BERNIE BITS 

Let’s get into the Christmas spirit, OK? And I’m not talking about the spiked eggnog. 

Here are the best Christmas songs in Rock and Roll, and yeah, I’ve included some offbeat selections in here. And I use the term “Rock and Roll” loosely in some instances. 

My choices:

  1. Christmas *Baby Please Come Home, Darlene Love
  2. Run Rudolf Run, Chuck Berry
  3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,  Bruce Springsteen
  4. Frosty the Snowman, Ronettes 
  5. Little Saint Nick, Beach Boys
  6. 2000 Miles, The Pretenders
  7. Merry Christmas Baby, Otis Redding
  8. Christmas All Over Again, Tom Petty
  9. Blue Christmas, Elvis Presley
  10. Pretty Paper, Willie Nelson 
  11. Please Come Home for Christmas, The Eagles
  12. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues
  13. Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses
  14. Christmas Lights, Coldplay
  15. Do They Know It’s Christmas, Band-Aid
  16. It’s A Marshmallow World, Darlene Love
  17. The Christmas Waltz, She and Him
  18. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, Jack Johnson 
  19. White Christmas, Panic! At The Disco 
  20. Sleigh Ride, The Ventures

Just missing the cut was the Paul McCartney song “Wonderful Christmastime.” 

And I could listen to the Phil Spector-produced classic “A Christmas Gift For You” album all day long. I’m listening now.

Of course this is all subjective. I pretty much enjoy Christmas music from any genre. 

READING TIME 5 MINUTES: 

In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was asked to name the former Blues teammate that he’s most looking forward to putting a hit on/ And which former teammate are you least looking forward to playing against? Petro’s answer: “I’m looking forward to battling with David Perron, because we’re really close friends and we love battling in practice. So I’m happy to do it in a real game, because we have a really good relationship. It’s always your friends you want to beat, so you can chirp after the game. And I’m not looking forward to standing in front of a Colton Parayko slap shot, I’ll tell you that much.”

Nov 1, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) is congratulated by teammates Colton Parayko (55) and Alex Pietrangelo (27) and Ryan O’Reilly (90) after scoring the game-winning goal during overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Enterprise Center. The Blues won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Pietrangelo and family will live the high life in Las Vegas. I know this has been out there already, but in case you missed it: Petro purchased a $6 million home in the Summerlin area (west of Vegas) that features four bedrooms, six bathrooms, an underground 16-car garage, a 55-foot-long pool and putting green. This 8,321 square foot mansion. What, no heliport, ice rink, horse stables, personal and private 18-hole golf course or a Cristal champagne room? Damn.

In a media Zoom conference NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league is open to the possibility of expansion. “I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said. “I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner … we’re very appreciative of the markets that have indicated an interest in having an NBA team. One of the issues for the league office, and this comes up all the time in terms of competitiveness, it’s not a secret that we don’t have 30 competitive teams at any given time right now when you go into the season, measured by likelihood of ability to win a championship. One of our focuses as the league office is always on how do you create better competition. So that’s one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion. It’s an economic issue and it’s a competitive issue for us.”

Let’s stay on the NBA for a minute. In a preseason ranking of the NBA’s Top 100 players, Washington Post national basketball writer Ben Golliver had two St,. Louisans high on the list: Jayson Tatum (Boston) was No. 12, and Bradley Beal (Washington) was No. 20. Two STL guys in the Top 20? That’s very, very impressive. “Thanks to his smooth shot and prototypical two-way game, Tatum might well be battling Luka Doncic for the No. 1 position on ‘The Top 100 Players of 2026.’  Golliver wrote. “Washington’s dysfunction has made Beal a forgotten man, but his natural scoring ability and improved playmaking would make him an easy fit on virtually any contender,” … by the way, former Mizzou player (very briefly) Michael Porter Jr. came in at No. 91. Golliver’s take: “Porter has poor defensive habits and questionable takes on science, but his natural scoring ability gives him a very high long-term ceiling.”

Bengie Molina is making the local media rounds and has a lot to say about his younger brother Yadier Molina and the contract negotiations with the Cardinals. Here’s one comment from Bengie to 101ESPN; he’s made similar remarks to 590 KFNS. “They want to win, but they also want to be appreciated. He’s finding out how valuable – that’s a big, big word – how valuable he could be for another team,” Bengie said. “When you are talking about a 37 or 38-year-old and they have six-seven teams after them, that tells you how valuable he is. The bad thing for the Cardinals is he is finding out how valuable he is to other teams.”

