Today's thoughts

Category: Chicago Cubs (Page 1 of 23)


Old Sport Shorts: Promise is in the Air #2155

The baseball season may well be over for the White Sox and Cubs, but there’s still some exciting developments. Albert Pujols joined the 700 club, Aaron Judge tied Babe Ruth’s single season mark, and the Dodgers are on track to set the single season win mark. Teams that haven’t already claimed their Division titles are focused on the Wild Card race and Shohei Ohtani is in the running for MVP.

The White Sox playoff chances came down to a 4-game series with the Guardians. They won the first game in Cleveland but as has been the case all year couldn’t take advantage of home field and were easily swept. Now, they are 10-games out after folding to the bottom-feeding Tigers also at their oddly unfriendly home park. The meaningless battle for Division runner-up will soon take place against the Twins. Thankfully, it won’t be at Guaranteed Rate, so maybe they can maintain their two-game margin?

Outcomes have not been all bad for this sports fan. IU football is 3-1 after their loss to Cincinnati and are still capable of bowl eligibility with 3 more victories. IU Soccer has been a bit disappointing at 3-2-2 because it’s usually the brightest Hoosier athletic program at this time of year. IU basketball is filled with what might be unreal expectations, but fun to dream about enjoying a winning season with hopes of tournament glory again. The Colts and Bears are both off to great starts with both teams winning against top foes too foes on Sunday – a rare occasion of late. Promise is in the air.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Not So Well #2080

The fireworks have come and gone with the blazing heat of July yet to deal with. We start our 3,000 mile drive in less than three weeks, so the dog days of summer will be spent in many different cities. Tally has already shortened her walks and is especially reluctant to go out in the afternoon. The pavement is hot and the grass dry and stiff. I’m sure she misses the cool temperatures and soft grass of Portland, plus she’s spent a lot of time in our dark closet where she can’t hear the thunderstorms. We even bought her a Thundershirt, similar to what her sister Tinker once wore, to calm her nerves. 

I got scammed yesterday over a grill that I supposedly won from Ace Hardware. I don’t know how enter-to- wins even exist anymore when they were once a staple in the advertising business. I had to hassle with the company and cancel my credit card, thinking I was dealing with a reputable supplier that I use all the time. The “helpful hardware man” was nothing more than a scam artist yesterday. I rarely fall for these things but must have had a brain fart – never again. 

The White Sox lost again to the Twins last night but the Cubs beat the Brewers. Both Chicago teams are apparently not playoff worthy so I’m quickly losing interest in baseball this season. There’s also not much to look forward to in college or pro football. Therefore, Hoosier Hysteria can’t come soon enough, as the IU basketball program continues to gain respectability. 

The question now is whether Carlos Santana will be able to serenade me on my 71st birthday? He passed out from heat exhaustion in his latest concert up in Michigan. The last two years, his Florida concert that we’ve held tickets to has been cancelled due to Covid and he’s missed shows for other health reasons.  We’ve also lost one member of Earth, Wind, & Fire since then, so will this concert ever actually take place? Oye Como Va? Not so well.

Old Sport Shorts: I Give Up! #2079

It looks like the Twins are destined to rule the American League Central division this year after four straight victories over the White Sox. I thought for sure this was the year for the Pale Hose but after last night’s triple play debacle, I’m ready to throw in the towel. An 8-5 triple play had never happened before in the history of baseball, but of course it happened to the Sox last night. It was the seventh inning with runners on first and second after the tying run scored. There were no outs and it looked like the White Sox were destined for a big inning, with Adam Engel pinch-running at second and Joan Moncada at first. A.J. Pollock hit a long drive to center field that was easily run down by Byron Buxton. For some reason, neither runner tagged after the catch and both were caught advancing, ending the scoring threat. The Twins won in extra innings – the same outcome as the Cubs loss to the Brewers earlier in the evening. I Give Up!

It was a bad day in Chicago after a gunman opened fire on a local Independence Day parade. The game was nearly cancelled. The post-game fireworks were – long before there was nothing to celebrate. The White Sox are playing like their 77-year old manager, Tony La Russa, although he’s not the base coach. The team just lacks hustle and spirit. Injuries have plagued them all season long, while I was expecting a run before the All Star Break. They had just swept the Giants on the road and pulled within 4 1/2 games of the division leading Twins. Last night could have meant four straight victories and a step in the right direction. Instead, it was an embarrassing finish with clown-like baserunning and inability to take advantage of late inning opportunities. I Give Up!

