It’s Still Been A While

Exactly 8 months since my last baseball game, the longest drought I’ve experienced since 1998 into 1999, I figured it was a good time to take another look at the last time I saw each of the 30 major league teams. For someone with season tickets to two teams, one in each league, you would think that I would cycle through each team every few years or so.  And, for the most part, that does seem to be the case.  I saw 21 of the 30 teams in 2019, going back to 2018, that number jumps to 23.  That’s nearly 77% of the league in the past 2 seasons.

What about those remaining 7 teams?  The Dodgers, Rays, Braves, and Padres last appeared in 2017, while 2016 takes care of the Reds.  I somehow haven’t seen the Diamondbacks since 2014, despite being inside their home ballpark more recently than that.  That leaves the Marlins, who I have somehow not managed to see in person since 2013.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Team Name Date
Miami Marlins 5/26/2013
Arizona Diamondbacks 5/10/2014
Cincinnati Reds 4/11/2016
San Diego Padres 5/13/2017
Atlanta Braves 9/2/2017
Tampa Bay Rays 9/3/2017
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/19/2017
Houston Astros 4/22/2018
Colorado Rockies 10/2/2018
Seattle Mariners 4/6/2019
Pittsburgh Pirates 4/8/2019
Kansas City Royals 4/15/2019
Boston Red Sox 5/5/2019
St. Louis Cardinals 5/5/2019
Continue reading →

Dodgers All Time Leaders – Through 2019

dodgersWith baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We continue today with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers began life in Brooklyn in 1883, moving to their current home on the west coast , along with their rival Giants, in 1957.  I’ve seen them play 19 times, including the first two games of their 2008 NLDS sweep against the Cubs and their pennant-clinching victory in the 2017 NLCS.

Home Runs

Name Total
Kike Hernandez 5
Matt Kemp 2
James Loney 2
Manny Ramirez 2

Hits

Name Total
James Loney 20
Matt Kemp 14
Russell Martin 14

Runs

Name Total
James Loney 12
Russell Martin 8
Rafael Furcal 8

RBI

Name Total
James Loney 12
Matt Kemp 9
Kike Hernandez 9

Doubles

Name Total
James Loney 5
Matt Kemp 3
Juan Pierre 3

Triples Continue reading →

Giants All Time Leaders – Through 2019

giantsWith baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look back at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We continue today with the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants began life in 1883 in New York, before moving west to San Francisco in 1957. I’ve seen them play 22 times, first at their old home at Candlestick Park in 1999 and most recently last August at their current home, Oracle Park.  Prior to the world shutting down, I had planned another trip west next month to see the White Sox for a three game series

Home Runs

Name Total
Pedro Feliz 2
Brandon Crawford 2
12 tied with 1

Hits

Name Total
Pedro Feliz 8
Buster Posey 8
Rich Aurilia 6
Bengie Molina 6
Evan Longoria 6
Brandon Crawford 6

Runs

Name Total
Brandon Crawford 5
Rich Aurilia 4
Pedro Feliz 4

RBI

Name Total
Pablo Sandoval 6
Ray Durham 4
Bengie Molina 4
Pedro Feliz 4

Doubles

Name Total
8 tied with 2

Triples Continue reading →

Mets All Time Leaders – Through 2019

21st-CENTURY-METS_01With baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look back at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  We continue today with the New York Mets.

The Mets began life in 1962, joining the National League following the abandonment of the New York market by both the Dodgers and Giants in 1957.  I’ve seen them play 15 times, including Tom Glavine’s 300th career victory, their pennant clinching victory in the 2015 NLCS, and, most recently, on June 22, 2019

Name Total
Daniel Murphy 2
Cliff Floyd 2
16 tied with 1

Hits

Name Total
David Wright 7
Daniel Murphy 6
3 tied with 5

Runs

Name Total
David Wright 7
Daniel Murphy 4
Carlos Beltran 4

RBI

Name Total
Lucas Duda 6
Cliff Floyd 5
4 tied with 4

Doubles

Name Total
Carlos Delgado 3
Lucas Duda 2
David Wright 2
Jeromy Burnitz 2

Triples Continue reading →

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.

Corona Update

The CDC issued a guidance on Sunday that any in-person events that consist of 50 or more people should be canceled or postponed for the next 8 weeks.  Assuming the need to re-prepare for a season following a 2 month layoff, that means that the 2020 baseball season is unlikely to begin before June, with some rumors saying things wouldn’t get started until July.  This would put the kibosh on my west coast trip in mid-May to see the White Sox battle the Giants and the Padres.

In more local news, schools, restaurants, and bars have been closed throughout Illinois for the remainder of the month, after revelers disregarded warnings to stay home and packed bars on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Plus, I’ll be working from home until further notice, after a call on Sunday night to not come in.

