Ryan Garko is spending the better part of his offseason at his home near Phoenix, and he's been a regular at the Indians' new home-away-from-home in Goodyear, Ariz. When he hasn't been scratching his head over the alarmingly poor play of his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team or keeping tabs on his equally beloved Los Angeles Lakers, Garko, who turns 28 on Jan. 2, has been working out regularly in preparation for the 2009 season. He's hoping to improve after an '08 season in which he batted .273 with 14 homers and 90 RBIs in 141 games for the Indians.
But the holidays are a time to be with family, and Garko plans to spend them in Southern California, where his parents, Mike and Elaine, reside. MLB.com recently caught up with Garko to talk about the holiday season, his plans and his memories. MLB.com: What does the holiday season mean to you? Garko: Now that we're grown up, it's just a really nice time to get together with your family and just spend time with the people you care about. Everybody's family gets so spread out nowadays, it's nice to get the family together and just enjoy being together. That's usually what I look forward to. MLB.com: Where will you go for the holidays? Garko: I'll go to my mom and dad's house in California. MLB.com: Anything special on your Christmas wish list this year? Garko: The only thing I've asked for is a Lakers hooded sweatshirt that I really like. I think my mom already got it for me, though. That's all I asked for. MLB.com: What's the best present you ever received? Garko: I don't know how old I was, but when it first came out, I got a Super Nintendo. My brother and I were so excited about that. We wore that thing into the ground. MLB.com: What's your all-time favorite Christmas movie? Garko: Man, that's tough. Probably that one where the kid sticks his tongue to the flag pole. "A Christmas Story." MLB.com: Did you know some of that was shot in Cleveland? Garko: I was just reading about that! They had a big story about it in the L.A. Times. I guess they had a "Christmas Story" festival in Cleveland. MLB.com: That's right. It's definitely popular here. What's your favorite Christmas song? Garko: Oh man. I don't really have one. "Noel," maybe? I don't know. My girlfriend always plays that Josh Groban CD ["Noel"]. It's been on repeat in her car for six weeks. MLB.com: Six weeks? Isn't that jumping the gun a little? Garko: On Nov. 1, it was fired up. I'll pick anything off that CD, because I can repeat it to you back and forth.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.