End Of The Road?

With only four months remaining on the 10-year, $240 million contract signed following to the 2011 season, the Angels decided to cut ties with Albert Pujols, designating the future Hall of Fame baseball person for assignment yesterday.  “It’s more about opportunity,” GM Perry Minasian said of Pujols, to date, had posted an OPS 80 points below the league average in his age-41 season.  “Albert is not a bench player. We felt like, for him, with respect to him, keeping him on the bench, him not getting any playing time, would not do him any good or the team any good.”

Pujols is reportedly steadfast in his desire to continue playing, but it’s hard to see a good fit for him, especially with no DH in the National League.  Some speculation mentioned the White Sox as a potential landing spot, given the relationship between Pujols and Tony La Russa, but, unless Pujols is suddenly able to play the outfield, you would think the presence of Jose Abreu and Yermin Mercedes would preclude any such reunion.  If I had to guess, I would say this is the end of Pujols’ long and distinguished career.

Thanks to the profitable nature of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry, I didn’t see Pujols play in person as often as I could have during his prime, but he’s still in the top 5 of games played for non-Chicago players in my history.  His numbers, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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Another One Bites The Dust

The White Sox outfield is now down two starters after Luis Robert suffered a complete tear of his right hip flexor during Sunday’s game, general manager Rick Hahn said yesterday.  He won’t resume baseball activities for 12 to 16 weeks, whether he and the team opt for surgery or rest.  Robert, in his second season with the White Sox, was hitting .316 this season, with a homer and 11 runs scored.

Robert joins Eloy Jimenez on the injured list, after Jimenez tore his pectoral muscle during the last week of spring training and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season.  Hahn says the team will rely on internal options to take Robert’s place, but will also explore external options.  Either way, this is a big blow for a team expected to compete for the post-season.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #50-60

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We wrap up the first three quarters of the list today with the next batch of 10 artists, with ties at 56th, 54th, and 50th.

#60: Frank Sinatra
iTunes stats: 142 plays
Previous ranking: #81

The crooner from New Jersey and the leader of the Rat Pack jumps 19 slots thanks mostly to former White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who uses Sinatra tunes as his at bat music.

#59: TLC
iTunes stats: 143 plays
Previous ranking: #64

Adding a seventh song to my collection helps push the hip hop trio up 5 spots after a 104% increase.

#58: Smashing Pumpkins
iTunes stats: 145 plays
Previous ranking: #58

64 new listens over the past 4 years enables the Chicago based alternative band to remain stable in the rankings.

#56: Cheap Trick
iTunes stats: 153 plays
Previous ranking: #55

The boys from Rockford, who I have seen open up for two other bands on this list, add an additional 67 listens, which puts them down 1 spot on the list.

#56: Cracker
iTunes stats: 153 plays
Previous ranking: #51

Only 58 new listens over the past 4 years, a small 61% increase, led to a 5 spot drop for the Georgia rockers.

#54: Sam Kinison
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By The Numbers – 57

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 #57.  30 players have donned #57 while playing in Chicago, 17 for the White Sox and 13 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs, along with Matt Clement, in the deal that sent Dontrelle Willis, among others, to the Marlins in March of 2002, Antonio Alfonseca became the closer for a miserable 2002 Cubs team, which just so happened to be my first as a season ticket holder.  The 12-fingered Alfonseca went 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 19 saves in his first go-around with the team.  In 2003, he lost the closer role and was not particularly effective, going 3-1 with a 5.83 ERA.  He was suspended for 5 games in September after bumping an umpire with his generous stomach.  He was perfect in the post-season, appearing in 4 games total giving up no runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves and the Marlins.  He became a free agent following that 2003 season.

#57 has been a mainstay of the back end of the White Sox bullpen for many years, shared amongst such luminaries as Jace Fry, Zach Putnam, Tony Pena, and Boone Logan.

By The Numbers – 58

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 #58.  25 players have donned #58 while playing in Chicago, 20 for the White Sox and 5 for the Cubs.

Catcher Geovany Soto donned #58 during three cups of coffee with the Cubs, in 2005 – 2007.  Earning increased playing time each year, he garnered a single at bat in 05, 25 in 06, and 54 in 07.  He finally broke through in 2008, changing his number to #18 while earning Rookie of the Year honors.  He remained the main backstop for the team until the 2012 season, when he was traded to the Rangers in August.

On the south side of town, Bobby Thigpen wore #58 during his first go-around with the team, going 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in 20 games for the 1986 White Sox.  He switched to #37 the following year, which he wore for the remainder of his White Sox career, which ended with a 1993 trade to the Phillies.

