Schedule aligns for Isbel on Mother’s, Father’s Day

June 16th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Anne Rogers’ Royals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- In a lucky schedule quirk, at least for center fielder , the Royals played in Southern California for both Mother’s Day -- during a weekend series in May against the Angels in Anaheim -- and Father’s Day on Sunday against the Dodgers.

That meant Isbel has been able to have his mom and dad in the stands on both holidays celebrating them.

Isbel grew up in Rancho Cucamongo, Calif., about 40 miles from Dodger Stadium and 30 miles from Angel Stadium, a 45-minute drive with no traffic (but a potential two-hour trip in the heaviest of L.A. traffic). He admittedly grew up a Yankees fan because of Derek Jeter, but he says he was the “outcast” -- the rest of his family members were Angels fans. Isbel only went to one game at Dodger Stadium when he was young, but he grew up going to tons of Angels games, especially in the early 2000s.

When Isbel had baseball practice across town, his mom, Brenda, would drive him the 45 minutes three or four times a week. Oftentimes, their route took them on the highway past Angel Stadium. Isbel would make sure to catch a glimpse of the ballpark through the car window.

“Every time we would have to drive past Angel Stadium, I would always tell myself, ‘One day, I’m going to have the view from home plate to the freeway instead of the freeway to home plate,’” Isbel said. “Playing there for the first time was super cool. And having family around now both times we’ve been to L.A. is great.”

The Isbels had plans to make it to all three games this weekend at Dodger Stadium, which makes Sunday even more special for Father’s Day. Now a dad himself, to 1-year-old Lane, Isbel is even more grateful for his parents and how they raised him and his sisters.

“My parents, man, I don’t know how they did it,” Isbel said. “Going from work to our practices, you don’t realize how much they did until you get older.”

Isbel’s dad, Grant, coached Kyle’s T-ball team and always shows a picture of young Kyle standing shorter than the actual tee. As Kyle got older and baseball became more of a focus, Grant would use the weekends to make sure Kyle was still studying the game, writing out baseball scenarios and having Kyle say what the fielder, runner or batter should do.

“I definitely would not be here if not for those Saturday and Sunday mornings,” Kyle said. “And just wouldn’t be here if not for him and my mom. Always there for me, always encouraging me. Definitely very grateful for them, and getting to play in front of them this weekend and on Mother’s Day was super special.”