A few years ago, I attended a game in July. The theme for the day was Christmas in July, a concept that, to me, does not even begin to make sense, instead questioning the concept of 'Christmas,' 'time,' and 'holidays' simultaneously. We received a few Royals-themed stockings--powder blue, oversized, fuzzy socks that nobody has any real use for. Still, it was far less silly of a promotion than has happened in the past. On one Father's Day in the early 2000s, the Royals gave dads a grilling package that contained a shiny, sharp knife. This, after sending everyone through security to ensure that nobody had shiny, sharp knives. So it goes.
When you stop to think about it, most of the things that happen at the end of the year in regards to the holidays are so painfully arbitrary. Why is Christmas always on the 25th of December? It isn't like Jesus was born on the 25th of December. Or in December at all. Why do we place emphasis on family as well as rabid consumerism? Why are there massive sales during a day where we are supposed to give thanks? Why do we declare our intentions to diet, or drink less booze, or try to be a better person, or any number of well-meaning but usually spineless resolutions as a single digit on the calendar moves up a notch?
Whatever the reason, Christmastime is special, and there is something deeply nostalgic and warm about it. For many, that special quality is a negative one, as it presents a unique and difficult array of reminders that life is cruel.
Christmastime is also without baseball, and perhaps that's why the Royals, and many other clubs, participate in Christmas in July shenanigans. It's in the team's interest for us to make emotional connections between a time of irresistible festivity and something that is often perpendicular to both terms. Baseball is easily romanticized, but it's also a dirty grind and dryly common. Jeremy Guthrie lit up again? Whatever. there's another game tomorrow.
But still, like Christmas, baseball is only a seasonal event. It happens every year, yes, but there's only one season per year. Baseball in December is not a thing. Like Christmas, we yearn for it when it isn't there, and we tire of it at a rapid pace once it's actually here.
After years of immersing myself in baseball, I have come to enjoy the quiet of the offseason. As the Royals have transferred from despair into excitement, they've added weeks to their schedule. April to October is a long to time to live and die by swings of lumber and the arm catapults that could break at any point. Even now, we wait daily on the Royals as they decide on who we will watch next season.
Maybe we should just slow down. A reporter once asked former and current Royal Joakim Soria about his poor performance in a loss. Soria responded that what happened on the field wasn't everything. He still had a family, fans, friends. The loss wasn't everything. A win isn't everything, too.
Next year, the Royals are not likely to win the World Series again--not because they won't be good, but because back-to-back winners are rare in such a competitive sport. So just enjoy it now. Slow down. Enjoy Christmas, but enjoy baseball as it comes, too. Slow down. Life is too weird to live otherwise.