Season’s greetings and joyeux Noel! As has been the tradition in this space since early in the 21st century, and by the power vested in me by Santa-tonio Holmes & Gardens, I am pleased to bestow the following gifts upon those who’ve been naughty and nice in the world of sports in 2010:
To Brett Favre: An iPod loaded with an endless loop of one song, from The Sound of Music: “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…”
To Cam Newton: A raise.
To Tom Brady: Male pattern baldness. It’s not that he’s been naughty, but, jeez, can’t there be something about his life that isn’t perfect?
To Amar’e Stoudemire: A playoff run for the Knicks, and some more apostrophes.
To Sepp Blatter: Forced residency in a winter time-share in Siberia, and a summer one in Qatar.
To Randy Moss: Ron Artest’s shrink.
To Armando Galarraga: A mulligan. And to Jim Joyce, the most honest umpire who ever lived, the wisdom not to answer when his wife asks, “Does this make me look fat?”
To John Calipari: A late-night visit from the Ghost of Woodens Past.
To Yankees GM Brian Cashman: A job with a team that has the money to sign premium free agents. Though, to be fair, he did sign a superstar shortstop, which will help shore up one of his team’s weaknesses.
To British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen: All he wants for Christmas – his two front teeth.
To Paul Pierce: A flashier name, for a player who deserves more recognition as one of basketball’s greatest. Maybe a nickname. Or some apostrophes.
To Boise kicker Kyle Brotzman: Selective amnesia.
To Troy Polamalu: Legs as healthy as his hair.
To Geno Auriemma: Respect and accolades and all that, but really, all you did was beat a bunch of girls.
To Kobe Bryant: To place alongside his Finals MVP trophy, the DVD set for Season Six of 24. (Get it? 6 of 24?)
To Carlos Zambrano: Ron Artest’s shrink.
To Tiger Woods: Let’s see… that one’s been used… so has that one… what about… nah… ok, I give up – you’ll have to insert your own joke here.
To ESPN: Props to the Worldwide Leader for supporting and airing its “30 for 30” series of documentaries. This almost offsets its forfeiture of all journalistic credibility with “The Decision.”
To Manny Pacquiao: The Mayweather fight. Go along with whatever testing regimen they ask for, and release your results publicly. Call his bluff. Your sport needs it. No more Margaritos (he should never have been allowed back in a ring) or Mosleys.
To Chris Bosh: A tattoo that reads, “Zeppo.”
To Cleveland: First dibs on the next megastar to come along in any sport. If global warming continues at this pace, South Beach will be underwater by then and your winters will be balmy.
To Rex Ryan: Many more years of loving being a coach, to forestall his inevitable shift to broadcasting where he’ll be The Next John Madden.
To Butler’s Gordon Hayward: Two more inches. Or maybe two fewer.
To John Daly: Patience and fortitude, after a judge last week awarded him full custody of his and his fourth wife’s seven-year-old son. Think about the implications of that one for a minute.
To Serena Williams: Recognition as one of the greatest female athletes ever, something she seems to have accomplished in her spare time.
To all who laughed at Texas Christian moving to the Big East: A map. Fort Worth isn’t in the east, no, but it’s not exactly in the mountains west either. Six Big East schools (40%) are closer to TCU than Mountain West members San Diego State and UNLV, to say nothing of future MWC schools Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, or Hawaii.
To all who blasted Jets strength coach Sal Alosi: A clue. There’s no excuse for his tripping Nolan Carroll, but criticizing him for having players form a wall somewhere they’re allowed to stand is absurd. That part wasn’t unsportsmanlike, it was smart. How far out of bounds should a gunner be able to go?
To Donald Sterling: Hecklers at every building he owns. And a mirror for when he really wants to see why the Clippers perpetually suck.
To Vince Young: Ron Artest’s shrink.
To all who play, coach, train, strive, dream, and bring their talents to the fields and courts and rinks and pitches around the world: A very merry Christmas, good health and happiness, and all best for the New Year to come.