Who deserves the best Christmas present under the tree, and what would it be?

4-CORNERS

December 25, 2009

A Selig stocking stuffer
Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig deserves this present because he needs it so badly: A clue.

Although he should be lauded for the many good things he's done for the sport, Selig's refusal to expand instant replay in light of the umpiring debacle we saw this past postseason is mind-boggling. It leads me to believe that either he simply doesn't get it or he thinks fans like to watch umpires blow calls three feet in front of them that could cause their teams to lose.

Instant replay has been used effectively in every other sport. Why not expand it in baseball to make up for the botched calls that arise every game, every season and every postseason?

Bud, this clue's for you. Happy holidays!

rfritz2@tribune.com

Over the river, to Woods
Bill Kline

The Morning Call

Whereas Tiger Woods can pure a 3-iron 220 yards into a nor'easter;

Whereas Tiger Woods has a glare that could turn Simon Cowell into Clay Aiken;

Whereas Tiger Woods has a putting stroke smoother than Charles Barkley's pate;

Whereas Tiger Woods makes competitors fold up like a cheap lawn chair after John Daly plopped in it;

Whereas Tiger Woods is the most recognizable athlete on the planet;

And whereas Tiger Woods is the top athlete of the decade;

I hereby declare that Tiger Woods - the man who had everything - shall receive a 10-year exemption to play on the PGA European Tour, because he's going to be spending a lot of time in Sweden.

wkline@tribune.com

Celebrate the comeback
Harvey Fialkov

Sun Sentinel

Why wouldn't Miami Dolphins fans want enigmatic tailback Ricky Williams to have the perfect Christmas gift waiting for him under his tree?

The Dolphins' playoff hopes are on life support, but they wouldn't have a prayer if not for the resurgent Williams, who at 32 became the first player in NFL history to have a 1,000-yard season six years since his last one. But what does one get for someone who has shed his pot-smoking reputation with three years of model behavior and inner peace? Certainly not a pair of shoes for the barefoot Yogi. Nor, a gift certificate to Ruth's Chris for one who has sliced red meat out of his life. How about the NFL Comeback Player of the Year trophy.

hfialkov@tribune.com

Think back to boom times
Barry Stavro

Los Angeles Times

John Madden is a bit like an old Christmas stocking: familiar, a bit shopworn, but part of the family and a seasonal tradition that you expect to be present at this time of the year.

Yet the NFL playoffs are getting close and Madden is back home in Northern California watching games in retirement at a private TV studio with a bunch of football cronies instead of barking out his observations in a broadcast booth.

So what gift does Madden get? A call from Keith Jackson telling him that, yes, it's OK for Madden (like Jackson did) to make an occasional guest broadcast appearance and do a game or two. Or, let's say we get Nancy Pelosi to add an earmark to some legislation that calls for Madden to broadcast every Super Bowl for, oh, another decade.

bstavro@tribune.com

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