2021 Final Standings

The 2021 season, at least the portion which would see me attending games, has come to an end after the White Sox lost to the Astros in the ALDS 3-1.  After a year without in-person baseball thanks to the corona virus, I ended up attending the most games I’ve seen since 2009 and my 5th highest total of all time.  I also managed to travel to four different stadiums, bringing my total up to 27.  All told, I managed to see 25 of the 30 teams a year after seeing none.

2021 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Tampa Bay Rays 3 0 1.000
New York Yankees 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Washington Nationals 1 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 1 0 1.000
Los Angeles Angels 1 0 1.000
San Francisco Giants 1 0 1.000
Boston Red Sox 1 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 1 0.667
Chicago White Sox 29 20 0.592
Cleveland Indians 3 3 0.500
Kansas City Royals Continue reading →

Lighting It Up

A high scoring affair on the south side last night as the White Sox battled their crosstown rivals led me to think: what was the highest scoring game I’ve ever attended?  Some quick calculations have produced these top 9 scoring games that I have seen in person, starting with last night’s tilt.

30 runs

8/27/2021

After putting up 6 runs in the top half of the first, the Cubs, for the second time this season, coughed up the lead.  Yasmani Grandal, in his first game action since a knee injury on July 5th, hit two home runs and drove in 8 runs as the White Sox won 17-13.  The 17 runs are the 4th largest output I’ve seen in person, while the 13 runs put up by the Cubs was the largest I’ve seen in a losing effort.

26 runs

7/2/2006

Another high scoring crosstown tilt, as Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano both homered off of Mark Buehrle in a 7 run first inning.  Despite home runs from Juan Uribe, Jim Thome, Joe Crede, and Tadahito Iguchi, the Cubs held on to win 15-11 while avoiding a three game sweep.

9/2/2017

Powered by backup catcher Rene Rivera’s first career grand slam, the Cubs built an 11-4 lead heading to the 7th inning against the Braves.  The Cubs bullpen then managed to give up 8 runs over the final three innings, which would have given the Braves the victory, but they also managed to tack on 3 insurance runs, giving the Cubs a 14-12 win.

24 runs

4/30/2008

Two three-run homers from Geovany Soto led the Cubs to a 19-5 victory over the Brewers, their highest single game output since 2001.

23 runs

Continue reading →

If You Build It Twice, Will They Still Come?

Following last week’s inaugural Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, where the White Sox defeated the Yankees in thrilling fashion, word leaked that a second go-around would be slotted for the 2022 season, with the Cubs and the Reds on tap.  Neither team has a direct tie to the movie, but both have tangential ties to either the movie or the area: the Reds were the opponents of the 1919 White Sox that were the focus of the film in the thrown World Series and the Cubs have located their Triple A franchise in Iowa since 1981.

Can the second installment reach the heights of the first?  It’s hard to imagine.  While the novelty of playing in a cornfield in Iowa will remain, the grandeur of having Kevin Costner lead the teams out of the cornfields in to the stadium may come of as hokey if it is done a second time.  Given the success of the first game, a second was all but assured, but sometimes it is ok for a thing to just exist and be a hit.

Two Sides Of The Same Town

cws-chiFollowing last week’s trade deadline deals, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel became the 36th and 37th people I’ve seen play in person for both the Cubs and the White Sox.  With the first round of crosstown kicking off this afternoon at Wrigley, here’s a look at those players, in alphabetical order.

David Aardsma

After posting a decent season with the Cubs in 2006, Aardsma was traded to the White Sox for Neal Cotts.  Aardsma lasted one season with the Sox, where he was unable to duplicate his success from the year before.

Jason Bere

Drafted by the White Sox in the 36th round in 1990, Bere debuted with the big league club in 1993, finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting.  After an All Star selection in 1994, injuries marred the remainder of his tenure on the South Side, which ended in 1998.  He resurfaced with the Cubs in 2001 and had a decent season, but he went 1-10 in 2002 before being let go.

Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio spent back-to-back partial seasons in Chicago, first for the Cubs in 2014 after signing as a free agent, where he played decently enough to be flipped at the trade deadline, along with James Russell, to the Braves for a young catching prospect by the name of Victor Caratini.  He returned to Chicago in 2015, signing with the White Sox, where he he did not do well at all, hitting .167 in 47 games before being released in August.

Welington Castillo

Debuting with the Cubs in 2010, Castillo spent time behind the plate for the Cubs until May of 2015, when, having been replaced in the starting lineup by Miguel Montero, he was flipped to the Mariners.  He returned to Chicago in 2018 after signing with the White Sox as a free agent.  On May 24th of that season, he was suspended 80 games for a violation of the PED policy.  The White Sox then cut bait following the 2019 season, shipping him off to the Rangers.

Neal Cotts

Acquired by the White Sox in the Billy Koch trade, he debuted with the team in 2003.  He was a key contributor in the bullpen during the 2005 championship season, and was the only relief pitcher to appear in all 3 rounds of the playoffs that season.  Following the 2006 season, he was traded to the Cubs for David Aardsma, and he spent the next 3 injury filled seasons on the North Side.

Scott Eyre

Joining the White Sox organization in a 1994 trade with the Rangers, he debuted with the big league team in 1997.  He split the next 4 seasons between the rotation and the bullpen, not to mention between Chicago and Charlotte, before being moved to the Blue Jays following the 2000 ALDS loss to the Mariners.  He joined the Cubs as a free agent for the 2006 season and enjoyed 2 seasons of relative success, before falling apart in 2008, when he was traded to the Phillies.

