FB8 – Week 44

A week of vacation plus warmer weather led to improved numbers.  The week got off to a better week on Sunday, registering 4300 steps.  My step total rose by 33 steps on Monday.  A trip to the movie theater and the store turned into a decrease, as I finished 7 steps shy of 3500.  Wednesday was a busy day, picking Angelina up from the airport and taking her to doctor before going out to see a stage version of Clue with both her and Danny and leaving me 15 steps away from 5900.  Thanksgiving festivities on Thursday led to the week’s low point, finishing with just 2300 steps.  Friday

Total steps: 23,514

Daily average: 3359.1

Moving On

Jose Abreu, who has been the mainstay at first base for the White Sox since 2014, has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Astros.  Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but are expected to be around $20 million per year.  He winds up ranking third on the team’s all-time home run list with 243 in his nine seasons with the White Sox.

Abreu, 35, signed with the White Sox in October of 2013, just months after defecting from Cuba.  Along the way, he won Rookie of the Year honors in 2014 and the MVP award in the corona virus-shortened 2020 season.  While still productive, he posted the worst power numbers of his career in 2022 as the White Sox fell to .500.

For the Astros sake, you hope that was a blip and not an indication of decline as Abreu plays through his mid-30s.  The White Sox, meanwhile, turn first base over to some combination of Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets, both of whom have been forced to play out of position in the outfield over the past two years.  The White Sox will face the Astros on Opening Day 2023.

Abeu’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I’ve attended and overall, were:

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Book 49 (of 52) – The End Of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)

The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) – Katie Mack

Space, we have been told, is the final frontier.  But is it the final frontier, meaning is the universe, as it expands through space, going to end up destroying everything one day?  Cosmologists say yes.  Katie Mack, a theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist, explains five different ways the universe could end in terns that non-astrophysicists can understand and shows how studying the beginning of the universe and the after-effects of the big bang guide is in trying to determine how it all may end.  Not to worry, though.  We still have trillions of years for any of these scenarios to take place.  Well, except for one, which could happen at any time.

Travelling The 50 States – Massachusetts

Over my 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 6th state to be added to the Union: Massachusetts

State: Massachusetts
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 6

The Bay State has been a more recent travel destination, with all six visits coming within the past five years.  In what I’m sure is completely unrelated news, Angelina has been attending Boston University since 2018.  This visit total would have been at least one trip larger, as I had plans to bring Michael in April of 2020, but the whole pandemic thing kind of put the kibosh on that.

My first visit to Massachusetts came in August of 2017, when I took a weekend trip to Boston to see the White Sox take on the Red Sox with Danny and Michael.  We arrived in Boston on Saturday morning, heading straight from the airport to the Museum of Science, where we spent most of the morning.  After a quick breakfast, we headed to our hotel, which was located in the medical district.  We checked in and relaxed for a bit, before deciding on going for ice cream prior to heading to Fenway Park.

The game went about as you would expect.  With James Shields on the mound, the White Sox did not put up much of a fight.  We were sitting down the left field line, with a good view of the Green Monster.  The seats, which may or may not date back to the stadium’s opening in 1912, were not really designed for people well over 6 feet tall, so there was a lot of uncomfortable shifting as our knees were smooshed into the seats in front of us.

The next morning, we went out in search of breakfast once again before gathering up our belongings and checking out of the hotel.  Our first stop was just down the street, at Harvard Medical School, where we posed for pictures.  From there, we headed to Skywalk Boston, their version of the observation deck at Sears Tower.  It was only on the 50th floor, so the effect was a little different, but we did get to see the majority of the area.  From there, over to the harbor to see the Boston Tea Party museum.  The two-hour experience took us through the town meeting where the “attack” was planned, on to the boat to throw the tea in to the harbor, and then through a movie and other artifacts from one of the most famous events in American history.  From there, it was off to the airport for the flight back home.

My next trip came the following year, when I returned to Boston in late October to celebrate birthdays with Angelina.  I arrived on the Tuesday before our birthday, enjoying a brief tour of BU and a nice dinner at Fogo de Chao with Angelina before heading over to the House of Blues to see Garbage.  The next day I took a tour of Fenway Park prior to Game Two of the World Series, before heading out to Cambridge to look around Harvard before heading home.

Just over a month later, I returned to Boston with my mom to see Angelina’s first synchro competition on Cape Cod and an ice show by the BU Figure Skating Club, seeing many of the same BU sites as my last visit.

In October of 2019, I once again travelled to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday dinner.  Unbeknownst to me, she had suffered a concussion the day before, so she was busy for most of the day.  After chilling in the hotel for a bit, I headed over to campus for a late lunch before waiting for her at a protest I happened across, trying to stop hate monger Ben Shapiro from coming to campus for a speech.  After dinner, she headed back to her dorm to rest, and I left early the next morning to return home.

After a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID, my next trip to Boston came this past May for Angelina’s graduation.  Danny, Michael, and I flew out on Friday and spent Saturday sightseeing around Boston with the family.  Graduation was Sunday morning, which we topped off with a dinner out on Sunday night before heading home on Monday.

My most recent visit came earlier this month, as birthday celebrations were finally allowed to restart.  I arrived late on Friday night, and then spent Saturday with Angelina and Emily, including a trip to the Museum of Science and a return visit to Fogo de Chao.  Sunday morning. they picked me up from the hotel and drove me to the airport, bringing my latest visit to an end.

Will I return?  I have to say yes.

