Christmas came early this year for Indians reliever Jensen Lewis. He received his first call to the big leagues on July 13 and never looked back, becoming a dependable arm in the back end of the 'pen for the Tribe in the season's second half and in the playoffs. Lewis is spending his offseason in Nashville, where he attended Vanderbilt University, but he'll head back to his Ohio roots to celebrate the holidays. MLB.com caught up with Lewis recently to talk about the holiday season and some of his fondest Christmas memories. MLB.com: What does the holiday season mean to you? Lewis: It'll be nice. I kind of got my Christmas in July by getting called up. So I'm not asking Santa for much this year, but just to be able to spend time with your family and thank them for the support the entire year and everything they've done is important. I'm not here today without them. It's nice to rest and be home with the family.
MLB.com: Where will you go for the holidays? Lewis: I'll be in Cincinnati, back home with my mom and dad and brother. I'll get back to Nashville the second or third of the year, and I want to go down to the [NCAA football] national championship game in New Orleans. Go Bucks! MLB.com:What's your favorite Christmas movie? Lewis: "A Christmas Story." I'm a huge, huge fan of that. You've got to watch it on Christmas Eve. It makes going to bed a little easier, knowing everybody's happy in the end. And it was filmed in Cleveland, so there's a little hometown flavor. MLB.com: How about your favorite Christmas song? Lewis: Actually, a good one -- and this is going to be embarrassing -- is Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." MLB.com: I don't know what to do with that information. What's the best present you ever received? Lewis: Probably Sega. The first year it came out, my brother and I played the original "Sonic the Hedgehog" game in the story, and we said we'd give up the rest of our Christmas presents for that. But my dad didn't like video games, so he said, "I don't think we're going to do this." We were praying to God, "Please, please bring a Sega for us." We were opening all our gifts and getting down to the end, and there were no big boxes left, and we were like, "All right, Santa, we don't believe in you anymore." But leave it to my mom to hide something. She brought it out from under the kitchen counter or somewhere. We opened it up and played the rest of the day for 12 hours straight. I think we beat the game in one day. MLB.com: That's very reminiscent of the Red Rider BB Gun gift from "A Christmas Story." Now that you've got some of that big league money in your pocket, what kind of gift-giver will you be this year? Lewis: I think I'll be able to be more flexible. I won't be as strapped. It gives you a little more calmness. You go into the offseason knowing you're not going to be under the gun on a Minor League salary. It will be nice. I'll be a good Santa this Christmas.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.