Fitbit VII – Week 38

And yet another disappointing week.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as Game 3 of the ALDS led me to 5300 steps.  Monday was slightly lower due to rain surpassing 4800 steps.  Game 4, and the end of the White Sox season, came on Tuesday, as I finished with 4700 steps.  Wednesday fell even lower, falling down to 3300 steps.  Thursday saw a slight increase, jumping back up to 4200 steps.  Friday was even better, as I finished only 17 steps shy of 4700.  Saturday was a bust of a day, with only 2500 steps.

Total steps: 29,578

Daily average: 4225.4

Book 42 (of 52) – Local Woman Missing

Local Woman Missing – Mary Kubica

When a missing child is found after 11 years, her father and brother adjust to their new reality.  But, rather than bringing her family together, she raises more questions.  Did her kidnapping and her mother’s death happen the way they had all thought?  Is she really who she says she is?  The answers to these questions end up tearing apart a neighborhood and expose secrets held for years.

Local Woman Missing, the seventh outing from local author Mary Kubica, moves the action to the Chicago suburbs (a thinly disguised Naperville).  I enjoyed this, for the most part, but the plot required some of the characters to act in very stupid ways in order to get where it needed to go.  That is hard to sustain over the long run and seems like something that can be tightened up in future outings.   Which, I’m sure there will be.

Prolific Authors – 7 Books

Way back in December of 2011 (and again every other December since), we’ve taken a look at the authors I have read the most, dating back to high school.  This year, since I’ve far surpassed my reading output of any year on record, I thought it would be nice to take a deeper dive into those books I’ve read through August. Since our last check-in, I’ve read an additional 60 books from 54 different authors. There shouldn’t be much movement over the past 2 years, but it’s time to take another look and see if my “favorite” authors have changed much in that time span.  Today, we continue with the 2 authors I’ve read 7 times.

Airframe – Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton

The prolific author, who died in 2008, first entered my bookshelf in 1989, when I was assigned to read The Andromeda Strain as part of my high school Biology class.  He continued to be a big part of my 90s reading, but has only added a single title, Airframe, in this century.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

All seven entries in the Harry Potter series, which I read in 2016, make up Rowling’s total.  She continues to write under a pen name, so she may, one day, end up on this list twice.

By The Numbers – 35

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #35.  26 players have donned #35 on each side of town, including one Hall of Famer.

Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas was selected by the White Sox with the seventh pick in the first round of the 1989 draft and, a little more than a year later, he made his major league debut.  In 1991, as the White Sox moved into the new Comiskey Park, Thomas became one of the most feared hitters in the American League.  He won the MVP award in both 1993 and 1994, while leading the White Sox to their first division title since 1983.  In 1997, he earned his first batting title and notched his 7th top 10 finish in MVP voting in his first 7 full seasons.

Thomas became a full time DH in 1998 and struggled for the first time.  Injuries slowed him down in 1999, but he bounced back in a big way in 2000.  He hit .328 and set career highs with 43 home runs and 143 RBIs as the White Sox returned to the post-season for the first time since 1993.  A torn triceps cut his 2001 campaign short, and, when he returned in 2002, he was clearly no longer the offensive force he had been.  Foot injuries robbed him of most of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and, after watching the only team he had even played for win the World Series without him, he became a free agent after the 2005 season.  His number 35 was retired by the White Sox on August 29, 2010 and he was part of the 2014 Hall of Fame class, elected on the first ballot with 83.7% of the vote.

The history of #35 on the north side of town is nowhere near as impressive.  Of the 26 players to wear the number, 4 came in 2000 alone.  While there are players I like a little more, we will go with shortstop Lennie Merullo, who was the first player to wear #35 for the Cubs, during the 1941 and 1942 seasons.  Merullo’s 7 year career was spent entirely with the Cubs.  He went 0-2 in the 1945 World Series.  His biggest claim to fame, at least to me, came off the field, as he is the grandfather of former White Sox catcher Matt Merullo.

