'Tis the season for giving and receiving gifts. Although I know what you're thinking, and you're right. No one in Baltimore seems to be doing much of any "receiving" this season.
But it is indeed the season for giving. So no matter which holiday they're celebrating, here are the top 15 gifts we'd give to Baltimore sports figures.
1. Former Baltimore Colts linebacker Mike Curtis, former Maryland basketball head coach Lefty Driesell and former Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina: The Hall of Fame nods they rightfully deserve.
It looks better and better that Mussina will eventually get in -- even if it doesn't happen this January. Since we have no idea who even votes for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, it's impossible to have any sort of feeling as to whether the old left-hander will get to Springfield, Ma., (note to Hall of Fame voters: he turns 86 on Christmas Day). And the "Mad Dog" getting to Canton, Ohio, will be up to the Hall's Seniors Committee in the coming years. All three deserve the recognition. If late former Ravens owner Art Modell was still with us, he'd be on the list, too.
2. Orioles first baseman Chris Davis: Whatever he got for Christmas before the 2013 and 2015 seasons.
If he got a Blu-ray copy of "The Dark Knight Rises" for Christmas 2012, get him another one. If it was a Fitbit and a Keurig for Christmas 2014, get him two more of each. Whatever can be done to best re-create those offseasons, let's make it happen.
3. Boxer Gervonta Davis: All of the Sesame Street-themed hoodies his heart desires.
Perhaps you remember the boxer dressing as Cookie Monster for his fight on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard in August. While he was sloppy, he kept winning. So if it will help, go get him one that looks like Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar The Grouch, Grover, Abby Cadabby, whoever. My 2-year-old is available to help him pick them out.
4. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette: The right to actually spend international signing money on a baseball player.
I think we all know the Orioles are definitely better off having traded for pitcher Konner Wade than spending that money on a scrub like Shohei Ohtani. But let's just pretend that move doesn't work out as perfectly as we assume. Maybe this gift could prove to be a nice change of pace in the future.
5. Maryland football coach DJ Durkin: One single frickin' healthy quarterback for next season.
Some kids ask for literally every toy known to man. But Durkin would settle for just one. One single stinkin' healthy quarterback in 2018. If Santa truly sees you when you're sleeping, he probably didn't see Durkin at all while he had to make it work without a quarterback in 2017.
6. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco: Literally, any help at all.
It could come in the form of a draft pick that actually pans out. Or in the form of a free agent signed before the Fourth of July. Any sort of help whatsoever would be nicer than the many lumps of coal the Ravens got their signal caller last year.
7. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: Anything but tickets to see the holiday classic "The Nutcracker."
He'd probably be happy with just about anything else. He's a drummer, so perhaps some new sticks would work. Just nothing to do with cracking nuts. We might be more than a year removed, but that would still seem really cruel, you know?
8. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado: Enough money that money never matters to him again.
Perhaps you're thinking to yourself, “What if we got him crab cakes from Jimmy's Famous Seafood for life?" The problem is, he actually already has that. The restaurant offered him crab cakes and meal prep services for life after he stood up to late former Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura in 2016. So the only thing that can keep him around is cash. So maybe if he gets a ton of it he won't want as much in the future? It's worth a shot. And if you really want to give someone crab cakes, the address at PressBox is 3600 Clipper Mill Rd.
9. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome: The scouting reports for the offensive players in the NFL Draft, too.
I'm as confused as everyone else as to why he only got the scouting reports for the defensive players last year. But what's in the past is in the past. This year can we get him the reports for the guys on the other side of the ball, too, and maybe he'll see something he likes. Are offensive players available in SkyMall?
10. Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman: The chance to get his mind cleared by one of those little machines from the movie "Men In Black."
The former first-round pick is likely to be around for another year in Baltimore. So how do we make this work? Getting his mind right might be a good place to start. So let's call Will Smith (his wife is from here!) and see if he kept one of those things from filming, and let's give it a shot.
11. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps: The itch.
If we really get to 2020 without Phelps swimming, the Olympics stand to be way less interesting. If he's going to dominate in Tokyo, it would seem as though he would need to start training again at some point in 2018. So this would be the perfect time for him to get that itch again.
12. Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh: A wealthy donor with enough money for a new arena and to rebuild Pimlico.
Sure, there are about a billion other issues the mayor could use funding to address. But it would be nice to address these before I die. Also, I'm only 34. But yes, I'm very concerned neither will be fixed in my lifetime.
13. Orioles manager Buck Showalter: Anything at all that could make him smile for a second.
The man deserves a little joy in his life for a change considering all of the joy he's brought us. If a Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey would do the trick, get him one. If he's more of a socks and underwear guy, make it happen. If he wants a pair of tickets to see Kid Rock at Royal Farms Arena in 2018 ... someone else needs to buy them for him. I don't think I can support that.
14. Ravens running back Danny Woodhead: A never-ending supply of "grits" would seem appropriate.
He's a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of guy. So let's fill that lunch pail with ... whatever the hell grits actually are. I honestly have no idea, but they're tasty. Maybe if he eats more he'll get hurt less.
15. Ravens offensive lineman Marshal Yanda: As many of our ankles as he needs in order to find the right one.
Seriously, he can have both of mine. Maybe they can meld them into one super-ankle that's good enough to help him. Every Ravens fan should line up to offer the All-Pro guard theirs, too. It's called doing your part. So you won't be able to play adult kickball in the spring. You weren't that good to begin with and you were only in it for the drinking anyway. Do the right thing and give the man your ankles already.
Issue 240: December 2017
Originally published Dec. 15, 2017