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BenFred: Picking the perfect gifts for St. Louis sports figures, whether they want them or not

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Sports columnists should always tell it like it is.

They will never be as good at it as disappointed kids at Christmas.

You know the ones.

They unwrap clothes with apathy. They look for the present they missed, knowing there’s nothing left. Sometimes they even ask: “Is that it?”

Cardinals fans can relate this winter. Most like the signing of Willson Contreras at catcher. But they’re still wanting more, and not just socks and a few sticks of gum.

Their siblings and cousins in the National League are getting all kinds of stuff. It’s getting hard to ignore. Team colors this Christmas are Cardinal red and green with envy.

Hopefully more gifts for this roster are on the way. While we wait, it’s that time of year when I hand out some of my own to our area sports scene. I can guarantee no one will be left wanting more …

Transferring Mizzou receiver Dominic Lovett: Greener pastures in Georgia.

Staying-put Mizzou receiver Luther Burden: A sophomore season that sells some chips.

Mizzou quarterback Sam Horn: A fair chance to compete for the starting job in 2023.

Mets slugger Pete Alonso: An autographed Stubby Clapp baseball card.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong: An autographed David Perron Red Wings sweater.

Blues coach Craig Berube: A stress ball.

Mizzou football coach Eli Drinkwitz: A new sign for the upcoming Mizzou-Tennessee basketball game: “18 Level One Violations!”

University of Missouri Curators: A refund for the $540,000 charged by consulting firm Huron to figure out ways to, “achieve athletics excellence.” I’ll do it for free. Here goes. Win more football games.

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko: That trade he requested.

Blues forward Jordan Kyrou: More hat tricks, in a hurry.

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.: A jolt of Steve-Cohen-inspired payroll elevation.

Mizzou basketball guard Isiaih Mosley: Minutes.

Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman: Walks.

Young Cardinals Lars Nootbaar and Brendan Donovan: No major swing changes announced at spring training.

Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill: Lighter dumbbells.

Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty: A fully healthy season.

Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson: A fully healthy wrist.

Cardinals manager Oli Marmol: A starting pitcher who scares opponents.

Former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt: Another shot at a big chair somewhere.

Former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny: A new gig with the Cardinals as the organization’s catching coach.

Miami Marlins starter Pablo Lopez: A trade to the Cardinals.

St. Louis City SC CEO Carolyn Kindle and her team: A winning inaugural season.

Major League Soccer: An official introduction to the power of St. Louis sports fandom.

St. Louis City SC goalie Roman Burki: An MLS debut that justifies his hefty contract.

KTRS radio host McGraw Milhaven: A Nebraska football season that does not bring shame to St. Louis’ most loyal Cornhusker.

The Los Angeles Rams: A banner honoring one of the worst seasons ever by a defending Super Bowl champ.

BattleHawks head coach Anthony Becht: An undefeated home record in The Dome, where Ka remains The Law.

SIUE men’s basketball coach Brian Barone: A framed photo of his team celebrating its win against SLU.

SLU men’s basketball coach Travis Ford: A schedule without SIUE on it.

St. Louis native and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum: The NBA’s Michael Jordan MVP Trophy.

Washington Wizards guard and SLU product Jordan Goodwin: An apology from all the teams that passed on him in the 2021 NBA draft.

St. Louis native and Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey: A trip to the Final Four

SLU athletics director Chris May: A list of up and coming men’s college basketball coaches, in case he need to hire one soon.

Mizzou athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois: A list of up and coming college football coaches, in case she needs to hire one soon.

Ex Cardinals hitting coach Jeff Albert: A deactivated Twitter account.

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak: A rotation-altering version of the Goldschmidt and Arenado trade heists.

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson: Pitch-clock forced pace improvement.

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas: A contract extension.

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong: A fresh start in Boston.

New Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras: A fourth All-Star appearance.

National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt: A September to remember, to replace the one he’d like to forget.

Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado: An audio recording of whatever promises the front office made him about improving the team before he dropped his final opt-out, in case the urgency displayed doesn’t match with what was pledged.

Retired Cardinals legend Yadier Molina: Another basketball championship for the Vaqueros de Bayamon.

Retired Cardinals legend Albert Pujols: No second guesses about calling it a career.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright: A sendoff season more like Pujols’ than Molina’s.

Cardinals fans: A postseason with a shelf life longer than an avocado.

Mizzou basketball coach Dennis Gates: More nights like Braggin’ Rights.

Illinois coach Brad Underwood: The opposite of the above.

Area youth athletes: A scholarship program funded by Rams relocation settlement dollars.

Retiring St. Louis Sports Commission president Frank Viverito: A sincere thank-you for decades of dedication and service to our shared sports scene.

Retired Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel: A Diet Dr Pepper toast to one heck of a Hall of Fame run that, lucky for us, has more stories to tell.

Post-Dispatch readers: A safe, happy and healthy holiday season. Thanks for making this fun.

Sports columnists Ben Frederickson and Jeff Gordon break down Cohen's lavish spending spree and ponder how Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. could feel a ripple effect.

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