In other sports news this past week, the BIG announced the addition of UCLA and USC to the  conference. The Big Ten is now the Sweet Sixteen and Coast-to-Coast, as of 2024. It certainly means two more football losses for IU and more competition for titles in other sports, especially basketball. The odds for the Hoosiers to ever win a BIG basketball tournament now comes down to simply this year. Furthermore, the battle between the BIG and SEC for supremacy is looking more and more like the Civil War – North vs. South.  Notre Dame is next to pick a side, even though they are well north of the Mason Dixon Line and Fighting to maintain their independence. Keeping track – I Give Up!

Old Sport Shorts: La Russa #2040

Even though the White Sox are playing .500 ball and four games behind the Twins in the standings, I feel like they turned a corner at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. They got both a double header win and a series victory over the Pinstripes. Or should I say the Pinheads after the “Jackie” taunts from the fans? Tim Anderson quieted the crowd with his finger to his lips as he rounded the bases on a 3-run homer to seal the nightcap victory. Josh Donaldson earned a one-game suspension with his comment that many regarded as “racist.” It was probably the kick in the butt that the White Sox needed after losing three of four at Comiskey Park earlier in the season. This was supposed to be the year of the White Sox. 

Manager Tony La Russa has been under fire, while injuries have plagued team performance. It’s been one thing after another, as fans grow restless. The red-hot Red Sox, winners of five straight, come to town tonight for another critical series. The Twins have also won five-straight to stretch their divisional lead over the Pale Hose. The White Sox have seemed to recover from their disastrous eight-game losing streak that included a sweep by the Twins. A positive sign was when they took a recent series from the Royals for a change. They need to build on the momentum of the two-straight Yankee victories and make up for lost opportunities. 

Can the aging La Russa lead this team to the promised land? I’ve got all my eggs in one basket this season, since the Cubs are one-step up from Little League. I hope to see the Sox win in Tampa/St. Pete in a few weeks to remove the bad taste from last year’s visit to Tropicana. Lets Go Sox…take some more of that “Jackie” angst out on playing field and rally behind Tim Anderson for some big wins. Make the old man, La Russa, look good!


Retirement is not without Hassles: More Disruptive than Helpful #2004

Both the Cubs and White Sox won last night and I succeeded at Wordle and Quordle this morning, so it’s shaping up to be a special day. I’m watching Curse of Oak Island where they are dealing with another curse in trying to uncover the Money Pit. It seems to be a constant state of affairs, as the show was aptly well named. Last night we saw another episode of Severance on Apple TV, after immersing ourselves in Van Gogh and gorging ourselves on steak and Chilean Sea Bass at Michaels on East. Today is much less eventful, keeping my eye out for warranty-work repairmen. Yesterday, they were up on the roof to patch some tiles that were apparently “overlooked” after the last inspection. A year ago tomorrow we officially moved-in after a night at a nearby Fairfield Suites. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a full year of being a Florida resident. 

Back in late March of 2018, we were headed home from our Mediterranean Cruise when I wrote about Vincent van Gogh and his Starry, Starry, Night painting that was made into a song by Don McLean. Last night, we experienced his work as a digital video in larger than life form. It incorporated all of his paintings with the most appealing being Almond  Blossom with pedals falling all around us. We, of course, bought a magnet to stick on our garage refrigerator to commemorate the occasion, joining hundreds from other world travels. 

We’ll hopefully hang the outdoor entry light later this afternoon. It will match those on both sides of the garage door and complete our overhead lighting needs. We have then agreed to invest in some outdoor lighting both in front and back of the house that should be installed in the next month. We also looked at tile and stonework for the outdoor kitchen while awaiting delivery of parts. These will be the last two major projects for 2022, with extensive travel on the horizon. My son and grand daughter should be over this afternoon to start this work – she’ll probably be more disruptive than helpful!



Retirement is not without Hassles: Fingers Crossed, Again #2003

Almost every year has its unforgettable moments. In 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas upon re-entry, killing all seven astronauts on board. I watched on a TV in the lobby of an Indianapolis agency, wondering if it was another terrorist strike? It was also the year that made Cubs fan Steve Bartman famous when he supposedly interfered with a potential out against the Marlins in a Playoff game. The Marlins went on to win the World Series and Bartman was lucky to escape with his life. We were coming back from Hawaii and in the airport when I saw the Cubs collapse. We would have to wait another 13-years for the Cubs World Series curse to finally end after a 108-year draught. 

The Cubs are on TV this afternoon as we head to Sarasota for the van Gogh exhibit. I guess I can give up a day of baseball for a little culture, although to me the game is culture. Our 2016 Wrigley Field World Series tickets are mounted on the home office wall next to me, along with the baseball cards of 1908 Cubs stars Tinker, Evers, and Chance, who took the crown in the early years. The cards of Rizzo, Russell, and Baez who were the modern-day version of the double-play trio, are encased next to them. All three of these Cubs stars are no longer with the team in the five years that have passed and most of the current lineup is unrecognizable. 

