2020 Games Of Interest

March 28 – White Sox Puffy Vest
April 11 – White Sox Hoodie
April 18 – Yoan Moncada Bobblehead
April 25 – TBD Bobblehead
May 2 – Lucas Giolito X-Wing Fighter Bobblehead
May 16 – 1960 Replica Scoreboard
May 29 – Fireworks
May 30 – Tim Anderson Batflip Bobblehead
June 6 – White Sox Hawaiian Shirt
June 26 – Fireworks
July 1 – Wrigley Field Scoreboard Replica
July 19 – TBD Bobblehead

August 28 – Elvis Night & Fireworks
September 20 – TBD Bobblehead

Ballpark Tour: Brewers

Spring training is in full swing and opening day is about a month away, as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. The closest city, outside of Chicago, for baseball, contains the homes of the Milwaukee Brewers. Between the two stadiums that have been located in the heart of cheeseland, I’ve seen 8 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with County Stadium and Miller Park.

Stadium Name: County Stadium

Years in Service: 1953 – 2000

Visits: 1

Milwaukee County Stadium was built with the intention of drawing a major league baseball team to Milwaukee, and it worked quicker than anybody would have expected, as the Braves announced they would be moving from Boston 3 weeks before the stadium, and the 1953 season, opened.  The Braves would call Milwaukee home for the next 13 seasons before leaving for Atlanta for the 1966 season.

During the 1968 and 1969 seasons, the struggling Chicago White Sox wound up playing 20 home games at County Stadium in an effort to keep the baseball fandom alive in Milwaukee.  In 1970, local businessman Bud Selig purchased the expansion Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved them to Milwaukee and rechristened them the Brewers.  The Brewers would call County Stadium home until 2000, when they would move next door in to the newly built Miller Park.

I made one trip up to County Stadium for a White Sox/Brewers tilt on July 18, 1993.  The White Sox were victorious thank to a 2-run single by Bo Jackson in the 9th inning. I remember sitting out in the bleachers, but, beyond that, have no particular memory of the stadium or what amenities, if any, it offered.

Stadium Name: Miller Park

Years in Service: 2003 – Present

Visits: 7

The Brewers broke ground on a new stadium on November 9, 1996, in a parking lot behind County Stadium, with plans to open the park for the 2000 season.  Construction was delayed in 1999 after a crane collapsed while lifting a 400-ton roof section, killing three workers.  This caused the opening to be delayed for a year, and the new Miller Park did not open until April 6, 2001.  In 2007, the stadium hosted an Indians series against the Angels after snow storms in Cleveland forced the cancellation of the previous series against the Mariners.  The Astros called Miller Park home for two games in 2008 when Hurricane Ike stormed through Houston.

I made the first of my seven visits to Miller Park during the inaugural season of 2001.  That May 7th contest had the Cubs squeaking out a 7-6 victory against the hosting Brewers.  My most recent trip up north was this past summer, to once again see the Cubs battle (or destroy) the Brewers.  Miller Park was a vastly superior replacement over County Stadium, and I’ve enjoyed each of my subsequent trips up to Milwaukee to see the local ballclubs.

All Time Batting Leaders – Through 2019

baseballs2Last week, we took our annual look at the all time leaders in pitching stats for the 948 games I’ve attended (and identified) between 1984 and 2019. With the full White Sox roster reporting to camp yesterday and full workouts beginning today, it’s time to move over to the other side of the ball and take a look at the offensive stat leaders for those games, starting with our first category:

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Sammy Sosa 42
Aramis Ramirez 41
Derrek Lee 40
Jermaine Dye 40

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 300
Derrek Lee 255
AJ Pierzynski 239
Aramis Ramirez 234

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Derrek Lee 140
Alexei Ramirez 134
Aramis Ramirez 120
A.J. Pierzynski 106

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Aramis Ramirez 158
Alexei Ramirez 140
Derrek Lee 134
Jermaine Dye 108

Doubles Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Rangers

With the offseason underway, we continue our tour of all of the different baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. This week, we look at the Texas Rangers, a team you would think I would have visited more often due to it’s proximity to my father. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with the originally-named Ballpark In Arlington, the now former home of the Rangers.

