As you all know, Thanksgiving is this week. And despite the impression that it has become but a speed bump in the rush to Christmas, it's still one of my favorite days of the year.
I confess it, I'm a sucker for the Macy's parade and the giant balloons. And it's not quite Thanksgiving unless I can watch at least part of it.
And I love turkey. Or to be more specific, I love turkey sandwiches, piled high with stuffing and cranberry sauce. The leftovers are the better than the main meal, and I happily take those sandwiches in to work for a week afterward -- and have them for dinner, too!
But most of all, I realize that I must be thankful because the Lord has blessed me in many, many ways that I know of, and probably a million more that I either don't realize or don't appreciate.
So, with that in mind, let's proceed to our list of things I am thankful for, and list a bunch of turkeys, too.
I'm thankful for: David Wright. I thought about Wright when I wrote the post about Gregg Jefferies a couple weeks ago. There are some similarities there. Except that Wright -- at least so far -- has proven to be the real deal. Jefferies might have been, too, except that his head wasn't on straight. But Wright has said and done all the right things and I think we have a very special player here. Plus, the bare-handed catch! Amazing!
Turkey! That would be Derek "Freaking" Jeter. I'm convinced that if this guy had been playing for about any one of the other 29 teams he'd be just another decent shortstop instead of the Mr. Wonderful the Yankees have hyped him into. And the weasel has been just plain lucky. You and I both know that had Jeremi Giambi had the brains to have slid into home, The Play would be remembered as nothing more than a nice attempt. As for The Play II, anyone can catch a pop fly then run and run and run and dive into the stands. And how slow of a news day must it have been Thursday for the Post to devote its entire front page to Jeter gallivanting around Hawaii?
I'm thankful for: My iPod. I’m not a big gadget guy by any stretch. But the iPod is a glorious, life-altering device. A group of us in the newsroom sit around and talk about how much we love our iPods. Some people think we’re a cult. I can't deny it. My wife was almost shunned for implying that the iPod had a fault, which it doesn't. We didn’t take that step, but it was a close vote.
Turkey! It's too easy to pick on confessed 'roid boy Jason Giambi. But what's with the fans voting to give him "Comeback Player of the Year?" The guy's problems were self-induced, if you believe his leaked grand jury testimony. This is like if they had awarded Doc Gooden the Cy in that season when he missed the first month or so because of the drug suspension then came back and went 15-5. And Giambi's situation was worse because it was a performance-enhancing drug. Not only should he not get the Comeback award, but they should take away his tainted MVP as well!
I'm thankful for: Costco! Costco rocks! The adventure! The mystery! The hot dog and Diet Coke combo for $1.50! And it’s where I got the aforementioned iPod. Sometimes I go to this ultimate warehouse store around lunchtime and sample my way around the store. Sometimes I just wander around because you just never know what will be there on any given day. I used to name the goldfish on my desk after school board people I cover. But it got embarrassing when they kept dying. The latest one is named "Costco" and is one happy, healthy fish.
Turkeys: Senators. On one hand I should be glad that because Sens. Bunning and McCain got involved, baseball finally has a decent steroid policy. But on the other hand, don't these guys have something better to do than poke around baseball's business? Isn't there a war and an endless string of national disasters that should be keeping these guys a little busy?
I'm thankful for: Blogging friends.I started this thing in March on a lark thinking no one would read it and I'd run out of stories by the middle of April. Amazingly, that hasn't happened, and I've met some really great people along the way. You keep me informed, you make me laugh and you make me feel like I am close to home despite living far from the shadow of Shea.
Turkey: Gary Sheffield. That whole fiasco around the trading deadline was simply awful. It's bad enough that Mr. I Didn't Realize They Were Steroids had his name associated with our clean-cut young men. Then he goes and says he would never play for us, as if that were some kind of bad thing. Hey Gary, I have news for you -- you can keep your sorry ass in the Bronx! And how many rings have you won over there? Oh yeah, the same number as if you had been playing for the Devil Rays.
I'm thankful: To live in the Midwest, at least for now. It's been an amazing run of baseball events in the area since we moved here, from All-Star Games in Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit -- including the FanFests, which I get to attend -- to World Series games in Chicago to stadiums closing and opening. It's been a fun ride. And if I can't live in the homeland, this is a good place to be.
Turkeys: Hamlet Torre and Hamlet Cashman. What was with all the hand-wringing about whether they would return? Was there any doubt? As if either of these two Yankee-tainted types would turn tail and bail. What would they do, go somewhere else, fail, and confirm everyone's suspicion that having a $200 million payroll makes one a very good manager and a very smart general manager?
I'm thankful for: Pedro! Pedro! Pedro! Why do we love Pedro? Because he not only didn't strangle Braden Looper on Opening Day, but went out there in his next turn and shut down the Braves in what was an absolute must-win game. Throw in the near-no-nos and other gems following those Ishii mailises. And you gotta love that he respects Mets tradition enough to wear the traditional pinstriped uniform when he takes the hill at Shea.
Turkey: Doug Mientiewicz. Doug, you sucked. But fans stuck by you because you appeared to be a stand-up guy. Then after the season you go and rip the Mets, hoping that you aren't brought back and calling the team clueless? That's pretty weak for a guy who had trouble hitting .250. Go across town so you can back-up Jason Giambi.
I'm thankful for: Mike Piazza. Since he arrived at Shea, Mikey has been a first-class citizen and representative on the Mets and had fully earned that trip to Cooperstown. I'm glad that Mets fans treated him so well as the season wound down, respectful that he once carried this team on his back. Go DH and get that 400th bomb then come back to Shea and hang 31 on the wall!
There you go!
I sincerely thank you all for reading -- and giving me things to read and enjoy! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!