The Athletic conducted an anonymous survey of college football coaches around the nation, including assistants. The piece was mostly about recruiting. But one of the questions was “What first-year coach has impressed you (in recruiting)?” Mizzou’s Eli Drinkwitz received the second-highest vote total in FBS, behind Mike Leach at Mississippi State. One coach said this: “Eliah Drinkwitz. They came in and they came in hot. Missouri was a program that needed to be retooled, and they came in and grinded. Not long ago it was, ‘OK, we’re going up against Missouri and we’re feeling good.’ It became, ‘Sheet, we are going up against Missouri,’ and you had to dig in your feet and take a deep breath.”

Going into the shopping season, former Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was rated No. 9 on the Top 40 free-agent list by Keith Law (Athletic) and No. 26 overall by Craig Edwards at FanGraphs. Footnote on an earlier item: St. Louis doesn’t have a chance to land an NBA expansion team. Seattle would be the frontrunner for the 31st franchise. The NBA hasn’t expanded since 2002, when Charlotte received a replacement franchise after the city’s team moved to New Orleans. 

According to the Bleacher Report, starting pitcher Jack Flaherty is the Cardinals’ “Most Untouchable Player.” Here’s a sample of the reasoning: “Flaherty was a shell of his 2019 self in 2020, though his struggles deserve context. The St. Louis Cardinals had an especially strange year as one of the clubs to experience a COVID-19 breakout. The team’s health issues even prompted Flaherty to set up a makeshift bullpen while quarantining in his hotel room … it was that much more peculiar for Flaherty, who was on a modified workload as the team tried to protect its young ace. Given the circumstances, it is hard to get too worked up over the 4.91 ERA in ‘20.  It feels like an aberration, especially considering Flaherty gave up just one run and struck out eight in six innings against the San Diego Padres in his lone playoff start. Instead Cardinals fans should be more encouraged by the dominance Flaherty displayed in the year prior. He was a force in 2019 … absurdly dominant after the All-Star break, posting a 0.91 ERA. That is the guy the Cardinals are hoping will lead the rotation for years.” 

ON THIS DAY IN ST. LOUIS PRO SPORTS HISTORY: In 1995 the Cardinals signed two free agents who would play prominent roles for the ‘96 STL team that finished first in the NL Central: starting pitcher Andy Benes, and outfielder Ron Gant. Benes led the 1996 Cardinals with 18 wins, and Gant clubbed a team-best 30 homers … in 2004 the Cardinals signed former Angels shortstop David Eckstein to replace Edgar Renteria, who had signed a deal with the Red Sox. Eckstein was the World Series MVP for the triumphant Cardinals in 2006. In three seasons with St. Louis, Eckstein .297 and posted a fine .357 OBP. Eckstein peaked during the 2006 World Series, batting .364 with a .391 OBP and .500 slug in the Cards’ five-game victory over the Tigers. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU: Mister T.J. Oshie is 34. He was part of the Blues’ youth movement, playing 57 games as an energetic rookie forward in 2008-2009. Oshie would be a fixture for seven seasons in St. Louis, scoring 110 goals with 200 assists in 443 regular-season games. After a sequence of disappointing postseason results the Blues traded Oshie to Washington after the 2014-2015 season, and Oshie was paramount in the Capitals’ drive to the Stanley Cup in 2018. In 24 postseason games in ‘18, Oshie scored 8 goals and had 13 assists. He’s about to enter his sixth season as a Capital. 

AS OTHERS SEE US: 

Columnist Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune is urging the Padres to sign Yadier Molina. “Here’s a Padres campaign I’m happy to lead,” Krasovic wrote. “Yes on Yadi.” 

Krasovic proceeded to elaborate, calling Molina “a tremendous defender and leader with a decent bat” and referring to the catcher as a “baseball Sherpa who would be a great fit for a good team wanting to go to the next level, such as a Padres club trying to build upon the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2006 and first victorious playoff series since 1998 … he would be especially good for the team’s pitchers. Brilliant at handling a pitching staff, he played a big role in the Cardinals winning three pennants and two World Series trophies between 2006 and 2013.” 

Thanks for reading The Bits! 

–Bernie 

Please listen to Bernie’s radio show on 590-AM, KFNS. Weekdays from 3-6 p.m. You can hear the show online at 590TheFan.com