2021 Final Pitching Leaders

Yesterday, we looked at the leaders in the 58 games I attended this year on the offensive side of the ball.  With both League Championship Series in full swing today, it’s time to wrap up our look back at the 2021 season with the pitching leaders, starting with everyone’s favorite pitching statistic:

Wins

Name Total
Lance Lynn 4
Michael Kopech 3
Dylan Cease 3
Dallas Keuchel 3
Reynaldo Lopez 3
Lucas Giolito 3

Losses

Name Total
Carlos Rodon 4
Lance Lynn 3
Lucas Giolito 3
Dylan Cease 2
Reynaldo Lopez 2
Liam Hendriks 2
Jorge Alcala 2
Adbert Alzolay 2

ERA (> 6 IP)

Name Total
Ryan Burr 1.08
Matt Foster 1.23
Alec Mills 1.35
Lance McCullers 1.63
Mike Minor 1.63

Strikeouts

Name Total
Lance Lynn 76
Dylan Cease 75
Carlos Rodon 56
Continue reading →

2021 Final Batting Leaders

Another baseball season has come to an end, with the White Sox winning their first division title since 2008 and making the post-season in consecutive seasons for the first time in team history, before losing to the Astros in the ALDS and the Cubs shocking their fanbase with the dismantling of the core that led them to 3 straight NLCSs and a world championship in 2016.  Let’s take a look back at the offensive leaders for the 58 games that I attended this season, with lower capacity crowds in the spring to full capacity at the end:

Home Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 9
Yasmani Grandal 8
Patrick Wisdom 7
Luis Robert 6
Yoan Moncada 5
Tim Anderson 5

Hits

Name Total
Tim Anderson 55
Jose Abreu 49
Yoan Moncada 49
Luis Robert 29
Andrew Vaughn 26

Runs

Name Total
Tim Anderson 32
Yoan Moncada 27
Continue reading →

2021 Final Standings

The 2021 season, at least the portion which would see me attending games, has come to an end after the White Sox lost to the Astros in the ALDS 3-1.  After a year without in-person baseball thanks to the corona virus, I ended up attending the most games I’ve seen since 2009 and my 5th highest total of all time.  I also managed to travel to four different stadiums, bringing my total up to 27.  All told, I managed to see 25 of the 30 teams a year after seeing none.

2021 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Tampa Bay Rays 3 0 1.000
New York Yankees 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Washington Nationals 1 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 1 0 1.000
Los Angeles Angels 1 0 1.000
San Francisco Giants 1 0 1.000
Boston Red Sox 1 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 1 0.667
Chicago White Sox 29 20 0.592
Cleveland Indians 3 3 0.500
Kansas City Royals Continue reading →

Fitbit VII – Week 37

Yet another disappointing week.  Things got off to a slow-ish start on Sunday, as I managed to finish 2 steps away from 3800.  Monday saw a slight increase, surpassing 4000 steps.  Tuesday was the week’s high point, with a monumental 4700 steps.  Wednesday was a little lower, falling down to 4600 steps.  Thursday dropped again, going down to 4200 steps.  Friday was a big bust, as I managed only 2500 steps.  Despite a trip out for a haircut on Saturday, I ended up 6 steps away from 3600.

Total steps: 27,629

Daily average: 3947

Book 41 (of 52) – The President’s Daughter

The President’s Daughter – Bill Clinton and James Patterson

James Patterson and Bill Clinton return for their second collaboration, following 2018’s The President Is Missing.  In The President’s Daughter, a terrorist, whose family was killed in a US raid on his compound, takes revenge by kidnapping the daughter of the former president, Matt Keating, who approved the operation.  After his successor refuses to give in to the terrorist’s demands, Keating, a former Navy SEAL, uses his contacts to find out where his daughter may be and puts together his own team to track her down.

Patterson and Clinton deliver another entertaining tale that casts the president, or, in this case, the recently defeated ex-president, as an action hero.  It would be interesting to see how much of these plots is wish fulfillment from Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, versus how much Patterson, one of the most prolific authors of our day, brings to the table.  Either way, I hope they put together another one.

Prolific Authors – 6 Books

Way back in December of 2011 (and again every other December since), we’ve taken a look at the authors I have read the most, dating back to high school.  This year, since I’ve far surpassed my reading output of any year on record, I thought it would be nice to take a deeper dive into those books I’ve read through August. Since our last check-in, I’ve read an additional 60 books from 54 different authors. There shouldn’t be much movement over the past 2 years, but it’s time to take another look and see if my “favorite” authors have changed much in that time span.  Today, we continue with the 4 authors I’ve read 6 times.

John Grisham

One of my favorites back in college, I last read one his works, The Testament, back in 2013.

Don’t You Cry – Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica

The local author has racked up all 6 of her books over the last 6 years.

David Mack

All six of his entries come from Star Trek: The Next Generation works I’ve read on my Kindle.

Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter

Another recent favorite, I’m working my way through her Will Trent series.