2020 Games Of Interest

March 28 – White Sox Puffy Vest
April 11 – White Sox Hoodie
April 18 – Yoan Moncada Bobblehead
April 25 – TBD Bobblehead
May 2 – Lucas Giolito X-Wing Fighter Bobblehead
May 16 – 1960 Replica Scoreboard
May 29 – Fireworks
May 30 – Tim Anderson Batflip Bobblehead
June 6 – White Sox Hawaiian Shirt
June 26 – Fireworks
July 1 – Wrigley Field Scoreboard Replica
July 19 – TBD Bobblehead

August 28 – Elvis Night & Fireworks
September 20 – TBD Bobblehead

Ballpark Tour: Brewers

Spring training is in full swing and opening day is about a month away, as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. The closest city, outside of Chicago, for baseball, contains the homes of the Milwaukee Brewers. Between the two stadiums that have been located in the heart of cheeseland, I’ve seen 8 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with County Stadium and Miller Park.

Stadium Name: County Stadium

Years in Service: 1953 – 2000

Visits: 1

Milwaukee County Stadium was built with the intention of drawing a major league baseball team to Milwaukee, and it worked quicker than anybody would have expected, as the Braves announced they would be moving from Boston 3 weeks before the stadium, and the 1953 season, opened.  The Braves would call Milwaukee home for the next 13 seasons before leaving for Atlanta for the 1966 season.

During the 1968 and 1969 seasons, the struggling Chicago White Sox wound up playing 20 home games at County Stadium in an effort to keep the baseball fandom alive in Milwaukee.  In 1970, local businessman Bud Selig purchased the expansion Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved them to Milwaukee and rechristened them the Brewers.  The Brewers would call County Stadium home until 2000, when they would move next door in to the newly built Miller Park.

I made one trip up to County Stadium for a White Sox/Brewers tilt on July 18, 1993.  The White Sox were victorious thank to a 2-run single by Bo Jackson in the 9th inning. I remember sitting out in the bleachers, but, beyond that, have no particular memory of the stadium or what amenities, if any, it offered.

Stadium Name: Miller Park

Years in Service: 2003 – Present

Visits: 7

The Brewers broke ground on a new stadium on November 9, 1996, in a parking lot behind County Stadium, with plans to open the park for the 2000 season.  Construction was delayed in 1999 after a crane collapsed while lifting a 400-ton roof section, killing three workers.  This caused the opening to be delayed for a year, and the new Miller Park did not open until April 6, 2001.  In 2007, the stadium hosted an Indians series against the Angels after snow storms in Cleveland forced the cancellation of the previous series against the Mariners.  The Astros called Miller Park home for two games in 2008 when Hurricane Ike stormed through Houston.

I made the first of my seven visits to Miller Park during the inaugural season of 2001.  That May 7th contest had the Cubs squeaking out a 7-6 victory against the hosting Brewers.  My most recent trip up north was this past summer, to once again see the Cubs battle (or destroy) the Brewers.  Miller Park was a vastly superior replacement over County Stadium, and I’ve enjoyed each of my subsequent trips up to Milwaukee to see the local ballclubs.

Turn On The Marquee

Tomorrow, the Marquee Sports Network, the new home of the Cubs, goes live as the team kicks off their slate of games in the 2020 Cactus League.  Unfortunately, for the majority of homes in the Chicagoland area, the network will not be available.

Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will continue on as the main announcing team for Cubs games.  They will occasionally be joined by one of the roving band of analysts that have been announced to date: Lou Piniella, Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace, Carlos Peña, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Dempster, Doug Glanville, Dan Plesac, and Jason Hammel.  Cole Wright, formerly of NFL Network, will be the studio host for pre- and post-game coverage and Taylor McGregor will be the sideline reporter, a role she previously held with the Rockies.

The one thing Marquee doesn’t have is a carriage agreement with Comcast, the dominant cable operator in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Comcast has 1.5 million home subscribers in the area, more than all the other metro area operators combined.  The Cubs hope to avoid the fate of the Dodgers, who created their own network in 2014 and still have not gotten full clearance in the Los Angeles market, after 7 years and 2 World Series appearances.  Tomorrow was a soft deadline to get a deal done.  If nothing happened by March 26, when the Cubs open the season in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

2020 Tickets – Northside Edition

For the second straight year, the Cubs are going all-digital for their season tickets through the MLB Ballpark app.  No word on whether the team plans to offer commemorative printed tickets after the season, as they did last season.  While the convenience of digital tickets can’t be denied, the move continues to be a disappointment for those of us who collect ticket stubs.

All Time Batting Leaders – Through 2019

baseballs2Last week, we took our annual look at the all time leaders in pitching stats for the 948 games I’ve attended (and identified) between 1984 and 2019. With the full White Sox roster reporting to camp yesterday and full workouts beginning today, it’s time to move over to the other side of the ball and take a look at the offensive stat leaders for those games, starting with our first category:

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Sammy Sosa 42
Aramis Ramirez 41
Derrek Lee 40
Jermaine Dye 40

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 300
Derrek Lee 255
AJ Pierzynski 239
Aramis Ramirez 234

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Derrek Lee 140
Alexei Ramirez 134
Aramis Ramirez 120
A.J. Pierzynski 106

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Aramis Ramirez 158
Alexei Ramirez 140
Derrek Lee 134
Jermaine Dye 108

Doubles Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Rangers

With the offseason underway, we continue our tour of all of the different baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. This week, we look at the Texas Rangers, a team you would think I would have visited more often due to it’s proximity to my father. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with the originally-named Ballpark In Arlington, the now former home of the Rangers.