Team Stats: Strike Outs

There are just about four months until baseball returns to Chicago.  I thought it would be a good time to revisit, for the first time in six years, the all-time rankings in both offensive and defensive categories for all iterations of the current 30 teams for the 1040 games I’ve identified that I have attended.  We continue today on the offensive side of the ball with strikeouts.

Based on the raw numbers, the White Sox and Cubs are far and away the leaders in this category, as they are the teams I’ve seen the most.  When you adjust the numbers per game, the Diamondbacks have a commanding lead with over nine strikeouts per game, the only team to average at least a strikeout per inning.  Both the Cubs and the White Sox are in the bottom (or top, depending on your point of view) third, surprising given the number of at bats given to strikeout machines like Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, and Adam Dunn.  The California iteration of the Angels have the low water mark with a mere four strikeouts per game.

Strike Outs

Team Name Strike Outs
Chicago White Sox 4764
Chicago Cubs 3153
Minnesota Twins 548
Kansas City Royals 510
Detroit Tigers 500
Cleveland Indians 485
Houston Astros 406
Pittsburgh Pirates 384
Milwaukee Brewers 352
Cincinnati Reds 346
Texas Rangers 321
Seattle Mariners 314
New York Yankees 276
Baltimore Orioles 276
St. Louis Cardinals Continue reading →

FB8 – Week 43

Another lost week, thanks in part to too much work and cold weather.  The week got off to a slow week on Sunday, registering only 3100 steps.  Things were worse on Monday, as I ended up with just over 2600 steps.  Things fell off again on Tuesday, needing an additional 21 steps just to reach 1900.  Wednesday was the high point of the week, jumping up to 4500 steps.  Thursday started another decline, dropping down to 4000 steps.  Friday fell off again, dropping down to 3700 steps.  Saturday saw another decline, coming 26 steps shy of 3600.

Total steps: 23,514

Daily average: 3359.1

2023 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Newcomers

On Monday, the BBWAA released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2023, with the results of the vote are due to be revealed on January 24th, and induction taking place July 23rd.  With David Ortiz as the sole electee last year, the new ballot contains fourteen holdovers along with another fourteen newcomers.

Yesterday, we looked at the returning candidates.  Today, it’s time to look at the newcomers and who may be thankful come January.

Bronson Arroyo

The long time Red and Red Sox hurler really has no chance at election.

Carlos Beltran

A first look at how the voters will treat the players associated to the Astros cheating scandal.

Matt Cain

I can’t imagine that Cain, who threw a perfect game in 2012, will get the necessary support.

R.A. Dickey

The long-time knuckleballer would be lucky to survive to a second ballot.

Jacoby Ellsbury

I mean, he had a nice career and all, with 1300 hits and 104 home runs, but no.

Andre Ethier

The long time Dodger will need to purchase a ticket if he wants to get in.

J.J. Hardy

Yeah, that’s going to be a no.

John Lackey

The three-time World Series Champion ended up having a pretty nice career, but nice career’s do not get you to Cooperstown.

Mike Napoli

No.

Jhonny Peralta

Another no.

Francisco Rodriguez

That’s going to be yet another no.

Houston Street

Man, this year’s crop of additions, while solid players, is lacking in star power.

Jered Weaver

See what I mean?

Jayson Werth

Well, at least we’re done.

 

2023 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Holdovers

Yesterday, the BBWAA released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2023.  The results of the vote are due to be revealed on January 24th, with induction taking place July 23rd.  David Ortiz was elected in last year’s voting and notable PED suspects Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa fell off the ballot after reaching their ten-year limit, the new ballot contains fourteen holdovers along with another fourteen newcomers.  For the first time in a decade, the logjam caused by a combination of BBWAA rules limiting the number of votes on one ballot to ten and the ongoing refusal by some writers to vote for players tainted by PEDs has come to an end.

Let’s take a look at the returning candidates today before moving on to the newcomers tomorrow.

Bobby Abreu
Years on ballot: 3
2022 Percentage: 8.6

A miniscule decrease for Abreu last year means he is trending in the wrong direction.

Mark Buehrle
Years on ballot: 2
2022 Percentage: 5.8

A big drop left the former White Sox hurler on the precipice of getting dropped off the ballot.  With the logjam removed and spaces open on ballots that were full last year, we’ll see if he regains some support.

Todd Helton
Years on ballot: 4
2022 Percentage: 52.0

Helton seems to be moving on the right track, getting over 50% for the first time, but I don’t think this will be his year.  He should make it eventually though.

Torii Hunter
Years on ballot: 2
2022 Percentage: 5.3

Hunter had the lowest percentage of the vote while remaining on the ballot from last year’s election.  Things do not look good for the long time Twin and Angel.

Andruw Jones
Years on ballot: 5
2022 Percentage: 41.4

If voters were to stick to his first 11 seasons, Jones looks like a shoe-in for the Hall.  His last 7 seasons, though, were so bad that it makes it hard to consider him.  Despite another big increase in votes, those final seasons seem to be holding sway.

Jeff Kent
Years on ballot: 9
2022 Percentage: 32.7

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Book 48 (of 52) – The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

When Susie Salmon was 14, she was murdered by a neighbor.  As she adjusts to the afterlife, her family tries to find a way forward while her killer tries to cover his tracks.  Nearly ten years later, her family finally gets to the point where they are ready to come to terms with what happened, allowing Susie to move on.

Originally published in 2002, I first came across The Lovely Bones in 2010 when the movie adaptation, starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, and Saoirse Ronan, was released.  Alice Sebold’s novel is able to expand the story, showing the effects on the Salmon family and Susie’s friends over time without worrying about the ages of the actors.