Time to give thanks. I suppose I can muster up the will to do that. It’s only once a year, after all.

So, here goes…

I’m thankful for Army-Navy, even though I never watch it.

I’m thankful for Brandon Inge.

I’m thankful that a football is shaped the way it is, because you never know how it’s going to bounce. Other balls are so predictable that way.

I’m thankful for outdoor stadiums.

I’m thankful for the mute button.

I’m thankful for the Original Six.

I’m thankful for left-handed golfers because they look so cool.

I’m thankful for a well-timed 6-4-3.

I’m thankful for Nick Lidstrom.

I’m thankful for fake kicks, because they’re so rare.

I’m thankful for NFL Films.

I’m thankful for tabletop baseball games, so I can play a summer’s game on a cold winter’s night.

I’m thankful for anyone named Igor, or last names that start with Z.

I’m thankful for players who have the courage to wear number 13.

I’m thankful for Vyacheslav being shortened to Slava.

I’m thankful for the quick slant on a key third down.

I’m thankful for no timeouts remaining for either team in an NBA game.

I’m thankful for sudden death overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs, even if my heart isn’t.

I’m thankful for Tony Dungy.

I’m thankful for having seen every one of Barry Sanders’ ten seasons.

I’m thankful for my photo with Ernie Harwell, our arms over each other’s shoulder, and showing it to Ernie sometime later and him saying, “Well, who are THOSE two handsome fellas?”

I’m thankful for George Kell and “They’re waaaaaaaving him in!!”

I’m thankful for whoever first thought of pulling the goalie.

I’m thankful for kick returners who run it out from five yards deep in the end zone.

I’m thankful for doglegs right because that’s how I hit them anyway.

I’m thankful for the flag they run up at Wrigley Field after every Cubs’ game: W or L, depending on the result. So quaint, so simple.

I’m thankful for the squeak of sneakers on the basketball floor.

I’m thankful for scoreboard watching in September.

I’m thankful for Canton, Ohio. And Cooperstown, New York.

I’m thankful for Retrosheet.org.

I’m thankful for stand-up triples.

I’m thankful for Dr. J.

I’m thankful for TV showing us the play clock winding down.

I’m thankful for Don Criqui.

I’m thankful for football in the snow and baseball in a light rain.

I’m thankful that the Yankees have the arrogance to omit the names from their jerseys.

I’m thankful that the Red Wings and Tigers have pretty much the same uniforms as they did during the Truman Administration.

I’m thankful for Bruce Martyn and “He shoots, he SCORES!”

I’m thankful for “Hockey Night in Canada,” even though I can’t get it on my dish.

I’m thankful for the Canadian National Anthem.

I’m thankful for seeing-eye singles.

I’m thankful for a basketball block from behind.

I’m thankful for “the ground can’t cause a fumble.”

I’m thankful for tape-to-tape passes.

I’m thankful for Bo and Woody.

I’m thankful for knuckleballers.

I’m thankful for Madison Square Garden, because it’s still one of our finest sports palaces.

I’m thankful for boxing in Yankee Stadium, the Beatles in Olympia, and hockey at Wrigley Field.

I’m thankful for the Red Wings’ New Year’s Eve games. Did you know that Christmas Day at Olympia was a tradition, too, until the players squawked too much?

I’m thankful for a backhand stab at third base and a gun to nip the runner at first.

I’m thankful for good free throw shooters—and bad ones, if they’re on the other team.

I’m thankful for Canadian football, because linebackers wear no. 71 and wide receivers wear no. 37 and quarterbacks wear no. 23.

I’m thankful for the two-point conversion.

I’m thankful for medium deep fly balls with a runner on third base, because you know there’s going to be a whale of a play at home plate.

I’m thankful for Ann Arbor on a crisp fall Saturday, Joe Louis Arena on a warm June evening, and Comerica Park on a chilly April afternoon.

I’m thankful for Mike Babcock.

I’m thankful for the hip check, because no one throws them anymore.

I’m thankful for a well-executed screen pass.

I’m thankful for the circus catch.

I’m thankful for Mays, Mantle, and Snider all in New York at the same time.

I’m thankful for whoever invented slow motion replays.

I’m thankful for a fastball down the middle on 3-and-0.

I’m thankful for the trap play.

I’m thankful for pinstripes.

I’m thankful for basketball coaches who coach sitting down.

I’m thankful for spaghetti. I know it’s not sports but I like it so much.

I’m thankful for a wife who has put up with me, and my games, for 17 years.

I’m thankful that you’ve read this far.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

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