If Santa Claus has any pull whatsoever in the sports world, he’ll grant the following Christmas wishes:
» An undefeated season for the New England Patriots: Their coach is impossible to like and it’s hard to forgive Randy Moss for his two-year tank job in Oakland. If New England loses a game, however, we’ll again be subjected to the pathetic sight of the 1972 Miami Dolphins gleefully toasting one another. Don’t these guys have grandkids to play with or something?
» Human growth hormone testing in baseball: Blood, urine, snot, whatever. Just find a way to take HGH out of the equation. Until that happens, we still can’t look at a single player — whether he was named in the severely hamstrung Mitchell Report or not — and assume he’s all-natural. Sad but true.
» No more F.P. Santangelo copycats: A former Giants and A’s utilityman, Santangelo did everything right in the wake of being outed as a cheater last week. He owned up to the mistake, apologized profusely and took his beating like a man. Unfortunately, he also started a trend. Upon seeing Santangelo roundly lauded for falling on the sword, a bunch of the previously silent cowards who had been named in the Mitchell Report jumped on the I-was-hurt-and-scared bandwagon, diluting the courage Santangelo displayed.
» A Tiger Woods–Rory Sabbatini cage match: Sabbatini started the golf season by declaring Tiger “as beatable as ever,” and he ended it by bailing on Tiger’s charity tournament last weekend. These guys genuinely hate each other and it’s too bad that Sabbatini isn’t in Woods’ class as a golfer. This is exactly the kind of WWE-style feud the sport needs. Alas, Sabbatini on the course is a Ford Escort to Tiger’s Escalade. So bust out the octagon and let’s settle, once and for all, the argument about who’s truly beatable.
» A Shaun Hill jersey: Make it snappy, Santa, because as well as the 49ers’ third-string quarterback has played thus far, his 15 minutes are just about up. Quite the commentary about the state of the team when fans are fooled into thinking Hill is a legitimate option for next season based on six solid quarters of what amounts to mop-up duty. Do you really think this guy’s brilliance was simply overlooked for the previous six years? By Halloween, Hill’s jersey will be nothing more than a funny costume option.
And finally …
» A contract with the Rangers for Barry Bonds: Teamed with Milton Bradley, Bonds, who might just hit 80 homers at The Launching Pad at Arlington if he stays healthy and out of the pokey, would help Texas corner the market in surly. With Mount Milton and the ever-cuddly B.B. prowling and scowling, the mere sight of area cameramen lining up to be the first to get clocked and cash in would be fascinating theater.