20 Years Of Remembrance

It was a normal Tuesday morning, 20 years ago this morning, when someone stopped by my desk to say that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that we were under attack.  Little did I know that for once, Chicken Little was right and the sky really was falling.

Most of the morning remains a blur.  Updates were hard to get through traditional sources and most of the news I was getting was from the old Warren Ellis forum on Delphi and whatever incarnation of the Bendis Board was up at the time.  At one point, I went out to my car to get an update from the Howard Stern show, which at the time was on a one hour tape delay here in Chicago, but we were one of the few markets that cut away from the show in order to simulcast a news station.

We all know what happens next: the Pentagon gets hit, another flight crashes in Pennsylvania, and, eventually, the towers fell.  We went to a pretty deserted Superdawg for lunch that day, listening to the radio for updates the entire time.  I remember the eerie drive to the gym after work, as people were as polite as they’ve even been on the roads.

The legacy of that day is messy.  Two long, ill-advised wars followed.  The nation united in a way that it is unable, or unwilling, to do today, as the COVID pandemic, our biggest tragedy since the 9/11 attacks, continues to rage as the right battles against both masks and vaccinations.

It’s a day that, for a little while, unified the country, but at great cost.  A day we would all like to forget.  A day we never will.

Hall Of Fame Batting Leaders



Thanks to the corona virus, the Hall of Fame Class of 2020, former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Expos and Rockies legend Larry Walker, former Cardinal and Brewer backstop Ted Simmons, and union boss Marvin Miller, finally get their day in the sun in Cooperstown alongside, well, the empty class of 2021.  With two new hitters joining the list of Hall of Famers I’ve seen play live and an additional historical game identified, let’s check back in with the 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 →

2021 College Football Kickoff

rossadeMy alma mater, the Purdue Boilermakers, kick off their 2021 gridiron campaign today, looking for their first winning season since 2017.  With Danny now entrenched in the marching band and COVID restrictions lifted, I’m sure to make it to a few games this year, regardless of how good the team is.  With that, it’s time to take a look at the results of the 21 college football games I have attended since the 1993 season, covering 4 different stadiums in a whopping 2 states.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Penn State Nittany Lions 1 0 1.000
Ohio State Buckeyes 1 0 1.000
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4 1 0.800
Purdue Boilermakers 12 7 0.632
Northern Illinois Huskies 1 1 0.500
Illinois Fighting Illini 2 5 0.286
Western Michigan Broncos 0 1 0.000
Northwestern Wildcats 0 2 0.000
North Carolina State Wolfpack 0 1 0.000
Michigan Wolverines 0 1 0.000
Indiana Hoosiers 0 2 0.000

August All Time Leaders – Through 2020

With a full year of baseball on tap after last year’s troubles due to a combination of the corona virus and needless labor squabbles, I thought it would be interesting to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for each month in games that I have attended.

As we wrap up the summer months, the dog days of August leading into school starting back up has played a part in my attending 151 games during the month, my lowest total since March.  I’ve managed to see a game on every day of the month, with 8 games on the 3 separate occasions leading the way, and a single game on the 7th bringing up the rear.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jermaine Dye 10
Alexei Ramirez 9
Aramis Ramirez 9
Jim Thome 9

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 66
Alexei Ramirez 62
A.J. Pierzynski 48

Runs

Name Total
A.J. Pierzynski 31
Paul Konerko 28
Alexei Ramirez 28

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 31
Aramis Ramirez 27
Alexei Ramirez 26

Doubles

Name Total
Alexei Ramirez 13
Gordon Beckham 9
Paul Konerko 8
A.J. Pierzynski 8
Melky Cabrera 8

Triples Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #1

6 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 artists in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact and expanded the count down to the Top 200..  It’s been 3 years, so I figured it was time to take yet another look at my Top 200 artists, based on the number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We wrap things up today with the artist I’ve listened to the most over the last 13-ish years.  So, I present to you, from Madison, Wisconsin, Steve Tasker, Duke Ellington, Butch Vig, and Shirley Manson.  Collectively known as Garbage.

#1: Garbage
iTunes stats: 2073 plays
Previous ranking: #1

With 255 songs in collection, 152 of which have been listened to, from 29 different releases, Garbage has added 954 new plays over the past 4 years, increasing their total by 85%.  In addition to being my most listened to band, they are also the band I have seen in concert the most, with 8 shows at 5 venues across 2 states.

My first show was in 2002, while they were touring in support of their third studio release, Beautiful Garbage.  My most recent was in 2019, which remains my last live music show since the pandemic shut down.

Selling Your Soul

Word leaked on Thursday that both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have given their exclusive licenses for trading cards to Fanatics, who will form a new company, of which both MLB and the union will have an equity stake, to produce the cards.  Topps, who have been producing MLB trading cards for 70 years and has had the exclusive license since 2009, is left on the outside looking in when their current deal expires in 2025.

In my younger days, I had quite the baseball card collection.  Well, technically I still do, but I haven’t added to it (or even looked at it) in decades.  I thought about picking the hobby back up last year during the pandemic, but found that so much had changed that I didn’t even know where to begin.  When I was collecting, there were many different companies to choose from, including Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck, and Score, but Topps was always the card.  It had that legacy and legitimacy that those others just didn’t.  The world will be a sadder one after this deal goes through.

By The Numbers – 44

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 #44.  57 different players have donned #44 while playing in Chicago, 39 for the White Sox and a mere 18 for the Cubs.

