This is the season for distributing Christmas gifts and making New Year's resolutions and bemusedly looking at pictures of folks digging their cars out from under snowbanks.
It is a season when the greatest of athletes are the ones who make it into stores and up to counters to either exchange Christmas gifts or get 5% off on items previously priced 10% over their worth.
Here in San Diego, of course, another "seasonal sport" has manifested itself. It has to do with the fact that the mayor's office is semi-vacant. Each day brings a new announcement from someone who is or is not running.
I don't know if you are keeping score, but it seems to me that we keep getting the same, old players. I guess politics is a little like sports, which has a way of recycling the same managers and the same coaches.
However, it occurs to me that a very significant segment of San Diego's population is being overlooked in the holiday hunt for the perfect candidate. It is my duty to suggest that we might contemplate sports figures instead of the run-of-the-mill politicians who have run more times than a 14-year-old horse at Agua Caliente, often with about as much success.
Some of these folks are probably stronger candidates than others, but I am sure you will agree that they would all bring special talents to the office.
In no particular order of preference, here are my nominations . . .
Ron Newman, Socker coach: In his current position, Newman has to deal with subordinates who are moody and outspoken. It appears at times that no one is even speaking the same language. He also must overcome massive egos and tight budgets.
Does all of this sound like City Hall? Sure does.
Ron Newman would fit.
Steve Garvey, Padre first baseman: I know, Garvey's name surfaces almost any time an office is open. Rumors persist that he will someday make the move to politics, but Garvey has stayed away from personal involvement. I don't even think anyone knows for sure whether he is a Democrat or a Republican.
If he can be an unaffiliated non-candidate candidate for this long without anyone really knowing where he stands, I don't think it can accurately be said that he someday will be a politician.
It sounds to me as if he already is.
Thomas Day, San Diego State University president: Most university presidents cannot really be called sports figures, but their job descriptions force them to pay heed to the successes, failures and shenanigans in their athletic departments.
Should Day be elected mayor, he would likely dissolve the city manager's position and hire an athletic director instead. This person would keep tabs on the Padres, Chargers, Sockers, Andy Williams Shearson Lehman American Express Isuzu Wickes San Diego Open, Aztecs, Toreros and Dennis Conner.
University presidents and mayors have to keep their priorities in order.
Don Coryell, Charger coach: Slow-growth advocates will not likely support his candidacy.
With Coryell in City Hall, San Diego would figure to gain about 500 yards a day. For example, after one year in office, Coryell would advance the San Diego city limits halfway through Orange County.
Coryell would be a great mayor if we didn't mind eventually annexing Los Angeles as a suburb.
Jack McKeon, Padre general manager: Ah, San Diego would not sit still under Trader Jack, either.
With McKeon as mayor, I can envision San Diego trading Mission Valley for Yosemite Valley, Fiesta Island for Easter Island, the Space Theater for the Space Needle and Dick Williams for Santa Claus.
And McKeon would always be on the lookout for a free-agent mountain, monument or museum.
What you would fear, of course, is that he might trade your neighborhood to Cleveland.
Fred Miller, San Diego State athletic director: As I understand it, Miller has put together a contract that will "reward" Denny Stolz for running an infraction-free football program. Of his salary, $10,000 will be contingent on cleanliness.
Obviously, this concept could be adopted quite nicely at City Hall. Miller, as mayor, could be awarded bonuses for each year he properly completed his financial disclosure documents, a nice incentive to discourage forgetfulness.
And imagine how much easier life would be for Uvaldo Martinez these days if the city had paid him $9,000 a year \o7 not \f7 to use his credit cards.
Fred Miller would bring a sense of trust to the city, the same kind of feeling a young bride gets when her groom-to-be advises her that she will have to sign a prenuptial agreement.
Rolf Benirschke, Charger placekicker: Rolf has his pet project. Literally. He puts together fund-raising campaigns for endangered species, and San Diego mayors would appear to fit in such a category.
With Benirschke as mayor, San Diego would be the only city in the world with City Hall at the zoo.
Tim Flannery and Jerry Royster, Padre second baseman: That is right. Second baseman, not second basemen.
They brought a feeling of unity, oneness if you will, to a troubled position last summer. It was both for one and one for both.
Together, they would be a fine mayor.
There you have them, my nominations. While other sports columnists are writing inanely of stuffing Christmas stockings and making New Year's resolutions, I seriously address an issue which will affect all of our lives.
You may think me light-hearted (or light-headed) in my approach to the upcoming campaign, but I assure you that I considered this to be a chore to be undertaken with the utmost sense of responsibility.
Otherwise, I would have nominated Ted Leitner.