2024 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Newcomers

On Monday, the BBWAA released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2023, with the results of the vote are due to be revealed on January 23rd, and induction taking place July 21st.  With Scott Rolen as the sole electee last year, the new ballot contains fourteen holdovers along with twelve newcomers.

Yesterday, we looked at the returning candidates.  Today, it’s time to look at the newcomers and who see may be thankful come January.

Jose Bautista

The long-time Blue Jays slugger will likely get enough consideration to stick around on the ballot, but has no real chance at induction.

Adrián Beltré

Beltré finished his career with 3166 hits, 477 home runs, and 5 Gold Gloves at third base.  He is the closest thing to a shoo-in we’ve seen in years.

Bartolo Colon

The all-time wins leader, with 247, among Latin American pitchers, Colon will end up on the outside looking in, thanks to a 4.12 career ERA and a PED suspension in 2012.

Adrián González

The first overall pick of the 2000 draft, González put together a very fine career.  Just not one that will get him to Cooperstown.

Matt Holliday

Again, Holliday had a very fine career, although he will get dinged for part of that career taking place in Colorado, but I don’t see him getting in.

Victor Martinez

If he spent his entire career playing against the White Sox, he would be a first ballot, all-time great.  Unfortunately, he had to play against the other teams as well, which means he has to “settle” for having a very good career, but not a Hall of Fame career.

Joe Mauer

One MVP award, three Gold Gloves, and three batting titles, as a catcher, make me think Mauer will eventually find his way to Cooperstown, but he may need to wait a while.

Brandon Phillips Continue reading →

That’s A Bummer

The tear down of the disappointing 2023 White Sox continued late last night, when Chris Getz pulled the trigger on his first trade, sending Aaron Bummer to the Braves for Mike Soroka, Jared Shuster, Nicky Lopez, Braden Shewmake, and Riley Gowens.  Bummer, selected by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2014 draft, debuted with the team in July of 2017.  Since then, he has been a steady presence in the bullpen, appearing in 289 games over the past seven seasons.  He struggled in 2023, posting a career-worst 6.79 ERA.

Mike Soroka, 26, went 2-2 with a 6.40 ERA in seven games for the Braves in 2023 while working his way back from injury.  He suffered a torn Achilles tendon in a 2020 start and then re-tore it again in 2021 while rehabbing from the initial injury, causing him to miss the entire 2022 season as well.

Jared Shuster, a left-handed pitcher, made his major league debut for the Braves in 2023.  He made eleven starts with the big-league club, going 4-3 with a 5.81 ERA.  Nicky Lopez, a local product who attended Naperville Central high school, spent parts of five seasons with the Royals (of course!) before being traded to the Braves last July at the trade deadline.  He is a career .249 hitter with 6 home runs.

Braden Shewmake, a 25-year-old shortstop, was the 15th ranked prospect in the Braves organization.  He made two appearances for the Braves in May during a brief call-up.  Riley Gowens is another local product, a 24-year-old pitcher from Libertyville who played college ball at Illinois.  He made five appearances in the Braves system after being selected in the 2023 draft.

Bummer’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

You’ve Gotta Be Bleepin’ Me

Just when you think things can’t get any worse in White Sox Nation, the Tigers announced yesterday that they were poaching play-by-play man Jason Benetti, signing the announcer to a multi-year deal.  Benetti, 40, started with the White Sox in 2016, splitting time with Ken Harrelson until 2019 when he took over full time.

Benetti’s frustration with the White Sox organization has seemingly been growing for some time.  In 2021, he was a loud voice in favor of returning to broadcasting from the road instead of in studio following the pandemic shutdowns of 2020.  Things got testy again this past offseason, when he left ESPN for FOX and took on more national responsibilities, which irked some in the White Sox front office.  To add fuel to that fire, the White Sox refused to negotiate with Benetti’s agent, preferring instead to deal directly with Benetti, which is, frankly, odd behavior.

