For the columnist who has everything
Gene doesn't ask for much -- just this birthday wish list from the world of sports.
My birthday is this Tuesday. In case you were thinking of sending something, here's my wish list:
• A one-on-one interview with Barry Bonds. First question: "How many of your 762 home runs were performance-enhancer-free?" (He'd say, "All of them.") Second question: "So you'd have no problem taking a lie detector test then?" (Silence.)
• A one-on-one game against Duke assistant and former point guard Steve Wojciechowski.
• Lane Kiffin's sense of integrity and loyalty. Oh, wait -- he doesn't have any.
• A bit part in any sports movie or "The Hangover II."
• Legislation that outlaws the BCS, the use of cell phones in seats located behind home plate and TV color analysts who say, "Watch this" during a replay or "I had a chance to talk to [fill in the name of the coach or player]."
• Tim Lincecum's hair.
• A Wrigley Field beer vendor who tells me, "Keep your money. This one's on me."
• One of those draft night bro-mance hugs from NFL commish Roger Goodell.
• Asterisks next to the names of Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens in the MLB record book.
• A JaMarcus Russell announcement that he's returning his $23 million-plus worth of signing bonuses to the Oakland Raiders.
• News that Russell has donated his right arm to Colt McCoy. McCoy would never waste that kind of physical talent.
• A chipping lesson that works.
• A 4 a.m. film session with Jon Gruden.
• An end to the hypocrisy that is the NCAA's one-and-done rule in college basketball.
• A 2010 NFL season that includes Brett Favre as the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback.
• Gus Johnson doing play-by-play of our noon-league hoops games. (Where I'm not sure any of us can touch the rim -- or even the bottom of the net.)
• A one-on-one interview with Tiger Woods. First question: "Why should we believe you?"
• A rack of Dreamland ribs and a loaf of white bread for sauce dipping.
• An angioplasty.
• A Vin Scully broadcast of an L.A. Dodgers game.
• A broadcast of Scully reading a grocery list federal tax code the periodic table. Anything.
• A hand-held video player -- so the next time someone tells me players are in it just for the money, I can show them footage of the San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili playing Game 3 with a broken nose the size of a canned ham, or of the Nashville Predators' Jordin Tootoo taking a puck to the face, needing about 45 stitches to close up the wound and playing two days later in Game 5 of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
• A cancer-free George Karl and Martina Navratilova.
• Five minutes on the court, ice or field as LeBron James, Steve Nash, Alex Ovechkin, Albert Pujols or Ray Lewis.
• A waiter or bartender in Great Britain who doesn't treat ice cubes like an endangered species.
• A Tiger/Phil Mickelson final pairing in the final round of the U.S. Open, British Open or PGA Championship.
• A one-on-one interview with Ben Roethlisberger. First question: "Do you want to lead the NFL in passing yards or legal bills?"
• A fifth season of "Friday Night Lights."
• An East Dillon jersey autographed by Connie Britton.
• An NFC championship rematch between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.
• A speechless Ozzie Guillen -- just to see whether it's possible.
• To play a pickup game at Cameron Indoor, Pauley Pavilion, Madison Square Garden, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Rucker Park. (Allen Fieldhouse, Gallagher-Iba Arena and Rupp Arena already have been crossed off the bucket list.)
• The hot back in stadium dogs.
• A smoke-free Vegas sportsbook.
• A guarantee that Ron Santo will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
• A one-on-one interview with Nike chairman and co-founder Phil Knight. First question: "Still think we'll look back at this Tiger mushroom cloud as -- how did you put it? -- 'a minor blip'?"
• That when the Tennessee Titans open their 2010 regular season against the Raiders on Sept. 12, Rhodes scholar Myron Rolle is on the active roster.
• That every sports broadcaster be required to listen to Verne Lundquist, the most underrated announcer in the business.
• To cover a football game at West Point.
• To go one airline year without sitting next to someone who brings two boiled eggs and a tuna salad sandwich on board.
• To take BP at Fenway.
• To get just one of these presents.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear Gene's podcasts and ESPN Radio appearances by clicking here.
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