Today is a day to find the best in a world that can be uncooperative throughout the search.
To be thankful for more time in it.
Sure beats the alternative.
That actually should be done every morning when our feet hit the floor, but the fourth Thursday in November has become the official date.
The pressure builds if coaxed into expressing it at the dinner table between bites of stuffing, but the rest is gravy.
Let’s get started here, nice and early. I’ll go first, in no particular order:
* The opportunity to cover a winning team again.
* The opportunity to work, period.
* The feeling of normalcy again, except for the masks required inside the clubhouse, a rule that might be lifted in 2023. Full media and crowd access from the beginning, full travel, open press lounge for meals.
* Manager Brandon Hyde’s continued patience while asked the same questions, two of the more popular being the new left field dimensions and his excitement over the young prospects. They kept coming in waves. He could have bodysurfed out of the interview room.
* Lazy fly balls to left being caught or landing on the grass instead of in the seats. Camden Yards learned how to play fair.
* Mike Elias' vision. The possibilities he saw with this organization after his hiring as executive vice president/general manager.
* Players who were respectful to the media, especially after games. It’s a really good group. Not many complaints there.
* Kyle Bradish’s arrival on April 29, which ended persistent questions about when the Orioles finally would bring him up.
* Jordan Lyles’ thoughtful answers after a start, even if it extended the time spent transcribing. He worked just as hard at his locker as he did on the mound. And as you might have noticed on the MASN broadcast, he could get downright silly after some wins.
* Anthony Santander's sense of humor. Maybe the most enjoyable interview, especially when he'd bounce between English and Spanish. He was having fun with us, and the feeling was mutual.
* Adley Rutschman’s arrival on May 21, which ended persistent questions about when the Orioles finally would bring him up.
* A catcher who can catch and throw. A game changer.
* Every minute spent with Trey Mancini.
* The experience gained from more than 25 years on the beat to rewrite a story quickly and keep at least most of it accurate while the Orioles are rallying again in the late innings. It's like they do it just to mess with the media. Pranksters.
* Kyle Stower’s arrival on June 13 and return two months later, which ended persistent questions about when the Orioles finally would bring him up.
* Seeing Jorge López’s son, Mikael, on road trips.
* The automatic runner on second base in extra innings. Sorry purists, but I see enough baseball without the threat of 17-inning games and batters just swinging for the fences.
* DL Hall’s arrival on Aug. 13 and return three weeks later, which ended persistent questions about when the Orioles finally would bring him up.
* Marriott and Southwest points.
* Ballparks within walking distance of the hotel. Took full advantage of it in Cleveland and Minnesota. Was just a little too leery of the heat in Arlington, choosing to spare the people sitting near me in the press box.
* Heston Kjerstad’s return to good health. And yeah, he’s got impressive power. Comes as advertised.
* Gunnar Henderson’s arrival on Aug. 31, which ended persistent questions about when the Orioles finally would bring him up.
* A wife who understands the job and its demands and is incredibly supportive. And she works even harder than me. My best friend. She’s a gem.
* My family, including a granddaughter who makes it possible for me to confirm what everyone says: There’s nothing better than being a grandparent. She melts my heart.
* Everyone who reads me in this space, and everyone who keep the conversations flowing. Couldn’t do any of this without you. You may not melt my heart, but you touch it.
* Cranberry sauce in a can.