By Scotty Mincher
Bells are ringing once again, and It’s that time of year when people are going bananas, and are infected with the spirit of Christmas. As a great man that I know likes to say “Givin is Livin.” Even though I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, The beauty of Christmas is that if you’re fortunate enough during the holiday, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds of giving as well as receiving gifts. For all those people who are fanatics like I am, The combination of gifts in connection to sports gives the combo of chocolate and peanut butter a run for its money. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found sports to be fascinating, So I’m always ecstatic to receive any gift that even remotely pertains to sports. I enjoyed the T.V. show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” it was during my pre and early teen years that I watched the show and because I’ve always been compelled to learn as much as I can about the history of sports that I’m intrigued by, the sports version of who wants to be a millionaire? For my PC Is one of my favorite sports gifts from my early youth. All of the Frowns, Cavs, and Indians jerseys I received over the years from my parents and my brother, as well as my lucky Buckeye beads I was gifted in 2002, are just some of the best of the rest as far as all-time sports presents go. Now on, to the best sports gifts for 2019!
The Buckeyes march to the College football playoff has been a terrific treat for any Ohio State fan like myself as they continue to strive for their second national title in the CFP era. Being able to attend what a new friend of mine Astutely called the most notorious Browns Steelers game in history, was in numerous ways pretty special too. But being able to attend this year’s baseball All-Star game in my second home of Cleveland Ohio take’s the cake in my mind. Not only did I get to watch the most star players I’ve ever seen on one field shine under the bright lights. I witnessed a touching tribute to Indians starting pitcher Carlos ‘Cookie’ Carrasco, in route to him overcoming his battle with cancer and winning Major League Baseball’s comeback player of the year award, To go along with Carrasco’s teammate Shane Bieber flourishing As the hometown hero as he struck out the side of the National League All-Stars batting order to lock up the ASG MVP. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be able to rock plenty of sweet looking jerseys over the years and getting a Color Rush Jarvis Landry jersey from my dad this year was a highlight for my sports year. But nothing was quite like watching the best of the best going at it in my favorite sport to watch in person at the gem of a stadium that is Progressive Field, which I still call the Jake by the way, As it ranks as my best sports present of 2019.
It’s hard to think that there’s anyone out there that doesn’t like getting presents for Christmas, with stocking stuffers being an underrated part of the holiday joy in my mind. I’ve already been blessed and have received two great stocking stuffer type gifts this year courtesy of friends that include A new Cavs Lantern that goes great with my 2016 Cavs championship lantern, To go along with some Baker Mayfield socks. I also really like hats and have a pretty big sports hat collection that has made up a good portion of the stocking stuffers given to me over the years, and was kindly gifted a new YSN hat this year that adds to my collection.
Speaking of YSN, it should come as no surprise to any YSN followers that joining on board the team was and is another big present for me this year. Ever since the beginning, I’ve always been very opinionated, when it comes to sports and always had a major thirst for it. Getting my start as a summer intern with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2010, It was there I scored the baseball games and helped put videos up on the jumbotron. A couple of months down the road I started working for the Purple Cat. It was at Pearl Street on the east side of Youngstown where I’m ended up joining the team and started working at their new radio station. Being part of a team that conducted a sports radio show two days a week along with other adults with disabilities was unique. All the experience on goldenstringradio.org helps me ease into things with the team at YSN in 2019 at it’s been a real pleasure to talk sports and come up with different facts for the social media pages at YSN. for more on that you can check out ysnlive.com along with YSN’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
As we try to wrap up and put a shiny Christmas bow on this story, I wanna go over some of the best all-time sports presents for myself and my family. Earlier in this story, I mentioned my dad and the cool Browns jersey I got from him at the Browns Steelers game back in November, but one of the best sports with him was one of the earliest sports moments of my life. I went to my first MLB game with my dad as we watched our Indians take on the Red Sox in 1998. The Indians would lose a close one that day 3-2 but I’ll always remember the juggernaut that was the Cleveland lineup when I was a kid in the ’90s led by the likes of Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel just to name a few studs. The Red Sox were led by former American League MVP Mo Vaughn and 1997 rookie of the year Nomar Garciaparra so they weren’t exactly too shabby themselves. The two of us will never forget how talented those players were on the field and that’s why my first baseball game with my dad will always be a great sports highlight and present for both of us. The best sports present for my mom was taking me to the Cavs second Eastern Conference Finals clinching game in 2015. The Cavs would go on to hammer the Hawks 118-88 led by Kyrie Irving, Triston Thompson, and of course King James. The arena was electric all night and it quickly was booming with Happiness and it was the beginning of a historic Cavs run that my mom and I will always cherish.
As far as my sister goes based on our personal experience I would say that seeing a Browns win together in person on my birthday is at the top of the list. The game was played on November 28, 2010, and it ended in a Browns win which is rare, coupled with a W on my birthday which might never happen again. Arguably the Browns most fun one-hit-wonder and Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns and kicker John Kasay missed a 42 yarder as time expired as the Browns got the 24-23 victory. It always nice to see the Browns get a win, but my sister and I will never forget that before Baker came along there once was Hillismania in Cleveland. We’ve yet to get to my brother, And one of his favorites when it comes to a present I bought for him, a retro Kenny Lofton GV art and design t-shirt. That ties into the greatest sports gift my brother and I received together in our lifetime. I got him the shirt a few years ago and it was around the same time that we witnessed one of the greatest moments in Tribe playoff history. We both went to game 2 of the 2017 ALDS in Cleveland between the Indians and the Yankees. The Indians trailed 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning when their star shortstop Francisco Lindor belted a grand slam off the foul pole against Yankees relief pitcher Chad green that would shake the stadium and send the fans into a frenzy. Jay Bruce would follow with a solo shot to tie the game in the 8th and catcher Yan Gomes would later smoke a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th for the win. The Lofton shirt and the game connects the Indian’s past and more recent glory days, topped off by their run to the World Series in 2016. But my brother and I think 2017 was unforgettable too, as we watch a 22 game regular-season winning streak and were apart of what was the loudest baseball environment we’d ever been in on that memorable playoff night in 2017.
It’s been a great sports ride these last few years, and hopefully, like me, everybody has been blessed with a great sports moment in 2019. Because sports is always the gift that keeps on giving!