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Yuletide Carlos Being Sung By a Choir or Wishing You A Very Merry Crispmas?

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I have to say, I thought the Cardinals' flirtations would have borne at least some sort of fruit by now. I really thought they would get a deal done with Carlos Beltran and then ride off into the sunset as the screen heart irises in and the words The End slowly appear overhead. As it stands now, though, I'm beginning to feel more like we're all going to watch Carlos get married to someone else but then realise that Coco Crisp, who we had a thing with once years ago but broke up with when he got a job in Cleveland, has been there for us all along and maybe what we were looking for was right there in front of us the whole time.

I'm sure that quote from The Rock is somewhat relevant here, the one about the prom queen, but I'm also not sure that's how things work out in real life. Second choices turn out to be the right choices all the time in boring old actual life. Still, if I had my druthers in this particular film of ours I would marry the higher-maintenance beauty queen and deal with the fact our life together may sour before it's all said and done over the offbeat, attractive-but-only-if-you-like-funny-girls-with-glasses-and-a-fedora supportive best friend who's almost surely never going to burn my clothes in the bathtub or require a third year of commitment then have major knee surgery halfway through year two.

Congratulations, Coco Crisp. You're Janine Garofalo. Just what you've always wanted, right?

So a decision from all involved parties is expected by Christmas, which is nice, because we know it won't happen between Christmas and the New Year. I hate waiting 'til January. I'm trying not to be cynical, but I'm also trying to recall the last time the Cardinals just out and out won a free agent bidding war, and I'm having a tough time coming up with one. Not that it's always such a bad thing; remember how pissed we all were when the Cards didn't land Jason Schmidt? Still, when an acquisition seems to make so much sense it's tough to see that sometimes there's a pretty serious downside to it as well.

You'll have a better life with the supportive best friend, the one who really wants to be with you, but sometimes the heart still wants what it wants no matter how foolish. And for me, the heart wants Carlos. Man, never thought I would hear that sentence come out of my mouth. At least not in public. Again. But back to baseball...

At this point in the column I'm fairly certain most of you are at least somewhat puzzled. Is this really a red baron post the week before Christmas? He's talked about romantic comedies and free agent outfielders! Where's the pathos? The melancholia? Where's the Christmas spirit?!

Well, I'll just have to apologise for not having a properly prepared RB Christmas spectacular today. I wish I did. Really I do. I don't even have a funny video batting cage story because I haven't been to the video batting cages recently.

If I did have something sad and pretty to say, I might tell you about holidays as place markers. Way points, if you will. When you take measure of life compared to where it was the last time this holiday rolled around and you pulled out all the decorations from the attic.

Regular life is anesthetizing. You get up, you do the same things day after day, and time just sort of slips by. Tell me: do you actually remember brushing your teeth this morning, or do you just remember doing all the same things this morning you do every day getting ready for work? It's hard to keep track of the days and the weeks and the months as they march on past.

But holidays, well, they're special. At least, that's what I might say if I were doing my normal Christmas schtick. They're different by definition, and you can't help but think of where life was the last time a holiday came around. I might tell you about how sad it is when you realise the only thing that's changed since last Christmas is your age.

Hell, if I were going to really go whole hog on this Christmas thing, I would probably tell you about the realisation you haven't taken a single risk of any sort since the last time this holiday rolled around; how that day-to-day blur of teeth brushing and half-remembered drives to work can just fuse together on a person and take over entirely. I might tell you about starting to turn to take the road toward work when that isn't where you're going, just because you've gotten used to taking that turn every other day.

But I won't tell you those things. I'm not going to say you should give a thought while we're at this way marker in time as to whether or not you've actually done anything since the last time it came around. I'm sure all of you have done plenty, after all.

So because I don't have a Christmas message prepared today, I won't tell everyone to make sure they're still living and not just existing. I won't half-jokingly misquote science fiction aliens since time immemorial and tell you existence is futile. And I certainly won't tell you to really look around at your life and make sure you're making the most of it because Christmas always drives home for me the fact we're all only going to see a certain number of them. Hey, what can I say? This just isn't that kind of post. An empty house with a tree you decorated alone and barely even noticed just doesn't enter into this, you know?

I will say Happy Christmas to everyone, though. And Happy Hannukah and Kwanzaa too. I hope the year was good to you. And I hope you don't mind you didn't get something sad and wistful and uncomfortably open from me this year. Maybe next time.