2021 Tickets – Southside Edition

The White Sox will open to full capacity next weekend and thus have released tickets for the remainder of the season to their season ticket holders.  Once again, the White Sox have decided against physical tickets for non-premium season ticket holders, so 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.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #10

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists 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 the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

Today, we break into the top 10 and slow down the pace a bit, taking one act at a time.  Formed in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, this band released their first album in 1975 and have been rocking the world ever since, selling more than 200 million records worldwide.  At #10, we have the powerhouse group known as AC/DC.#10: AC/DC
iTunes stats: 558 plays
Previous ranking: #10

The Australian hard rockers stay even with their previous ranking to kick off the top ten.  20 songs, from 7 different albums, make up their play total, which increased 63%.  The most popular song, Thunderstruck, has a tremendous amount of plays due to the White Sox use of it when running out on to the field and its inclusion on my various victory playlists.  Another entry, Back In Black, has also made an appearance or two over the years, most recently thanks to former catcher James McCann’s use as his walkup song.

In 2015, I saw the band in concert in Toronto, at Downsview Park.  I’d be lying if I said that seeing AC/DC was at the top of my to-do list musically speaking.  In fact, they were playing Wrigley Field the following week and I had passed on the chance to get tickets.  But, as a wise man once said, you only live once, and, seeing as this is likely their last go-around, I guess you can say that I’m glad to have seen them.  After missing the opening act thanks to traffic, we got in to the show just as AC/DC were starting.  The show itself was both good and bad.  The songs are what you expect, but there was no real flow to the show, probably due to the band’s conditioning, or lack thereof.  After each song, the lights went down and there was a brief break before the next song would begin.  The net result of this was a disjointed experience, where each song stood on its own without there being any coherence in the set.  This ended up being their last tour with Brian Johnson before the unfortunate Axl Rose experiment, so I guess I’m glad I saw them when I did.

By The Numbers – 51

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 #51.  44 different players have donned #51 while playing in Chicago, 20 for the White Sox and 24 for the Cubs.

Juan Cruz, wearing #51, made his big league debut for the Cubs on August 21, 2001, against the Brewers.  He went 3–1 with a 3.22 ERA in his first 8 starts, and recorded his first two major league hits on October 2.  Cruz went 3–11 with a 3.98 ERA in 45 games in 2002, picking up his first career save.  He got off to a good start in 2003, striking out 6 consecutive Mets on Opening Day, becoming only the second Cubs reliever to achieve the feat.  Things went a bit downhill from there, finishing the year 2–7 with a 6.05 ERA while making 6 starts, despite being sent back down to Iowa in June.  He threw one scoreless inning during the NLDS against the Braves.  That would end up being his final Cub appearance, as he was traded to those same Braves the following March.

Dane Dunning was acquired by the White Sox as part of the return for Adam Eaton in 2016.  He made his major league debut in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, going 2-0 in 7 starts with a 3.97 ERA.  He started Game 3 of the Wild Card series against the A’s, getting pulled after 2/3rds of an inning as the White Sox were eliminated.  That was his final White Sox appearance, as he was traded to the Rangers in exchange for Lance Lynn this past December.

Connecting The City Part 2

Last weekend, the White Sox debuted their City Connect uniforms, which, according to Nike, reimagines a teams look and “celebrates the bond between each team and its city.”  The next team up was just up the road, as the Cubs released their version, to be worn for the first time Saturday against the Cardinals, and which they claim “ties together all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

The jerseys and pants are mostly a dark navy blue, with Wrigleyville across the front in the shape of the marquee on the front of the stadium.  The hat, navy with a light blue brim, has a six-pointed star, from the city’s flag, in the middle of the traditional C.  The sleeve patch features the municipal device of Chicago, representing the north, south and main branches of the Chicago River.

Much like the White Sox edition, these uniforms could have been much worse.  The initial leaks of the jersey looked like trash, but combining them with pants of the same color makes it work much better.  Including the star from the flag is a little obvious, but it is underplayed and using the municipal device, which, to be honest, I wasn’t aware of before this, was a nice change of pace.  Again, as a one-off, these won’t be so bad, but I’d hate to see them become part of the regular rotation.

Moving On Up

With their victory over the Tigers on Sunday, the White Sox propelled Tony LaRussa in to sole possession of second place on the all-time managerial wins list.  He had been tied with John McGraw, who managed the Giants from 1902 through 1932.  Connie Mack is still safely ensconced at the top of that list, with 3731 victories.