Anthony Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs on January 6, 2012, the first piece of the rebuilding puzzle that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought to Chicago after their hiring.  He started the 2012 season in Triple A, but eventually earned the promotion and took over first base,  In 2014, he earned his first All Star nod and his first MVP votes.  In 2015, as the Cubs made a surprising run to the NLCS, Rizzo led the league in games and plate appearances and placed fourth in MVP voting.

In 2016, Rizzo replicated his fourth place MVP finish while also picking up a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award as he helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.  On Opening Night in 2017, he walked the Commissioner’s Trophy on to the field (following a long rain delay).  He finished that year with more MVP attention as the Cubs made their third straight NLCS, losing to the Dodgers.  Rizzo added 3 additional Gold Gloves to his collection from 2018 – 2020.  The shine rubbed off of Rizzo a little in June of 2021, as he announced, on the day Chicago opened back up from COVID restrictions, that he had decided not to get vaccinated, leaving the Cubs as one of 8 teams still under restrictions for failing to reach the 85% plateau.  He was then, of course, traded to the Yankees and, just this morning, was placed on the IL with COVID.

On the other side of town, Dan Pasqua donned #44 after being acquired from the Yankees for Richard Dotson following the 1997 season.  His first season with the White Sox ended with a career high 20 home runs despite a disappointing .227 average, but a broken wrist suffered during the first week of the 1989 season limited him to just 73 games and 11 home runs.  Pasqua lost his regular slot in the lineup in 1990, as manager Jeff Torborg decided to start Sammy Sosa every day.  He appeared in 112 games, but had only 325 at bats despite a .274 average.

1991 saw Pasqua appear in a career high 134 games, with a .259 average and 18 home runs, his highest total since 1988.  A hamstring injury reduced Pasqua’s playing time again in 1992 and, with George Bell and Bo Jackson splitting time at DH in 1993, Pasqua again was the odd man out.  Pasqua’s 1994 season was cut short by arthroscopic knee surgery in May, which limited him to just 11 appearances and only 23 at bats, and he decided to retire after the season.

July All Time Leaders – Through 2020

With a full year of baseball on tap after last year’s troubles due to a combination of the corona virus and needless labor squabbles, I thought it would be interesting to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for each month in games that I have attended.

As we continue through the summer months, the warm weather has played a part in my attending 161 games during the month of July, my largest total.  I’ve managed to see a game on every day of the month, despite the 3 day All Star break which falls around the same time every year, with 10 games on the 4th leading the way, thanks to Independence Day fireworks shows, and 3 games on the 6 different dates bringing up the rear.

Home Runs

Name Total
Derrek Lee 10
Paul Konerko 9
Moises Alou 8
Sammy Sosa 8

Hits

Name Total
Alexei Ramirez 54
Jose Abreu 50
Derrek Lee 44
Paul Konerko 44

Runs

Name Total
Derrek Lee 24
Alexei Ramirez 22
Jose Abreu 19
Paul Konerko 19

RBI

Name Total
Derrek Lee 28
Jose Abreu 28
Aramis Ramirez 27

Doubles

Name Total
Gordon Beckham 10
Jose Abreu 9
Aramis Ramirez 9

Triples Continue reading →

End Of The Road

The rebirth of the Cubs, which began with the hiring of Theo Epstein in October of 2011 and culminated with their first World Series title in 108 years, officially came to an end this afternoon, as new GM Jed Hoyer shipped team leader Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for rookie ball outfielder Kevin Alcantara and High-A righty Alexander Vizcaino.  The Cubs agreed to pay Rizzo’s remaining salary.

Vizcaino, 24, is already on the 40-man roster and ranked as the Yankees 11th best prospect at FanGraphs and 12th at Baseball America.  He is working his way back from a shoulder issue and has posted a combined 9.00 ERA in 6 games across two levels.  Alcantara, 18, is hitting .360 in 8 rookie league games and ranked 7th at FanGraphs and 14th at Baseball America.

Rizzo, who had been drafted by the Red Sox when Epstein and Hoyer were in their front office and was acquired by Hoyer when he became GM of the Padres, was the first big acquisition when the two reunited in Chicago.  He began the 2012 season in Triple A.  Recalled at the end of June, he quickly became a mainstay of the lineup and a crowd favorite, as the Cubs were rebuilding around him.  In 2013, he signed a long term contract extension, which expires at the end of this season.  He cemented his position in Cubs lore by catching the final out of the 2016 World Series, ending the longest championship drought in American professional sports.  However, as the Cubs have struggled to repeat the team success of that season, Rizzo has also struggled in later years, contributing to an offense that has severely regressed since 2016 and was one of the Cubs who refused to get the COVID vaccine, keeping the team below the 85% threshold for this 2021 season.

Rizzo’s numbers in a Cubs uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

Fitbit VII – Week 25

An improvement over last week, though still well below where I want to be.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as I finished with 4900 thanks to my first post-pandemic trip to the movie theater to see Black Widow.  Monday improved that total just a bit, up 42 steps.  Tuesday started PI Planning, so I fell back down to 3400 steps.  Wednesday was back up a bit, to 3700 steps.  Thursday was even better, as I managed to get up over 4600 steps.  Friday was my first game of the second half, which left me with the evil looking total of 6,666 steps.  A return trip to Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday put me one step over 5600.

Total steps: 33,955

Daily average: 4850.7