This long weekend, we give thanks. For all sorts of things. ...
• For turkey and dressing. Because after a 162-game season, man needs something other than hot dogs and beer.
• For loving (and understanding) family and friends. Because, really, you can only cuddle up to the Rally Monkey or your authentic Derek Jeter jersey for so long.
• For the Yankees' 27th World Series title. Because their long-suffering fans have been so patient and understanding during such a drastic drought.
• For wall-to-wall football on the big-screen TV during Thanksgiving weekend. Because as much fun as it is to watch football, it also reminds us of how much we're missing when the baseball season goes dark.
• For childhood memories at the holidays that continue to keep you warm all those decades later. Playing football with your brother in a soft snowfall in the vacant yard next door that seemed so big then and looks so small now. Watching the Lions lose again (yes, even back then) while mom -- every bit the artist in the Thanksgiving kitchen that Picasso was with a brush -- put the finishing touches on dinner. Nighttime dominoes and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. No school, wide-open days and Christmas around the corner.
• For CC Sabathia. Because even the Yankees are likeable behind his smile.
• For Cy Young races as close as the NL this year with the Tim Lincecum-Chris Carpenter-Adam Wainwright finish. Because it is things like this that give us something to argue about all winter, which sure beats discussing your wife's plans for the kitchen remodel or your daughter's unlimited texting plan!
• For the game No. 163 that the Twins and Tigers gave us in October. We knew then that there was no way any other postseason game was going to match that one in terms of drama and emotion, and we were right. For anybody with a pulse, it was one of the great moments of the season. Or, as Orlando Cabrera called it, the "most unbelievable game I've ever played or seen."
• For the Angels' Torii Hunter, the Twins' Joe Mauer, free agent Jason Bay, Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, the Brewers' Trevor Hoffman and the many other good people in the game who have given back to their community over and over again, reminding us why a big league club can be so valuable to a community.
• For the Web site The Sports Pickle, which keeps us howling at times throughout the year with "stories" like this one: MLB to Complete Long-Awaited 1994 Season.
• For crazy folks like the guy who voted Detroit's Miguel Cabrera first on his AL MVP ballot, the only one of 28 voters who didn't have Mauer first. Because it is mistakes like this that make us realize that when we do bone-headed things on our own, we're not alone. The only explanation I can think of is that Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News in Japan -- he's based in Seattle and covers the Mariners -- turned in his ballot before the final weekend of the season, when Cabrera pulled an all-nighter and police were summoned to his home to quell a domestic disturbance with the Tigers battling to hang onto their AL Central lead. Because given that stunt, Cabrera not only didn't deserve a first-place vote, he didn't deserve to be on the 10-deep ballot.
• For two years' worth of touring from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, whose odyssey just closed on Sunday night in Buffalo, N.Y., leaving many of us to ponder when we'll ever attend another concert that matches that level.
• For Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Because we all need living museums.
• For the two wacky managers in Chicago, Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen. Because they're so passionate, and so entertaining.
• For Christmas being just around the corner. Because you know several cool surprises are just around the corner. And look, here's one now. You've got to check out this crazy Bob Dylan video from his new Christmas album. It'll put a smile on your face for the rest of the day, I promise.
• For good health, good cheer and good friends.
• To all who come around here regularly, whether to cheer or to boo, thanks. And a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Likes: A hearty shout-out to the Falcons of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, who clipped Constantine 23-17 in a Michigan state football semifinal on Saturday and will play for the state title on Friday against No. 1-ranked Montague at Detroit's Ford Field. Congratulations to the Falcons and old classmate and friend Coach Jack Giarmo, whose work with a proud program continues to be top-shelf. Go get 'em on Friday, fellas. Go green! Scouting report is here (from the good guys' perspective, of course).
Dislikes: Still looking for a reasonable last-minute airfare to get to Friday's title game. Still looking. ... Still looking. ...
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Catholic Central hats off to thee
"To your colors true we will ever be
"Firm and strong, united are we
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah for the Falcon team"
-- Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High School fight song
Hey, the state title game is this week. We gotta go with this one.