2021: The Year In Travel

In normal times, this is where I would take a look back at all of the trips I took over the past year and look ahead to what, if any. travel plans I already have for 2022.  Unfortunately, 2021 continued to be far from normal times, as the global pandemic raged on for a second year, though things did manage to open back up slightly.

My first “trip” of the year, if you can call it that, was in March.  On a Friday afternoon, I drove down to Purdue to pick up Danny, before continuing on to Indianapolis so we could watch Purdue in the NCAA tournament.  They managed to completely crap the bed, which made the whole effort worthwhile.  After the game, we traveled back the way we came and I was home early the next morning.

In August, I made my only big trip of the year, driving down to Florida for some fun in the sun.  I had rented a condo on AirBNB that was right on the water, which, thanks to the spacious deck, let me enjoy the view while relaxing and reading.  I also managed to make my first two trips to Tropicana Field, as the White Sox were in town to battle the Rays.  Those experiences did not turn out quite as well.

On the drive home, I stopped in Atlanta and managed to take in a game at Truist Park to see the Yankees battle the Braves.  The following day I completed my journey, making it home in the midst of a torrential downpour, which made the last hour or so of driving so much fun.

The only other trips were back down to Purdue for football games, one in October and two in November.  We didn’t manage to make the second game in November, but it’s the drive that matters.

Looking ahead to 2022, despite the rise in COVID cases due to the omicron variant, I’m planning to return to Hawaii later this month and the family is headed to Boston in May for Angelina’s graduation.  Other than that, there are some baseball trips I want to take this year, but nothing is solid just yet.  Here’s hoping that the world returns to some sort of normalcy, though I’m not optimistic.

2022 Calendar

After a year of old pictures thanks to the corona virus murdering 2020, we are back in the game with next year’s calendar and, now that Christmas has come and gone, we can unveil the cover to this year’s calendar gift, given annually to my mom and sister, and made up of pictures I have taken throughout the year.  Lack of travel made getting pictures of Angelina difficult, but between last Christmas and this Thanksgiving, we were able to make it work.   As in year’s past. the calendar was produced by the good folks at Shutterfly and we will unveil each month’s photo(s) on the first day of the month throughout 2022.

This year’s cover features Angelina, Danny, and Michael masked up as we visited the primates from South America at Brookfield Zoo.

By The Numbers – 27

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 #27.  103 different players have donned #27 while playing in Chicago, 52 for the White Sox and 51 for the Cubs.

Acquired on December 19, 2016 from the Nationals, Lucas Giolito made his White Sox debut the following summer donning #27.  In 7 starts, he put up a sparkling 2.38 ERA while compiling a 3-3 record.  Things went south In 2018, as Giolito was, statistically, the worst starting pitcher in baseball with a 6.13 ERA, leading the league (the bad way) in WHIP and walks per 9 innings.  That offseason, he began rebuilding his game from the ground up, leading to a 2019 All Star appearance en route to a 14-9 record with a 3.41 ERA.  In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he held the hapless Pirates hitless on August 25th, striking out 13 while facing one batter over the minimum of 27.  He made his post-season debut in Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the A’s, retiring the first 18 batters in order before giving up 2 hits and a walk in the 7th inning, earning the victory in the White Sox only win during the series.  In 2021, Giolito made 31 starts, finishing with a record of 11-9 and a 3.53 ERA.

During his second go-around with the North Siders, Joe Girardi wore #27 for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.  On June 22, 2002, Girardi addressed a sold-out Wrigley Field to announce the day’s game was cancelled following the death of Cardinal pitcher Darryl Kile.  Following that season, he became a free agent and left the team for the second, and final, time.

Fitbit VII – Week 42

Another disappointing week, doomed at the end by my reaction to the COVID vaccine booster shot.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, coming a mere 9 steps shy of 4300.  Monday was slightly better, as I jumped up to nearly 4900 steps.  Tuesday fell off a bit, coming just 23 steps away from 4500.  Wednesday was just a little lower, ending with 4200.  Thursday saw a slight bounce back, finishing over 4400 thanks in part to a trip to Target to get my booster shot.  Friday fell off to 2800 steps, as the booster knocked me out and left me feeling sick for most of the day.  I was feeling better on Saturday, but still needed 1 additional step to get to 1900.