Kosuke Fukudome Continue reading →

Keeping Our Eyes On Next Year’s Prize

With a little more than 8 weeks remaining in the 2020 season, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule yesterday.  For the first time in quite a while, the White Sox will be looking to compete for a title while the Cubs will be “retooling” after trading off all of their stars last week.  Assuming, of course, that the 2022 season goes off as planned and the end of the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t lead to a long work stoppage.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season at home against the Twins on March 31 for a three game tilt before heading on the road.  Nothing like a potential snowstorm to get the season off to a good start.  They face the Guardians for the first time on April 18 in Cleveland.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL West, with trips to San Francisco, Colorado, and San Diego and home series against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a 2-game series at Wrigley at the beginning of May and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field Memorial Day weekend.

The season ends with a 6 game road trip to Minnesota and San Diego.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up on the road in Cincinnati, also on March 31.  They come home the following Monday to open their home slate against the Cardinals.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL East, with trips to Baltimore, New York, and Toronto and home series against the Rays, Red Sox, and Orioles.

Of their 28 games in September/October, only 7 are against their NL Central rivals, though, with the Cubs not likely to contend, that shouldn’t make much of a difference.  They end the year with a 6 game homestand, facing the Phillies and the Reds.

Trade Winds Are A Brewin’

With a little more than 24 hours remaining before the trade deadline, the White Sox finally made a move, acquiring second baseman César Hernández from Cleveland for Double A pitcher Konnor Pilkington.  Hernández, who won a Gold Glove and led the AL in doubles last year, has hit a career high 18 home runs while hitting .231 with 47 RBIs and a .738 OPS.  The White Sox have been looking for a second baseman since Nick Madrigal went down with a torn right hamstring in early June.

Pilkington, the third round pick of the White Sox in the 2018 draft, is 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this year for Birmingham.  He was rated as the 17th best prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America at the start of the 2020 season.  To make room for Hernández on the 40-man roster, the White Sox released right-handed pitcher Tyler Johnson.

Meanwhile, on the north side of town, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are not in the lineup for today’s tilt between the Cubs and the Reds.  One or both of them are expected to be moved prior to tomorrow’s deadline.

By The Numbers – 49

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 #49.  60 different players have donned #49 while playing in Chicago, 36 for the White Sox and 24 for the Cubs.

Chris Sale, the 13th overall selection by the White Sox in the 2010 draft, pitched 11 games in the minor leagues before making his major league debut on August 6, less than 2 months after being drafted.  Sale worked out of the bullpen for the remainder of the year, earning 4 saves in 21 appearances. Sale returned to the bullpen in 2011, picking up another 8 saves while posting a 2.79 ERA.  In 2012, Sale moved in to the starting rotation full time, where he racked up 5 straight All Star nods and finished between 3rd and 6th in Cy Young award voting each season.  In 2015, Sale set the White Sox franchise record with 274 strike outs and, in 2016, he tied his career high with 17 victories and threw a career high 226 2/3 innings pitched in between spats with the front office over Drake LaRoche and 1970s throwback jerseys.  That December, the rebuilding of the White Sox began when Sale was traded to the Red Sox for, among others, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

Jake Arrieta was originally acquired by the Cubs in July of 2013, coming over from the Orioles, along with Pedro Strop, in a trade for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.  After 7 starts for Iowa, Arrieta joined the rebuilding Cubs and showed vast improvement over the pitcher he was with the Orioles.  He turned into an ace for the Cubs in 2015, winning the NL Cy Young Award, and was a key contributor to their World Series championship in 2016.  He threw two no-hitters for the team, one in 2015 against the Dodgers and the second in 2016 against the Reds.  He became a free agent following the 2017 season, but returned in 2021.

 

Opening Back Up

With approval from city and state officials, the White Sox and the Cubs both announced yesterday that they would be increasing capacity to 60% later this month, with the White Sox starting on May 24 against the Cardinals and the Cubs on May 28 against the Reds.  For this weekend’s games against the Royals, the White Sox will feature two vaccinated-only sections without social distancing for fans showing proof of vaccination.  The Cubs will do the same for their series against the Nationals next week.  Fans will still be required to wear masks, although very few actually do.

The expectation is that both teams will be back to full capacity by the end of June, which may jumble up plans on how to sell tickets for the early part of next month.  Other than the additional capacity added to games already on sale, neither team has announced future sales plans as of this morning.

All Time Team Records

In a shocking development, the 2021 baseball season got underway last night without issue or delay.  With hopefully a full 162 game schedule on the docket, 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 contend in a weak NL Central with one final year of having the core of their World Series Championship team under contract, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions put them over the top and make them true World Series contenders.  The 2021 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town, even more interesting if we are able to see it in person.

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 →

By The Numbers – 67

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 #67.  9 players have donned #67 while playing in Chicago, 8 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Jim Kern joined the White Sox in a August 1982 trade with the Reds, becoming the first player in Chicago baseball history to wear #67.  He did not pitch particularly well for the South Siders down the stretch, putting up a 5.14 ERA in 13 games.  He was expected back in the bullpen in 1983, but he blew out his elbow in the second game of the season and missed the rest of the year.  When he was released towards the end of spring training in 1984, he accused the team of “destroying my arm and then shucking me off like last year’s shotgun shells.”  GM Roland Hemond claimed it was strictly a business decision, as the team saved nearly $300,000 by releasing Kern.

Tsuyoshi Wada, who appeared in 13 games and went 4-4 for the 2014 Cubs, is the only Cub to ever don #67.  He switched to #18 the following year, appeared in only 8 games, and never played in the big leagues again.