LaRussa earned his first victory in 1979 with the White Sox and, with stops in Oakland and St. Louis in between, he returned this year following a 10 year retirement.

By The Numbers – 52

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 #52.  40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 20 each for the White Sox and the Cubs.

Acquired at the trade deadline in 2004 from the Yankees, Jose Contreras joined the White Sox rotation for the remainder of the season, pitching inconsistently and finishing with a 5-4 record and a 5.30 ERA in 13 starts.  He got off to a slow start in 2005, entering the All Star break with a 4-3 record, but an improved arm angle allowed Contreras to catch fire in the second half, becoming one of the most dominating pitchers in the league.  He finished the year with a 15-7 record with a 3.61 ERA, as the White Sox won their first AL Central title in 5 years, and earned the nod in Game 1 of the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series.

He started 2006 9-0, breaking the team record for consecutive regular season victories previously held by LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez.  After the All Star break, Contreras started to come back down to Earth, due in part to the extra workload from the previous post-season.  The rest of his White Sox career was as inconsistent as it began, until his 2009 trade to the Rockies.

On the north side of town, Jim Bullinger wore #52 with pride from 1992-1996.  Drafted as a shortstop in 1986, he was converted to a pitcher full time in 1990.  2 years later, he made his debut with the Cubs in a forgettable appearance against the Giants.  His best season was the strike-shortened 1994, when he went 6-2 with a 3.60 ERA as he split time between the rotation and the bullpen.  He left as a free agent following the 1996 season.

Fitbit VII – Week 18

A downturn this week, despite multiple baseball related outings.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as I finished 21 steps shy of 5500.  Monday was a little bit better, coming in with 4700 steps.  Tuesday’s trip to Guaranteed Rate Field to see the Cardinals and the White Sox left me over goal with nearly 7900 steps.  The return trip on Wednesday afternoon put me at only 4200 steps.  Thursday fell all the way back down to 3150 steps.  Friday, with rains in the forecast all day, was even worse, finishing with only 2900 steps.  Saturday’s return trip to the south side for a double header put me at 5300 steps.

Total steps: 34,834

Daily average: 4976.3

Mass Appeal

We wrap up the first half of 2020 by turning our gaze to the east and the state of Massachusetts.  These pictures come from two different trips our east, the first with Danny and Michael in 2017 to see the White Sox battle the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the second in 2018 to see Angelina skate with Boston University.  The first row has Angelina performing at the BU Skating Show followed by Danny in a small chair at the Boston Science Museum.  The middle row sets the scene with a cool looking Boston Red Sox sign, followed by Angelina with her friends at the free skate after the show and, finally, Danny with his now famous Lendall Pitts card from the Boston Tea Party Museum.  The bottom row has Angelina and her teammates competing in the Cape Cod Synchronized Skating Classic, Michael measuring himself at the Science Museum, and Danny and Michael in the stands at Fenway.

By The Numbers – 53

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 #53.  34 players have donned #53 while playing in Chicago, 14 for the White Sox and 20 for the Cubs.

Signed prior to the 2015 season, Melky Cabrera donned #53 for 2 1/2 seasons for the White Sox.   Cabrera hit .273 with 36 doubles, 12 home runs, and 77 RBIs in 2015.  2016 was more of the same, as Cabrera finished the year batting .296 with 14 home runs.  He was hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 98 games in 2017 before being traded to the Royals at the trade deadline.

On the north side of town, the #53 that sticks out the most is Trevor Cahill, who worked out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016.

Connecting The City

Back in April, Nike announced they would be introducing City Connect uniforms to Major League Baseball, similar to their ColorRush and City uniforms for the NFL and NBA respectively, which reimagine a teams look and “celebrates the bond between each team and its city.”  The Red Sox were the first to both announce their uniforms and to wear them, a blue and yellow monstrosity based on the finish line of the Boston Marathon which they wore against the White Sox on the weekend prior to Patriot’s Day.

Yesterday, the White Sox released their design, which they will debut next weekend against the Tigers.  The jerseys and pants are mostly black, with white pinstripes and retain the olde English S to spell out Southside rather than Sox on the jersey.  The white sock patch, currently only seen on the black alternates, graces the left sleeve.

All things considered, this could have been much worse.  They retained the team’s color scheme, which has been a constant since the end of the 1990 season.  Assuming they only appear for the weekend series and then go away for the remainder of the season, I have no complaints.  In fact, one of the videos the team posted on Twitter showed the Southside logo on a sweatshirt that may end up in my closet one day.