10/28/2016 5:43 AM
Anthony Gallas led Kansas City with 16 home runs in 2016, including this inside-the-park homer against Laredo in August, but off the field he enjoyed a unique living arrangement. (File photo by John Ellis.)
By SHANNON FOSTER
Minor-league baseball players have various living arrangements during the season. Many T-Bones players, for instance, stay with host families, which provide a comfortable and convenient place to stay. Others stay in apartments. While those who happen to play for a team in their hometown can live at home.
But for Kansas City designated hitter Anthony Gallas, he had a slightly different living arrangement during the 2016 season. The Piper, an assisted living and care facility, provided a new twist to the idea of a host family for Gallas.
“Right off the bat you think it’s a nursing home, and you’re kind of hesitant, but the building’s really nice and brand new, and all the people were social,” Gallas said. “It was great.”
The Piper is known as a “living forward” care facility that encourages social interaction and life engagement.
“I ate dinner with them a couple times when we had off days, the few off days that we did have,” said Gallas. “That was nice, because they were always fun to be around.”
The Piper, which opened in June 2015, is unique. Each resident’s private room is a full apartment, complete with a kitchen and bathroom. The Piper has six independent “households” — with a standard-size family kitchen, formal dining room, private dining room, living room, parlor, den and sun porch — each with 20 apartments.
“It was a great experience overall,” Kim Steakle, Senior Living Counselor at The Piper, said of the unusual arrangement between the T-Bones and The Piper. “This is The Piper’s first year running, and the residents enjoyed going to games and supporting Gallas and Casey Barnes, who stayed at The Piper at the beginning of the season. Many of the guests hadn’t been to a T-Bones game before so that was cool. It’s a little difficult for some of the residents to get to Royals games, so it is nice to have the T-Bones close by.”
The T-Bones’ schedule in 2016 included 50 road games, and with Gallas moving into The Piper after Kansas City released Barnes in the middle of June, Gallas was away from The Piper often. Despite his busy schedule, members of The Piper community still managed to exchange advice with Gallas that he still remembers.
“One guest reminded me to ‘enjoy where you’re at and who you’re around because you never know when you’ll see those people again, or the meaningful relationships that you’ll make, so just enjoy it,’” Gallas said. “That’s great advice.”
Another resident at The Piper told him, “No matter what you’re doing, you don’t miss what you were doing, you miss the people.”
“I loved it there,” Gallas said. “If I get a chance to play with the T-Bones in the future, I would love to stay at The Piper again.”