Stadium Name: The Ballpark In Arlington/Ameriquest Field/Rangers Ballpark In Arlington/Globe Life Park

Years in Service: 1994 – 2019

Visits: 7

After spending their entire history at nearby Arlington Stadium, the Texas Rangers broke ground on their new stadium on April 2, 1992 and held their first game there nearly two years later, on April 11, 1994 against the Brewers.  The stadium was known by the somewhat clunky moniker of The Ballpark in Arlington until May of 2004, when Ameriquest bought the naming rights.  That deal ended in March of 2007, and the stadium was renamed again, this time to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Corporate money came calling again in 2014, when Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the naming rights.  The stadium also features a Rangers Hall of Fame, which includes historical artifacts from the team along with visiting collections from Cooperstown.

I made my first trip to the Ballpark on May 22, 1998, to see the Rangers defeat the Royals during a visit to the Dallas area to see my dad.  I returned in 2001 for two games, against the Tigers and 2 days later against the White Sox.  In 2005, on my last trip to the area to date, I took in the entire 4 game series between the Rangers and the eventual World Series champion White Sox.

Having never been to Arlington Stadium, I can’t compare the two, but I would assume that the Ballpark is a vast improvement over its predecessor.  The only downside I noticed in the games I attended was a day game under the hot Texas sun.  The Rangers are addressing that, opening a new stadium next season with a retractable roof.

The Decade In Travel

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are continuing with travel, specifically the 53 out of state trips that I took between 2010 and 2019.  The first trip of the decade came in September of 2010, as I traveled north to Detroit and Windsor, staying in Canada when I wasn’t watching the White Sox battle the Tigers.  The final trip of the decade, and a fitting bookend to the decade, came in December, when the family traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see Angelina skate in a competition.  2018 was my best year, with 13 different trips/destinations, while 2012 was my worst year, with only a single trip.

My most popular place to travel was, unsurprisingly, West Lafayette, with 7 different trips.  Next came a 3-way tie, with Milwaukee, Boston, and Los Angeles each finding themselves under my feet 4 times.  The only other place I went to more than twice was Disney World, with 3 trips.

If we break down those 53 trips, we get the following:

  • 32 locations
  • 6 countries
    • United States
    • Canada
    • Italy
    • Ireland
    • Scotland
    • Northern Ireland
  • 19 states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Michigan
    • Wisconsin
    • Minnesota
    • Iowa
    • Massachusetts
    • New York
    • California
    • Nevada
    • Arizona
    • Mississippi
    • Tennessee
    • Arkansas
    • Ohio
    • Maryland
    • Virginia
    • South Carolina
    • Hawaii

 

 

 

2020 Tickets – Southside Edition

For the fifth consecutive year, the White Sox have decided against physical tickets for non-premium season ticket holders, meaning that, once again, this year’s ticket package is nothing more than digital bits on a website or the MLB Ballpark app.  While this does make the actual game day use of the tickets more convenient, it does lose some of the excitement of ticket arrival day.

All Time Pitching Leaders – Through 2019

baseballs3White Sox pitchers and catchers hold their first spring workout today, so it is time for our annual look at the pitching leaders in the now 948 games I’ve attended, and identified, between 1984 and 2019. Very little difference from last year with no new faces, but a few categories have some movement on the leader board. So, without further ado, let’s get things started with our first category, the always popular:

Wins

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 31
Gavin Floyd 24
Carlos Zambrano 21
Chris Sale 21
John Danks 19

Losses

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 17
Jose Quintana 17
John Danks 16
Carlos Zambrano 15
Gavin Floyd 15

ERA (>= 35 IP)

Name Total
David Robertson 2.17
DJ Carrasco 2.20
Nate Jones Continue reading →

Grievence Denied

After nearly 5 years, an arbitrator has ruled in favor of the Cubs in the grievance filed by the MLBPA on behalf of Kris Bryant.  The grievance, filed in May of 2015, alleged that the Cubs manipulated Bryant’s service time in an effort to keep an extra year of team control before Bryant was eligible for free agency.  The hearing took place this past October, once it became obvious that Bryant and the Cubs would not be coming to an agreement on a long term contract that would make the grievance moot.

