Santa, a Baseball Fantasy
The free agents were nestled all snug in their new beds, visions of the playoffs danced in their heads…
Santa stood on the roof next to his reindeer and was about to jump to the chimney when the shiny new Louisville Slugger in his bag caught his eye. Santa took the bat out of the bag and examined its heft and feel. He took a practice cut. Santa wondered which of the boys and girls who had sent him letters this year asking for baseball gear was getting this beautiful new bat.
Santa had been getting those letters for more than a century. Santa had watched baseball change over the years. He knew that kids were losing their love of baseball, that there weren’t quite as many letters as there once were asking for the old Spalding horsehide. Santa wondered if having baseball teams selling for $2 billion had anything to do with it. There were lots of kids whose teams were not worth $2 billion and Santa had gotten a letter or two asking the jolly old elf to level the playing field. He wasn’t sure those were from kids.
Santa jumped to the chimney and laying his nose to the side of his nose, down he went. Once inside the house, he set to work. He laid out the Louisville Slugger beneath the tree and then a glove to go with it. Then Santa noticed that someone had set out a nice tray of cookies and milk for him. But lo, to Santa’s surprise and wonder, next to the cookies was a bottle of single malt scotch. Was it for Santa? he wondered.
Santa sat down and decided he needed a little break. He gazed longingly at the bat under the Christmas tree. Santa’s fantasy draft with the elves was more than three months away. He was giving himself some new stat software and was thinking about how the elves were going to rue the day they had dared Santa to take a team in their very competitive, cut-throat “Little Elf League.”
Santa thought about the letters he had been getting from this part of his route. A lot of kids in Florida this year were worried about their baseball team. Some of the kids wanted a new owner. Some from other parts of the state wanted a new stadium. These kids were getting ambitious. What happened to just wanting a new glove for Christmas, Santa wondered.
Santa thought there might be more than just little kids writing him letters. But maybe they were just kids and maybe they really needed his help. Baseball was a good thing for kids and maybe it was time for Santa to get involved in saving the American Pastime for another generation. Santa poured himself another glass of the scotch that was going down so smoothly.
Santa thought about the kids in Florida who had never seen a single flake of snow, but who still loved Christmas and baseball. What could Santa do to help those kids?
Santa had an idea. As much as Santa loved kids and baseball, Santa loved trains. Nothing exited him more than laying out a new HO guage train for a young kid. There was one in his bag for the very next house on his list.
“High speed rail in Florida!!” Santa said with a start. He realized that maybe he had said that out loud and looked around to see if anyone had heard him. All was quiet. It could be the solution, Santa thought to himself. Build a new stadium in Tampa next to the high speed rail station that connected it to the cities in central Florida. Santa could just see all the fans pouring in by train and getting off at the new stadium. He could see the boys and girls headed for a game with their parents, snow falling lightly in downtown Tampa. Santa was feeling no pain.
And then give the kids of South Florida a new owner for their team. Santa would threaten to move the team to Havana and sell it to Raul Castro. The folks in South Florida would be up in arms so quickly that they would convince Jeb Bush he had to save the day, to become the new owner. Just like his brother, Jeb would give all the children a winner almost immediately. (Santa is nothing if not fair and balanced).
Santa swirled the contents of his glass. The bottle of single malt scotch was half empty. Santa realized that maybe he had poured a few too many while he was thinking about what ails the game of baseball. Old Santa was getting carried away.
He gathered up his bag of toys and sauntered over to the chimney. He looked back at the Louisville Slugger beneath the tree one last time. He laid a finger side his nose and up the chimney he rose. Getting back into his sleigh, Santa realized that whatever baseball needed, new stadiums, new owners, or new commissioners, someone else would have to do that work. Santa had his own work to do. He snapped the reins and the reindeer were off. “Happy Holidays to all,” he said as his sleigh rose upward.
As Santa climbed skyward, he was still thinking about the mock drafts he was going to have to do after he got the holiday mess sorted out back at the Pole. Was Evan Longoria ever going to have another season like 2009-2010. With the vagaries of the coming season still in the back of his mind, But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight, “Two months til pitchers and catchers report, so just hold on tight. The 2013 season is going to be a delight.”