If sports had a Santa Claus, who would it be this year?

December 24, 2010

Wakefield gives, gives

Keith Groller

Morning Call

A cynic might suggest that the ultimate sports Santa would be the owners of the Clippers, Pirates and Lions, who have been giving to fans in other cities for years by putting out inferior teams.

But a true sports Santa is one who gives the gift of himself as well as his possessions. That's why I suggest Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.

Wakefield won MLB's Roberto Clemente Award this year after being nominated seven previous times.

Wakefield frequently brought patients from a Boston Children's Hospital to be with him at Fenway Park, participated in New England's "Pitching in for Kids" program and has been involved in other worthwhile endeavors.

He may throw a knuckleball for a living, but his delivery to kids in need comes straight from the heart.


Coughlin's gift

Chris Hine

Chicago Tribune

Even if you have no interest in watching the New York Giants play, it's worth it just to see coach Tom Coughlin's reactions.

Sometimes he'll throw up his hands in exasperation, or have a look on his face like he doesn't understand why the elves are going on strike. And just like Santa Claus, his cheeks turn bright red.

I don't think I've ever seen Coughlin be jolly, but his anger and disappointment lead to endless joy for the viewer.

Nothing can top what happened on Sunday, when DeSean Jackson finished off the Eagles' epic comeback with a punt return for a TD.

Coughlin came out onto the field to excoriate punter Matt Dodge. Spit was flying, as were a few four-letter words. Christmas came a little early for me.


Amaro delivers

Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

For the 2010 holiday season, the most generous Santa Claus in sports is calling the shots for Philadelphia's baseball team.

Think about it — Santa disappoints us some years and surprises us the next.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. delivered Cliff Lee to the City of Brotherly Love in July 2009 and the Phillies won the National League pennant. Five months later, Amaro landed Roy Halladay — but he teamed that with a misguided trade that sent Lee to Seattle. Chalk it up to Bad Santa.

In July, he redeemed himself for the Lee blunder by acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Astros and he was again a Good Santa. And this winter, he dropped the ultimate Christmas gift under Philadelphia's baseball tree: Lee signed with the Phillies as a free agent.

Yes, Amaro's work is enough to warm to the hearts of those Grinches who once booed Jolly Old St. Nick.


Ho, ho Ohio

Todd M. Adams

Orlando Sentinel

This Christmas season it's The Ohio State University that's the sports world's Santa Claus.

Why? Because its athletic department's decision to suspend football players Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas for the first five games of next season but not the Sugar Bowl has the potential to provide two big gifts.

The first is to the Ohio State fans, who might be rewarded with a BCS bowl victory that otherwise might have been unlikely.

The second is to new Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden, whose team plays the Buckeyes on Sept. 17 next year. Even short-handed Ohio State will be tough to beat. But the decision could help Golden earn his first signature victory.


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