Bryant split the 2014 season between Double A Tennessee and Triple A Iowa.  Despite hitting .325 with a combined 43 home runs and 110 RBIs between the two levels, he did not get a September call-up by the Cubs.  Determined to break camp with the big league team the next spring, Bryant slashed .425/.477/1.175 with nine home runs in 40 at-bats in the Cactus League.  However, that was not good enough to supplant Mike Olt, and Bryant was returned to Triple A to, allegedly, work on his defense.  When Olt injured his wrist on April 11, the Cubs waited until April 17 to put him on the DL and recall Bryant, the very day they gained an extra year of control.  Bryant went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year award, hitting .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs while Olt, after finishing the year with the White Sox, never played in the major leagues again after the 2015 season.

So, the Cubs retain control over Bryant for an additional two years.  Whether he steps foot on the field again as a member of the team is still up in the air.  With the Cubs too close to the luxury tax threshold for Tom Ricketts’ comfort, Bryant has been rumored to be on the trading block all winter, with the result of his grievance, and the length of time before he becomes a free agent, seen as being the holdup in closing a deal.  While trading Bryant may be the best way to replenish a farm system left bare by 5 years of contention, while also lowering the team’s overall payroll commitments, doing so does not signal an intention to try and win in 2020, while the remainder of the team’s core moves closer to free agency themselves.

Entering The Hall

All eyes turned towards the small hamlet of Cooperstown, New York yesterday, as the votes were tallied and two new members were announced as the Hall of Fame class of 2020: Derek Jeter and Larry Walker.  Jeter, in his first year of eligibility, came 1 vote short of joining his former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only players to be elected with 100% of the vote.  Walker, in his tenth and final year of eligibility, found himself on 76.6% of the ballots, 6 votes above the threshold for enshrinement.

Four others tallied greater than 50% of the vote, led by Curt Schilling, who jumped up to 70%.  Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds saw very modest increases, which makes their eventual induction by the BBWAA unlikely with only two more elections for each.  Omar Vizquel saw a nice increase in his third go-around, going from 42.8% to 52.6%.

Bobby Abreu is the only first timer who will return, earning 5.5% of the vote, just above the 5% cutoff.  Of the local contingent, former White Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez finished with 28.2%, Andruw Jones earned 19.4%, and Cub outcast Sammy Sosa garnered 13.9%.  Paul Konerko got a mere 10 votes, Alfonso Soriano got 6, and J.J. Putz and Adam Dunn snagged a vote apiece.

As for the newest Hall of Famers, I’ve seen Jeter play 18 times, followed by a mere 3 career games for Walker.  These two, along with Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller, who were elected by the Veteran’s Committee in December, will enter the Hall on Sunday, July 26.

Derek Jeter’s numbers in games I’ve attended were: Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #170 Part The Third

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs 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 my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We continue today with the next group of ten songs tied for 170th place with 30 plays apiece since my stats began in late 2007.

#170: Garfunkel and Oates – Pregnant Women Are Smug
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 10/14/2019
Previous ranking: #167

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci add 13 new listens to pretty much keep pace with their previous showing.

#170: Garbage – Cherry Lips (Live)
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for this live version of the song, performed at Chicago’s Virgin Megastore and broadcast live on WXRT.

#170: Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 12/30/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the song has put in 30 listens since being added to my collection in early 2016 prior to a certain road trip.

#170: DJ Danger Mouse – 99 Problems
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 9/26/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A big drop off for this mash-up of Jay Z’s 99 Problems and The Beatles Helter Skelter.

#170: The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Overture/Going Through The Motions
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A bit of a drop off for the opening tune, performed by series star Sarah Michelle Gellar, from the musical episode in season 6.

#170: Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago
Continue reading →