Ho ho ho, yourselves. These are tough times for Santa, boys and girls. This is one year Santa will be glad to see end. You're all aware that Santa sees you when you're sleeping, and knows when you're awake, and knows if you've been bad or good. So why haven't you been good, for goodness sake?

Santa's not a happy buckaroo this year. Much naughty-naughty on the sports beat: point shaving at Tulane; drug trial in Pittsburgh; payoffs at TCU and Kentucky. Hoo boy! Santa's having all sorts of trouble figuring out which gifts to bring.

What's appropriate for the fixers at Tulane, a toll-free telephone line for placing their bets, 1-800-BOOKIES? For the baseball players, what, a bucket of red juice and souvenir spoons? (What can you give Lonnie Smith that will top immunity?) You can't give cash to the TCU football players -- they have lots of it already. And the Trans Ams were too big for Santa's bag. Santa has no idea know what to do about Kentucky. He'd like to give the basketball players gifts their traditional way: shaking their hands in the locker room. But since he's not an alumnus, he can't get inside.

Santa can't catch a break, boys and girls. He feels like the whole world is a tuxedo, and he's a pair of brown shoes, so he went out to Cheers for a couple of pops. I found this list on his desk. It was stamped, "Merry Christmas":

Swen Nater, who, said the wire service report, "pulled out of a transfer to the Spanish team Barcelona after experiencing a holy vision telling him not to leave the United States."

Berl Bernhard, Craig James, gerbils everywhere.

Angelo Spagnolo, cruising along at TPC until the unfortunate 66 on the 17th hole in America's Worst Avid Golfer contest.

Sandy baby.

Gerry Gimelstob, Bob Slater, Tito Horford, Brian Sipe, Marcus Dupree, Michael Graham, wherever they are.

Dr. B.J. Mycoskie and Ed Whitson, who gave it their best shots.

Mr. Driesell.

Bernie Kosar, who got the deal he wanted; Vinny Testaverde, who did, too.

Pete Rose, Steve Cram, Willie Banks, Eddie Robinson, Rod Carew, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro.

The softball juggernaut that is Bialystock & Bloom.

Bill Glasson, how soon they forget; Doug Flutie.

Drew William Saberhagen.

Peter Marciano, accused by the ever gracious Larry Holmes of "freeloading off his dead brother for years."

Michael Spinks.

Robert Brennan, the Grinch Who Stole the Triple Crown; Spend a Buck, the horse he rode in on.

Bobby (Dotted Line) Ross.

Alfano, Gergen, Greenberg, Israel, Jacobson, Kindred, Lauck, Littwin, Lupica, Montville, Schulian, Verdi, and Junior, the Bard of Bloomington.

Jeff Ruland, suddenly fragile; Buddy Biancalana, suddenly a star.

Lee MacPhail and Donald Fehr, for giving us the perfect baseball strike for the '80s: it took less time than the Jane Fonda workout.

Jay Schroeder.

Mary Decker Slaney and Thunderfoot Budd, for the Days of Whines and Zola.

Everyone who has driven I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Mike Ditka, the road warrior looped in Chicago.

Joe and Cathy Lee, two American kids doing the best they can.


Joaquin Andujar, for telling reporters at the World Series, "The thing that I am proudest of in my life is that I can come up here to these microphones and speak to you in a language I do not understand."

Mary Lou Retton; enough already, you've got the job.

Cosell, Schaap, Michaels, Costas; Bernie Smilovitz, the Martin Agronsky of Redskin Chat-orama.

KJ-ologists everywhere.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler, for the best sports-oriented commercial of 1985; Thomas Hearns, who may still be eating soup.

The Capitals, with new weapons against the Islanders in the playoffs: wooden stakes and garlic.

Martina, Chris.

The Doctor.

Graduates of Hewlett High and Harpur College; everyone who went to camp in the Poconos.

Napoleon McCallum and David Robinson.

Larry Brown, Jim Valvano, Terry Holland, Mike Krzyzewski, Digger Phelps, Ed Tapscott and The National Sweater Council's man of the year, Looie Carnesecca, who played Georgetown four times last year and said of the experience, "How many times do you have to be hit in the head before you know it hurts?"

Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing.


Peter Ueberroth for telling Washingtonians what we really wanted to hear: that our subway was nice.

Whoever hung the "Baseball in '87" sign.

Riki Ellison of the 49ers, a thinking man, who said, "I'm a psycho case. If I wasn't a football player, I'd probably be dead."

Abe Pollin and Arnie Heft; guys, can't you take a joke?

Brian Harper, who would have been a hero if it wasn't for Dane Iorg.

Dane Iorg.

Vince Coleman, Kellen Winslow, Michael Jordan, Bernard King, Keith Byars, Doug Altenberger, Mo Siegel.

The Boomer Schooner.

Brooklyn; nobody mentions it anymore.