Friday, December 24, 2004

Stuffing Athletes' Stockings

Christmas came right on time this year. (Sorry, couldn't resist the spoof of the worst cliche in journalism history -- "Christmas came early this year for insert-team-or-player-here.")

As such, it's time for one of my favorite traditions that started way back a few hours ago. It's time to peek into the stockings of sports figures and see if Santa dropped some sweet candy or dumped a heap of coal in there.

So, gather 'round the Yule log and let's take a look:

Kobe Bryant: The entire coal mine.
No matter how much coal is in his stocking, he still won't be able to produce another $4 million ring for his wife. This guy has turned into a real fonzanoon. He cheated on his wife, then called out Karl Malone for allegedly hitting on said wife. He got all defensive about the sanctity of his marriage, then likely went on the road and pulled a Fredo.

Chad Pennington: Half coal, half candy.
His lecturing of reporters having the "privilege" to cover the Jets still perplexes me as much as the debate over who was the most valuable member of New Edition. As if an advanced degree is needed to cover a team without a championship in 35 years and has a history of stupidity. His little tirade made no sense, but he did have a great game against Seattle, so we must acknowledge such positivity what with it being the season of giving and all. Still, a dumper of a game on Sunday against the Patriots and Santa is swinging by Giants Stadium with a fresh heaping of coal.

Paul Depodesta and Javier Vazquez: His and his coal, enscripted with the Dodgers' logo.
Los Angeles GM Depodesta backed out of the three-team deal with the Yankees and Arizona for Randy Johnson. Vazquez torpedoed the deal, too, claiming he wouldn't report to L.A. for a physical. I haven't seen a sabotage like that since Mr. Fuji threw salt in Hulk Hogan's eyes in 1986.

Omar Minaya: Candy, candy, candy.
The man brought in Pedro Martinez and gave the Mets instant credibility. Though it's not enough, it's a good start and deserves some sugary sweets.

Tom Coughlin: The darkest coal imaginable.
The season-killer started with a whole box of Russell Stover's, but it quickly rotted when he pooped on the Giants' playoff hopes by switching to Eli Manning with a 5-4 record. Five straight losses for the rookie, 5-9 overall. Even in the NFC, which contrary to some reports is not above Division I-AA, the Giants can't make the playoffs. Nice job, Tommy Boy.

Jermaine O'Neal; Candy.
If only for the greatest sucker punch caught on camera and played on national television for six straight days. This Pacer will need dental work from all the candy he'll get stuffed into his stocking.

Barry Bonds: Coal.
Actually, give him some cream and clear, but just call it coal. He likely won't ask for clarification.

Jason Giambi: Candy.
Kudos to the disgraced Giambino for having the stones to admit what he did. Wow, I guess doctors were lying about roids reducing the size of your stones.

Herman Edwards: Chocolate-covered fortune cookies.
The little pieces of paper inside could have motivational sayings on them. "Hello? You play to run the draw?" Sorry, couldn't resist. Herm has his Jets on the edge of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. How many Jets coaches can claim that? Plus, he brought in Donnie Henderson as defensive coordinator, the best thing to happen to the Jets since Mark Gastineau left the team.

Boston Red Sox: A box of NERDS.
What else can you give a bunch of idiots?

Ian Smart: Football-shaped candies.
The Touchdown Kid finally made it to the NFL. His first carry went for 25 yards for the Buccaneers. His first kickoff return went for 17 yards and he's now the No. 1 kickoff returner for Tampa Bay. Gotta love the kid from little ol' C.W. Post scrounging for two years in pursuit of his dream. Thanks for giving us another reason to realize sports are still a beautiful thing.

Phil Mickelson: Candy.
On the Sunday night of his victory in Augusta, this man slept in his bed with his hot wife and his brand new green jacket as Masters champion. His wife is fly, but the jacket earned more props.

Mark La Monica: Maria Sharapova.
Santa, can you hear me?