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On this day, now it's time to give gifts, but first rhyme


Tis the season of giving

And who are we

To end a tradition

That brings such glee.

We're handing out gifts

To both naughty and nice.

Also those in between.

It's our sacrifice.

No, we're not dressed in red

Nor from the North Pole

And we'll avoid all chimneys

On a morning this cold.

But everyone needs presents,

Even "needy" NBA stars.

So we'll cook up something

For the folks with six cars.

And those Olympic officials

Who took bribes and the sort?

They'll get what's deserved:

A dream date in court.

Some will get nothing.

Kevin Brown and the rest.

Their Christmas came early.

Is anything left?

What do we want? That's easy.

A columnist's dream:

A few days in D.C.

To vent our spleen.

But we're giving, not getting

So we'll stick to our 'hood:

The sports page, you know.

Hey, it's just as good.

There's ego and money

And plenty of tickle.

It's weird and outrageous

And full of folks fickle.

So on Dasher, on Dancer,

On Peter, on Art.

Here's gifts and ho ho

Just doin' our part.

The best of the season

Is our real wish for all.

Happy holidays, gang.

And now -- play ball!

To Albert Belle: a copy of the lyrics to "Give Peace a Chance."

To Rafael Palmeiro: a copy of Fox's Book of Martyrs, to help him with his eternal suffering.

To Frank Wren: advice on exercises that'll help him keep his back strong when someone gets on it near the trade deadline next summer.

To Peter Angelos: the chance to fire Norv Turner and start a new tradition.

To Roberto Alomar: ghostwriting help on "Oh, the Injustice," his autobiography.

To Ray Miller: 20 copies of his resume for later use.

To Mike Mussina: better luck in 1999 with finger warts and batted balls.

To Scott Erickson: like, whatever.

To Brady Anderson: a fully functioning sternoclavicular joint.

To Cal Ripken: a clean way out.

To B. J. Surhoff: a flak jacket for when Albert starts coveting left field.

To Charles Johnson and Mike Bordick: extra hands to hold up the Orioles' defense.

To Bud Selig: a big smiley-face button to wear on his lapel at owners meetings.

To Art Modell: Stadiuamden If you dare.

To Ted Marchibroda: the memory of his two Ravens wins anyone will remember, the state title game against the Redskins last year and the Unitas Bowl against the Colts last month.

To all PSL holders: rebates based on turnovers.

To Jim Harbaugh: 1995.

To Vinny Testaverde: a signed photo of me eating several of my columns.

To Ozzie Newsome: a choice of quarterbacks in the first round.

To Jermaine Lewis: the chance to spend one day as a big dude.

To Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden and Peter Boulware: a better team around them.

To Marvin Lewis: better cornerbacks next time.

To Tony Siragusa: garlic- stuffed-crust-extra-cheese calzones. For breakfast.

To Rod Woodson: an eight-game regular season.

To Priest Holmes: the Bengals every week.

To all Ravens fans: trick plays and first-down passes next season.

To Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa: thanks.

To Davey Johnson: a mirror.

To NBA players and owners: copies of "It's a Wonderful Life."

To Joe De Francis: a power surge protector.

To NFL officials: sets of giant "theme" flags they'd be embarrassed to throw. (Mickey and Goofy flags, Playboy Channel flags, etc.)

To Paul Tagliabue: a bad call that decides the Super Bowl.

To baseball umpires: a league of their own.

To Gary Williams: a smidgen of hope that the NBA lockout never ends, giving Steve Francis nowhere to go next season.

To Steve Francis: flight insurance.

To Fang Mitchell: less Iowa.

To Ron Vanderlinden: more Temple.

To Baltimore sports fans: at least one team over .500 in 1999.

Pub Date: 12/25/98

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