Whoever replaces Benetti in the broadcast booth will have very large shoes to fill.  They will also need to win over a fan base that has been repeatedly poked in the eye by the ownership and front office of their favorite team for the last two years.

A Change Can Do You Good

New general manager Chris Getz put his first stamp on the White Sox organization yesterday, declining the team’s $14 million option on Tim Anderson’s contract for 2024, making him a free agent.  Anderson, who was arguably the face of the franchise, saw his fortunes fall in the second half of 2022 and continued to freefall in 2023.

Drafter by the White Sox in the first round in 2013, Tim Anderson made his major league debut on June 10, 2016, going 2-3 in a victory against the Royals at US Cellular Field.  Replacing veteran Jimmy Rollins, who would be released five days later, Anderson played 99 games, hitting .283 with nine home runs, and finished seventh in Rookie of the Year balloting.  Showing that he was still a work in progress, Anderson slashed .257/.276/.402 in 2017, with a 2.1% walk rate, the lowest in the major leagues.  Defensively, he led the major leagues in errors, with 28, as well as fielding errors (16) and throwing errors (12).  He showed slight improvements in 2018, with slight improvements in his OBP and slugging percentage, while reducing his overall errors.

2019 was Anderson’s coming out party.  He led the major leagues with a .335 average while raising his OPS to .865, setting career highs with 167 hits, 32 doubles, and 81 runs.  He still had some issues on defense, leading all major league players with 26 errors, leading to the lowest fielding percentage amongst all shortstops.  His hot bat continued into the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, notching a .322 average and an .886 OPS.  He won his first Silver Slugger award while leading the White Sox to their first post-season appearance since 2008.  He thrived in the Wild Card series against the A’s, going 9-14 in the three-game series.

Anderson continued to prove that he his offensive improvement wasn’t a fluke when baseball returned full time in 2021.  He was named to his first All Star team and, on the game’s biggest stage, he hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees in the inaugural Field of Dreams game in the cornfields of Iowa.  Overall, he hit .309 and posted an .807 OPS while hitting 17 home runs and driving in 61 RBIs.  Continuing where he left off the previous October, Anderson hit .368 in the ALDS against the Astros.

Things started to sour for Anderson in 2022, both on the field and off.  Injuries limited him to just 79 games and left him with his lowest OPS since 2018.  Off the field, an Instagram post by a woman who was not Anderson’s wife insinuated they were in a relationship, and he was the father of her unborn child.  Looking for a fresh start, Anderson played with Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, earning praise from manager Mark DeRose and outfielder Mike Trout.  Unfortunately, those good vibes did not spill over to the 2023 season.  After an early injury, Anderson struggled the entire year, his OPS dropped to a career-low .582 and he managed just a single home run.

Now Anderson will look to rebuild his career outside of the only franchise he has ever known while the White Sox look to find a stopgap shortstop for 2024 until 2021 first round draft pick Colson Montgomery is ready to take the reins.

Anderson’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

Games Per Stadium By Year

With the 2023 season officially in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look at the number of games I’ve attended each year at one of the now-29 different stadiums I’ve visited over the years.

Games Per Stadium Per Year

GameYear StadiumName TotalGames
2008 US Cellular Field 46
2003 Wrigley Field 46
Surprise playoff runs for the White Sox in 2008 and the Cubs in 2003 led to what remains my highest single season totals ever, boosted by post-season play.
2021 Guaranteed Rate Field 44
My highest-post-pandemic total, helped in part by a division champion and the desire to get back to the ballpark following the lockdown of 2020.
2007 Wrigley Field 43
2004 Wrigley Field 41
My highest non-playoff total saw me attending over half of the home games for the Cubs in 2004.
2011 US Cellular Field 40
2009 US Cellular Field 40
2010 US Cellular Field 36
2005 Wrigley Field 34
2008 Wrigley Field 34
2017 Guaranteed Rate Field 33
2016 US Cellular Field 32
2006 US Cellular Field 32
2023 Guaranteed Rate Field 32
2015 US Cellular Field 31
2012 US Cellular Field 31
2007 US Cellular Field 29
2014 US Cellular Field 28 Continue reading →

