December 23, 2012

SCOTT MARTIN: My Christmas wish list

By Scott Martin smartin@centralmaine.com
Sports Editor

Back in the day, I could write a mean Christmas wish list. I'd sit at the kitchen table, Red Sox hat pushed back on my head, pencil working furiously as I wrote down the hundreds of things I hoped to see under the Christmas tree.

I'd hand the list off to Mom and Dad, knowing somehow it would end up in Santa's hands, and the majority of the things on my list would show up under the tree.

I was a lucky kid.

These days, my Christmas wish list is pretty simple. One of my nieces asked me what I wanted this year and I answered, "A big meal, some time with the family and a nap."

Santa shouldn't have any problem with that.

As a grown up (well, I'm kind of a grown up), my wish list tends to be a lot less material. Sure, I'd love a new pair of running shoes, a good book, maybe a toy or two, but there is not a lot I really want or need. Again, I'm lucky.

That said, there are a few things on my sports Christmas list. If any of the following things show up under my tree, I'd be one happy kid.

* I wish the Red Sox would acquire an ace and a big bat.

I understand Ben Cherington's resistance to dive head first into the free agent market for a star. Those huge money deals for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez didn't exactly work out as planned, did they?

I also understand he wants to build from within and hang onto his prospects. I get that.

It takes more than money to build a winning franchise. You can't build a fantasy baseball team and expect to win 100 games. If you need proof, look at the 2011 Red Sox.

But the moves the Sox have made this winter feel pretty pedestrian. On a team that needs an ace (I've lost all faith in Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz has yet to prove he can stay healthy) we got Ryan Dempster. On a team that could use a big bat in the outfield or at first base, we got Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes and maybe Mike Napoli.

A team that just two years ago was a baseball super power, is all of a sudden acting like the Pittsburgh Pirates. I don't get that.

* I wish for the sports world to turn down the volume.

In the social media, message board, everyone has a blog, First Take, 24-hour sports channel world that we live in, everyone has an opinion, everyone feels the need to express it, and if someone doesn't agree with it, they are called an idiot.

Remember when sports used to be fun? Sure, we used to argue about sports, but there is so much venom right now. Why?

And what is Skip Bayless so angry about anyway?

Let's celebrate great performances.

Let's have sympathy for the guy who made the game-changing error.

Let's not rip some high school coach or athlete to shreds on a message board when we don't even have the guts to sign our name to it.

Let's enjoy the spectacular skill of LeBron James and not nitpick at his game until we find something, anything, that he might not have done well, then call him a fraud.

Remember why you became a sports fan in the first place, because they made you smile.

* I wish for a glorious run on Christmas morning.

I'm scheduled to run 5 miles on Christmas morning as part of my training for the Mid Winter Classic 10-miler. Running is the best gift I've ever given myself and I'm so happy I'll get the chance to run in my old neighborhood as I prepare to celebrate with my family.

* I wish for a Patriots-49ers or Patriots-Giants rematch in the Super Bowl.

Either way, the hype for this game would be ridiculous.

The Pats have lost two Super Bowls to the Giants and it would be sweet, sweet revenge for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to win their fourth ring against the G-Men.

Of course, it would taste pretty awful to lose to Eli Manning for a third time, so maybe I'll wish for a Pats-Niners matchup after all.

And why not? Their matchup on Monday Night Football was great theatre. You had Tom Brady's childhood team making him look ordinary while jumping out to a 31-3 lead before the Pats woke up, scored four touchdowns, and tied the game, only to lose it two plays later.

Either matchup would be a lot of fun. But really, I'll just wish for a Patriots berth in the Super Bowl and be happy with that.

That's it. That's my list. I could probably go on, but I don't want to get greedy.

Thanks Santa.

Scott Martin -- 621-5618

smartin@centralmaine.com

 

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