Three Of A Kind

On a cold winter’s day, the attention of the baseball world turns to upstate New York and the hamlet of Cooperstown, where the votes were tallied, and the 2024 Hall of Fame class is now complete.  Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer join Jim Leyland, who was elected by the Veteran’s Committee last month, in obtaining baseball immortality.  Beltre, the former Dodger/Mariner/Ranger, and Mauer, the long-time Twin, make it on their first try.  Helton, the former Rockie first baseman, was on his sixth go-around.

Four others tallied greater than 50% of the vote, led by Billy Wagner, who came just short at 73.8% and seems likely to make it next year, his final year on the ballot.  Gary Sheffield saw a not-insignificant jump in his final election, rising to 63.9%.  Andruw Jones rose to 61.6% with three more years to go.  In his second go-around, Carlos Beltran jumped up to 57.1%.

On the local front, Manny Ramirez, who spent a little more than a month with the White Sox at the tail end of his career, saw a small decrease in support, finishing with 32.5% of the vote thanks to his multiple PED suspensions.  The disgraced Omar Vizquel, accused of both sexual abuse of an autistic teen and spousal abuse since being added to the ballot, dropped again, going down to 17.7%.  Jimmy Rollins, who spent the final 41 games of his career on the south side, picked up 14.8% in his third go-around.  Mark Buehrle fell back again, dropping to 8.3% in his fourth time on the ballot, living to fight another day.  Former White Sox pitchers Bartolo Colon and James Shields nabbed five votes between them.

Eight players will fall off the ballot after failing to score 5% of the vote.

As for the newest Hall of Famers, I’ve seen Mauer play 42 times, Beltre 17 times, and Helton eleven times.  They will get their day in the sun on Sunday, July 21.

Joe Mauer’s numbers in games I’ve attended were:

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2023 BBWAA Award Predictions

The Baseball Writers of America have announced the finalists for their awards for the just completed baseball season, which will be announced next week.  It is a good bet that few of my original predictions for the winners will be accurate.  Hopefully, these new predictions will be slightly better, especially since I’ll have a 33% chance of being right.

American League

Most Valuable Player: Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien

Shohei Ohtani should run away and hide with this award.  But, an early end to his season and perhaps some burnout from voters picking the same name every year may open the door a bit.  That said, these awards were voted on prior to the post-season, so the Rangers World Series win won’t move the needle at all, so I’m going to guess Ohtani still gets it.

Cy Young Award: Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, Sonny Gray

Gerrit Cole seems the obvious choice here.  He leads the three finalists in nearly every category and managed a WHIP below one in over 200 innings.

Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, Kevin Cash, Brandon Hyde

As usual, I didn’t make any predictions for this award prior to the season.  If voting took place after the World Series, then Bochy would be a shoo-in.  However, since the early playoff exits of the Orioles and the Rays don’t get taken into account, Brandon Hyde should win this award after leading the Orioles to an AL East title.

Rookie of the Year: Tanner Bibee, Triston Casas, Gunnar Henderson

Another award I didn’t predict prior to the season.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Gunnar Henderson will win, since he in the only one of these three that I have heard of previously.

National League

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Looking Ahead To 2024

Using the extra off day in the All-Star break, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2024 schedule on Thursday.  For the second year in a row, MLB is keeping with a balanced schedule, playing 52 games against division opponents, 64 games against non-division opponents in the same league, and 46 interleague games, with series against every team in the opposite league.  With the White Sox entering an uncertain second half of 2023 following a disappointing year and a half during what should have been the prime of their contention window, and the Cubs looking to take the next step forward in their rebuild, the 2024 season looks to be an interesting time in the city of Chicago.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season on March 28 against the Tigers, kicking off a six-game homestand that also features the Braves.

Aside from the Braves, the new interleague schedule sees the Pirates, Reds, Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Rockies, and Nationals travelling to Chicago, while the White Sox will go on the road to face the Phillies, Marlins, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Padres. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a two-game series at Wrigley Field in early June followed by a mid-August tilt at Guaranteed Rate Field that leaves both teams the rare Sunday off-day.

