Senior Writer

Christmas tidings for those naughty and nice around MLB


Ho, ho, ho and welcome, all of you Grinches, to our annual Christmas party. The sugar cookies are over there beneath Joe West, I mean, that mound of frosting. The mistletoe is in place, now we're just awaiting Frank and Jamie McCourt. Merry Christmas, Dodgers!

And that's not an elf, it's Yankees general manager Brian Cashman rappelling down the side of the house. Brian, look out for the reindeer poooo ... awww, no! That's even worse than not getting Cliff Lee!

The Red Sox brought Adrian Gonzalez home early, sparking Christmas celebrations across New England. (AP)  
The Red Sox brought Adrian Gonzalez home early, sparking Christmas celebrations across New England. (AP)  
Christmas 2010. The stockings are stuffed, the roast beast has been carved and all is merry and bright (well, maybe not in Kansas City or Pittsburgh). ...


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a computer was stirring, not even a mouse;

The Red Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Knowing Gonzalez and Crawford soon would be there;

The Yankees were nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of Ivan Nova (and no Cliff Lee) filling 'em with dread;

Marcum in his 'kerchief, with Greinke in a Brewers cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap;

When on the outfield lawn there arose such a clatter,
The Angels sprung from their bed to see what was the matter;

Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash;

When what to their stunned eyes should appear,
But Jayson Werth, and $126 million in cash,
Hauled by Santa Mike Rizzo, and eight tiny reindeer.


He's making a list, checking it twice

Gonna find out who's naughty and nice:

Santa's naughty list

New York governor David Peterson: Fined $62,125 this week by the state Commission on Public Integrity for accepting free tickets for Game 1 of the 2009 World Series between the Phillies and New York at Yankee Stadium. He performed no ceremonial function. Didn't even offer to dress up as a Pinstriped Rally Monkey.

Carlos Zambrano: One temper tantrum away from the Cubs handing him a lump of coal and sending him on his way.

Commissioner Bud Selig: On target to become the first commissioner to endorse an expanded playoff system that STILL will leave the Pirates and the Royals out in the cold. Memo to the commissioner's office: No on expanded playoffs. Yes on more revenue sharing.

The Marlins: Hey South Florida, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and club president David Samson have this plan to help finance a new ballpark. They'll be wrapping Christmas gifts at the Coral Gables Barnes & Noble this Saturday. All proceeds will go toward a new baseball stadium. The cost per wrapped gift is $6,500, by the way. And Loria and Samson will be keeping the gifts inside and returning a wrapped, empty box to you. Cool?

Hall of Fame voters: Roberto Alomar does not make it last January, in his first year on the ballot? Really? What game has everyone been watching? See if you can get this one right this year, else there will be no hot chocolate for you.

Santa's nice list

Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce: Sports Illustrated blew it (put that magazine on the naughty list, Dasher!). Drew Brees is a class act and all, but Galarraga and Joyce clearly should be Sportsmen of the Year. Galarraga's grace and class in the aftermath of having what should have been a perfect game taken from him, and umpire Joyce's humility and honesty comprised the best moment of the summer. All of you high school and college athletes, Little League parents, soccer moms and dads: This is sportsmanship, and behavior this graceful is what we should be teaching each other.

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San Francisco Giants: Not only for winning the first-ever World Series title in the city, but for graciously interrupting their on-field celebration after eliminating Atlanta, spontaneously turning toward the Braves dugout and saluting retiring manager Bobby Cox. Pure class. And Santa says see above paragraph regarding sportsmanship and what we should be teaching each other.

Cliff Lee: Left close to $30 million guaranteed money on the table in New York while following his heart to Philadelphia. Ho, ho, ho.

Kerry Wood: What a cool, cool thing, bypassing other, more lucrative offers so he could be home (with the Cubs) for Christmas. And what a great story that it happened when Wood and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry spent time together at legend Ron Santo's wake earlier this month. "God bless No. 10," Hendry, referring to Santo's old number, told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "In his own great way, he had something to do with this. It really wasn't on the radar for either one of us until last weekend."

Ron Roenicke: Santa loves an underdog, and Roenicke got the Brewers job in a year in which Milwaukee decided not only to keep Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, but also acquired top-shelf starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke in trade. The Brewers now have Three Wise Men who made opening day starts last year: Greinke (Kansas City), Marcum (Toronto) and Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee).

Dr. Nicholas DePace: The Philadelphia cardiologist who this week wired the School Sisters of Notre Dame $220,000 for a Honus Wagner baseball card after the original auction winner failed to pay. DePace, a regular at the auction house and a Catholic, was impressed that the nuns intended to use the money for their schools and ministries for the poor in 35 countries. "God bless him," Sister Virginia Muller said. All together, now: Yes, Sister Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.


Pass the hot chocolate and marshmallows, the carolers are outside. ...

