London Calling No More

The latest casualty of the corona virus pandemic is the June series in London between the Cubs and the Cardinals.  Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement yesterday in a message sent to MLB employees.  The league had previously announced the cancelation of series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Assuming the season starts at some point, those games will be played in St. Louis.

MLB played in Europe for the first time last June, when the Yankees swept a pair of games from the Red Sox in London.  No official word on 2021, but there is at least one report that MLB will try again next year with the Cubs and Cardinals.

Fitbit 6: Week 9

Week 2 of sheltering in place due to the corona virus yielded similar, if slightly better results.  The week got off to a slow start on Sunday, as I managed to barely surpass 2000 steps.  Monday was a little better, as I got up to 2500 steps.  Tuesday was another improvement, going up over 3000 steps.  The weather cooperated on Wednesday, leading to an after-work walk around the neighborhood with put me up over 6600 steps, my highest total since this whole mess started.  Despite colder weather, I managed a shorter walk on Thursday, which left me around 5200 steps.  Friday brought rain, which kept me inside all day and left me back down at 2600 steps.  I got out of the house on Saturday for a trip to the bank and the grocery store, which netted me steps despite the rain.

Total steps: 26,260

Daily average: 3751.4

iTunes Top 200: #79 – 89

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap up the final two songs with 36 plays and move on to the first group of songs with 37 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#89: Cracker – Low
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/26/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the first single from Kerosene Hat, which reached #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and appears on Volume 12 of my mixtapes.

#89: Cher with Beavis & Butt-head – I Got You Babe
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/9/2019
Previous ranking: #65

This remake featuring the cartoon duo also appeared on Volume 12 of my mix tapes.

#79: The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 10/22/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the tune which peaked at number 21 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

#79: Tegan and Sara – I Hear Noises
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: #44

This tune was my initial introduction to the Canadian songstresses.

#79: Styx – Come Sail Away
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 7/15/2019
Previous ranking: #46

A small drop for the Chicago band, which, while never an official part of my victory playlist, would get pulled out on days former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale would pitch and win.

#79: Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes
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Hail Hail To Old Purdue

Friday night, I got a phone call that brightened my day.  After much deliberation, Danny had decided that he will be attending my alma mater, Purdue University, in the fall.  We’ve made numerous trips down to West Lafayette over the years, for football and basketball games and, most recently, for a campus visit.

Assuming he joins the band, there will probably be many more trips over these next four years and in increase in football game attendance.

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200 Things To Do In Illinois – Chicago Sports Museum

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We continue things this week with one of the entries from the Sports category: Chicago Sports Museum, from Chicago, IL.

Take a break from the sport of shopping to check out this museum on the seventh floor of Water Tower Place.  Peruse an impressive collection of Cubs 2016 World Series memorabilia, including Grandpa Rossy’s Game 7 catcher’s gear.

All of the city’s major sports teams are represented in interactive exhibits and virtual reality games, where you can shoot hoops with Scottie Pippen and do a quarterback challenge with Richard Dent.

On July 5, 2018, the family headed down to the city to see Heartbreak Hotel at the Broadway Playhouse.  Before the show, we ate dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch, which is connected to the Chicago Sports Museum on the 7th level of Water Tower Place.  While there were some interesting pieces in the museum, including Steve Stone’s Cy Young Award and Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must-do attraction.  If you’re looking to kill time while in the mall, sure, but it isn’t somewhere I feel the need to visit again.

The Opening Day That Wasn’t

Today should have been be my 20th straight Opening Day at Comiskey Park II/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field, and my 23rd overall for the White Sox.  The first one was in 1985, a blowout win against the Red Sox at Comiskey Park that introduced rookie shortstop Ozzie Guillen to Chicago.  Other highlights include the 2005 1-0 victory against the Indians, the raising of the championship banner on Sunday Night Baseball in 2006, and Mark Buehrle’s between-the-legs flip in 2010.

The most frequent opponent has been the Tigers, who are also the only team with a winning record on Opening Day in games I’ve attended.  The other AL Central foes have each appeared at least 3 times.


White Sox Home Opener Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Chicago White Sox 15 7 0.682
Detroit Tigers 4 2 0.667
Cleveland Indians 2 3 0.400
Minnesota Twins 1 2 0.333
Kansas City Royals 0 3 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 1 0.000
Tampa Bay Rays 0 1 0.000
Texas Rangers 0 1 0.000
Baltimore Orioles 0 1 0.000
Seattle Mariners 0 1 0.000

Fitbit 6: Week 8

My worst week since Thanksgiving, but at least I can blame it on something other than myself.  Social distancing due to the corona virus was the name of the game, especially come Sunday night when, after 2600 steps, I got the call that I would be working from home for the forseeable future.  The adventure started on Monday, where I managed only 2600 steps.  Tuesday was the high point of the week, with 5600 steps, thanks to going to vote in the IL primary and then the grocery store to stock up on supplies.  Wednesday I was able to spend a little bit more time outside, which netted me 4300 steps.  Rumors dropped on Thursday that a total shelter-in-place warning was on the way, so I ran out to the grocery store to get some additional supplies and finished with 4800 steps.  Friday, I garnered 3700 steps as the shelter-in-place order was announced.  Saturday was a complete dud of a day, falling short of 1500 steps.

