Saturday, December 25, 2010

Naughty or Nice, These Heroes and Goats Deserve Gifts, Too

Who says you can’t still get excited on Christmas morning, just because you’re all grown up? Where is it written that “thou shall not race into the front room, eager to open gifts,” if you’re beyond the age of 18?

Our sports heroes and goats should be able to enjoy December 25, too. Santa Claus ought not to skip over their houses!

To that end, here’s what I hope ole St. Nick will leave under the tree for some of them as he makes his rounds in the wee hours.

For Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford: the folks from “The Six Million Dollar Man” TV show, to rebuild his shoulders with bionics—because they HAVE the technology.

For Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who wants to own another dog: a nice, fluffy, stuffed facsimile—and nothing more.

For Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, who’s on the verge of career win No. 400: a Hall of Fame induction speech—just in case.

For Tigers injury-prone, jack-of-all-trades Carlos Guillen, recovering from micro-fracture surgery on his knee: see Matthew Stafford, but for Carlos’s entire body.

For MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo: another Final Four appearance, and the kind where you lift the trophy at the end of it.

For U-M athletic director David Brandon: a plate of pancakes for breakfast, to replace all the waffling of late.

For Pistons coach John Kuester: a year’s supply of Pepto-Bismol.

For Tigers fans: outfielder Magglio Ordonez—oops, you already got that!

For ESPN: royalties on Brett Favres’s life; he couldn’t have stayed in the news without you, oh Worldwide Leader.

For Pistons guard Rip Hamilton: a nice, new snuggie, binkie, and sippy cup.

For Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk, who has a broken hand: see Matthew Stafford, too.

For the Miami Heat: another basketball. They’ll need it, eventually.

For Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga: a made-for-TV movie about his sudden link to umpire Jim Joyce, entitled “Perfect Strangers.”

For Red Wings defenseman Nick Lidstrom: whatever he damn well wants.

For Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge: a brand new bat that’s guaranteed to hit .250 or higher.

For U-M quarterback Denard Robinson: a defense that doesn’t belie your offensive prowess.

For former Lions playing great and coach Joe Schmidt: all the continued good health in the world, and much thanks for sticking around and staying a Detroiter for life.

For Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay: ditto.

For former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his record-setting 63-yard field goal that beat the Lions: my forgiveness, and congratulations—you continue to be the league’s unlikeliest record holder.

For Red Wings center Mike Modano, recovering from a sliced wrist: a clean bill of health for the playoffs.

For Lions receiver Calvin Johnson: reasons to stick around, i.e. more wins.

For MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who wants to add another tier of playoffs to a post-season that already has trouble ending before Election Day: a freezer full of snowballs, ready for whoever throws out the first pitches at future World Series games.

For the 4-10 Arizona Cardinals, who were in the Super Bowl just two years ago: a chance to renew its deal with the Devil.

For oft-injured Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya: any bionics left over from Matthew Stafford and Carlos Guillen.

For Tigers manager Jim Leyland: fresh gallons of paint for the All-Star break, so his teams can stop fading in the second half.

For basketball coach Larry Brown, who just left his 13th coaching gig, with the Charlotte Bobcats: a new job as spokesperson for

For the Los Angeles Clippers: a proclamation from Gov. Schwarzenegger declaring them a disaster area, so they can qualify for federal aid.

For baseballs everywhere in the big leagues: an extra layer of padding for whenever Miguel Cabrera is at the plate. Poor things.

For fans at games who hold up the letter “D” and a piece of fence: a new rebus, already.

For Red Wings coach Mike Babcock: a Jack Adams Trophy, sooner or later.

For U-M football coach Rich Rodriguez: a job as an evangelist, in case his current one doesn’t work out.

For injured Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko: a nice card, telling him that we miss him and are thinking about him.

For Lions rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: a key to the City of Detroit, if we can get it back from Curtis Granderson.

For Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander: a piece of coal, because like Jack Morris and Bob Gibson, Justin pitches better when he’s angry.

For Lions coach Jim Schwartz: a badge making him an honorary member of the CIA, for his handling of player injury reports.

For my lovely wife, who puts up with my sports-ness: a better husband for 2011. Here’s hoping.

For everyone who reads, listens to “The Knee Jerks,” or both: fulfilled dreams, health, and many thanks.

Merry Christmas!

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