The 8 Things I’m Thankful Exist In Baseball

The 8 things Chrystal O'Keefe is thankful for in baseball.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. Today is a great day to think about all the things you are thankful for. I have always been thankful for baseball, and I have a feeling you are too.

I’ve compiled a list of eight things I’m thankful exist in baseball. I’d love to hear your answers too, and my hope is that this is a reprieve for you in case you’re dealing with your uncle talking about Twitter’s downfall, or your grandma is asking how to use an iPhone.

1. Vin Scully

I often prefer listening to my home team announcers, but there was always one exception. When you think of a broadcaster from your childhood, or whenever your interest in baseball started, you probably think of Vin Scully. His voice soothes the soul, even the worst losses for Dodgers fans. Scully’s passing was heartbreaking, but brought an entire community of baseball fans out to share their stories and memories. Our own Nicole Cahill even penned a sweet tribute.

Aside from Nicole’s work, this might be one of the sweetest moments I saw that day.

2. Ballpark food

Every ballpark has its own special menu item. I’ve been fortunate enough to make my way through many ballparks, and plan to make it to all 30 one day. I always look to seek out some of the special items. As someone that frequents White Sox games, I can’t leave without getting a churro or two.

In Pittsburgh, I have to get the pierogis. Los Angeles is known for their Dodger dogs, while the East Coast loves to add fresh seafood to nearly everything. And lest we forget the sundae in a baseball helmet. Or nachos. No matter where you end up, there will always be something delicious to try. However, if you make it to the Field of Dreams, don’t eat the corn in the fields.

3. Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera

As we near retirement from players that have been playing baseball for what feels like half of your life, a lot of emotions, milestones, and celebrations come along with it.

Albert Pujols hit his 700th home run this year and was able to join in the home run derby. At 42, and 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, it was time to hang up the cleats. But not without an incredible end to his career.

Like Pujols, Miguel Cabrera will also be able to go down in history when he finishes his outstanding career. This year we celebrated Mr. 3000, in what was sometimes a long and frustrating way. But he got there. Cabrera’s career is full of highlight reels — but his biggest hits leading up to 3000 might be my favorite.

4. The Mets, who are good

If you would’ve told me in 2021 that the Mets would win over 100 games, make it to the playoffs, have me hyped for Narcos, and that Jacob deGrom would look just like himself before injury, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the Mets did all of that and more.

This team was just flat-out fun to watch this year. The pitching rotation was strong, Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach made home runs look easy. Edwin Díaz kept me up dancing in my living room before sitting on the edge of my seat moments later. Of course, I would’ve liked a deeper playoff run, but I can’t wait to see what happens next year.

5. Aaron Judge

Love him or hate him, you have to admit this kid has some talent. Breaking the American League single-season home run record and being named the American League MVP is not to be taken lightly. Watching Judge celebrate his accomplishment with the occasional pan to his proud mom was a delight this season. There was drama, superstitions, and a whole lot of intentional walks, but he made it to 62 home runs, and will hopefully get his asking price and more this off-season.

6. The Phillies

Firing your manager early into the season can be a risky move. Your star player is out for 6-to-8 weeks with a thumb injury? Yikes. The Phillies had the odds stacked against them for quite some time this season. Then Bryce Harper came back. Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber launched home runs into the stands as if it was a piece of cake.

Suddenly, everything had turned around for the team, and after 13 years, the Phillies made it back to the World Series. Even though they didn’t hoist that championship trophy this year, they played well and clawed back to the top in epic fashion.

7. The White Sox

Look, the White Sox had a bad year. As a fan of this team, I still needed to include them, because some players deserve more recognition. They also have all new management going into the upcoming season, which gives me a little hope.

Dylan Cease had the best season of his career and ended up as a Cy Young finalist. José Abreu possibly played his last season in a White Sox uniform and went out with grace after joining the team in 2014. Michael Kopech was able to pitch the most innings in a season for the first time in his career thanks to being mostly healthy.

8. Bloopers

Animals taking over the field, little kids tossing balls back, and all the wild plays and silly ballpark happenings along the way. I’m thankful for all of the funny moments in baseball. It’s a good reminder at the end of the day that we’re all just here to have a little fun.

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Chrystal OKeefe

Chrystal O'Keefe is a freelance writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. She balances her time between Indianapolis and Chicago and tries to travel to at least one new ballpark every year. She primarily covers the Chicago White Sox but loves talking about baseball in general.

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