Prolific Authors – 2 Books

Way back in December of 2011 (and again every other December since), we’ve taken a look at the authors I have read the most, dating back to high school.  This year, since I’ve far surpassed my reading output of any year on record, I thought it would be nice to take a deeper dive into those books I’ve read through October. Since our last check-in, I’ve read an additional 118 books, so there could be some movement over the past two years, but it’s time to take another look and see if my “favorite” authors have changed much in that time span.  Today, we start things off with the now 41 authors I’ve read twice, an increase of six over two years ago.

Max Barry

An Australian author, I’ve enjoyed the two novels of his I’ve read, Jennifer Government and Company.

Laura Caldwell

I have no idea how I came across the work of this local author, but I must have enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds.  Unfortunately, she passed away in 2020.

Michael Chabon

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the most recent of the two works of his I’ve read.  I have another, Wonder Boys, waiting in the to read pile, so he rise up some day.

Fate Of The Union – Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens

Matthew V. Clemens

The co-author, with Max Allan Collins, of the final two chapters of the Reeder and Rogers trilogy.

Ernest Cline

The man responsible for both Ready Player One and Ready Player Two.

Bill Clinton

The former president has co-written two novels with James Patterson.

Felicia Day

The first author here that I’ve happened to meet in person.

Cameron Dokey

She makes the list based on two entries in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

Diane Duane

Living in Ireland, she is responsible for a Star Trek: The Next Generation book and a Spider-Man novel, of all things.

Warren Ellis

The comic writer, currently in exile after being called out for abusing women, makes the list thanks to two prose novels.

David Fisher Continue reading →

2023 Final Batting Leaders

Another season of baseball season is in the books, with the White Sox disappointing their fans with their worst record since 1970 while the Cubs teased their fanbase with expectations of the postseason before their September swoon.  Let’s take a look back at the offensive leaders for the 43 games that I attended this season.

Home Runs

Name Total
Luis Robert 10
Jake Burger 6
Andrew Vaughn 6
Christopher Morel 4
Dansby Sawnson 4


Name Total
Andrew Benintendi 39
Eloy Jimenez 29
Luis Robert 28
Andrew Vaughn 28
Elvis Andrus 27


Name Total
Andrew Benintendi 21
Luis Robert 19
Continue reading →

2023 Predictions Revisited

Six months ago, I made my annual predictions as to who would win what.  With the Wild Card round in full swing, it is time to revisit those predictions and see what, if anything, I got right.

American League

East: Yankees

Yeah, I didn’t see this one coming.  The Yankees missed the postseason for the first time since 2016.  Meanwhile, the upstart Orioles came out of nowhere to win the East and take the top seed in the American League.

Central: Guardians

The Guardians put up a fight, but the Twins managed to rebound and re-take the Central.

West: Astros

It came down to the last day of the season, but the Astros did manage to win the division for the third straight year and the sixth year out of the last seven.

Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Mariners, White Sox

Oh boy.  Well, the Blue Jays managed to snag the last Wild Card spot and the Mariners lasted until the final week.  The White Sox, on the other hand, lost 100 games and were out of contention in April.

AL Champion: Yankees

If I’m going to be wrong, this is the way to do it.  The Astros look to have the easiest path, but I’m going to say either the Orioles or the Rays pull this one off.

Cy Young: Alek Manoah

This might be the wrongest prediction in the history of predictions.  Manoah was so bad this year, he spent time in both the Rookie League and AA.  Gerrit Cole looks to be the likely winner.

MVP: Julio Rodriguez

Another wrong guess.  Shohei Ohtani will probably take it, despite injuries ending his season early.

