Expressing thanks to Kansas City, the Royals…and baseball

As expected, probably most people right now are with their families. They are sitting around, either in the kitchen or watching football, and maybe catching up with family, depending on how “big” one’s family is. Normally, Thanksgiving is one of the more underrated holidays of the year: it brings people together without the pressure or superficial-ness of “gift giving” that Christmas brings.

However, this is a Thanksgiving unlike any other. For many people, connection with family around this time is done digitally, not in person, out of fear of spreading the Coronavirus. Cases are rising across the nation, especially here in Kansas City. And with such risks out there, and tensions high due to a recent election which has seemed to divide people within families even further (especially since this incumbent president has only made things worse with his hi-jinks), this Thanksgiving may be one of the more depressing ones for people in a while.

Honestly, this Thanksgiving is not much different from others. As someone from Sacramento who left the nest in 2005 after I graduated high school, I haven’t spent Thanksgiving back in Sacramento since that time. With Christmas always so close, it never made sense to make multiple trips within a month. Furthermore, while I love my parents and sister dearly (she currently lives in Portland, Maine with her fiancee), we weren’t the kind of close where seeing each other twice in such a short span was a huge desire for any of us. We love each other, but at the end of the day, we all craved our space and independence.

So, for Thanksgiving, I always spent it with different people and friends. I spent it with families of other people or just small friend groups. When I lived on the reservation in South Dakota, I spent it with co-workers at the Jesuit residence of the school where we were employed at. And since moving to Kansas City, I seemed to have spent it with different people each and every year, which has been interesting to see in terms of how my family is both similar and dissimilar to others here in the Midwest.

This year, I am spending it with my girlfriend, just her and I at her house in Raytown. I’ll be grilling out a turkey on the Weber, with plenty of cheap beer nearby, and we’ll be just doing a feast for us two. Yes, it’s probably a bit much, but as a Filpino-American, I’m used to cooking for too much. If anyone has ever been to a Filipino party, one will know that there’s always enough food for not just the people in attendance, but double the population, at the very least.

While it is a drag to not spend it with more people (her parents are apprehensive of seeing people with the rates rising), I am thankful that I get to spend it with someone special, and someone who cares. And in the midst of this holiday, I realize how thankful I am not just for her, but for Kansas City, and specifically the Royals.

Because in many ways, this community and the Royals have gotten me through a lot in the past year.

I will be entering my 8th year of living in Kansas City, as I moved here in the summer of 2013. I also have been running this blog since May of 2019, and as stated before on this blog, this is probably the longest-running web site I have maintained since I wrote Remember 51, a San Francisco Giants blog which I ran from about 2009 to 2012-ish. It’s insane to think that I have transitioned from a Giants fan to a Royals fan (especially since they faced off against one another in the 2014 World Series) over the past 8 years. However, I enjoy following and writing about this Royals franchise immensely, and while it may be sacrilegious to my family, I may enjoy it more than that 2009-2012 stretch where I was doing the same for the Giants.

And thus, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to write down a few things I am thankful for, especially as I reflect on the past 8 years as we are hunkered down in the midst of a pandemic.

Photo Credit: KC Parks and Recreation

I am thankful for Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County, especially the Strawberry Hill neighborhood where I first moved to when I came to Kansas City and feel connected to in a multitude of ways. I am thankful to teach and coach at a Catholic high school in Wyandotte County, and thankful to have an opportunity to help make change in my school and in the community in general.

I am thankful for my close friends and girlfriend here in Kansas City. I am thankful for them helping me find a home here even though I came as a California transplant who hates driving in snow (still do, actually).

I am thankful for the Royals, their under-dog spirit and the hardcore fanbase I have been able to engage with on Twitter, Reddit, and other sources. When I was running Remember ’51, I remember enjoying getting to know the people behind the multitude of different Giants blogs on the web. I have been able to to do the same with the Royals, and though they are not as big in number in comparison to the Giants blogosphere, they are just as passionate and intelligent, and a bit more optimistic than what I was used to back in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. I am thankful for the smart Royals fans running some amazing blogs and web sites out there have not only read my stuff, but also promoted my blog as well. I appreciate your support, and I will continue to support you guys in any way I can. (Also, I want to thank some of the smart baseball fans on Twitter outside of Royals nation, especially those like Mikey, Janice, Jen Ramos, and Jonah who have also helped me find pride and solace as a Filipino-American baseball fan.)

And lastly, I am thankful for the Society for American Baseball Research and the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. During this pandemic, they have helped me rekindle and hone my love of a game that I have endeared to since my youth. My parents may have planted the seeds of my love of baseball, but SABR and the IBWAA have definitely helped me hone my knowledge and writing as a baseball fan over the past year. I look forward to continue being a member of such great and supportive organizations that truly cultivate writers and researches through a love of the game, not necessarily financially gain.

It’s been a rough year for sure. I have had my ups and downs personally and professionally, much like others across this world.

But there is plenty to be thankful for too…

I hope you are all able to share that thanks with those you care about during this important weekend.

Thank you, Kansas City. Thank you, Royals. Thank you, baseball.

It’s been a wild year…

But good things are on the horizon…I think.

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