I did not sleep well last night, although it was nothing in particular that was bothering me. My mind was busy thinking about being gone from home for two full weeks and the preparations necessary. It’s mostly silly things like this that keep me awake in retirement, and most of the things I worry about never happen. We’ll be gone for another two weeks in July/August, a whole month in September/October, and two more weeks in December. We have at least ten weeks of travel ahead in the 37-weeks remaining this year. It will undoubtedly be the busiest year of travel in our lives, if not affected by Covid, fires, work stoppages, border restrictions, or cancellations that have plagued our first few years of joint retirement. We’ll spend some time on the beach, fly cross-country, cruise from Alaska to Japan, drive 3,000 miles through the Midwest, and end up in Kauai with family to end this eventful year. I doubt that we’ll ever be this active again, although next year calls for a drive to Maine and an adventure down the Nile. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, again! (See Posts #1329 and #1877

Retirement is not without Hassles: #1983

I was baby sitting for my nearly 4-year old granddaughter this morning, as will be the case tomorrow.  I finally got to sit down at the keyboard late this afternoon, after a doctor’s appointment and several errands. With the rain and responsibilities, there was also no time for the usual 5k, but at least I got in the minimum mile, extending my streak to 4,834 consecutive days. As I drove around town, I also picked up our remaining light fixtures for the front entry and great room, so my son can get to work on the wiring. One was in a huge box that barely fit in my back seat with the convertible top down. The 2007 Solara served as a pick-up truck once again, as it approaches 150,000 miles. 

The first mobile phones were introduced by Motorola in 1983. It’s hard to believe that we lived without them and the Internet all those years.  I used a CB radio for communication back in my early days of radio. Pay phones also played an important role in keeping up with client demands. A bag phone soon followed before I got my first flip phone that I could carry on a regular basis. A Palm Pilot served as my organizer once I abandoned Daytimers. Nowadays, everything is on my phone and I’m never without it. 

I’m watching the Cubs play the Angels on TV as Spring Training finally gets into full swing. I’ve already been to one game at the neighborhood Cool Today Stadium, the Spring Training headquarters for the World Champion Atlanta Braves. I have tickets for two more games against the Rays, with Grapefruit League activities extended thru April 5th. I just turned down tickets for the Yankees at Cardinals in August, and plan to go to Tampa in June for the Rays/White Sox series. We also made plans for Cactus League Spring Training in Phoenix next March that may be the next opportunity to see the Cubs live. I doubt that we get to Wrigley Field in 2022, let alone Chicago. I will keep an eye out if the boys plan another Cardinal baseball trip at some point during the season, but I’m sure that we will be exhausted from all our already planned cool travel activities.  

Retirement is not without Hassles: October Action #1828

Another decent run today with my pace slightly faster and motion a little more fluid. Hopefully, I’ve passed through another running funk and can find a way to enjoy the way I’ve chosen to start every single day of my life.  The sunrise is getting later every day, so it’s cooler when I get up with colorful skies. It’s much more pleasant than those hot, steamy summer days that were my first experience with living full time in sunny Florida. The transition from Portland has taken some time for adjustment as we settle into the winter months in our new home. 

We did go see No Time To Die yesterday afternoon and it’s well worth the big screen experience. The graphics are awesome with lots of action. It’s the James Bond finale with lots of options for spin-offs, mostly involving female versions of the character. Perhaps, 007 should have long ago been suspended for sexual harrassment, so it’s time to move on from the male, secret agent stereotype. I will not spoil the surprise ending or any of the twists the story takes, but retirement is not his thing. 

Tonight we’ll watch the season one finale of Only Murders in the Building after delivering some dinner pizzas to my son and his family. The White Sox game was postponed yesterday due to rain in Chicago, so they were not the first team to be eliminated in the Playoffs. The Red Sox took out the Rays, while the Giants put themselves in a position to move past the Dodgers. The Cubs have made a lot of post season noise, at least from their former players. Ryan Tepera has accused the Astros of cheating, additional motivation that could backfire on the Sox in this afternoon’s game. His fellow Cub teammate, Craig Kimbrel, now joins him in the White Sox bullpen but gave up five runs to the Astros in the Game 2 loss. Joc Pederson used Anthony Rizzo’s bat to beat the Brewers, as the Braves can now clinch a spot in the NL Championship with a victory this evening. Kyle Schwarber was instrumental in the Red Sox series win to move on to the AL Championship matchup. Kris Bryant showed his defensive outfield skills and hit a home run for the Giants in his first playoff game with the new team. Only Javy Baez failed to make the postseason after his trade to the Mets, while everyone else who left the Cubs has seen October action.