Stadium Name: The Ballpark In Arlington/Ameriquest Field/Rangers Ballpark In Arlington/Globe Life Park

Years in Service: 1994 – 2019

Visits: 7

After spending their entire history at nearby Arlington Stadium, the Texas Rangers broke ground on their new stadium on April 2, 1992 and held their first game there nearly two years later, on April 11, 1994 against the Brewers.  The stadium was known by the somewhat clunky moniker of The Ballpark in Arlington until May of 2004, when Ameriquest bought the naming rights.  That deal ended in March of 2007, and the stadium was renamed again, this time to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Corporate money came calling again in 2014, when Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the naming rights.  The stadium also features a Rangers Hall of Fame, which includes historical artifacts from the team along with visiting collections from Cooperstown.

I made my first trip to the Ballpark on May 22, 1998, to see the Rangers defeat the Royals during a visit to the Dallas area to see my dad.  I returned in 2001 for two games, against the Tigers and 2 days later against the White Sox.  In 2005, on my last trip to the area to date, I took in the entire 4 game series between the Rangers and the eventual World Series champion White Sox.

Having never been to Arlington Stadium, I can’t compare the two, but I would assume that the Ballpark is a vast improvement over its predecessor.  The only downside I noticed in the games I attended was a day game under the hot Texas sun.  The Rangers are addressing that, opening a new stadium next season with a retractable roof.

2020 Tickets – Southside Edition

For the fifth consecutive year, the White Sox have decided against physical tickets for non-premium season ticket holders, meaning that, once again, this year’s ticket package is nothing more than digital bits on a website or the MLB Ballpark app.  While this does make the actual game day use of the tickets more convenient, it does lose some of the excitement of ticket arrival day.

All Time Pitching Leaders – Through 2019

baseballs3White Sox pitchers and catchers hold their first spring workout today, so it is time for our annual look at the pitching leaders in the now 948 games I’ve attended, and identified, between 1984 and 2019. Very little difference from last year with no new faces, but a few categories have some movement on the leader board. So, without further ado, let’s get things started with our first category, the always popular:

Wins

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 31
Gavin Floyd 24
Carlos Zambrano 21
Chris Sale 21
John Danks 19

Losses

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 17
Jose Quintana 17
John Danks 16
Carlos Zambrano 15
Gavin Floyd 15

ERA (>= 35 IP)

Name Total
David Robertson 2.17
DJ Carrasco 2.20
Nate Jones Continue reading →

The Decade In Baseball – Pitching Leaders

baseballs3The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are finishing off our look back at 10 years worth of baseball with the pitching leaders for the 385 games I attended between 2010 and 2019.

In addition to the regular season, these totals include 2 wild card games, 3 trips to the NLDS, 3 NLCS appearances, and the 2016 World Series.  Not too many surprises on these charts.

Wins

Name Total
Chris Sale 21
Gavin Floyd 13
John Danks 11
Jon Lester  10
Jake Peavy 10

Losses

Name Total
Jose Quintana 17
Chris Sale 12
John Danks 10
James Shields 10
Gavin Floyd 9
Carlos Rodon 9

ERA (> 10 IP)

Name Total
Kyle Ryan 0.00
Colby Lewis 0.60
Brandon Kintzler 0.68
Matt Moore 0.79
Yovani Gallardo 0.82

ERA (> 20 IP)

Name Total
Kyle Gibson 1.59
Dallas Braden 1.71
Aaron Bummer 1.84
Zach Duke 2.00
Wade Davis 2.01

Strikeouts

Name Total
Chris Sale 313
Jose Quintana 208
Gavin Floyd 145
Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Padres

Spring training is right around the corner as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. Today we travel to southern California for the baseball homes of the San Diego Padres. Between the two stadiums that have been located in the paradise that is San Diego, I’ve seen 4 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Qualcomm Stadium and PETCO Park.

Stadium Name: Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcomm Stadium

Years in Service: 1969 – 2003

Visits: 1

San Diego Stadium opened on August 20, 1967 as the home of the AFL’s Chargers and opened for baseball the following spring for the final season of the minor league San Diego Padres.  The following season, San Diego’s expansion team, also named the Padres, moved in and stayed as the main tenants until the end of the 2003 season.  The stadium was renamed in 1980 for local sportswriter Jack Murphy, who had championed support for the building of the stadium, after he passed away.  That name stuck until 1997, when the naming rights were sold to technology company Qualcomm.

In 2003, I was in San Diego for what, to date, was my 3rd and final Comic Con.  On the afternoon of July 17, I skipped out on the con and took the trolley out to Mission Valley to take in the day’s contest between the Padres and the Diamondbacks.  I don’t remember much about the game, which the Diamondbacks won handidly 9-1, other than Curt Schilling taking the bump for the Dbacks.  The park, one of the last remaining cookie cutter stadiums that popped up in the late 60s and early 70s and designed to house both baseball and football teams while doing service to neither, did not really register one way or the other and hold’s no particular space in my memory.  I do seem to remember a giant outdoor escalator, but that might have been Candlestick.

Stadium Name: PETCO Park

Years in Service: 2004 – Present

Visits: 3

After 35 seasons at the Murph, the Padres moved downtown in 2004 with the opening of PETCO Park.  The new stadium was initially supposed to open for the 2002 season, but legal battles and political tomfoolery delayed the project for two years.  The first event held at PETCO Park was an NCAA invitational tournament hosted by San Diego State University, whose head coach was former Padres great Tony Gwynn.  The Padres themselves christened the stadium on April 8 with a 10 inning victory over the Giants.

With the Cubs, coming off their surprising run towards the NL title in 2003, scheduled for a weekend series at the newly opened PETCO Park in the middle of May in 2004, a trip out to the coast was in order.  The Cubs swept the three game series against the Padres, and a tremendous weekend was had.  The new park was a vast improvement over the old Jack Murphy.  One of these days, I’ll need to take a return trip.