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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 two...deal.), but I want to see the Hibernians of the Hardwood lay the smack down on the Lakers to extend their winning streak.
- 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.
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.