Column: Giving thanks for the good, the bad, the Fredo – The San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s that time. Mr. Thanksgiving is back as chief chef, carving up good and bad slices of recognition for 2021.

Thanks to:

Big Bird: For being the bravest among all November fowl.

Scientists, Doctors, Nurses, and All Caregivers: For everything.

Fredo Spanos: For less than nothing.

Peter Seidler: For being nice and loyal — too nice and too loyal.

Bob Melvin: For leaving the worst stadium in baseball for the best.

A.J. Preller: For somehow keeping the biggest secret since the Colonel’s KFC recipe.

Brady Hoke: For being the first college coach since the modern forward pass was developed to win 10 games without running or throwing or blocking particularly well.

Brandon Staley: For having figs that would impress Turkish farmers.

Ray Ratto and Eric Stangel: For tweeting hilariously.

Fernando Tatis Jr.: For pumping electricity and light into a darkened sports city.

Mission Valley: For adding about 100,000 more living spaces after Councilwoman Donna Frye told me around 17 years ago when The NFL Team That Used To Be Here wanted to build its own new stadium and pay everything for 60 acres of land: “It’s already too congested.”

Taunting: For being another stupid rule that cannot be enforced and must be eliminated by this weekend before the tryptophan wears off.

San Diego Restauranteurs: For keeping on cooking and keeping on.

California Recall Election: For a terrible waste of $300 million.

Midway District Arena Developers: For getting everyone around here excited about getting new NBA and NHL teams — and maybe 2028 Olympic basketball, while 10,000 people move into an area where you can’t get around now.

Simone Biles: For making the hard choice and being one of the great athletes in the history of the world.

Brian Quinn: For simply being great.

Traveling: For growing into the No. 1 skill that must be developed for a basketball player to be great.

Tom Brady: For proving what I always knew, that old age isn’t wasted on the old.

Dodgers: For losing (and absolutely making my 2021).

Beef and Water: For being the new oil and gas.

NCAA: For falling to the greed you created and spread.

Matt Araiza: For becoming the first man to land a punt into the Sea of Tranquility’s green cheese.

Aaron Rodgers: For becoming an esteemed graduate of Cal’s medical school, even though Cal doesn’t have a medical school.

Guardians: For unnecessarily becoming the dumbest nickname in sports.

Ted Leitner: For talking a book and remaining calm, when it had to be terribly hard to not be Ted Leitner after losing his Padres voice.

Billie Jean King: For, at 78, remaining the most vital voice in the history of women’s sports.

Fade Route: For being a prevent offense, the dumbest play in football.

Rick Schloss: For getting engaged well.

People’s Sexiest Man Alive: For ignoring me again (they know I would have Brandoed and not accepted it).

Stop Signs and Turn Signals: For being absolutely worthless.

New Aztecs Stadium: For being just the right size for a one-runway/1,715-miles-of-bike-lanes town.

Peyton Manning: For tolerating brother Jughead all these years.

Manny Machado: For being the leader nobody thought you could be.

J.D. Wicker: For being the first San Diego State AD to play all home games in what might as well have been San Diego, Philippines.

My Kindergarten Teacher: For subbing out Andy Reid and teaching me how to tell time.

Naomi Osaka: For being transparent with her struggle.

Steph Curry: For going to Dr. Fauci and not Joe Rogan for COVID advice.

Downtown Ham & Eggers: For having no filter on the things you cook up that are tasteless, harmful and make no sense.

Brian Dutcher: For continuing the tradition.

Steve Fisher: For starting the tradition — and for calling to see how I’m holding up.

Phil Mickelson: For taking a major step and making 50 the new 25.

Rick Smith: For being my first idol in this business and never letting me down.

Football Genius: For being fleeting as a rainbow.

Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred: For proving the human race can survive without spines.

Jon Gruden: For not Humpty Dumptying, landing softly and, despite being wrong, not going away after taking the fall and tripping over the tip of what certainly is an ugly iceberg.

“Clifford the Big Red Dog”: For overcoming the stupid notion by idiots in some parts of this country who believe the film is communist propaganda.

Paul Rudy: For being the ongoing, passionate boss of the so-hard-to-do “Prep Pigskin Report,” which may be the most important local program.

The Raiders: For functioning dysfunctionally.

Bill Belichick and Nick Saban: For being somebody nobody else can be.

Don Orsillo and Mud Grant: For mustering up some wind during my doldrums.

Moms: For not knowing what load management means.

Al Michaels and Bob Costas: For still being the best.

Congressional Summonses: For making great kindling.

Little Italy: For not losing a single restaurant since the pandemic began.

Dion Rich: For always being the NFL’s elusive Public Enemy No. 1.

Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr: For being unafraid to speak the unpopular truth.

Anti-maskers and Anti-vaxxers: For spreading something besides the wrong word.

Ron Cota: For keeping my spinnaker full, my keel even.

Stupid and Uncaring: For being the new smart and sympathetic.

Jamaica: For being an island of 3 million producing the fastest 3 million people in the world — and the yams that make it so.

Thomas Jefferson: For writing the Declaration of Independence — even though so many who want our history to go away wish you hadn’t.

Jim Nantz: For having a job that even makes the One-Percenters envious.

Misinformationalists: For (incredibly) not being ashamed of yourselves.

2021: For being better than 2020 — so far.

Vaccine Card Counterfeiters: For being slightly less despicable than the people who buy them from you.

Jimmie Johnson: For making the right turn.

Bill Center: For being local journalism’s Swiss Army knife, even though he is neither Swiss nor neutral.

USC Publicist Tim Tessalone: For being as good as they come (best of luck in retirement).

NCAA: For riddance of the good kind.

Coach K: For adapting and being great for so long.

Mark Zeigler: For simplifying the complicated. The explanatory sports journalist.

China: For inventing pasta.

Veterans: For serving and deserving a better life after doing so.

Teresa: For being my good side and always there.

Twitter: @sdutCanepa

Today’s TV highlights


9:30 a.m.: Chicago at Detroit, 5/69

1:30 p.m.: Las Vegas at Dallas, 8

5:20 p.m.: Buffalo at New Orleans, 7/39

College football

12:30 p.m.: Fresno State at San Jose State, FS1

College basketball

9 p.m.: San Diego State vs. Georgetown, ESPN2