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Spitballin’

Spitballin’

Holiday Wish List

It’s almost Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza and I know you’re wondering what to get your favorite sports columnist (who is me), so here is my Spitballin’ holiday sporting wish list.

My first wish is one we can all get behind: a Ravens Super Bowl. I know after Sunday’s debacle, when the Ravens got beat by the Steelers and Charlie Batch—a man so old the first rookie he hazed was Red Grange—it seems like a long shot, but that’s why it’s a wish. To make this wish happen, the Ravens are going to have to ditch the schizophrenia and find some consistency, and it had better be the good consistency, like when they beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. Not the bad consistency, like when the Texans pounded them into feathers and dust.

And while I’m making wishes for everyone, I’m going to wish that Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ de facto GM, continues to make all the right moves. I want to be greedy and wish for a World Series win for the Birds, but I don’t want to jinx it. Just give us more of the same: steady progress and subtly brilliant moves. And if you’d like to put a cherry on top, find a way to bring back Mark Reynolds. The Orioles didn’t pick up the Sherriff’s option so he’s a free agent. I know he didn’t put up the big numbers this year, but he was a joy to watch after the O’s moved him to first base, and the guy has a fire that ignites this team. Plus, it seemed like he hit 40 or 50 of his 23 home runs this year against the Yankees, and this town needs more Yankee killers.

Now, here’s one that’s maybe not-so-universal. I wish the Terps would stay in the ACC. I know it’s not going to happen, there’s just too much money at stake, but I’m going to miss those old rivalry games against Duke and Virginia. We’ll still have the Big Ten: ACC Challenge, but it’s just not the same. Boo change!

From here on out, these are all me, but that’s the great thing about having a column. If you want to read about your sports wishes in the paper, I suggest you get your own column. Next off, I want to wish for Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger to get some pads that fit under his uniform. If you know Kruger or, better yet, are Kruger, get him/yourself a pad that doesn’t look like it’s constantly trying to wave off a fart. It’s the NFL, man, they will give you shit that fits!

Next up, I wish that the last time I heard someone talk about whether Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback is the last time I hear someone talk about whether Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. What the hell is an elite quarterback anyway? If you’re one of the best 32 people on the planet at what you do, I’d say that’s pretty elite. The question used to be, “Is he a franchise quarterback?” That was a dumb question too, but this elite thing is even dumberer. He’s about to lead them to their fifth-straight playoff appearance and he was a dropped ball from taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl last year. He’s not Drew Brees and he can’t win it all on his own, but the Ravens sure as hell can win with him, so stop whining about whether or not he’s elite.

Here is where I’d like to wish for serious game—like Jordan-level—but I know that’s ridiculous, so I’m just gonna wish I could play like Kobe. I know you’re reading this thinking that’s a minor upgrade, that surely I’m just about at Kobe-level as it is, but the sad fact is that I am a terrible, terrible basketball player. As a kid, I averaged two points. A season. I played every minute of every game in my Rosedale Rec league and scored once a year. In practice I was all right, but in the game, I’d shoot the ball straight up and then duck and cover my head. My dad was a great basketball player—he even played for the Air Force’s team, but my mom’s family are all bricklayers and somehow I got the genetic streams crossed. I can’t build a wall, but I can rattle a backboard. So give me a 35-inch vertical leap and a money outside shot, but barring that, at least give me a pair of those Nike Zoom Kobes in orange and black. Honestly, I think the shoes are the main difference between his game and mine anyway.

Next up, I’m wishing that I never have to hear FM 105.7 the Fan’s Mark Zinno ruin another perfectly good hour of sports talk again. Zinno sounds like he just got socked in the nose, and if you listen to him for more than 37 seconds, he’ll say something that convinces you he was just punched in the nose or at least should have been. The station keeps moving him around and you can hear the hate in his cohosts’ voices. Have you ever been to the dog park and seen that one 17-pound schnauzer that won’t stop yapping even while it’s trying to hump everything? I imagine working with Zinno would be a lot like working with that schnauzer, but without all the insight. I’m not wishing the guy lose his job or anything—he’s probably got kids or something and I don’t want them to have to spend more time with him—I’m just wishing they give him a mic that gives him a pretty decent shock every time he tries to speak. Like licking a lantern battery.

My final wish is an easy one. I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Air rifles are in the Olympics now, so it counts as a sports wish. Plus, the next time I hear Zinno, I can shoot my radio.

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