In the seasonal spirit of giving, here now our annual gift list for our friends in the world of sports, regardless of whether they’re naughty or nice:
Hawks coach Larry Drew: A dictionary. “Irregardless” is never acceptable, except when the intent is clearly humorous. And there’s nothing funny about losing to the Nets. Twice.
Philadelphia Eagles: You got your gift on Sunday. Thank you, Giants.
Matt Dodge: A pair of idiot mittens. How could the Giants punter not kick the football out of bounds at the end of the Eagles game?
Tom Quinn: A pair of idiot mittens. How could the Giants special teams coordinator not have his team even remotely consider the possibility of an Eagles onside kick?
Bobby Cox: A long, wonderful, relaxing retirement.
Brett Favre: A long, wonderful, relaxing retirement. Please.
Urban Meyer: A longer, more wonderful, more relaxing retirement than last year’s.
Georgia Tech football team: The Georgia football team’s copies of Both Fun And Exciting Things to do While Stranded in Shreveport.
Mark Richt: Significant improvement. Sooner rather than later. The Nation is restless.
Atlanta Falcons: Hearty thank-yous all around. After 45 years of wandering around in the NFL’s wilderness, the Falcons have finally become an elite franchise.
Cam Newton: People to stop using the phrase “ongoing investigation.” Better yet, an end to the ongoing investigation.
TCU football team: Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits cd. Includes R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Paul Hewitt: Smart pills. Has any brilliant basketball coach ever dummied up faster than Hewitt? Okay, since the Harrick boys retired.
Fredi Gonzalez: A center fielder. Gonzalez may follow Cox into retirement if he has to spend the entire summer watching Nate McLouth try to play center. And try to hit.
Jordan Schafer: Who??
Chipper Jones: Complete and successful rehab on the injured knee, so that he’ll be available for his customary 120 games in 2011.
Dan Uggla: A long-term contract. This is a scrappy player who gives his all every day. It would be nice to see him anchor the Braves infield for years to come, even if the Braves might be overpaying for the back end of the deal.
Brooks Conrad: Forgiveness. And a new glove. Can he play center field??
Sal Alosi: For the Jets coach who kneed the Dolphins Nolan Carroll during a punt two weeks ago, may he be tripped while standing in a long line at the bank as he tries to cash his final paycheck.
Philadelphia Phillies: A four-man pitching rotation. Everybody’s talking about how wonderful Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels will be together as starters. Let’s find out. Let’s trot them out there everyday. Let’s turn the clock back 45 years. The last true four-man rotation featured Sandy Koufax (41 starts), Don Drysdale (40), Claude Osteen (38) and rookie Don Sutton (35) for the ‘66 Dodgers. If you’re wondering, the other eight starts went to Joe Moeller.
Edgar Renteria: A new contract offer less insulting than $1 million per year.
Bert Blyleven: The call from The Hall. He’s the most deserving pitcher not yet elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. It’s time.
Heavyweight college football coaches: An attorney to handle their class-action lawsuit. Is it mere coincidence that The Big Three-Mark Mangino, Charlie Weis, and now Ralph Friedgen-have all lost their jobs in the past year? What, if you have great girth, you can’t coach? Isn’t Friedgen the current ACC coach of the year? Something sure seems strange.
Mark Fox: That one outstanding recruit who’ll enable the Georgia basketball program to explode. Might Kentavious Caldwell-Pope be the guy?
Oregon’s football team: New uniforms for The Big Game. I’m thinking something featuring day-glo lime green socks with matching shoes.
UConn women’s basketball team: A team that can give them a game.
Tom Brady: A haircut. What are you, Kenny Stabler?
Tashard Choice: An autographed photo of Michael Vick, to go with his autographed football.
Michael Vick: A birthday gift for his kids.
Michael Vick’s kids: A puppy.
New York Yankees: A big trade or free agent signing. Oh, wait; didn’t they sign Russell Martin?
And to all you loyal readers: Peace, love, and happiness now and throughout the new year.