If You Build It, Nobody Will Come

The White Sox were scheduled to participate in next week’s “Field of Dreams” game in the cornfields of Iowa, first, against the Yankees pre-pandemic and then against the Cardinals once the schedules were re-jiggered.  Now, the game, slated for Dyersville, Iowa, near the filming location of Field of Dreams, has been called off due to logistical issues brought on by the corona virus.  Not directly blamed, but probably a contributing factor, is the outbreak of infections that the Cardinals suffered this past weekend, pausing their season.

The game, considered a home game for the White Sox, will likely be moved back to Guaranteed Rate Field, assuming the Cardinals are back in action.  The game in Iowa is expected to be pushed to 2021, with the White Sox playing an opponent to be determined.

Hall Of Fame Batting Leaders


 

In normal times, today would have been the day former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was joined by Expos and Rockies legend Larry Walker, Cardinal and Brewer backstop Ted Simmons, and union boss Marvin Miller in taking their place in Cooperstown.  However, thanks to the corona virus, the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will need to wait until next year for induction.  But, with two new hitters who would have been joining the list of Hall of Famers I’ve seen play live, let’s check back in anyway with the new leaders on the offensive side of the ball amongst Hall of Famers for all of the games I’ve attended between 1984 and 2020.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jim Thome 35
Frank Thomas 15
Vladimir Guerrero 6
Ivan Rodriguez 4
Chipper Jones 3
Harold Baines 3
Carlton Fisk 3

Hits

Name Total
Jim Thome 110
Frank Thomas 54
Ken Griffey Jr 32
Continue reading →

All Time Team Records

What was planned to be the earliest non-international start in Major League Baseball history turned into the latest, thanks to a combination of the corona virus pandemic and pointless bickering between the MLBPA and team owners.  With the 2020 baseball season finally set to get underway today, although with no fans in the stands, 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.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to bounce back from last year’s September collapse that kept them out of the postseason for the first time since 2014, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions push them towards contention as their young talent starts to blossom.  With only 60 games to make their mark, the 2020 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 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
Continue reading →

2020 Predictions

After months of delay due to the corona virus, the 2020 baseball season is finally scheduled to kick off today with two games, followed by a full slate of games featuring the remaining teams tomorrow.  For the tenth consecutive year, I’ve looked into the crystal ball to make my picks for the upcoming season.  Although, given the circumstances of this season, this is more of a fool’s errand than usual.

American League

East: Yankees

Central: Twins

West: Astros

Wild Cards: White Sox, Rays

AL Champion: Yankees

Cy Young: Blake Snell

MVP: Yoan Moncada

National League

Continue reading →

It’s Still Been A While

Exactly 8 months since my last baseball game, the longest drought I’ve experienced since 1998 into 1999, I figured it was a good time to take another look at the last time I saw each of the 30 major league teams. For someone with season tickets to two teams, one in each league, you would think that I would cycle through each team every few years or so.  And, for the most part, that does seem to be the case.  I saw 21 of the 30 teams in 2019, going back to 2018, that number jumps to 23.  That’s nearly 77% of the league in the past 2 seasons.

What about those remaining 7 teams?  The Dodgers, Rays, Braves, and Padres last appeared in 2017, while 2016 takes care of the Reds.  I somehow haven’t seen the Diamondbacks since 2014, despite being inside their home ballpark more recently than that.  That leaves the Marlins, who I have somehow not managed to see in person since 2013.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Team Name Date
Miami Marlins 5/26/2013
Arizona Diamondbacks 5/10/2014
Cincinnati Reds 4/11/2016
San Diego Padres 5/13/2017
Atlanta Braves 9/2/2017
Tampa Bay Rays 9/3/2017
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/19/2017
Houston Astros 4/22/2018
Colorado Rockies 10/2/2018
Seattle Mariners 4/6/2019
Pittsburgh Pirates 4/8/2019
Kansas City Royals 4/15/2019
Boston Red Sox 5/5/2019
St. Louis Cardinals 5/5/2019
Continue reading →

Yankees All Time Leaders – Through 2019

YankeesWith 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 New York Yankees.

The Yankees began life in 1901 as the Baltimore Orioles, moving to New York in time for the 1903 season.  I’ve seen them play 26 times, first in 1997 and most recently this past June.

