Friday, December 17, 2010

My Top 10 Christmas Sports Wishes

Today's list is all of the things that I'd love to see happen in sports. And while I'd surely settle for any of my laundry to win a championship, the simple fact is those things come and go, but do not satisfy over the years the way that, say, these would.

So Santa, if you could manage to arrange any of these, I'd be ever so grateful. We all would, really.

10) Maximum Fail NFL Division Winners and Losers. Mathematically, it's possible for a team to go 3-13 and make the playoffs (Hear that, NFC West? Live the dream!), or 13-3 and miss. This needs to happen, especially if the 13-3 team that gets shafted is a plus market that's got a spoiled fan base (hello, New England!), and the terrible division winner is some recent expansionist in an area where the team is threatening a move due to a lack of support / taxpayer funded stadium. Then, the terrible winner could pull off a heartbreaking rare events upset based on turnovers and special teams mishaps, leading to another spoiled fan base in a plus market (hello, New York!) to cry about it for years. It Would Rule. I have such dreams.

9) In-Game Pitcher Releases. One of the things that I love about fantasy baseball -- OK, perhaps the only thing that I love about fantasy baseball -- is the savage fake vengeance that you get when you give a bombed-out starting pitcher his release in the middle of the game. In my mind, I walk out to the pitcher's mound, take the ball from the arsonist, and then rip the patches off his shirt, like he's being drummed out of a military unit. He turns to his teammates, but they close their arms and turn their backs to him, Klingon-style. His home town crowd watches in silence, then does the same. The highlights play on ESPN for decades, and everyone involved appears on overly produced documentaries for years. (This one, by the way, comes straight from the imagination of Lou Pinella, who used it to keep from killing Carlos Zambrano with a shotgun.)

8) Long Shot Specialists. Dear Reader, I love hoop. Love to play it, love to watch it, get wrapped up in it in ways that don't happen for any other sport, at least when I'm watching it. At 41, 5'-3" and 150 pounds, I'm also basically a rapidly aging hobbit, and have absolutely no reason to be anywhere near a court when actual play is happening. But like everyone else watching the game, I have these dreams of usefulness to my laundry, and the way that I win games for my Sixers in my dreams? Long distance shot specialization.

(My line? 5-5 from the field in less than 30 seconds of game play for 15 points, zeros in every other category. I hit a long one to end every quarter. In the fourth, my heave forces overtime, and in overtime, my heave wins it. I then sign endorsement deals and spend the rest of my life cashing checks and using my fame and money to get Z-list celebrities and athletes that failed my laundry in the distant past to do my household chores for filmed spots on the Internet. I have simple dreams, really.)

Pulling back from that wankery... imagine if, say, some highly marginal guard developed a knack for draining 60 footers, to the point where he made them with something 2 to 3 times the regularity of anyone else in the league. Doesn't that keep a guy on the roster, make the end of quarters much more amusing, and give a guy an extra few years on the payroll, so long as he keeps making them? I just gave every guy in the D-League something to do.

7) A Pure Fish Poker Champion. Imagine if the World Series of Poker winner wasn't just some guy that you've never heard of, but the ultimate card rack. He just shoves his chips on every hand, gets called by people with unfoldable cards, then hits every flop as the announcers talk about runs, God, and how the tournament is coming in much shorter this year, since the guy breaks every table he sits down at in a dozen hands or less. As he pulls in the bricks of millions from the shortest big stacks tournament ever played, he just keeps pushing them into the middle of the table, and every poker site on the Internet refuses to endorse him. He achieves immortality, as his name becomes the new way to refer to sucking out, and the tournament fields are filled with people who emulate his example for years. (And no, I am not that guy. Sadly.)

6) A Designated Fouler. Taking sabermetric virtues and plate discipline values to the extreme, we have a guy whose soul baseball skill is fouling off pitches. He's brought in for DH and pinch-hitting appearances, and uses his bat like a parrying fencer to simply drive up the pitch count against prime arms. After the first few appearances where he forces 20 to 30 pitches to be thrown in hate by a starter who spends the last dozen throws on unsuccessful bean balls, he becomes an automatic intentional walk for any but the most pig-headed of opponents, and a consultant on kung fun movies. (Oh, and just to add to the cinematic wonder of this guy? He's legally blind. And in no way related to the Marvel comic "Daredevil.")

5) The Dragon Breath Defense. On this one, we've got an ordinary defensive nose tackle, but his edge is that on every play from scrimmage, he's punishing the opponent with some of the worst odors known to man. He's chewing pepper spray between plays to cause his opponents to spasm violently before the snap, dropping flatulence in every pileup that causes the opposing skill players to lose their taste for extra yards in the late going, causing linemen to blanche as he raises his arms to let loose some fresh horror, and loitering near the opposing team's head coach on timeouts, causing the radio headsets to fail. Debilitating nausea and tentativeness ensues, and a nose plugs vs. escalating bad cuisine and hygiene choices battle escalates, leading to a whole new level of regrettable analysis. Smell the pain!

4) Flash Mob Crowd Chants. Taking Web connectivity and tabloid journalism to its logical end game, we see a crowd that's wired, too into the game, and devoid of personal boundaries or shame (New England fan, I have no idea why I keep thinking of you). They spend the game day preparing specific, highly targeted and filthy things to say the opposition, along the lines of "Your mom's in jail" and "You've got crabs". Eventually the practice spreads to college and high school, and a potential suicide or six. But on the plus side, we get home court advantage back. In a big way.

3) A Gay Atheist Green Evolutionary Commie Hero. A heretofore unknown athlete leads his team to triumph, and in the post-game interview, says something like this. "I'd like to thank my parents for all of their support, despite the fact that they don't share my homosexuality. I'd also like to thank all of the atheists out there for making me feel like I wasn't alone in my beliefs, and to announce that I'm going to be donating half of my championship bonus to causes that fight global warming, promote the teaching of science in our schools, and my own pet cause, the concentration of wealth among super elites and their undue influence on the media. For more information, please visit my Web site, as I won't be speaking to the media again, or signing any commercial endorsements. Thanks."

2) Faith Based Blame. The flip side to #3, this one come when a player on a losing team either questions the piety of his own faith, the lack of cohesive faith from his teammates, or the very notion of a deity. I will also gladly take an athlete saying, with all of the sincerity that he can muster, that his team lost because the opponent are just better Christians, and that he's going to spend the off-season not in strength training or practice, but in spiritual atonement. And if he can do this in a way that causes people to debate whether or not he's kidding or insane? Bonus. (Ron Artest, are you listening? There's whole new realms of crazy that you could be exploring, really. Show me something new.)

1) Catfighting Cheerleaders. How this hasn't happened yet, I have no idea, but I guarantee that the film clip of it would break the Internets. It's very simple; you have a portion of a cheerleader troupe go rogue, and tear off their costumes to reveal the colors of the opposing team. Then, then knock over a smaller member of the still loyal team, mocking and bullying her all the way. We finish the routine with the rest of the loyal team racing to her rescue, than spanking the enemy in righteous vengeance. BEST ROUTINE EVER.

And with that, feel free to add yours in the comments. And to all a good night...

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