Old Sport Shorts: Let The Games Begin #1821

Let the Games Begin! The Playoffs are finally underway, while the Cubs have been put out of their misery. It’s hard to believe the late season success of the Cardinals or the fact that it could all for them end in one Wildcard game. My focus is now primarily on the SOX and their 76-year old manager, Tony La Russa. It’s been 16-years since they last won the World Series, but only 10-years for him in the same role with St. Louis. The White Sox lost two out of three to the A’s in last year’s Playoffs while La Russa was still enjoying retirement. Let’s hope for a deeper run in 2021.

I’m starting today in Tampa after four days in Pittsburgh. It’s a Sunday, but I actually wrote this yesterday on the plane, knowing that I would be crunched for time. I will be trading my family for my wife’s over the next three days as we make our way back to Venice. I’m glad the Braves made the Playoffs since we’ve moved into their Spring Training neighborhood. There will be some watch parties at the Stadium near our home, a great way to start a relationship with my new team. Maybe they’ll even have an afternoon game that I can stay awake to watch. Former baseball home favorites have included Chicago, St. Louis, Texas, and Seattle on our moves across the country over the past 25-years. However, the SOX will always be my favorite thanks to Sherm Lollar and the 1959 crew that become my first childhood baseball love.

It took 54-years of my lifetime for the White Sox to win a World Series and 65-years for the Cubs to claim a crown, although they were primarily my dad’s and son’s favorite. My dad originally tried to coax me into being a Detroit Tiger’s fan, that would have been even more frustrating. He did pry my allegiance away from Mickey Mantle like every other kid my age back then, but I chose the White Sox because he insisted that I support someone closer to home. If I hadn’t followed his advice, I could have been an obnoxious Yankees fan.

The Damn Yanks are slipping in the Playoff race, but the SOX are solidly in the field. The Cubs are on the outside looking in, while my dad sadly died before his Chicago team finally won it all in 2016. I’m ready for some Playoff baseball where the SOX will finally face some competition. They’ve been playing most of this injury plagued season with a firm grip on the AL Central. If they can stay healthy, they have a strong chance of winning it all. If they can’t do it, maybe the Braves can, so Let The Games begin.

Old Sport Shorts: Streaks #1815

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. but I had my first Pickle Ball match at the age of 70. I lost of course, but didn’t get hurt. My body could not move laterally and bending over for a low shot was impossible. I can feel some of the strain in my knees this morning, but I’m glad to have given it a try. I’ll practice some before my next match in two weeks. Does practice still make perfect at age 70? During my time on the court, our Fantasy team, the Dolphish, stretched its lead to 134-115 over Aaron Hernandez Taxi Service with one Tight End each yet to play tonight. We have the edge in improving our record to 2-1. 

Today is “Matinee Meatless Monday” with Dear Evan Hansen on the big screen and PB&J for lunch. We saw the Broadway performance on our last trip to New York. Not sure when we’ll ever get back? Pittsburgh is our next stop on Wednesday, with little interest now in seeing the Cubs and Pirates play. After their last two games with the Cardinals, I’m embarrassed to be a fan. The Cards were able to stretch their winning streak to 16 with the 4-game sweep of the Cubbies at Wrigley. The last three games of this “season to forget” will be in St. Louis. There was a glimmer of hope early in 2021, including a 2-1 series victory for the Cubs at Busch in May and a 3-0 home field sweep in June. They tied at one each in July after game 3 was postponed. That’s when the tide started to turn in favor of the Red Birds, taking three of the next four after the All-Star break. Then, the Cubs cleaned house. Believe it or not the New Blue still have a chance to win the overall season series, but regardless the Cards will probably still go on to the Wildcard. They currently have a 6-game cushion over the Phillies and Reds with only six left to play. They can’t possibly catch the Brewers for the Division crown even if they stretch their winning streak to 22 and tie Cleveland’s American League mark for consecutive wins! If they then win that 23rd against the Giants or Dodgers, they’ll make the Playoffs and could challenge the 1916 New York Giants for the all-time record of 26!

Meanwhile on the other side of Chicago, the White Sox are comfortably in the Playoffs. The SOX won the final series against the Indians 3 games to 2 to clinch the Division. They are currently three games behind the Astros to determine which team will have home field advantage in the Playoffs. The Astros have three against the Brewers and three versus the A’s, while the “Good Guys” meet the Tigers and Reds to conclude the regular season. After winning last night, a seven-game winning streak could give the Pale Hose a Playoff edge, but I will assume they will continue to rest their stars during this stretch, while the Tigers have little to play for and the Reds may also be out of Wildcard contention by the time they play in Chicago, especially if the Cardinals continue their record streak. 

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