Home Runs

Name Total
Marcus Thames 3
Nick Swisher 3
Jacoby Ellsbury 3

Hits

Name Total
Derek Jeter 18
Jorge Posada 15
Brett Gardner 12

Runs

Name Total
Brett Gardner 11
Derek Jeter 10
5 tied with  6

RBI

Name Total
Jorge Posada 10
Derek Jeter 9
Melky Cabrera 9

Doubles

Name Total
Jorge Posada 7
Melky Cabrera 4
Alfonso Soriano 4

Triples Continue reading →

London Calling No More

The latest casualty of the corona virus pandemic is the June series in London between the Cubs and the Cardinals.  Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement yesterday in a message sent to MLB employees.  The league had previously announced the cancelation of series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Assuming the season starts at some point, those games will be played in St. Louis.

MLB played in Europe for the first time last June, when the Yankees swept a pair of games from the Red Sox in London.  No official word on 2021, but there is at least one report that MLB will try again next year with the Cubs and Cardinals.

Ballpark Tour: White Sox

Opening day was supposed to be less than a week away, so it is time to wrap up our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years with the one I’ve been to the most: the homes of the Chicago White Sox.  Between the two stadiums that have been located at the corners of 35th and Shields, I’ve seen at least 542 games, all but one of which have involved the White Sox.  So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Comiskey Park and Guaranteed Rate Field.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park

Years in Service: 1910 – 1990

Visits: 12 (that I’m aware of)

Comiskey Park, the so-called Baseball Palace of the World, was the home of the White Sox from 1910 through the 1990 season.  Built on a former city dump at the corner of 35th Street and Shields Avenue, the stadium opened on July 1, 1910, as the White Sox lost to the St. Louis Browns 2-0.  The final game for the old ballyard occurred on September 30, 1990, a 2-1 victory over the Mariners.

Comiskey Park was the host for 4 World Series, including 3 in a row from 1917-1919.  The White Sox won the World Series in 1917 against the New York Giants.  The Cubs, looking for a larger seating capacity, moved their home games in the 1918 series against the Red Sox to Comiskey Park.  The 1919 World Series, of course, was the Black Sox scandal, where the White Sox threw the series against the Reds.  The White Sox returned to the World Series 40 years later in 1959, but fell to the Dodgers.  The final post-season games to be played in Comiskey Park were games 3 and 4 of the 1983 ALCS, which the White Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles.

Comiskey Park was also the host to 3 All-Star games.  The first All-Star game, in 1933, was held in conjunction with Century of Progress Exposition being held on Chicago’s lakefront.  The event returned to Chicago’s south side in 1950 and the final All-Star game at Comiskey Park was in 1983, the 50th anniversary of the first game.  Comiskey Park was also the frequent home of the Negro League East-West All-Star Game from 1933 to 1960.

Looking back, I’ve been able to piece together evidence of 12 games that I attended at Comiskey Park, either from pictures, stadium giveaways, or specific memories.  I know there are more, but I have not been able to pinpoint exact games as of yet.  The most memorable game I can remember would be the final night game, on September 29, 1990, where, after the game, the lights were symbolically turned off for the final time.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park II/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field

Years in Service: 1991 – Present

Visits: 530

On the evening of June 30, 1988, with the clock literally stopped, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that provided the financing for a new stadium for the White Sox, stopping them from moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.  2 and a half years later, on April 18, 1991, Comiskey Park II opened, the first new major facility built in Chicago since the erection of the Chicago Stadium in 1929.  Sadly, the White Sox were embarrassed by the Tigers, losing 16-0 in the opening of their new park.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the new Comiskey Park was the last stadium to be built prior to the wave of retro ballparks that started with the opening of Camden Yards the following year.  Because of this, there have been numerous renovations to the park, starting in 2001 with the addition of nearly 2000 seats and the relocation of the bullpens.  More extensive renovations began in 2003 in preparation for that season’s All Star Game and using the money generated from selling the naming rights to US Cellular, and continued through 2007, when the replacement of the blue seats with green seats was completed.  Less extensive renovations have occurred since, replacing the different video boards and creating premium seating areas.

The post-season came to the new Comiskey Park for the first time in 1993, as the White Sox battled the Blue Jays in the ALCS.  The stadium hosted its first World Series games in 2005, the first to be played in the city of Chicago since 1959, as the White Sox went on to sweep the Houston Astros and win their first World Series since 1917.

