, it's the Angels. They have two incredibly marketable players in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The majority of their promotional calendar is a variety of things with those guys' likeness, such as blankets, hats and jerseys. On June 27, it's this Mike Trout backpack cooler: 

Los Angeles Angels

Oakland Athletics: Khris Davis bat

A former champion here with another strong effort. I'm going with the Khris Davis home run champion bat on June 16. If it's full size, hopefully there aren't fights in the crowd ...

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners: Martinez HOF bobblehead

They usually bring it as well. For example, there's a Mitch Haniger "five tool" bobblehead where he's wearing a tool belt with actual tools. That has to lose out, however, to Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame bobble on Aug. 9. 

Texas Rangers: First AL pennant bobblehead

Some really good throwback bobbleheads. There's a Gary Matthews Jr. "The Catch" and Ivan Rodriguez at the 1995 All-Star Game which was in Arlington. I've gotta go with Sept. 14 and "hello first AL pennant" bobblehead of closer Neftali Feliz and catcher Bengie Molina, though. 

Atlanta Braves: Swanberson bobblehead

On June 11, it's a Swanberson bobblehead. Yes, half Dansby Swanson and half Charlie Culberson. That's fun. 

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins: Billy the Marlin bobblehead

Aug. 24, Billy the Marlin bobblehead. I, frankly, didn't have much to choose from. 

New York Mets: Thor-Game of Thrones crossover bobblehead

They have some fun bobbleheads, like Todd Frazier holding his WWE title belt and Robinson Cano as Star Wars' Obi-Wan Canobi. There's also a Jacob deGrom Cy Young. I have to go with Noah Syndergaard sitting on the Iron Throne, though, given that he made a cameo in Game of Thrones. Get this on April 27:

Philadelphia Phillies: Legends giveaways

Subjectively, I name the Phillies the most kid-friendly with their giveaways. Lots of good stuff there. I'm an adult, though, at least in theory, so I'm picking what I want. They have a great series with a trio of franchise legends. On May 4, they give away replica 2008 World Series rings as part of a Jimmy Rollins retirement celebration. On June 21, it's the Chase Utley retirement celebration with his bobblehead. Then on July 14, you guessed it, Ryan Howard's retirement is celebrated with his bobblehead. 

Washington Nationals: Doolittle-Star Wars crossover bobblehead

Obi-Sean Kenobi bobblehead on June 15 is the easy pick, due to Doolittle's known Star Wars fandom. 

Chicago Cubs: Coin bank

On June 20, how about Javier Baez's sliding coin bank? That's creative and fun. 

Chicago Cubs

Milwaukee Brewers: Cooper jersey

No Christian Yelich MVP giveaways? There is a bobblehead, but it's not MVP-related. I'll instead go with the throwback Cecil Cooper jersey on July 14. 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Blass bobblehead

Color man Steve Blass gets a dual player/broadcaster bobblehead and it's given away on Sept. 28. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Arizona Diamondbacks: Big Unit action figure

It's a bit light. I'll go with the May 18 Randy Johnson perfect game starting lineup figure. A nice mix from a bobblehead. 

Colorado Rockies: Story bobblehead

All their bobbleheads are straight forward without a fun twist! Beggars can't be choosers. Trevor Story on June 30 (no, there's no Nolan Arenado). 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Koufax bobblehead

There are a few late seasons bobbleheads that don't yet say who or what they specifically are, but for now we're going with a Sandy Koufax jersey on May 30. 

San Diego Padres: Replica jerseys

It's their 50th anniversary, so there are several fun items. It's hard to beat this, though: On June 29, they are giving out Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman 50th anniversary replica jerseys. 

San Francisco Giants: Cable car

A bit weaker than years' past, though it's still a good selection here. I liked this one: A cable car similar to one that is over the outfield wall in right-center with Willie McCovey's name: 

San Francisco Giants

That giveaway is July 20. 

Grand champion, practical use: Cleveland Indians

The Indians are excellent at jerseys and bobbleheads with their players past and present, but this one just really brought me in. On May 4, it's a welcome mat, but look at this. 

Cleveland Indians

That's excellent. Perfect a Indians fan sports cave. The Royals were the runners-up. 

Grand champion, single giveaway: Cardinals

The Cardinals are always excellent at the promo game. I was about to go with the April 26 bragging rights game, because Missouri fans can get a Cardinals shirt in Mizzou colors while Illinois fans can get their version, but then I saw this bobblehead which will be given away May 10. 

St. Louis Cardinals

Clemente was one of the first Puerto Rican players in MLB and Molina also hails from Puerto Rico. Molina was last year's Roberto Clemente Award due in large part to his humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico. What an outstanding idea, a prodigious home run. 

Grand champion, series giveaway: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds were the first professional baseball team and this year is their 150th anniversary. They are celebrating it in part with a five-Hall of Famer series of bobbleheads. 

May 18: Ernie Lombardi
June 1: Joe Morgan
June 15: Barry Larkin
Aug. 17: Johnny Bench
Sept. 7: Ken Griffey Jr. 

Here are the three that have already been produced: 

Cincinnati Reds

The Twins' Mauer series and Phillies' series are the runners-up. 

Enjoy the season and the collectibles!