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Question of the Day: If sports had a Santa Claus, who would it be?

December 23, 2010 | 11:55 am

Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Cliff-lee_300Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

For the 2010 holiday season, the most generous Santa Claus in sports is calling the shots for Philadelphia's baseball team. Think about it: Santa disappoints us one year and surprises us the next. If you're a Phillies fan, General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has been the quintessential Kris Kringle.

Amaro first delivered Cliff Lee to the City of Brotherly Love in July 2009 and the Phillies won the National League pennant. Five months later, Amaro lands Roy Halladay, but he teamed that with a misguided trade that sent Lee to Seattle. Chalk it up to Bad Santa.

In July of this year, Amaro redeemed himself for the Lee blunder by acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Astros and he was again a Good Santa. Then, this winter, he dropped the ultimate Christmas gift under Philadelphia's baseball tree: Lee signed with the Phillies as a free agent, spurning the Yankees and Rangers.

Yes, Amaro's work is enough to warm the hearts of the those Grinches who once booed Jolly Old Santa.

Keith Groller, Allentown Morning Call

A cynic might suggest that the ultimate sports Santa would be the owners of the Clippers, Pirates and Lions, who for years have been giving to fans in other cities by putting out inferior teams. A true sports Santa, though, is one who gives the gift of himself and his possessions.

That's why I suggest Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who won MLB's Roberto Clemente Award this year after being nominated seven previous times. While not making Cliff Lee money, Wakefield has run a celebrity golf tournament for 18 years, has frequently brought patients from Boston Children's Hospital to be with him at Fenway Park, has participated in New England's "Pitching in for Kids" program and has been involved in other worthwhile endeavors.

Wakefield may throw knuckleballs for a living, but his delivery to kids in need comes straight from the heart.

Todd Adams, Orlando Sentinel

I'd say that in this Christmas season it's the Ohio State University that is the sports world's Santa Claus because of its athletic department's decision to suspend football players Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas for the first five games of next season but not for the Sugar Bowl has the potential to provide two big gifts.

The first is to Ohio State fans who might be rewarded with a BCS bowl victory that might otherwise have been unlikely.

The second is to new Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden, whose team plays the Buckeyes on Sept. 17. Even a shorthanded Ohio State team will be tough to beat, but the decision could help Golden earn his first signature. 

Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin. He is the king of the coach cut-away shot.

Even if you have no interest in watching the Giants play, it's worth it just to see Coughlin's reactions on the sidelines. It's always priceless. Sometimes he'll throw up his hands in exasperation, maybe yell at an assistant or just have a look on his face like he doesn't understand why the elves are going to strike. And just like Santa Claus, his cheeks turn bright red in cold weather.

I don't think I've ever seen Coughlin be jolly, but his anger and disappointment leads to endless joy for the viewer. Nothing can top what happened last Sunday when Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson finished off the Eagles' epic comeback against the Giants in the Meadowlands by returning a punt for a touchdown. Coughlin came all the way out onto the field to excoriate poor punter Matt Dodge for not kicking the ball out of bounds.

It was vintage Coughlin. Phlegm was flying, as were a few four-letter words. Christmas came a little early for me.  

Photo: Pitcher Cliff Lee, General Manager Ruben Amaro's Christmas gift to Philadelphia Phillies fans, writes Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant. Credit: Chris Gardner / EPA