Total steps: 25,276

Daily average: 3610.9

iTunes Top 200: #89 – 98

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we begin the second half of our countdown, breaking the top 100 with the remaining three songs with 34 plays before moving on to the first group of songs with 35 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#98: The Breeders – Cannonball
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 8/30/2019
Previous ranking: #96

The first single for the new band fronted by former Pixie Kim Deal and her sister Kelley.

#98: The Beatles – Help!
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 10/27/2019
Previous ranking: #65

The title song for both the 1965 film and its soundtrack album.

#98: Bad Religion – Infected
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 7/11/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the tune which peaked at number 27 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

#89: Travis – Baby One More Time
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #141

A tremendous jump for this cover of the Britney Spears “classic”.

#89: Tegan and Sara – Walking With A Ghost
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 8/16/2019
Previous ranking: #65

Released in 2005 as the debut single from the So Jealous album.

#89: Nerf Herder – Buffy Theme
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Ballpark Tour: White Sox

Opening day was supposed to be less than a week away, so it is time to wrap up our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years with the one I’ve been to the most: the homes of the Chicago White Sox.  Between the two stadiums that have been located at the corners of 35th and Shields, I’ve seen at least 542 games, all but one of which have involved the White Sox.  So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Comiskey Park and Guaranteed Rate Field.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park

Years in Service: 1910 – 1990

Visits: 12 (that I’m aware of)

Comiskey Park, the so-called Baseball Palace of the World, was the home of the White Sox from 1910 through the 1990 season.  Built on a former city dump at the corner of 35th Street and Shields Avenue, the stadium opened on July 1, 1910, as the White Sox lost to the St. Louis Browns 2-0.  The final game for the old ballyard occurred on September 30, 1990, a 2-1 victory over the Mariners.

Comiskey Park was the host for 4 World Series, including 3 in a row from 1917-1919.  The White Sox won the World Series in 1917 against the New York Giants.  The Cubs, looking for a larger seating capacity, moved their home games in the 1918 series against the Red Sox to Comiskey Park.  The 1919 World Series, of course, was the Black Sox scandal, where the White Sox threw the series against the Reds.  The White Sox returned to the World Series 40 years later in 1959, but fell to the Dodgers.  The final post-season games to be played in Comiskey Park were games 3 and 4 of the 1983 ALCS, which the White Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles.

Comiskey Park was also the host to 3 All-Star games.  The first All-Star game, in 1933, was held in conjunction with Century of Progress Exposition being held on Chicago’s lakefront.  The event returned to Chicago’s south side in 1950 and the final All-Star game at Comiskey Park was in 1983, the 50th anniversary of the first game.  Comiskey Park was also the frequent home of the Negro League East-West All-Star Game from 1933 to 1960.

Looking back, I’ve been able to piece together evidence of 12 games that I attended at Comiskey Park, either from pictures, stadium giveaways, or specific memories.  I know there are more, but I have not been able to pinpoint exact games as of yet.  The most memorable game I can remember would be the final night game, on September 29, 1990, where, after the game, the lights were symbolically turned off for the final time.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park II/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field

Years in Service: 1991 – Present

Visits: 530

On the evening of June 30, 1988, with the clock literally stopped, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that provided the financing for a new stadium for the White Sox, stopping them from moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.  2 and a half years later, on April 18, 1991, Comiskey Park II opened, the first new major facility built in Chicago since the erection of the Chicago Stadium in 1929.  Sadly, the White Sox were embarrassed by the Tigers, losing 16-0 in the opening of their new park.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the new Comiskey Park was the last stadium to be built prior to the wave of retro ballparks that started with the opening of Camden Yards the following year.  Because of this, there have been numerous renovations to the park, starting in 2001 with the addition of nearly 2000 seats and the relocation of the bullpens.  More extensive renovations began in 2003 in preparation for that season’s All Star Game and using the money generated from selling the naming rights to US Cellular, and continued through 2007, when the replacement of the blue seats with green seats was completed.  Less extensive renovations have occurred since, replacing the different video boards and creating premium seating areas.

The post-season came to the new Comiskey Park for the first time in 1993, as the White Sox battled the Blue Jays in the ALCS.  The stadium hosted its first World Series games in 2005, the first to be played in the city of Chicago since 1959, as the White Sox went on to sweep the Houston Astros and win their first World Series since 1917.

I attended my first game at the new Comiskey Park on April 20, 1991, the second game in the stadium’s history.  Since then, I’ve been to 529 other games at the stadium, the majority coming from 2005 on, when I became a season ticket holder.  I went to both games of the 2000 ALDS, which the White Sox lost to the Mariners, both games of the 2005 ALDS, which the White Sox won against the Red Sox, both games of the 2005 ALCS, which the White Sox split against the Angels, and game 2 of the 2005 World Series.  I attended game 163 of the 2008 season to break the tie between the White Sox and the Twins. and then the two ALDS games against the Rays, the first time I saw the White Sox actually end a post-season series, either in victory or defeat.

Notable regular season games I’ve seen at what is now known as Guaranteed Rate Field include the September 18, 2001 game against the Yankees as baseball returned following the attacks of 9/11, the April 16, 2005 game where Mark Buehrle defeated the Mariners in 1 hour and 39 minutes, the April 2, 2006 season opener against the Indians when the World Series championship banner was raised, the April 4, 2006 game where the players received their World Series rings, and the September 16, 2007 game where Jim Thome hit his 500th career home run against the Angels.  Not to mention a streak of 19 consecutive home openers.