All Time Playoff Team Records

For the first time since 2008, both the White Sox and the Cubs are in the post-season following this abbreviated 2020 season.  The expanded run to the World Series will start with the White Sox facing A’s in Oakland for a best of 3 series starting tonight, while the Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley starting tomorrow.  Winners will advance to the LDS and enter a playoff bubble, with the AL moving to California and the NL to Texas.

With the AL Wild Card Series set to kick off today, it’s time to take an updated look at the team records for the now 30 playoff contests I have attended. These contests come from the 2018 Wild Card game, the ALDS in 2000, 2005, and 2008, the NLDS in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the NLCS in 2003, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the ALCS in 2005, and, of course, the 2005 and 2016 World Series.  Sadly, I won’t be adding any games to this list this year.  Thanks, corona virus.

Post-Season Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Florida Marlins 3 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 0 1.000
New York Mets 2 0 1.000
Colorado Rockies 1 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Chicago White Sox 5 4 0.556
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 3 0.500
Atlanta Braves 1 1 0.500
Cleveland Indians 1 1 0.500
Los Angeles Angels 1 1 0.500
Washington Nationals 1 1 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
Chicago Cubs 9 13 0.409
San Francisco Giants 0 2 0.000
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 2 0.000
Houston Astros 0 1 0.000

A Pause In The Season

This weekend’s series between the Cubs and the Cardinals in St. Louis has been cancelled after an additional two Cardinal players and a staff member have tested positive for COVID-19.  In total, nine Cardinals players have tested positive for the corona virus since last week and the team has not played since July 29th.  Assuming they can resume play on Monday, they will need to play 55 games in just 49 days in order to complete their 60 game schedule.

The Cubs will head back to Chicago tonight, and then likely hold work outs at Wrigley Field before resuming their schedule on Tuesday in Cleveland.  They aren’t scheduled to return to St. Louis this year, so making up these games will likely include some combination of double headers at Wrigley and mutual off days, if the games are made up at all.

Cubs All Time Leaders – Through 2019

chc_logoWith baseball now officially on its way back after 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 things today with the Chicago Cubs.

I’ve seen the Cubs play 416 times at 9 different stadiums in 7 different cities, with the earliest identified game at Wrigley Field on August 4, 1984 against the Mets, through a late August 2019 game against the Nationals.

Home Runs

Name Total
Sammy Sosa 42
Aramis Ramirez 41
Derrek Lee 38

Hits

Name Total
Derrek Lee 245
Aramis Ramirez 216
Sammy Sosa 136

Runs

Name Total
Derrek Lee 136
Aramis Ramirez 114
Sammy Sosa 102

RBI

Name Total
Aramis Ramirez 151
Derrek Lee 128
Sammy Sosa 97

Doubles

Name Total
Derrek Lee 51
Aramis Ramirez 48
Michael Barrett 29

Triples Continue reading →

Looking Ahead To 2021

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule late last week, 3 weeks before the 2020 season begins. The local squads should have common goals in mind for 2021: competing for a title.  Assuming, of course, that the 2020 season goes off as planned and the pandemic winds down enough for 2021 to proceed as planned.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season against the Angels in (Los Angeles, California, Anaheim), the first time that has happened since 1993.  Which, I guess, is a decent sign if one’s looking for omens towards a division title.  They return home a week later, facing the Royals for the home opener.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL Central, with trips to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee and home series against the Reds, Cardinals, and the Pirates. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a series at Wrigley at the beginning of August and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field at the end of the month.

The season ends with a 5 game homestand against the Reds and Tigers.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up at home against the Pirates, which seems to be a familiar Opening Day foe.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL Central, with trips to Cleveland, Detroit, and Minnesota and home series against the Indians, Royals, and the Twins.

The Cubs end the year with a 12 of their final 14 games against the NL Central, with 9 of those coming against the Brewers and the Cardinals, who are likely to challenge them for the NL Central crown.

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Skydeck At Willis Tower

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities. Now that the state is starting to open back up following the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We continue things this week with one of the entries from the Architecture category: Skydeck at Willis Tower, from Chicago, IL.

No story about Illinois architecture would be complete without name-dropping Willis Tower, or as many old-schoolers still like to call it, Sears Tower.  When it debuted in 1973, the 110-story icon from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill began its quarter-century reign as the tallest building in the world.  Play tourist, and pose for pictures on the Ledge, a glass balcony jutting out 4.3 feet from the side of the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.

I’ve made the trip up to the Skydeck at Sears Tower (not being one of those people, just haven’t been there since the name change) a handful of times over the years.  Two stick out in my memory: once in high school and my most recent trip back in 2004.

The high school trip was memorable, mostly for what went on outside the Tower than in it.  My friends Scott, Mike, and I made the trip downtown (probably when we weren’t supposed to) and tried to help some poor soul parallel park.  If the goal was to not hit the cars in front or behind her, then we failed.  After that, we managed to get Scott in for the 12 and under price, despite being 16-ish.

The 2004 trip came between games of a crosstown doubleheader, this one featuring the Marlins and Expos playing at US Cellular Field during the day.  With time to kill before the nightcap at Wrigley, Pete and I went up to the Skydeck, since he had never been before.