After a west coast trip in mid-September, the season wraps up with a mid-week home battle against the Angels followed by a trip to Detroit to finish up the year.

On the north side, the Cubs also open their season on March 28, heading out on the road for the first time in five years to battle the Rangers.  After a three-game series, they open the home portion of the schedule against the Rockies.

Aside from the Rangers, the Cubs will head out on the road to face the Mariners, Orioles, Guardians, Red Sox, and Royals, while the A’s, Twins, Angels, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Tigers will be coming to Wrigley.

Only six of their 26 games in September are against their NL Central rivals, which could make a difference if the Cubs find themselves in contention.  They end the year with a three-game tilt at home against the Reds.

It Hasn’t Been A While

Coming in to the 2023 season, I had seen every team since the pandemic-stricken 2020 season save two: the Pirates, who I had last seen in 2019, and the Marlins, who I hadn’t seen in person since 2013.  This week, I knocked both of those teams off the list, with the Marlins coming through Guaranteed Rate Field this past weekend and the Pirates in town at Wrigley Field this week.

Less than halfway through the 2023 season, I’ve already seen fourteen of the 30 clubs, just under half.  That number jumps to 25 when we turn the clock back to 2022.  That’s 83% of the league that I’ve seen in less than a season and a half.  The remaining five I saw in 2021, and I’m sure at least two or three will make an appearance in the second half of 2023.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Most Recent Game By Team

Team Name Date
Washington Nationals 5/19/2021
St. Louis Cardinals 5/26/2021
San Diego Padres 6/1/2021
Boston Red Sox 9/11/2021
Cincinnati Reds 9/28/2021
Seattle Mariners 4/12/2022
Los Angeles Angels 4/30/2022
New York Yankees 5/15/2022
Los Angeles Dodgers 6/8/2022
Texas Rangers 6/12/2022
Atlanta Braves 6/18/2022
Toronto Blue Jays 6/20/2022
Colorado Rockies 7/27/2022
Oakland Athletics 7/30/2022
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The Leury Garcia Era Has Come To An End

Leury Garcia, the longest tenured member of the White Sox, was released today after being beaten out for the opening day roster.  Garcia, who has spent portions of ten seasons on the south side, had a disappointing, injury filled 2022 and seemed to still be limited, both offensively and defensively, by the lingering impacts of those injuries this spring.

Garcia was acquired by the White Sox from the Rangers in 2013 in exchange for Alex Rios.  He signed a 3-year, $16.5 million contract with the team following the 2021 season.  With his departure, Tim Anderson now becomes the longest tenured member of the White Sox.

Garcia’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were: Continue reading →

All Time Team Records

After a long winter, the 2023 baseball season gets underway today.  To celebrate, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Last year, I tied 2012 for my 16th highest game total of all time, a big drop-off from the year before, and managed to see 20 out of the 30 teams, so there should be some nice changes.

The White Sox look to bounce back after a disappointing 2022, with a new manager hoping to regain the AL Central crown and move past the ALDS in the post-season, while the Cubs are finally hoping to be back in the conversation when it comes to the NL playoff picture.  The 2023 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town.

All-Time Team Records

Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 15 2 0.882
Cleveland Guardians 2 1 0.667
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
New York Yankees 19 12 0.613
Colorado Rockies 11 7 0.611
Boston Red Sox 19 13 0.594
Los Angeles Angels 20 15 0.571
Toronto Blue Jays 15 12 0.556
Philadelphia Phillies 11 9 0.550
Washington Nationals 7 6 0.538
Cleveland Indians 31 27 0.534
Chicago White Sox 351 321 0.522
Chicago Cubs 226 211 0.517
Houston Astros Continue reading →

Travelling The 50 States – Texas

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 28th state to be added to the Union: Texas.

State: Texas
Joined the Union: 1845
Visits: 4

After my dad moved there while I was in high school, I’ve made four trips to the Lone Star State, first in 1992 and most recently in 2005.

My first trip to the Dallas metroplex came in the summer of 1992.  My dad had moved there about two years earlier, and this was the first time my sister and I had been invited to visit.  I was there for a week, while my sister stayed for two, since I was getting ready to go away to college for the first time.  The activities I remember from that week include a trip to the rodeo, spending time in the swimming pool, and going to the former book depository to see the exhibit on the assassination of JFK.

