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.

Fitbit VII – Week 19

A move in the right direction this week, thanks in part to multiple baseball related outings.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as I traveled to Guaranteed Rate field and finished with 4700 steps.  I celebrated the Memorial Day holiday on Monday with a trip to Wrigley Field, which left me with 6400 steps.  Tuesday’s return trip to Wrigley Field left me over goal with 7600 steps.  Left to my own devices on Wednesday, I managed only 5200 steps.  Thursday was the lowest day of the week, but still had 4400 steps.  Friday was back over 5000 steps, thanks to a trip out with friends after work.  Saturday sent me back to the ballpark followed by a trip out for dinner, ending with 5700 steps.

Total steps: 39,311

Daily average: 5615.9

Fitbit VII – Week 17

Things continue to trend in the right direction, as I managed to post my first 10,000 step day and my first 40,000 step week since March.  The week got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, as the final day of my 7 games in 6 days week at Guaranteed Rate Field left me 6 steps over 6000.  Monday fell off a bit, coming in 8 steps shy of 4800.  Tuesday was the low point of the week, finishing with a mere 3100 steps.  A trip to Wrigley Field after work on Wednesday put me over goal, finishing with 8300 steps.  Thursday fell back down again, with only 4200 steps.  Friday saw an increase up to 5500 steps.  Saturday’s trip to Brookfield Zoo put me 20 steps shy of 10,900.

Total steps: 42,962

Daily average: 6137.4

Fitbit VII – Week 13

Another week headed in the wrong direction.  A chilly Sunday ended with a chilly step total, falling 25 steps shy of 2800.  Monday saw a decent enough increase, going up to 4800 steps even.  Tuesday was a little worse, finishing 9 steps over 4000.  Wednesday jumped back up to over 4900.  Thursday was the highlight of the week, as my first trip to Wrigley Field in 16 months left me with 9100 steps.  Friday was nowhere near as good, coming in at 3500 steps.  Saturday was even worse, finishing with only 2800 steps.

Total steps: 32,024

Daily average: 4574.9

The Fans Are Back

After a year with no fans in the stands due to the corona virus, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced yesterday that fans can return for 2021 starting on Opening Day with 20% capacity.  That will put 8,122 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field when the White Sox open their home season on April 8th and 8,274 fans at Wrigley Field when the Cubs start their season on April 1.  Fans will still be required to wear masks and there must be at least six feet between groups in the stands.

Both teams plan to limit sales to season ticket holders initially, before moving out to the general public.  In an email to season ticket holders, the Cubs announced that April games will be either refunded or credited, with an option to purchase single game tickets in pods of one through four people spread throughout the ballpark, including reserved seating in the bleachers.  The White Sox have not released specific information yet, though  I imagine my 19 year White Sox Opening Day streak is in jeopardy.

Book 8 (of 52) – Stealing Home

Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between – Eric Nusbaum

The story, as I had heard it, was that Walter O’Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was looking to replace Ebbets Field and, after running into resistance from city officials on acquiring the land he needed, he turned his sights west, landing in Chavez Ravine and displacing Mexican immigrants who had called that area home.  In Stealing Home, Eric Nusbaum tells the story which is somewhat more nuanced than that.

Nusbaum weaves three tales, one of the Aréchigas family, one of Frank Wilkinson, and one of the Dodgers, which coalesce in the hills of what is now referred to as Chavez Ravine, but at the time was the neighborhoods of Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop.  The Aréchigas put down roots in Palo Verde after emigrating from Mexico by way of Arizona, raising multiple generations in their humble abode.  Frank Wilkinson, meanwhile, had a vision for public housing that needed a place to build, and the neighborhoods of  Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop were the unlucky winners.  As eminent domain notices went out to the affected families, including the Aréchigas, plans for the housing project hit a snag when Wilkinson was outed as a communist.  You would think this would have put a stop to the evictions, but no.

Following protracted negotiations, the city council convinced Walter O’Malley to uproot the Dodgers and move to Los Angeles and they purchased the Chavez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose.  In June of 1958, 2 months after the Dodgers began their first season in LA, voters approved a “Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball” referendum, which enabled O’Malley to acquire 352 acres of Chavez Ravine from the city in exchange for Wrigley Field (the Los Angeles version). After additional legal challenges, including the eventual removal of the Aréchigas, ground was broken on Dodger Stadium in September of 1959, and it opened for business on April 10, 1962.   The abandoned Palo Verde elementary school, which taught multiple generations of Aréchigas children, was simply buried and sits beneath the parking lot northwest of third base.

At the end of the day, multiple sources converged to remove the Mexican families from their homes in order to ultimately build a baseball stadium.  While the Dodgers have taken the majority of the blame over the years, had the original housing project either gone through to completion or never started in the first place, the land would not have been available for them to swoop in and overtake.  Had Walter O’Malley thrown a little extra money at the problem, it may have soothed a lot of hurt feelings.  This was an important story that I’m glad was finally told, filling in many of the holes of the popular myth.

Locked Out Of The 10,000 Step Club

Things were a lot different a year ago, as I was finishing up my fifth year using a Fitbit.  I had just added 45 new 10,000 step days, my 3rd best year to date, and, with upcoming trips to Boston and California already on the docket, things were looking good to add a good number more and add some new tales to this list of my top 25 step days.  Then, the corona virus happened and the world basically shut down.  I worked from home for the remainder of the year, which gave me a lot more free time, but also significantly cut down on my daily step totals.  All told, I managed only 3 10,000 step days for the just completed sixth year of Fitbit usage, which came to an end last week.  Just for giggles, here’s a duplication of last year’s top 25 step days, since nothing has changed over the past year.

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 full day of 2019’s summer trip to Washington DC spent most of the day at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

Late in the summer of 2019, I spent two weeks in San Francisco for a work trip.   On my last full day, I went out after work, walking to Pier 39 and then back the other direction to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  My totals 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

My first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference, the day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a late night 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 →

A New Voice

The Cubs and the Marquee Sports Network announced on Monday that Jon “Boog” Sciambi has been hired as the new play-by-play voice of the Cubs.  Sciambi has been the voice of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball for MLB on ESPN Radio and the play-by-play voice for Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts since 2014.  He takes the spot vacated by Len Kasper, who moved over to the White Sox radio booth last month.

“Having the opportunity to come to Wrigley Field and call games for the Chicago Cubs every day is surreal,” Sciambi said in a statement. “It really doesn’t get better than that. Chicago is one of the best cities and Wrigley is the best ballpark out there.”  Prior to joining ESPN, Sciambi had served as the lead television announcer for the Braves from 2007-2009 and as the radio voice of the Marlins from 1997-2004.

Sciambi teamed with current Cubs manager David Ross on ESPN telecasts, so he should have an immediate in to the organization.  He will continue working for ESPN in some capacity under this new deal.

In somewhat related news, missing from the list of contributors in the press release from Marquee was Mark Grace, the former Cub star who was suspended last season after making derogatory comments about his ex-wife during a broadcast.  Not a huge loss for the network or the Cubs, since, in my opinion, Grace makes for a poor broadcaster, but losing a high profile gig must sting for the former all-star.

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