Total steps: 27,024

Daily average: 3860.6

October Leaders – Through 2020

With a full year of baseball on tap after last year’s troubles due to a combination of the corona virus and needless labor squabbles, I thought it would be interesting to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for each month in games that I have attended.

As we wrap up the regular season and head in to post-season play, the usual futility of Chicago teams has led to my attending only 36 games during the month, my lowest total since March.  I’ve managed to see a game on 21 out of the 31 days of the month, with 4 games on 2 separate occasions leading the way, and no games on the 10th, 13th, 16,th, 17th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 31st.

Home Runs

Name Total
Kris Bryant 4
Javier Baez 3
Dexter Fowler 3
BJ Upton 3
Enrique Hernandez 3
Miguel Cabrera 3
Paul Konerko 3

Hits

Name Total
Kris Bryant 11
Javier Baez 11
Dexter Fowler 10
Anthony Rizzo 10

Runs

Name Total
Dexter Fowler 7
Juan Pierre 7
Paul Konerko 6
Daniel Murphy 6

RBI

Name Total
Kris Bryant 9
Paul Konerko 7
Miguel Cabrera 7
Ivan Rodriguez 7
Enrique Hernandez 7

Doubles

Name Total
Dexter Fowler 4
7 tied with  3

Triples 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 →

September All Time Leaders – Through 2020

With a full year of baseball on tap after last year’s troubles due to a combination of the corona virus and needless labor squabbles, I thought it would be interesting to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for each month in games that I have attended.

As we head in to fall and the pennant races start to heat up, the return to school and teams falling well out of contention has played a part in my attending 124 games during the month, my lowest total since March.  I’ve managed to see a game nearly every day of the month, with 8 games on the 2 separate occasions leading the way, and no games on the 22nd or the 26th.

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 20
Jose Abreu 10
Jim Thome 7

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 47
Jermaine Dye 35
Alexei Ramirez 33

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 36
Alexei Ramirez 20
Jermaine Dye 18
Jose Abreu 18

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 38
Jose Abreu 23
Alexei Ramirez 21

Doubles

Name Total
A.J. Pierzynski 7
Jermaine Dye 6
Juan Uribe 6
Yolmer Sanchez 6

Triples Continue reading →

20 Years Of Remembrance

It was a normal Tuesday morning, 20 years ago this morning, when someone stopped by my desk to say that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that we were under attack.  Little did I know that for once, Chicken Little was right and the sky really was falling.

Most of the morning remains a blur.  Updates were hard to get through traditional sources and most of the news I was getting was from the old Warren Ellis forum on Delphi and whatever incarnation of the Bendis Board was up at the time.  At one point, I went out to my car to get an update from the Howard Stern show, which at the time was on a one hour tape delay here in Chicago, but we were one of the few markets that cut away from the show in order to simulcast a news station.

We all know what happens next: the Pentagon gets hit, another flight crashes in Pennsylvania, and, eventually, the towers fell.  We went to a pretty deserted Superdawg for lunch that day, listening to the radio for updates the entire time.  I remember the eerie drive to the gym after work, as people were as polite as they’ve even been on the roads.

The legacy of that day is messy.  Two long, ill-advised wars followed.  The nation united in a way that it is unable, or unwilling, to do today, as the COVID pandemic, our biggest tragedy since the 9/11 attacks, continues to rage as the right battles against both masks and vaccinations.

It’s a day that, for a little while, unified the country, but at great cost.  A day we would all like to forget.  A day we never will.

Hall Of Fame Batting Leaders



Thanks to the corona virus, the Hall of Fame Class of 2020, former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Expos and Rockies legend Larry Walker, former Cardinal and Brewer backstop Ted Simmons, and union boss Marvin Miller, finally get their day in the sun in Cooperstown alongside, well, the empty class of 2021.  With two new hitters joining the list of Hall of Famers I’ve seen play live and an additional historical game identified, let’s check back in with the leaders on the offensive side of the ball amongst Hall of Famers for all of the games I’ve attended between 1984 and 2020.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jim Thome 35
Frank Thomas 15
Vladimir Guerrero 6
Ivan Rodriguez 4
Chipper Jones 3
Harold Baines 3
Carlton Fisk 3

Hits

Name Total
Jim Thome 110
Frank Thomas 54
Ken Griffey Jr 32
Continue reading →