It’s Eloy Time

Eloy Jimenez, who tore his pectoral muscle during the last week of spring training and was feared to be lost for the entire season, has been activated prior to tonight’s game against the Royals and is expected to be in the starting lineup.  To make room on the active roster, Jake Burger has been optioned back to Charlotte.

Jimenez, who won a Silver Slugger award for 2020, should bring some much needed pop for an offense that has run hot and cold over the past month, with cold being the current temperature following this weekend’s series in Milwaukee.  He’s likely to spend the majority of his time at DH, with Andrew Vaughn continuing in left field.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #5

6 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 artists in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact and expanded the count down to the Top 200..  It’s been 3 years, so I figured it was time to take yet another look at my Top 200 artists, based on the number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

Today, we break in to the top five and surpass four digits in the number of plays for the first time.  Born out of the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, our next entry is the Dave Grohl solo project turned band known as Foo Fighters.

 

#5: Foo Fighters
iTunes stats: 1026 plays
Previous ranking: #3

Adding an additional 2 songs, up to 48 songs, helped the Foo Fighters raise their total by 54%, which caused them to drop 2 spots on the charts.  Their most popular song, a live version of My Hero from a concert in London’s Hyde Park in 2006, clocks in with 60 listens, while 6 different tracks bring up the rear with a single play.

I’ve managed to see the band in concert twice: first in 2005 and again in 2015.  The first show was an indoor affair at the Allstate Arena, where they were touring with Weezer, who got things started by mixing a cover of Big Me into their set.  Once the Foo Fighters came out, they mixed in old hits with selections from their new album for a fun, 16-song set.  They also managed to break down some of their hits with elongated guitar solos that gave the audience an opportunity to thrash themselves as much as humanly possible.

10 years later, I saw them for the second time at Wrigley Field.  Having broken his leg over two months earlier,  Dave Grohl spent the show sitting in an electric throne that could bring him out in to the crowd thanks to an extended stage.  The band wasted no time in getting things started, blowing out Everlong and Monkey Wrench straight out of the gate.  2 and a half hours and 21 songs later, they closed down the joint with a rousing rendition of Best Of You.  In between, they put on a hell of a show, featuring their own hits along with some snippets of hits from Van Halen, Yes, and Alice Cooper.

By The Numbers – 45

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 #45. 92 different players have donned #45 while playing in Chicago, but only one of whom notched the final out in a World Series clincher.

Bobby Jenks joined the White Sox organization on December 17, 2004, when he was selected off waivers from the Angels.  After starting the 2005 season in Double A, he was called up to the big league club on July 5 and made his major league debut the following day, ending the season as the closer after Shingo Takatsu proved ineffective and Dustin Hermanson went down with a back injury.  In the ALDS against the Red Sox, he threw 3 scoreless innings and picked up 2 saves in the 3 game sweep.  Thanks to the 4 complete games in the ALCS against the Angels, Jenks was well rested for the World Series.  He appeared in all 4 games against the Astros, throwing 5 innings and earning the save in Games 1 and 4.

With a World Championship under his belt, Jenks became the full time closer in 2006, earning his first All Star nod and becoming the first White Sox pitcher to notch a save in the Mid-Summer Classic.  2007 was a good year for Jenks, as he made his second straight All Star team and tied a major league record by retiring his 41st consecutive batter, becoming the first reliever to achieve the feat.  He continued his dominant ways in 2008, as the White Sox bounced back in to contention, and he threw a scoreless inning and picked up the save in the only White Sox victory in the ALDS against the Rays.

Jenks started to struggle in 2009, as he saw his save total drop to 29, his lowest full-season total to date.  2010 was even worse, as his ERA rose again, to 4.44, and his WHIP was up again as well.  Despite his highest strike out total since 2006, he ended the year with a 1-3 record and only 27 saves.  Following the season, the White Sox declined to tender him a contract for the 2011 season, making him a free agent.

On the north side of town, reliever Tom Gordon donned #45 in 2001 and the first part of 2002, earning 27 saves before being shipped to the Astros for, basically, nothing.

Indians No More

After years of controversy and resistance, the Cleveland Indians announced today that they will officially be changing their name to the Cleveland Guardians starting with the 2022 season.  The Indians name dates back to 1915, when the team, then known as the Naps, was looking to rebrand following the departure of Nap Lajoie.  The Guardians name was inspired by a pair of stone monuments, the Guardians of Traffic, along the Hope Memorial Bridge a quarter of a mile away from Progressive Field.

The Indians name and its Chief Wahoo logo have long been criticized for perpetuating Native American stereotypes. In 2015, team owner Paul Dolan acknowledged that there were critics, the team had no plans to change either its name or its logo.  On January 29, 2018, however, Major League Baseball announced that Chief Wahoo would be removed from the Indians’ uniforms as of the 2019 season, stating that the logo was no longer appropriate for on-field use.  In completely unrelated news, Cleveland hosted the All Star game in 2019.  Last July, following a similar move by the Washington Football team, the Indians announced that they would “determine the best path forward” regarding the team’s name and, in December, the team announced they would drop the Indians name following the 2021 season.

 

Judgment Day

A strange day yesterday as Yermin Mercedes seemingly announced his retirement from baseball on Instagram, scrubbing his feed of any White Sox related content in the process.  Mercedes posted an Instagram story earlier in the day, suggesting he was mulling over retirement, and then followed that up with a post last night, after being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of Triple A Charlotte’s game, saying “it’s over” with a caption saying that he is walking away from baseball for a while.