Listen! It's Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee:

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing through the pain
Of us free agents in reply
Echoing that you're insane
Noooooo to Arte Moreno!
Noooooo to Mike Scioscia!

Listen! It's Phillies manager Charlie Manuel singing the Twelve Days of Christmas:

On the first day of Christmas
My GM sent to me
A free agent named Cliff Lee

On the second day of Christmas
My GM sent to me
Two Roys I love
And a free agent named Cliff Lee

On the third day of Christmas
My GM sent to me
Three Cole wins
Two Roys I love
And a free agent named Cliff Lee

Shhh! It's Rays manager Joe Maddon singing a rendition of Silent Night:

Silent night, holy crap
Crawford's gone
Our bullpen's done
Soriano and Carlos Pena
Holy smoke, winter can really drain ya
The Trop will provide heavenly peace
The Trop will provide eerie peace


The best of this year's Christmas cards:

Dear Yankees,

No Cliff Lee?
Enclosed is a 10 percent discount card on my clients.
I'll be open late on Christmas Eve. ...

Ho, ho, ho,
Tom O'Connell
Agent for Carl Pavano

To my friends at JUGS,

105 mph!
Like James Brown said, I feel so good, I want to jump up and kiss myself!

Happy New Year,
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds

Dear Sharpie,

Your permanent ink did wonders for me all summer and fall!

Merry Christmas,
Brian Wilson's Beard


It has been a rough run for baseball since the season ended, and each of you men who have passed -- Sparky Anderson, Bob Feller, Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus, Cub for life Ron Santo -- have enriched even my life to degrees I could not have imagined.

Thank you,


Santa's list

These things are either already loaded up on the sleigh, or the elves have had too much egg nog. Anyway, deck the halls:

Seeing Stephen Strasburg delivering his nasty stuff is a gift everyone (besides hitters) can enjoy. (Getty Images)  
Seeing Stephen Strasburg delivering his nasty stuff is a gift everyone (besides hitters) can enjoy. (Getty Images)  
Angels: Looking for speed and improved on-base percentage and having failed to land Carl Crawford, buzz now is that Scott Podsednik is on the Angels' radar. The line for season tickets forms ... um ... in the greenhouse where Frosty the Snowman melted into one giant puddle?

Orioles: Dashing through the snow, looking for a first baseman, rebuffed by Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, the O's have not been laughing all the way. Next up: Derrek Lee seems as good a fit as any.

Yankees: Unwrapping Andy Pettitte every year is about as predictable as a tie for Father's Day.

Stephen Strasburg: A sturdy new elbow. And a strong comeback.

Brewers fans: Another season that ends with the playoffs, like 2008. Nobody has more passion than Wisconsin sports fans, and the latest evidence arrived after the Brewers acquired Zack Greinke from Kansas City. The club reported Wednesday that it has added more than 1,500 new season-ticket holders since the Greinke deal, more than tripling the 400 new account holders added during the first few months of the offseason.

Jake Peavy: A strong right arm as he continues to fight back to pitch for a White Sox team that will be so worth pitching for. Adding Dunn, re-signing Konerko, stealing free agent setup man Jesse Crain from Minnesota ... fa la la, la la la, GM Kenny Williams has struck all the right notes.

Diamondbacks: A brand new bullpen that doesn't leak like the Exxon Valdez. And in adding J.J. Putz, Daniel Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, new GM Kevin Towers has been more active than Santa's busiest elf. Look for the additions to continue.

Ron Washington: The addition of Adrian Beltre, the return of Vladimir Guerrero or more pitching help for the Rangers manager who had it all last summer ... but might not without Lee in 2011.

Padres: Nate Colbert can't play anymore, but even he may eventually be in the mix to replace the dearly departed Adrian Gonzalez. At this point, everyone is in the mix.

Dan Uggla: The chance to play alongside Chipper Jones in Atlanta next summer. Welcome to Georgia, Dan. Now get cracking on that rehab, Chipper!

Jeff Wilpon: A restraining order for the Mets' chief operating officer, to stay the heck away from new GM Sandy Alderson's office.


Santa Claus ain't coming tonight:

After making a failed bid on free agent Carl Crawford, Angels GM Tony Reagins actually uttered this sentence regarding his team's offseason:

"I think I already made a huge splash with [Hisanori] Takahashi."

Like Santa saying you'll get a new boat for Christmas, and then delivering a rubber duckie for your bath.


Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

In the lane, the snow is glistening. ...

This year's new Christmas song recommendation comes courtesy of Paul Simon and NPR. The only things more rhythmic than Getting Ready for Christmas Day are the rotations the Phillies and Giants are trotting out these days.

And for those who never did see last year's recommendation, you've got to check out Bob Dylan's very merry Must Be Santa video. Looks like the kind of party the Red Sox threw after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford, doesn't it?

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.


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