National League

Continue reading →

2023 Final Standings

A disappointing season on both sides of town came to an end this weekend, leaving both Chicago teams home for October.  The Cubs looked like a lock for a Wild Card spot heading into September, and even were holding on to the last spot within the past week, but managed to squander their lead.  The White Sox, on the other hand, managed to lose 100 or more games for just the fifth time in franchise history.  Despite all this, I ended up attending 43 games, tied with 2011 for my eleventh highest total of all time.  I only managed to add one new stadium, bringing my total up to 28.  All told, I managed to see 21 of the 30 teams.

2023 Team Records

Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Toronto Blue Jays 2 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 2 0 1.000
San Diego Padres 2 0 1.000
Miami Marlins 1 0 1.000
Chicago Cubs 9 2 0.818
Milwaukee Brewers 2 1 0.667
Seattle Mariners 2 2 0.500
San Francisco Giants 1 1 0.500
Oakland Athletics 1 1 0.500
St. Louis Cardinals 1 1 0.500
Detroit Tigers 1 1 0.500
Cleveland Guardians 1 1 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
Baltimore Orioles 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 15 21 0.417
Arizona Diamondbacks Continue reading →

What Went Wrong Again

That fateful Saturday night in Cleveland in early August certainly wasn’t where the 2023 White Sox season went off the rails.  That happened in April, when a ten-game losing streak left them fourteen games under .500 and nine games back before the first month of the season came to an end.  Or at the trading deadline, when seven players, nearly 27% of the active roster, got sent away to other teams who still had dreams of making the playoffs.  But that Saturday night, when Tim Anderson dropped his glove like a hockey player to square up with Jose Ramirez, broke open the floodgates of showing the organizational rot that has destroyed the contention window for the latest rebuild and sent the White Sox scrambling.

The clubhouse problems with the White Sox were kind of an open secret.  Dallas Keuchel made mention of it when he was released last year, but those complaints were waved off as the grumblings of a player who no longer had what it took to pitch at the major league level.  When Jose Abreu was interviewed prior to the season-opening series against his former team, he also spoke vaguely of feeling like he had finally joined a family.  Then, the day following the fight, an interview with former White Sox pitcher Kenyan Middleton, traded the week before, was posted on ESPN.com, claiming there were no rules, players were allowed to skip meetings and practice sessions with no repercussions, and rookies were found sleeping in the bullpen during games.  The next morning, Jesse Rogers, who wrote the ESPN article, appeared on the Score and went even further, saying Yoan Moncada is thought of as lazy and has no interest in being part of the team, Eloy Jimenez is happy-go-lucky but also considered to be extremely lazy, and Yasmani Grandal doesn’t work with the pitching staff and has lost their trust.  Later in the day, a story broke, from a Score producer, of an altercation between Tim Anderson and Grandal after Grandal wanted out of the last game prior to the All-Star Break to get an early start to his vacation.

When new manager Pedro Grifol was hired back in November, he said that, given what he had seen from the White Sox in years past, he would ensure that they came out every night with “high energy” and would be “prepared to win a baseball game.”  That didn’t turn out to be the case, as the White Sox were just as lackadaisical in their approach and their play as they were in 2022.  He was also quoted as saying “You can’t win a pennant in April and May, but you sure can lose one… you really have to be careful how easy you take it…”  This was rather prophetic, as the White Sox certainly managed to lose any chance they had at winning a pennant in April and May.  They spent exactly one day over .500, and that was following an opening day victory.  A ten-game losing streak from April 19-29 doomed them, and they’ve never been able to recover.

For once, the losing has forced change upon the organization.  A good part of the pitching staff was sold off at the trade deadline.  Executive Vice President Kenny Williams and General Manager Rick Hahn were relieved of their duties and replaced by Chris Getz.  More changes. I’m sure, will come this offseason.  Will this lead to a turn-around in 2024?  Probably not, as this year’s free agent class looks to be awfully weak, and the team has many holes to fill.  They also don’t have much in the way of trade capital, so it will be interesting to see how Getz is able to remake the team into one capable of contending.