I returned solo in 1998.  My only recollection from this trip was making my first visit to The Ballpark In Arlington, seeing the Rangers defeat the Royals in a high scoring affair.

My next visit came three years later, in early May of 2001.  Again, I don’t remember much about the trip, other than two additional visits to the Ballpark, first to see the Rangers lose to the Tigers and then, two nights later, to see them top the White Sox 2-0.

My latest trip to the Metroplex was in 2005.  The things I remember from this trip include trying to scam free WIFI from the house next doon, since my dad did not have a network set up, and a four game series between the Rangers and White Sox at the renamed Ameriquest Field, which the Rangers took three games to two.

Will I return?  Probably, some day.  The Rangers have built a new ballpark and I’ve never been to Houston, so I have to make those trips at some point.  Thanks to Purdue’s epic collapse in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, I don’t have to worry about traveling to Houston in April for the Final Four.

Team Stats: Games Per Team

Today, we wrap up our look at the all-time rankings for all iterations of the current 30 teams for the 1040 games I’ve identified that I have attended.  Opening Day is just under two months away and spring training camps are getting ready to roll in just a week or two, so let’s finish things off with the total number of games per team.

With the newly unbalanced schedule starting this year, the Central Division in each league will not score as heavily going forward.  In fact, you have to drop down to seventh place in the current rankings to find a team not in the Central Division and to tenth place to find the first team that was never in the Central.  The addition of expanded interleague play should also shake things up a bit moving forward.

Games Per Team

Team Name Total Games
Chicago White Sox 672
Chicago Cubs 437
Minnesota Twins 68
Kansas City Royals 62
Detroit Tigers 59
Cleveland Indians 58
Houston Astros 49
Pittsburgh Pirates 46
Milwaukee Brewers 41
Seattle Mariners 40
Cincinnati Reds 40
Texas Rangers 39
Baltimore Orioles 36
Los Angeles Angels 35
St. Louis Cardinals Continue reading →

Team Stats: Home Runs

It will be two months until baseball returns to Chicago, so 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 home runs.

As you might expect by this point, the White Sox and Cubs, based on the raw numbers, are far and away the leaders in this category, as they are, as always, the teams I’ve seen most often.  When you adjust the numbers per game, the California incarnation of the Angels and the Guardians are the only teams at or above two home runs per game.  The Nationals and the Anaheim version of the Angels are the only teams with less than a home run every other game.

Home Runs

TeamName TotalTriples
Chicago White Sox 811
Chicago Cubs 498
Cleveland Indians 72
Kansas City Royals 68
Detroit Tigers 66
Minnesota Twins 65
Seattle Mariners 58
Texas Rangers 49
Boston Red Sox 49
Houston Astros 48
Milwaukee Brewers 45
New York Yankees 44
St. Louis Cardinals 42
Oakland Athletics 42
Baltimore Orioles Continue reading →

Team Stats: Earned Run Average

With less than three 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 wrap up the defensive side of the ball today with earned run average.

Both the White Sox and Cubs find themselves in the middle of the pack for team ERA, with the Cubs coming in at 14th with 4.00 and the White Sox at 17th with a team ERA of 4.20.  The Anaheim iteration of the Angels lead the way, finishing mere percentage points below 2.60.  The Devil Rays are on the opposite end of the spectrum, clocking in just over 5.95.

Earned Run Average

Team Name ERA
Anaheim Angels 2.59620377314948
Arizona Diamondbacks 2.92054914270955
Washington Nationals 3.16720186512999
Montreal Expos 3.4000755572346
Los Angeles Dodgers 3.41129032258065
Colorado Rockies 3.58507711650256
Los Angeles Angels 3.65023417507605
San Francisco Giants 3.69195184152779
Boston Red Sox 3.70899413615711
Oakland Athletics 3.84286934244236
Tampa Bay Rays 3.87647371109753
Miami Marlins 3.9375
Philadelphia Phillies 3.96004525766009
Chicago Cubs 3.99524314872638
New York Mets Continue reading →