Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis the Season

There are a lot of things I want but, oddly, I look forward to the small things at Christmas. Sure, it's nice, and always a pleasant surprise to get the big ticket item, but it's never really been about that to me (I won't get into the whole thing about the season of giving, because, let's face it, we're trained from a young age to get at this time of year). Some of my favorite things, though, are what my six-year old daughter manages to give me because she really is giving for the sake of giving, and when she spends five or six bucks for a gift, she's spending more than a whole week's salary on me.

Don't worry, this will tie back to sports soon, bear with me.

Part of my problem with getting gifts for family and friends is that I hate buying off people's lists - I feel like I'm not putting any thought into the item by going to someone's Amazon list and picking something off it.

As for people buying for me, there are a number of small things those buying for me know I would enjoy - Dennis Lehane and Raymond Chandler novels, a fine six pack or case of micro-brew or Guinness, Bogart films on DVD are just a sampling.

There is, however, a much more selfish list that no one can really buy me - and at times, I have to admit, it's at odds with the Christmas spirit. That said, here's my selfish list...

  1. A Patriots playoff appearance. Failing that, Chad Pennington carving up the Jets secondary and garnering the MVP vote. There's a lot of talk about where the Colts would be without Peyton Manning this season, but we've already seen where the Dolphins would be without Pennington - and let's face it, it's a special sort of ugly.
  2. A resolution to the Mark Teixiera sweepstakes...ideally at the expense of Scott Boras who seems to be losing his golden touch. In recent seasons he has looked bad in several of his highest profile negotiations - blinking in the game of chicken with the Red Sox over the Daisuke Matsuzaka contract, and getting a public spanking by Alex Rodriguez in the most recent dealings with the Yankees.
  3. A Celtic Christmas. I know that during this time of year you're not supposed to wish misfortune on others (yeah, yeah, I know I already did in items one and, but I want to see the Hibernians of the Hardwood lay the smack down on the Lakers to extend their winning streak.
  4. That enough members of the Baseball Writers of America are visited by three really pissed off ghosts on Christmas Eve that show them the error of their ways and a guy named James Edward Rice gets the love he deserves in the next Hall of Fame vote.
Those are the big things the relatives won't be able to purchase. A little more seriously, I hope that the families that are apart due to the current military action have a safe and happy Christmas.

To my readers, you can all find a little bit of Christmas cheer here.

One final note - my sympathies go out to the family of Dock Ellis who passed this week. Ellis, who had a mostly solid, but unspectacular 12-year career split between the Pirates, Yankees, Athletics, Rangers, and Mets. Were it not for his no-hitter and a dominating 1971 when he went 19-9, Ellis would likely have faded into the nameless masses. As it were, Ellis, a contemporary of the Sox' own Bill "The Spaceman" Lee, was one of the true characters of the game, and will likely be most remembered for being high on LSD when throwing his no no, rather than his work as a spokesman in the fight against drug and alcohol addiction.

Rest in peace, Dock, the game was more interesting for having you.


Teresa said...

I would much rather see the Pats get into the playoffs than either one of the 8-8 jokers from the West. Although I would rather go to Denver than SD because Rivers' attitude wears on me.

Cassell has done an amazing job this year and that is what great players do--play great when everything else around this has gone to hell in a hand basket.

I think Peyton has done really well, too, since the rest of our players have sucked this year.

Chris Stone said...

its going to be tough to root for the Jets. well. like. impossible. I'll settle for not watching those 2 games. (jaguars and jets.)

I'd like to say the Pats have played so well and over come so much that I think their season is perfect even without the playoffs... but. I'd be lying.

and. to continue your theme of wishing misfortune without really wishing misfortune... i hope the pats do an arizona on buffalo.

Kevin Smith said...

Chris - I know what you mean. I can taste the bile in the back of my throat at just the thought of rooting for the Jets.

T - Peyton has played well, particularly in the second half of the season (not so much in the first half). I know he was still overcoming the knee injury the first half of the season, but he was part of the problem through the first seven games. It bothers me a little that there are a lot of people talking about him for MVP, but almost no one talking about Pennington, whom I think has meant more to the Dolphins turnaround.

I don't know how you don't look at a guy that has helped a 1-15 team to the brink of the playoffs and miss saying "dude, he's gotta be the guy." (And let me say, it's hard enough as a Pats fan to admit that a Dolphin is most deserving).

I'm not saying Peyton shouldn't be considered, but I do think he shouldn't be considered the front-runner.

On that note - Merry Christmas.

the blue state blogger said...

"I'm not saying Peyton shouldn't be considered, but I do think he shouldn't be considered the front-runner."

I don't mind saying he shouldn't be considered. He played abominably the first quarter to half of the season, but as usual the media is so far up his butt they can't see anything else.

I'm frankly surprised the media hasn't also been trying desperately to find some reason to consider their other patron saint of the gridiron, Favre.

The media kowtowing to these two guys makes me sick in the extreme.

Kevin Smith said...

For the most part, I think players either play themselves into or out of the award. Manning is playing himself into the award. However, I don't think he should win it. I think there are a number of other players more deserving -

Pennington, Michael Turner (really, where is Atlanta without him - he's making Matt Ryan a whole lot better), Matt Ryan, Kerry Collins (I know he doesn't have the stats, but who really believes that the Titans are anywhere close to where they are with Vince Young under center), and Wes Welker are all players that I would go with ahead of Manning, but I understand why some people will give him votes. Personally, I think you have to go with the guy who has been consistently good - and I don't think Manning has been it, which is why all those other guys are ahead of him in my book.

As for Favre - as sycophantic as the media has been about him, I think even they realize that it's hard to put a dude on a pedestal who not only has six times the interceptions as he has touchdowns, but also leads the league in turnovers.