My name is Dan, and I'm twenty-two years old. I've been a very good boy this year; I graduated from college, I kept my cool when the Cardinals blew an eminently winnable NLDS, and I even did some pushups, once. Here is a list of things I would like you to bring me this year.
- Matt Holliday, but only at a reasonable price. As Santa I like to think you have a peculiarly strong bargaining position. Scott Boras is waiting for a second bid, but he doesn't seem to have one; imagine the look on that veteran naughty lister's face when you swoop in, steal him from the Cardinals, and then give him back? It is an ending worthy of O. Henry, and I happen to know you're fond of turn-of-the-century short story tropes. Win-win-win.
- Super Nintendo, with Mario. Oh, and Mario Kart. And EarthBound.
- A remote control car, but not one with cords. The one that can flip over and drive upside-down.
- Bullpen stability. I don't ask for a lot about the bullpen. I know even you are hard-pressed to keep the prospects pitching as well as they should and the "consistent veterans" consistent when the whole thing is measured in sixty inning increments. But I want a closer who'll close games out at the same pretty-good rate all year, and another right-hander who's as dependable as either left-hander. Do that and I won't ask for anything again, ever. If one of them is Casey Mulligan or Gary Daley—well, I've been looking for a completely irrational prediction to make for the blog, and that seems like one they won't suspect.
- A new La Russa quirk. I don't know—catchers bat sixth, starters always swing to pull the ball off a foul pole, coaches deliver the signs in Navajo. I'm going to leave the particulars to you. But it's been a while, and I'd really love to see him introduce some new wrinkle while he chases down John McGraw. I mean, when you think about it, pitchers hitting eighth is like eleven years old.
In the night there's a clatter of antlers and hooves atop the Upbaby household. A deep voice cries out across the sub-division: "On shoulder, on shins, on knees and knee braces! On throwing, and hitting, rehab in warm places! Ho, ho, ho!"
The reindeer post has come—airmail, as ever. And in a red and green envelope...
You know what Santa Glaus would like this year? A little respect—how's that, huh? Maybe an acknowledgement that when I spend all offseason working to bring presents to the Western world—and part of the Eastern world, too, are you aware of that?—it's kind of difficult to come to Spring Training in the best shape of my life. Does Brendan Ryan do that? Joe Thurston? Albert Pujols? None of them do—that's right. Just me. So maybe that has something to do with me being made of "breakaway movie glass", all right?
Yeah, I googled you. Deal with it.
I'm pretty damned sick of you guys and your naysaying. You want somebody who's healthy? Don't look at this guy. You want somebody who's "consistent"? Wrong guy. You want somebody who'll bring presents to the less fortunate, to the relatively fortunate, to the really fortunate, all on the same night, and not ask for a dime back? Who's prepared to eat hundreds of millions of cookies and work those pounds off by February? That's this guy.
Anyway, you're smart, or at least you're literate. I'm going to level with you, here. So listen up: Any of this garbage you want, you'd better hope somebody else is going to get it for you. Because I. am. out of here. I'll think of you when I'm backing up a third baseman even more fragile than I am and hitting home runs at first base while they do that tomahawk thing for me.
Smell you later, cretin,