We’ve now arrived at the most wonderful time of the year.
Well, yes. But it’s also the time to bestow upon our favorite friends in the world of sports some appropriate gifts. Tis better to give than receive, after all.
And so, without further ado, let’s see what we have in the happy sack for:
Bobby Cox: Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux get to join him in the Hall of Fame next summer. That would make it the perfect entrance for the ol’ skipper, who still doesn’t get enough credit for building the farm system that began churning out stars like Glavine.
That helped make Atlanta a popular destination for star free-agents like Maddux. It also helped to have a real player’s manager in the locker room.
Through the record 14 straight division titles (a record we won’t ever see broken) Cox was the one constant face in the dugout. Yes, they should have won at least two more World Series titles. But Cox changed Atlanta’s "Losersville" image, and won the city’s only professional championship.
David Ortiz: The Sportsman of the Year award. Ortiz picked up his team, his city, and his region, carried them on his back, and led an unbelievable recovery from the Boston Marathon attack. What Big Papi did this year transcended his miraculous feats on the field, leading his Red Sox to the World Championship.
BJ Upton and Dan Uggla: Another place to play.
Frank Wren: Restraint. Whoa! Stop! Don’t do it! No more huge contracts for free agents. Please! Who would you rather see in a Braves uniform this year, BJ Upton or
Brian McCann: Appreciation. May he be appreciated in New York like he was in Atlanta. From the day he first put on the Braves uniform and caught a win by John Smoltz, until he blocked home plate after Carlos Gomez hot dogged his home run trot, McCann was the heart and soul of the team. He will be missed. A lot.
Mariano Rivera: Admiration. What a class act. Would that there were more like him. Or that more even tried to be.
Mike Budenholzer: A good public relations campaign. Most of us follow the word "Hawks" with a yawn. But with very little notice, the new coach may be on to something. These guys actually seem to enjoy passing the ball around. What a novel idea. But it seems to be working.
Danny Ferry: Time. To let the Master Plan develop.
Jason Kidd: A Tervis Tumbler. That might keep the Nets coach from spilling his drink on the court. Accidently. Near the end of a game. When he’s out of timeouts. And needs one to call a play. And gets to while the court is mopped up. And the play works and the Nets win. But then Kidd gets fined fifty big ones by the league.
Thomas Dimitroff: A new drawing board. For a guy who spent much of the past six years being hailed as a genius, he sure dummied up in a hurry.
Mike Smith: Understanding. Remember, coach, it’s all part of the process.
Arthur Blank: A pat on the back. No, really. I’ll admit it. I hate seeing Blank roving along the sideline near the end of games. But he kept it up this season when he was basking in boos instead of cheers. Gotta give him credit for that.
Tony Gonzalez: A very happy retirement. Surely this debacle of a season finished his career. At least we got to see some of what made him history’s best tight end.
Matt Ryan: Somethings old. Is it me, or was Ryan a much better quarterback under his old contract? Or was that behind his old offensive line? Let’s go out with the new, and in with the old.
Mike Tomlin: A sideline marker.
Wade Phillips: Wait a minute. How many head coaching jobs does this guy need?
NFL: A nice, big. blustery blizzard for the Super Bowl.
David Cutcliffe: After the coach of the year awards and the satisfaction of having done perhaps the best job in history of turning a program around, about all that’s left is for the Duke football coach to walk into a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium this winter, and be greeted with a rousing, standing ovation.
Mark Richt: An injury-free team in 2014.
Paul Johnson: A victory over Georgia.
Will Muschamp: A victory over anybody.
Gus Malzahn: A lifetime contract. Lifetime. Remember what happened to Gene Chizik.
Urban Meyer: A humidifier. That might cure the laryngitis he’s apparently suffered from since the Big Ten championship game.
Phil Mickelson: That elusive US Open championship.
Rory McElroy: His old swing.
And to all of you loyal readers: Peace, love, and happiness, now and throughout the new year.