In the days before Christmas, all through the clubhouse
Ray King was stirring gravy to go with his roast grouse.
The mitts were all hung in the lockers with care,
In hopes that Spring Training soon would be there.
The players were snug in their off-season homes,
Surely giving no thought to some dumb blogger's poems;
And Stan in his hardhat, Manny in his cap,
Had just settled in for a well-deserved nap;
When from the front office there arose such a noise,
Uncle Teddy was called and in turn called his boys.
Stan heard the commotion, saw the mad influx,
Were they being burgled, a Watergate redux?
The moon on the breast of the fresh outfield grass
Made a near-perfect backdrop for what came to pass,
For what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a fist-bumping huckster, half tanked on near beer,
Clad in a tracksuit, so lively and trim,
It could be none other than ol' Trader Jim.
Like a hopped up Ben Johnson the players they came,
As he danced, drank and called them by almost right names:
“Now, L-Millz! now, Dukes, Pena and other Guzman!
On, Willie! on Kearnsy! Why not Meat Hook too, mon!
From left field to right field! From infield to wall!
What do you mean that I can't play them all?!”
As players at the Mitchell Report shrug,
And when faced with a test, just find a new drug,
So on to the roster the outfielders flew,
With a sleigh full of baggage, as JimBo well knew.
In a twinkling, Stan heard, with no hint of contrition
Of the faults and the foibles of each new addition.
Scarce had he recovered, nor even sat down,
When Trader Jim lept through the door with a bound.
He was dressed all in leather from waistband to toe,
And those leather pants glistened with new melted snow.
He had scouting reports and an air of intrigue,
In his hand was a roster - California Penal League.
His eyes - how they sparkled! his dimples how merry!
It was quite clear to all he'd found Manny's cooking sherry!
His phone was ablaze, the fire department was summoned
From stockpiling orphaned players just like Mr. Drummond.
Adjusting his breeches he flashed a tight smile,
There was more talent here than he'd had in a while.
Were they all angels? Most certainly not,
But when you're in fourth place, why not take a shot?
The Edge was too cocky, other Guzman too green,
Could Wily Mo hack it, was Dukes just too mean?
Kearns had worlds of potential but little to show,
Harris nothing but fast, Meat Hook just too darn slow.
JimBo addressed no concerns, but continued his work,
He filled out the roster with Lo Duca, that jerk,
About which Stan said, when given the chance,
“In the future, I'm vetting these things in advance.”
Then Jim sprang to his sleigh, to the team gave a holler,
“I can get Eric Milton for six million dollars!”
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“WooHoo, Spring Break!, WooHoo and good-night!”
Wishing Nats fans far and near a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year! - Nate, Dave & Matt