Happy Rickey Henderson Day! Today we’re celebrating the greatest base-stealer and base-on-balls taker in Major League Baseball history!
Now, you may be thinking, isn’t December 25th someone else’s birthday, too? Thing is, the Lord Jesus Christ most likely wasn’t even actually born on December 25th. He was likely born closer to April or May. I like this idea, as that means there’s a chance that Jesus of Nazareth was born as a Taurus like me! But, I digress. Anyway, we only observe December 25th as Christmas because the Catholic church co-opted a pagan festival for Sol Invictus (aka Helios) by choosing this date.
Whenever people want to celebrate the Birth of Jesus, you have the freedom to do so. Just remember, this isn’t his actual birthday. My reasons for being so against celebrating Christmas are more on principle. Today, Christmas is nothing more than an over-commercialized excuse to max out credit cards, and have forced awkward family gatherings.
For Tom and I, Christmas Day will just be another day. Certainly we have an extra special dinner. We do get presents for one another to celebrate the holiday season. But, as we’re both practical people, we prefer to just open the presents as we get them. It’s the thought that counts after all, and the idea of simply forcing yourself delayed gratification on account of society saying you should just doesn’t fly with me any more at my advanced age; according to Zoomers, thirty-five means you’re ancient, by the way.
Anyway, back to why I chose to refer to the 25th of December as Rickey Henderson Day. It is, in fact, Rickey’s actual, legal birthday. He is not only the greatest base-stealer of all time, but in my opinion, probably one of the 10 best baseball players of all time. Also, I really like stolen bases. When I first started watching baseball, my favorite things were pitcher strikeouts and stolen bases. I always would load up my team with fast guys just so I could have players with 40 or 50 stolen bases a year. I did have Rickey on a few of these teams, too, and I actually broke some career records in older editions of MLB the Show.
With the MLB rule changes coming in 2023, with the pitch clock and bigger bases, we’ll be seeing a lot more base stealing for sure. While I highly doubt anyone ever catches up to Rickey’s all-time stolen base records, it’s going to be a lot of fun seeing the faster guys in MLB build Hall of Fame careers on just their ability to run the basepaths more freely. So, what I want next year is seeing a stolen base race. Home run races are cool and all, but stolen bases, to me, are just as exciting, if not more so.
Baseball has been a big part of my life for a long time, and its very existence helped me through a lot of tough times. I hope that I can finally get back to writing more baseball pieces in between all of the Pokemon content I have planned; this has been an incredibly busy MLB off-season and I’ll be writing my thoughts on the big signings well into 2023. Also, the essays covering obscure curiosities and flightful fancies will continue on as I get them edited and presentable for the general public.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this is definitely a time of year to be thankful for all that we have. Please don’t go and max out all of your credit cards. Don’t give in to all the hype of holiday sales, many of which are overblown, when the real deals are actually few and far between. I prefer to look at this time of year as a time to observe the Winter Solstice, the coming of what is often the harshest season, the one in which we have the most time to reflect. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, and I know I have it pretty good. But, I see plenty of people who aren’t. This is why I’ve made it a point – not just this holiday season, but in general – to be more generous to local businesses and good causes than ever. If the holiday season is good for anything, it’s to be thankful for what we have and give a little bit to others where we can. This, to me, is the best way to celebrate the Holiday season.
As much as I used to be one myself for tradition, I just live my life like normal. I just can’t get into all the old Christmas music and films and such any more. Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown jaded in these uncertain times. But, fortunately, I think things are looking up for 2023. How do you observe the holidays? However you do so, be safe, stay calm, and be smart.
Enjoy your Holidays!
Photo credit: Dennis Heller