The 10,000 Step Club – 2020 Edition

Last year, as I was finishing up my fourth year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at my 25 best step days since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 217 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 45 occurrences, my 3rd best year to date, for a total of 262.  With my fifth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 8 1/2 years, featuring only 3 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is from my April 2017 trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

My July 2017 trip to Virginia, to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val, fell just short of the top spot.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

2013’s trip to Disney World, which spent 5 years as my single day best, included excursions to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom, and yes, falling 12 steps short of 25,000 still irks me.

4: 6/3/2019 – 24,665 steps

The first new entry comes thanks to last summer’s trip to Washington DC, and the day spent at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

The second new entry is from last summer’s work trip out to San Francisco and the day I walked to Pier 39 and then back to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  It would have been even higher but I was dead tired and took an Uber back to the hotel after the game.

6: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

Dropping out of the top 5 after only 1 year is my first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

7: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

My October 2018 trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday gives us our next entry.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

8: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My one-time second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

9: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

Still my highest total at home in the state of Illinois, the next entry comes thanks to the 2013 BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

10: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with 2018’s trip to California and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

11: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The next entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

12: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

Down to #12 is my 2017 trip to Disney World, a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. 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.

Ballpark Tour: Giants

Spring training is a little less than a month away as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. Today we travel west to the Bay area for the baseball homes of the San Francisco Giants.  Between the two stadiums that have been located in and around San Francisco, I’ve seen 2 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Candlestick Park and AT&T Park.

Stadium Name: 3 Com Park

Years in Service: 1960 – 1999

Visits: 1

When the New York Giants moved west in 1958, the city of San Francisco began constructing a new ballpark for them, and Candlestick Park was born. The stadium opened in 1960 and was the home of the now-San Francisco Giants through the 1999 season. Along the way, the stadium has also played host to the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, dozens of commercials and movies, and, in 1965, the final commercial concert appearance by the Beatles.

In September of 1999, I headed out to the Bay Area to visit an old friend. One of the items on our agenda was to head out to Candlestick, which had been renamed 3Com Park by this point, to see a game before the Giants moved to their new home the following season. With only 13 home games left on the schedule, we set out to see the Giants take on the Phillies on September 2. The Giants, behind starter Joe Nathan, defeated the Phillies 3-2 on a cool autumn afternoon.

Stadium Name: AT&T Park/Oracle Park

Years in Service: 2000 – Present

Visits: 2

After flirting with a move to Tampa Bay, the Giants opened Pacific Bell Park in 2000 after 40 seasons at Candlestick Park. The ballpark was the first stadium built without public funds since the completion of Dodger Stadium in 1962. The stadium was renamed SBC Park in 2003 and then finally AT&T Park in 2006 thanks to the corporate upheaval in the telecommunications world. In April 2010, the stadium became the first MLB ballpark to receive LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance.

In May of 2008, I made my second trip out to Bay Area, this time to attend the Java One conference. The week started with the A’s in town while the Giants returned home for a weekend series, so I adjusted my schedule so that I could attend games at both stadiums. Friday night, after most of the techies had left town, I hopped on the bus down to AT&T Park to see the Giants, once again, take on the Phillies. I dropped some major coin for the best tickets in the house, which got me in a box between home plate and the Phillie dugout and a prime spot on the evening’s telecast. The Phillies, on their way to a World Series championship, defeated the Giants 7-4.

This past August, I mage my third trip to San Francisco, this time for a trip to one of our affiliates for talks about their entry into the broader corporate umbrella.  Wouldn’t you know it, but the Phillies were in town once again.  With Madison Bumgarner on the bump, the Giants shut down the Phillies as I took in the game a mere 3 rows behind the Giants dugout.

2019: The Year In Travel

Once again, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took this year.  As you may recall from last year‘s wrap-up, the year began in California.

New Year’s Day was spent in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, where Danny and the Lincoln-Way Marching Band were performing.  Lucky for them, they were slotted right after the float that caught on fire and eventually mucked up the entire end of the parade.  However, they were able to march around the disabled float and keep things moving for the time being.  The next day we went to the California ScienCenter, where we were able to see artifacts from King Tut’s tomb and the space shuttle Endeavor, and the beach before heading home.

And home is where I stayed for a whole month before heading out to Hawaii in February.  I arrived that first Saturday in February, checking out my surroundings around the resort and down Waikiki Beach after the long flight.  Monday, I took a tour of the island of Oahu, with stops at Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali lookout, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and the Dole Plantation.  Tuesday, I took in a whale watching cruise, where we were able to see multiple whales surfacing during the excursion.  Thursday, I traveled over to Pearl Harbor and all of the associated attractions and museums.  Come the following Saturday, it was time to head home on an overnight flight that got me in town very early Sunday morning.

Come June, the whole family headed east to celebrate Michael’s graduation.  We flew into Baltimore, where Dennis, the boys, and I went to breakfast before heading to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Giants.  On the way to the stadium, we stopped at the grave site of Edgar Allen Poe and the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.  After the game, we walked to the local bus depot, where we caught a bus to Washington DC for the remainder of the trip.

Continue reading →