Fitbit VII – Week 12

An overall disappointing week, despite managing to get out of the house once or twice for some baseball.  The week started off decently on Sunday, as a trip to Guaranteed Rate Field followed by Michael’s birthday celebration left me with 5200 steps.  Monday was the high point of the week, as I combined a trip to CVS for vaccine shot #2 with another game to surpass my daily goal of 7500 steps.  Tuesday, I was feeling the after-effects of either the shot or the late night cold game, so I dropped back down to 4200 steps.  I was feeling better on Wednesday, but meetings limited me to just 2700 steps.  An off day on Thursday for a day game for the White Sox against the Indians left me with 5500 steps.  Friday fell back down a bit, with only 3900 steps.  Saturday was a waste, finishing with a mere 2200 steps.

Total steps: 31,473

Daily average: 4496.1

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #71-79

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We continue today with the next batch of 10 artists, with the 2 tied for 79th place followed by the single artists at 78th through 71st.

#79: Britney Spears
iTunes stats: 109 plays
Previous ranking: #71

The Grammy Award winner (surprised you there, didn’t I) sees a 79% increase in plays over the past 4 years while dropping 8 spots.

#79: Bush
iTunes stats: 109 plays
Previous ranking: #69

The winners of the American Music Award for Favorite Alternative Group in 1998, who I saw in concert back in 1996, picked up 46 additional listens while dropping 10 slots on the list.

#78: P.O.D.
iTunes stats: 112 plays
Previous ranking: #48

A big 30 spot drop for the band responsible for the entrance music for former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.

#77: Fiona Apple
iTunes stats: 114 plays
Previous ranking: #81

Doubling her previous total enables the singer I’ve seen in concert twice to move up 4 spots on the chart.

#76: The Beastie Boys
iTunes stats: 115 plays
Previous ranking: #84

59 new listens in the last 4 years bumps the Beastie Boys up 8 spots in the rankings.

#75: U2
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By The Numbers – 59

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 #59.  15 players have donned #59 while playing in Chicago, 6 for the White Sox and 3 for the Cubs.

Acquired in 1984 from the Mariners for Salome Barojas, Gleaton put up good numbers in Triple A for the White Sox and was eventually called up to the big leagues, appearing in 11 games.  Gleaton again split the 1985 season between Triple A and the White Sox, with more success in Triple A.  He made it in to 31 games for the White Sox, but put up a 5.76 ERA.  He then spent all of 1986 in Triple A before leaving the White Sox organization as a free agent.

On the north side of town, Rodney Myers donned #59 from 1996 through 1999, putting up a 5-2 record with a 4.90 ERA, before being traded to the Padres for Gary Matthews Jr.

Oh No-No

Last December, after 6 years of injuries and unmet expectations, the White Sox cut ties with Carlos Rodon, their first round pick in the 2014 draft.  On February 1, they brought him back, at a reduced rate, as back of the rotation insurance.  After a strong spring, he beat our Reynaldo Lopez for the fifth starter’s spot.  Last night, in his second start of the season, he was perfect through 25 hitters against the Indians and, after a hit batsman, ended up with the 20th no hitter in White Sox history.

This should have been my first no hitter seen in person.  But, and you knew there was going to be a but, life somehow got in the way.  I had bought tickets to the entire first homestand, so that wasn’t the issue.  Monday afternoon, I got my second vaccine shot and then headed down to Guaranteed Rate Field for that night’s game.  Ironically, Rodon was scheduled to pitch Monday, but was scratched with a stomach bug.  Tuesday, I was feeling the after-effects of the shot, the night out in the cold, or both, with a fuzzy head, chills, and body aches.  I decided to skip Tuesday night’s game.  By Wednesday morning, I was feeling pretty normal, but, with a forecast game-time temperature in the 40s, I decided to play it safe and stay home once again.  A mistake that I will have to live with for the rest of my days.

Fitbit VII – Week 11

A decent pandemic week, though still quite shy of my goal.  Things got off to a good start on Sunday, as a trip in to Chicago to celebrate birthdays with Val and Daryl put me over 7500 steps.  Monday and Tuesday were slight disappointments, as I finished over 7000 and 7100 steps respectively, but couldn’t get those few additional steps to put me over goal.  Things fell off on Wednesday, as I dropped down to 4000 steps due to meeting after meeting after meeting.  Thursday saw a bit of a bounce back, thanks to the White Sox home opener and my triumphant return to Guaranteed Rate Field, leaving me with 6400 steps.  Friday was a little worse, with only 4800 steps.  A rainout on Saturday kept me home all day, which left me only 3 steps shy of 2400.

Total steps: 39,524

Daily average: 5646.3