Rooney savors family time at Christmas
Getting relatives together is best gift for Cardinals broadcaster
ST. LOUIS -- John Rooney, one of the two men whose voices bring Cardinals baseball to radio listeners all over the Midwest and the country, is a busy fellow pretty much year-round. So when the December holidays offer him a chance to take a little break, he's delighted to take advantage. Rooney checked in with MLB.com to discuss some of his favorite traditions, memories and songs from Christmas time past and present.
MLB.com: What do you have on tap this year? Any travel? Just taking it easy?
Rooney: A little of both. We're going to go up to Chicago to spend time with my wife Sue's family and really take it easy. Visit with some friends up there, because when we get back, it gets busy here with Cardinals Caravan and Winter Warm-Up and the Cardinals Cruise, and then right down to Jupiter [Fla.] for Spring Training. So this is kind of the end of the offseason.
MLB.com: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Rooney: Just everybody getting together. It's so hard to get people together anymore because everybody has something going on. I see my side of the family most of the time during baseball season. We're able to get together with Sue's side of the family and get everybody in one place as a family.
MLB.com: What's your favorite holiday memory from when you were a kid?
Rooney: I really like music a lot and I'm a big Beatles fan. When the Beatles' "White Album" came out, my brother got me that album for Christmas. And when I unwrapped the album, it didn't have the shrink-wrap on it. He'd already taken it out and recorded it!
But mostly I remember just being home, trying to get people all in one place, that's the hard thing. It was always a big day, a huge meal, watch sports on TV, whether it's basketball or football.
MLB.com: What's the best gift you've ever received?
Rooney: I never really thought too much of them. It's kind of a funny story about the album. He'd probably had it for a month and a half. But mostly I just don't think about them. I'd rather give than receive them.
MLB.com: What's your favorite gift you've ever given?
Rooney: Probably a Christmas gift that I gave Sue. I got her a World Series pendant.
MLB.com: From Chicago or here?
Rooney: From here.
MLB.com: What's your favorite Christmas-time food?
Rooney: I like the good old country Christmas. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, homemade rolls. That takes me back to when I was a kid. Christmas, we always did it up big. We observe that usually in Chicago. We varied a little bit but I think we're back to the traditional now.
MLB.com: What's your favorite Christmas carol?
Rooney: Probably "Joy to the World" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Those are my two all-time favorites.
MLB.com: And your favorite pop or rock Christmas song?
Rooney: "Jingle Bell Rock" -- the original, Bobby Helms' version.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.