I attended my first game at the new Comiskey Park on April 20, 1991, the second game in the stadium’s history.  Since then, I’ve been to 529 other games at the stadium, the majority coming from 2005 on, when I became a season ticket holder.  I went to both games of the 2000 ALDS, which the White Sox lost to the Mariners, both games of the 2005 ALDS, which the White Sox won against the Red Sox, both games of the 2005 ALCS, which the White Sox split against the Angels, and game 2 of the 2005 World Series.  I attended game 163 of the 2008 season to break the tie between the White Sox and the Twins. and then the two ALDS games against the Rays, the first time I saw the White Sox actually end a post-season series, either in victory or defeat.

Notable regular season games I’ve seen at what is now known as Guaranteed Rate Field include the September 18, 2001 game against the Yankees as baseball returned following the attacks of 9/11, the April 16, 2005 game where Mark Buehrle defeated the Mariners in 1 hour and 39 minutes, the April 2, 2006 season opener against the Indians when the World Series championship banner was raised, the April 4, 2006 game where the players received their World Series rings, and the September 16, 2007 game where Jim Thome hit his 500th career home run against the Angels.  Not to mention a streak of 19 consecutive home openers.

The Decade In Baseball – Team Records

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are starting with baseball, specifically the performance of all 30 MLB teams in games I attended between 2010 and 2019.  Locally, things were good on the north side of town, as the Cubs finished their rebuild with 3 straight NLCS appearances in the middle of the decade, including a World Series championship in 2016.  It was much bleaker on the south side, as the White Sox failed to compete after a late collapse in 2012, finishing the decade on a string of 7 consecutive losing seasons.

I managed to take in 385 games over the past 10 years at 12 different stadiums from coast (Dodger Stadium) to coast (Fenway Park).  2010 was my high water mark, with 52 games, while 2013 and 2018 tied for the lowest total of the decade with only 29 games.

Games Per Year
Year Total Games
2010 52
2011 43
2012 33
2013 29
2014 35
2015 39
2016 39
2017 49
2018 29
2019 37

Two franchises went through the decade undefeated in games I attended, while another 2 teams went winless.  Both local teams finished just a shade under .500.  The White Sox are far and away the team I saw most often, while the Diamondbacks bring up the rear with only 2 appearances over the past 10 years.

2019 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Colorado Rockies 4 0 1.000
New York Mets 3 0 1.000
Boston Red Sox 9 3 0.750
New York Yankees 9 4 0.692
Washington Nationals 6 3 0.667
Houston Astros 6 3 0.667
Florida Marlins 2 1 0.667
Los Angeles Angels 9 5 0.643
Detroit Tigers 22 13 0.629
Pittsburgh Pirates 5 3 0.625
Kansas City Royals 21 17 0.553
Cleveland Indians 17 14 0.548
Toronto Blue Jays 8 7 0.533
Minnesota Twins 19 17 0.528
Oakland Athletics 7 7 0.500
St. Louis Cardinals 2 2 0.500
San Diego Padres 2 2 0.500
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 159 164 0.492
Chicago Cubs 40 43 0.482
Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Red Sox

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 Boston Red Sox, owners of the oldest stadium in MLB. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my one game history with Fenway Park.

Stadium Name: Fenway Park

Years in Service: 1912 – Present

Visits: 1

In 1911, Red Sox owner John I. Taylor purchased the land bordered by Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street and developed it into a larger baseball stadium, which he named after the Fenway neighborhood where it was located.  The first game was played April 20, 1912, as the Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders, who would become the Yankees the following year, 7-6 in 11 innings.

I attended my first (and, so far, only) game at Fenway Park in August of 2017, cashing in my birthday gift from the year before.  The hope was that Angelina would be moving in to Boston University around that time, but her gap year put a kibosh on that.  The ballpark was… a little underwhelming.  From the outside, you could barely tell that it was a stadium.  Michael even asked where it was as we were standing outside it.

The game went about as you would expect.  With James Shields on the mound, the White Sox did not put up much of a fight.  We were sitting down the left field line, with a good view of the Green Monster.  The seats, which may or may not date back to the stadium’s opening in 1912, were not really designed for people well over 6 feet tall, so there was a lot of uncomfortable shifting as Danny and my knees were smooshed in to the seats in front of us.

With Angelina now ensconced at BU, I hope to increase my number of visits in the years to come, especially with the White Sox making an early April appearance next season.