LONGSHOTS: Holiday presents for the sports naughty and nice
by Dave Long
’Tis the season to be jolly and give holiday cheer to all. We’ll go one further and hand out our annual holiday presents to those in sports whether they have been naughty or nice.
Theo Epstein – the restraint to keep both Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury out of any deal for ANY slugger outside of Albert Pujoils to let them team go with the killer rotation.
Mike Lowell – a return to major-league-level health wherever he lands so he can demonstrate to the brass what a mistake they’re making in treating him almost as badly as Danny treated Leon Powe.
Leon Powe: Ditto to Leon on the good health thing lasting long enough to get the kind of long-term deal that can give security to him and his family after the long hard road they’ve been on.
Red Sox Nation – a trade with the Tigers that sends Lowell (with the Sox picking up the $9 million) there to play first for year one, Lars Anderson to take over after that along with pitcher Michael Bowdon and outfielder Ryan Westmoreland for Miguel Cabrera — who’s even better than Adrian Gonzalez.
Tiger Woods – the insight to GET what he traded all those bimbos for.
UNH – a BIG contribution to the alumni fund — if the tabloids are right and Tiger really does want to marry paramour alum Rachel Uchitel when all the dirt, er, dust blows over.
Chip Kelly – a win over Ohio State on New Year’s Day to close out a terrific season by giving the Ducks their first Rose Bowl win since 1917! Plus let’s make it a 47-45 thriller for good measure. Won’t do a lot for his blood pressure, but I bet it helps recruiting.
BCS – the kick in the anti-trust pants that Orrin Hatch and others in Congress are talking about giving it to force a national playoff tournament to replace the antiquated Bowl system so undefeateds like Boise State, Cincinnati and TCU will get a chance win or lose it on the field instead of in some smoke-filled back room.
Jason Bay – some holiday forgiveness toward his agent for overplaying his hand this free agent season to the point he could be the guy left standing without a chair when the music stops this year.
NFL Fans – a do-over in the New Orleans–Dallas game of last Saturday to help us gain the Super Bowl with two undefeated teams that we deserve and are now not going to get.
Peyton Manning – since that can’t happen — the 19-0 season. I know it sounds treasonous but, hey, it’s Christmas, where we give good will to all mankind and should salute great achievement. And it’s not like I’m rooting against the Patriots, ’cause with that defense and their offensive game plans they ain’t going anywhere.
Brett Favre – After all the tiresome “I can’t make up my mind” hoo-ha, I can’t believe I’m saying this. But if the Pats and then the Colts don’t win the big one, I’m hoping you get it because it would be a well-earned prize for a guy who is tough enough to incredibly never miss even one game in an entire career playing in the brutal NFL.
Notre Dame – a little integrity. It NEVER should have let new coach Brian (should have been Chip) Kelly walk out on the kids at Cincinnati he’s asked to sacrifice individual for the team benefits. Can you imagine the uproar from fans and the school alike if a coach did that to a ND team trying to finish off ITS season undefeated and untied? It would be enormous, which makes all who root for the Irish GIGANTIC hypocrites. I mean what ever happened to the phrase in the Bible from Matthew 7.12, “Do unto others as you have them do unto to you”?
Charlie Weis – a good landing place for the ex-ND coach and Patriots offensive coordinator — like maybe as O.C. for the Patriots again. Although to be honest I’m not sure if that’s a gift for him or Patriots Nation, because after the play calling this year, they need someone better to do it.
Patriots Nation – if it’s a present for Charlie, then a smidgen of truth serum for Bill Belichick to get a truthful answer to why he REALLY went for it on fourth and two from his own 28 and two minutes to go against the Colts. And the knowledge to all in the Nation that that was not even closest to the most controversial going-for-it-on-fourth-and-short decision during the decade. How about Pete Carroll going for it from mid-field with the national title and a 34-game winning streak on the line for the exact same reason — to keep it away from a quarterback (Vince Young) he knew his defense could not stop.
Vince Young – speaking of him: a continuation of the run he’s been on that has transformed the Titans’ season, because I love watching that guy play.
Bill Belichick – the knowledge to know he won’t called a flip-flopper if he starts spending in the off-season to get a DESPERATELY needed linebacker or two who can rush the passer and stop the run.
Greg Oden – Better luck to the affable center in the health department, because, thanks to bad luck, his first three years unfortunately look a lot more like Sam Bowie than they do like the game-changing franchise player Portland thought Bowie might be when they took him ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft.
Rick Pitino – a gift certificate to any Italian restaurant of his choice in the Louisville area to keep out of the infamous one that caused him and his family all his trouble.
LeBron James – admission to my class at NHTI the next time I teach Sports and Society again so he’ll have a clue that major-league baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number because he helped change the world for the better. That way he’ll avoid further embarrassing himself in suggesting the NBA should do the same for Michael Jordan — where my question is WHY?
Me – Which I know my friends the insurance mogul Vince, er , Dick Lombardi wants badly for me as well — a Celtics–Lakers final and I’ll take my chances from there.
You – tickets to any game you deem big enough for you to want to see, the insight and guts to try real innovation if it comes your way because it is the way you can change the world at large and yours in particular and, of course, a title for the favorite team you root for on any level.
Yankees fans – except of course for you guys – you can have the first two, but I’m guessing you figured out that I didn’t mean the last one for you.
And finally, here’s hoping you have a happy and safe holiday season – Peace.
Dave Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He hosts Dave Long and Company from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday on WGAM – The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.