It’s Christmastime again and, although—at 29 years old—I don’t stay up on Christmas Eve, eagerly hoping to hear reindeer hooves clopping on my roof, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still put continue together a wish list. Strangely enough, the list might not be all that different from the ones I penned years ago.
As a child, first and foremost, I always wished for snow on Christmas. It’s hard to say why, but for me, Christmastime was always best with a fresh coating of snow on the ground. Maybe it was the placid, serene Rockwellian ideal of the season—and the way it played against the backdrop of our admittedly not Rockwellian family gatherings—but it never seemed like a proper Christmas without at least the promise of a snow shower.
Now, I hate snow. Bad weather makes for a lousy commute and the jobs I once accepted with glee, like shoveling the neighbors’ driveways for 10 bucks a pop, are now simply part of the drudgery of having my own place.
Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t 100 percent rooting for a wintry storm to hit the area on, say, Feb. 2, when Super Bowl XLVIII is scheduled to be played at Met Life Stadium. Sure, sports pundits are bemoaning the chance that the Super Bowl champion might be decided in inclement weather, but did anyone watch the NFL slate this weekend? Four snow games, wild twists and turns and countless 300-pounders sliding all over the place unable to gain proper footing; snow games are the best. After all, it’s not like a possible blizzard is going to cost my Giants a title anyway.
As a young boy, another popular item on my Christmas list was always a new crop of Starting Lineup baseball figurines. I must have had dozens of the four-inch figures—from Ripken, Boggs, and Puckett, to Carter, Ryan and Mattingly—and used to spent hours arranging them around an imaginary diamond on the floor of my bedroom. Now, I find these same players again on my wish list, for a different reason.
Over the last few years, this crop of players, the idols of my childhood, are starting to find themselves on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballots and I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of them rewarded for their prowess and the joy they brought me as a youngster.
To my mind, there are a couple of surefire Hall of Fame guys in the mix this year. Greg Maddox, of course; Frank Thomas, definitely. Biggio, Kent? Why not. But I’m hoping that a couple of other guys get considered in here. It’s Jack Morris’ last year on the ballot, and in my mind, one of the all-time best “big game” pitchers is deserving of a nod. The “Crime Dog” Fred McGriff should get in based on 493 career dingers and his appearance in the Tom Emanski Defensive Drills video alone.
Heck, I wouldn’t even mind seeing the PED crew get in. Bonds and Clemens would be no-doubters if it weren’t for steroid accusations, so put them in the hall and make sure their plaques mention, albeit briefly, that there’s only a handful of people out there who believe they came about their achievements the right way. It would be worth it just to watched the two disgraced stars whitewash their own troubled history during their acceptance speeches.
And of course, I always wished for games as a kid. Be it board games like the addicting Hungry-Hungry Hippos or the latest iteration of the Madden franchise for Sega Genesis when I got a bit older, I was always thrilled to find some new great treat under the tree, something that could help me pass the hours.
And I still root for great games. I had my share in 2013, from dramatic Red Sox postseason wins, to the once-in-a-lifetime New Rochelle victory over Mount Vernon, to the emotional Class C state final game I witnessed; they all brought me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They ran the gamut of the emotional rollercoaster sports can be at its best. Here’s hoping for more of that in 2014.
And of course, it’s the time of year when we’re supposed to hold others in our hearts, so I would be remiss if I didn’t wish for peace, love and good fortune for all.
Except, of course, for those darned Yankees.
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