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'Twas the Night Before Christmas

[I wrote this for Christmas four years ago, so might as well push it again. Hooray for recycling stories! Hooray for Christmas!]

... when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The Red Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of ground-rule doubles danced in their heads;

And mamma in her Bronson Arroyo jersey, and I in my Reds cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed like Scott Rolen after a bunt attempt to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like Chris Dickerson in a dash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of a day game to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh with a wishbone "C" on the side, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than Willy Taveras down the 1st base line his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Aaron Harang and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now over to Thom for the play-by-play call!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of bats, gloves, balls, other assorted baseball equipment, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in Red fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with rosin, pine tar, and soot;

A bundle of baseball equipment he had flung on his back,

And he looked like Joey Votto, waiting to bat.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a Cherry (Hudson)!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like Brandon Phillips',

And the hair of his chin was as white as Marty Brennaman's,

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like the on-deck circle;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed like Great American Ballpark after a Jay Bruce home run.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a tip of the Reds cap on his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word,

but went straight to his work,

And filled all the Red Stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And like Mark Berry giving a take sign, laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like fly balls to the Moon Deck.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"This is Santa Claus, rounding 3rd and heading for home!"