From a kid who started this journey because of his passion for both writing and the KC Royals: Thank you for everything, Kings of Kauffman.
Growing up, my family followed football and rooted for the Chiefs. My parents weren’t die-hard fans, but they kept up with the team nonetheless. The same couldn’t really be said about the Royals. I got a late introduction to baseball. I was merely flipping through the channels at home one day and saw a Royals game, then decided I’d be watching more of them in the future. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
By the time I was 10, when Zack Greinke won the Cy Young with KC, my love for sports was already immeasurable. I knew I wanted to work in the sports industry one day. I’d commentate my own games on “Madden,” “NBA 2K” and “MLB 2K.” My mom quizzed me over the statistics flashcards I made for the sake of my own sanity. I needed sports. I began needing baseball, too. It joined football and baseball at the forefront of my life.
Over the next several years, as guys like Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain came into their own as players, I attended several games at Kauffman Stadium. It didn’t matter how cheap the seats were, and it didn’t matter how bad the Royals were early in that stretch. My family and I volunteered to hand out t-shirts and bobbleheads at “The K” on multiple occasions. As everything slowly fell into the place for the team, things slowly fell into place for me.
I started an after-school sports talk club at school for kids like me who just wanted to watch games and talk shop. Many of the Royals’ outings along their quest for the 2015 World Series championship were aired during our club meetings. That run inspired me even more. “Wow, covering a World Series parade would be a dream come true. Covering the Royals in general sounds awesome,” I told myself. Little did I know what I’d get into in just a few years’ time.
After graduating from Sumner Academy in Kansas, I started school as a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ. I took a leap of faith and chose ASU without even going on a campus visit beforehand. A few months in, I knew it wasn’t a good fit for me. In January, I decided I’d be transferring back home for my sophomore year. Kings of Kauffman helped me through my second semester at ASU.
My first stint as a site co-expert with Kings of Kauffman lasted from January until the end of March back in 2018. In those three months, I did everything ranging from season previews to interviewing guys like Ryan O’Hearn and Nicky Lopez back when they were still prospects in the farm system. It was a tremendous help knowing that after classes, I had writing waiting for me. I had baseball waiting for me. I had an escape.
Over the next year or so, I picked up and did NFL and NBA writing with FanSided. Something was missing, though. I missed leading a team and working with a bunch of insanely talented writers. I missed the seemingly never-ending grind. I missed baseball. I missed Kings of Kauffman. Then, October of last year came.
For the past nine months, I’ve been back serving as a co-expert for Kings of Kauffman. The difference between my first experience and this one has been night-and-day. I’ve learned so much from others who’ve been in my shoes before. I have developed countless professional relationships and friendships with those I’ve interacted with and/or worked with.
With that said, as they say, all good things must come to an end. As I prepare for my senior year of college and (hopefully) a full-time job in sports media, I’m accepting a multitude of other responsibilities. Unfortunately, that means my time with Kings of Kauffman is over.
It’s been a pleasure and an honor to write about my favorite team. This experience is something that simply cannot be quantified. The relationships I’ve built and the things I’ve learned with KOK will stick with me for the rest of my life. For that, I’m thankful.
To my editorial director, Kurt Mensching, thank you for bringing me on back in October and being such a great resource ever since. You’re the best.
To my partner in crime, David Scharff: thank you. We had a great run and I’m certain that you’ll continue doing great things for the site in the future. Ryan Sikes, thank you for welcoming me aboard back in October and passing David and I the torch when you accepted opportunities. I’m thankful for you, too.
To my writers: where do I even start? Albert Perez Oyola, Mark Schremmer, Michael Huckins, Mike Gillespie, Shawn Bauman, Trey Donovan and Tyler Dierking have all done brilliant work. Watching you all grow and become better and better on a daily basis has been nothing short of spectacular. I’m fully confident that you’ll continue to do so.
To my readers: You’re the reason this is possible. I wouldn’t be here, writing this article, if it weren’t for you. None of us would have this opportunity without you. I look forward to interacting with you in the future, even now that I’m done here at KOK. We’ll be in touch. You know where to find me, and I know where to find you!
Sometimes, one door truly does have to close in order for another one to open. I am excited about what the future may hold, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of so many tremendous leaders, peers and readers. You all are truly the best and have made this ride the most fun I’ve had in my life. Thank you. Thank you, Kings of Kauffman. Thank you, FanSided.
If you want to keep up with me, hit me with a follow on Twitter @TheBestFooteFWD. I look forward to continuing my journey and will always be Forever Royal and Forever KOK. Thanks again for everything.