Sports Talk by Chris Grant: Christmas cheer



ell friends, looks like we made it to the end of the year. Okay, technically there’s a little time left, but with Christmas just days away, I figured this would be a good place to end the column for 2016. I am going to be out of town visiting family anyway, so, while I won’t turn my attention completely away from the world of sports, it will be a bit harder to pay attention, thus I am taking next week off. As we are just days away from Santa’s annual visit, I figured I would make a list of presents for some of our favorite sports teams and athletes, in the hopes that they can get what they need this year – both for their own success and for the happiness of their fans. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

Jim Harbaugh

For the Los Angeles Rams, I am getting a great head coach, not named Jim Harbaugh. Okay, first things first, Harbaugh needs to stay at Michigan. It is where he belongs right now, so go ahead and take his name off your list of dream coaches for that Rams. That said, the Rams deserve a top notch guy to lead what will hopefully be their revival in Los Angeles. I think we all know it was stupid the NFL went 20-plus years without a team in L.A. When the Rams came back, it was a great thing. My father grew up in Los Angeles, so I grew up listening to him tell stories about going to their games when he was a kid and they were good stories of a team that had a city behind it. This is what the Rams need now, for the greater Los Angeles area to get behind their NFL team. Thus, give them the best coach available. If they can somehow steal Pete Carroll from Seattle, great. Jon Gruden? Sure. Heck, if they can somehow get Bill Belichick out of New England, that would be fine with me. Just leave Harbaugh alone, okay?

Speaking of the NFL, I’d like to see the Cleveland Browns get a win. Just one would do. Nobody likes to be 0-16. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like this will happen this year, so maybe they can get a good quarterback instead. Although, judging by their track record, that doesn’t seem likely.

Would it be too much to ask Santa for one more year for David Ortiz and Vin Scully? Probably so. Right? This one would probably be more for me than for either of those guys who seem pretty happily retired.

I would love to give Washington a win on New Year’s eve. But do I really think they can beat Alabama? No. So this is certainly a Hail Mary wish. However, it would be great to see the current king of college football dethroned. I don’t see Ohio State of Clemson beating the Crimson Tide either, but the winner of that game should have a better shot than the Huskies.

How about getting some love for Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo? That’s a lot of unemployed right handed thunder still looking for work on the MLB free agent market. They will all certainly be on a team come spring training. But the money they wanted might not be there if they don’t get signed soon.

For the NBA fan, more Russell Westbrook – James Harden showdowns. These two guys are playing out of their minds right now and any time they square off it is must-watch TV.

For the NHL fan, how about a great Winter Classic this year. I am a huge fan of hockey’s annual outdoor extravaganza. But I have to admit, it is strange they are playing in St. Louis. Will it even be cold enough for the ice not to melt? I guess we will have to tune in and see when the hometown Blues square off with the Blackhawks. It’s a great rivalry game, so, assuming the ice cooperates, it should be fantastic made-for-TV hockey.

Last, but not least, I’d like to see a couple playoff wins for the Oakland Raiders. I know I have talked about it a lot recently. So much you may think I am on the Silver and Black bandwagon. Rest assured this is not the case. I just think the NFL is better when the Raiders are good and I have enjoyed watching their resurgence from afar. A couple playoff wins this year should cement their place as a top franchise for years to come. Here’s hoping they win a game or two, just as long as they don’t beat my Houston Texans!

Finally dear readers, my Christmas wish for you and yours, is a happy holiday and the best of luck in the New Year!