The White Sox followed up with a statement saying they were aware of the post but had heard nothing from Mercedes directly and that he was still a part of the active roster in Charlotte.  In his post-game interview following last night’s loss to the Twins, manager Tony LaRussa said he had just heard about the drama and planned to reach out to Mercedes, who, he believes, still has a future in the big leagues.

After starting the season with eight consecutive hits and finishing April with a .415 average and a 1.113 OPS, Mercedes fell off considerably in May and June, posting a .196 average and a .536 OPS, prompting his demotion back to Charlotte.  With the emergence of Gavin Sheets and Jake Burger and the upcoming return of Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert from the injured list, there does not appear to be a path back to the major leagues, at lest in Chicago, for Mercedes.  That frustration may have lead to this seemingly rash decision.  I expect we will hear more over the days and weeks to come.

Book 28 (of 52) – Dear Girls

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life – Ali Wong

Comedian Ali Wong brings us Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice For Living Your Best Life, a memoir organized as letters to her two daughters.  She tells stories about growing up in San Francisco with a Chinese-American father and a Vietnamese mother, studying abroad in Hawaii (yes, I know and so does she) and in Vietnam, moving to New York for her career, meeting her husband, and having her children.

Reading through this, I was struck with the realization that while I know who she is, I’m not super familiar with Wong’s work.  I’m pretty sure I saw one of her standup specials on Netflix where she was pregnant with one of her daughters and I know I’ve seen her on TV a time or two, but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan.  Maybe that is why this didn’t resonate with me as much as some other memoirs from comedians I’ve read over the years.  Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting and she had some good tales to tell, but I just wasn’t as invested in it as I thought I’d be when I bought this.  Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Fitbit VII – Week 25

An improvement over last week, though still well below where I want to be.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as I finished with 4900 thanks to my first post-pandemic trip to the movie theater to see Black Widow.  Monday improved that total just a bit, up 42 steps.  Tuesday started PI Planning, so I fell back down to 3400 steps.  Wednesday was back up a bit, to 3700 steps.  Thursday was even better, as I managed to get up over 4600 steps.  Friday was my first game of the second half, which left me with the evil looking total of 6,666 steps.  A return trip to Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday put me one step over 5600.

Total steps: 33,955

Daily average: 4850.7

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #6

6 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 artists in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact and expanded the count down to the Top 200..  It’s been 3 years, so I figured it was time to take yet another look at my Top 200 artists, based on the number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We continue today with the musical comedy duo that takes the sixth spot on our charts.  Comedians Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci combine forces and take the stage as Garfunkel and Oates.

 

 

#6: Garfunkel and Oates
iTunes stats: 933 plays
Previous ranking: #4

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, performing as Garfunkel and Oates since 2007, see a slight drop down the charts despite increasing their play total by 78%, an increase of 410 listens.  Those were spread amongst 49 songs from 5 different releases, including one Christmas single.  Similar to last week’s entry, I’ve had plenty of exposure to the duo over the years, including a television show and a concert or two, at Abbey Pub and the House of Blues.

The first show, at Abbey Pub in 2013, had the girls came out and do their thing, mixing banter between themselves with their comedic songs.  In addition to the “hits” from their existing albums, they performed some of their newer songs, including Bernadette’s Song, which they wrote and had debuted on The Big Bang Theory the night before, and God’s Loophole, an exciting ditty about anal sex.  Once the show finished, both Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci came out to sign autographs and take pictures.  I got their autographs on my tickets and got my picture taken with both of them.

By The Numbers – 46

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 #46. 40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 34 each for the White Sox and 22 for the Cubs.

Lee Arthur Smith was the 2nd round selection of the Cubs in the 1975 draft.  He made his major league debut on September 1, 1980, becoming a fixture in the Cubs bullpen wearing #46.  He took over the closer role in 1982 and became a force, leading the league in saves in 1983 while earning his first All Star nod and post-season support for both the Cy Young award and MVP.  Following the 1987 season, he was traded to the Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi, ending his Cubs career with a 40-51 record and a 2.92 ERA with 180 saves and 342 games finished.  In 2019, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.

On the South side of town, Neal Cotts donned #46 after being acquired by the White Sox, along with Billy Koch and Daylan Holt, from the A’s in exchange for Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, and Joe Valentine in December of 2002.  He made his major league debut on August 12, 2003, lasting only 2 1/3 innings in a start against the Angels, and made 3 additional starts, finishing the year with an 8.10 ERA in only 13 1/3 innings pitched.  Cotts moved to the bullpen in 2004 and, in 2005, things finally clicked.  He appeared in 69 regular season games and posted a sparkling 1.94 ERA, before facing one batter in the ALDS and becoming the only White Sox reliever to appear in the ALCS, getting the final 2 outs in the Game 1 loss to the Angels.  As the White Sox moved on to their first World Series since 1959, Cotts appeared in all 4 games, winning Game 2 and giving up only 1 hit in an inning and a third.  Cotts reverted back to his previous form in 2006 and, following the season, he was traded across town to the Cubs for fellow relief pitcher David Aardsma.

 

Fitbit VII – Week 24

A step in the wrong direction this week, as I continue to fail to get moving and have any realistic chance at meeting my goals.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, as I finished 9 steps over 3400.  Monday improved a bit, up to 4100.  Tuesday fell back down and was the worst day of the week, as I barely managed to pass 2000 steps.  Wednesday saw a slight improvement, as I managed to get back up to 3400 steps.  Thursday was the week’s highpoint, thanks to a trip to Wrigley Field which put me up over 6800 steps.  Friday fell off quite a bit, as I dropped down to 3200 steps.  A day of leisure on Saturday, which included a trip to the grocery store, put me back over 4500 steps.

Total steps: 27,593

Daily average: 3941.9