Cardinals All Time Leaders – Through 2019

cardinalsWith 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 St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals began life in 1891, joining the National League the following year after the dissolution of the old American Association.  They took on the Cardinal name starting in 1900.  I’ve seen them play 31 times, most recently last May at Wrigley Field.

Home Runs

Name Total
Scott Rolen 7
Jim Edmonds 6
Albert Pujols 6

Hits

Name Total
Scott Rolen 22
Albert Pujols 22
Jim Edmonds 20

Runs

Name Total
Jim Edmonds 16
Albert Pujols 14
Scott Rolen 13

RBI

Name Total
Albert Pujols 16
Scott Rolen 15
Jim Edmonds 14

Doubles

Name Total
Ryan Ludwick 4
Albert Pujols 3
Scott Rolen 3
Jim Edmonds 3
Fernando Vina 3
Jason Heyward 3

Triples Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #21 – 29

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.

Today, we breach the 50 listens plateau, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#29: The Lonely Island – Lazy Sunday (ft. Chris Parnell)
iTunes stats: 47 plays, most recently on 10/16/2019
Previous ranking: #20

A bit of a drop down the charts for the original SNL digital short that put the Lonely Island on the pop culture map and defined the phrase “viral video”.

#29: Chance The Rapper – Step Up Part 1
iTunes stats: 47 plays, most recently on 1/24/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An auspicious debut for this portion of the hype video the rapper created for the White Sox used during the 2016 season.

#28: Foo Fighters – All My Life
iTunes stats: 49 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: #22

A slight decrease for the live version of the song from the Live in Hyde Park bootleg.

#27: Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It
iTunes stats: 50 plays, most recently on 1/24/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A strong debut for the main walk up song for former White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton.

#23: Van Halen – Jump
iTunes stats: 52 plays, most recently on 8/11/2019
Previous ranking: #96

A tremendous jump (see what I did there?) for the song that, for years, was used as the Chicago Cubs took the field at their home games.

#23: Tag Team – Whoomp! There It Is
Continue reading →

Padres All Time Leaders – Through 2019

With 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 Diego Padres.

The Padres began life in 1969, joining the National League along with the Montreal Expos.  I’ve seen them play 19 times at 5 different ballparks, first in 1985 at Wrigley Field and, most recently, in 2017.  I was supposed to take in the 3 game series between them and the White Sox next month at PETCO Park.

Home Runs

Name Total
Adrian Gonzalez 2
Ramon Hernandez 2
Mike Cameron 2
Khalil Greene 2

Hits

Name Total
Ryan Klesko 9
Sean Burroughs 9
Brian Giles 8

Runs

Name Total
Adrian Gonzalez 7
Mark Loretta 5
Ramon Hernandez 4
Mike Cameron 4

RBI

Name Total
Khalil Greene 8
Ramon Hernandez 6
Ryan Klesko 6

Doubles

Name Total
Ryan Klesko 3
Adrian Gonzalez 3
Will Venable 3

Triples Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Cubs

Well, spring training has been cancelled and nobody knows when opening day will occur, but life must go on.  So, it is time to start wrapping up our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years with the penultimate stadium: the home of the Chicago Cubs.  Over 100 years old, I’ve been able to identify 359 games that I’ve seen there.  So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Wrigley Field.

Stadium Name: Wrigley Field

Years in Service: 1914 – Present

Visits: 359 (that I’m aware of)

Weeghman Park, home of the Chicago Chifeds of the Federal League, opened on April 23, 1914.  When the Federal League folded in December of 1915, team owner Charles Weeghman was allowed to buy the rival Chicago Cubs and immediately moved them from the dilapidated West Side Park and into his stadium for the 1916 season.  The Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park on April 20, 1916, besting the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in eleven innings.

That year, Weeghman sold a minority interest in the Cubs to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley.  As Weeghman’s financial fortunes started to decline, Wrigley acquired an increasing number of shares in the club and took on a growing role in the team’s affairs until November 1918, when Weeghman gave up his remaining interest to Wrigley, resigned as president, and left baseball for good. Wrigley would acquire complete control of the Cubs by 1921, and, prior to the start of the 1927 season, the park was officially renamed Wrigley Field.

William’s son, Philip K. Wrigley, had intended to install lights at Wrigley Field prior to the 1942 season.  However, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and the US entered World War II, Wrigley donated the materials for the lights to the war effort.  The Cubs eventually became the only team without lights, continuing to play day games at home exclusively until 1988, when lights were finally installed.  To this day, the Cubs are still limited in the number of night games they may schedule per season, though that number has increased significantly since the late 80s.

As Wrigley Field continues in its second century, renovations to the stadium to make it economically viable for the 21st century are nearly complete.  Expanded clubhouses and new training facilities have been put in place for the players, both home and away.  New scoreboards, rebuilt bleachers, new clubs, and expanded concourses have been put in place for the fans.

I’ve managed to identify 359 games I’ve attended at Wrigley Field, most of them since 2002, when I became a season ticket holder.  After years of futility with the occasional bit of success tossed in, the Cubs have seen sustained success over the past 5 years for the first time in decades, despite their collapse down the stretch last September.

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 →