Today's thoughts

Category: Chicago White Sox (Page 1 of 19)


Old Sport Shorts: Sox Memories #2097

I added the 1956 Chicago White Sox Topps team card to my collection this week. I have an autographed baseball from that year and the same team photo clipped from a 1955 magazine. Sherm Lollar is in the back row next to Nellie Fox. The White Sox of 67-years later continue to underachieve with another lackluster home loss last night following the All Star break. Tim Anderson and Liam Hendriks were the Sox 2022 representatives as the American League won for the ninth straight time. The Pale Hose had finally gotten to the .500 mark on the season and within three games of first place Twins in the division before losing 8-2 to the second place Guardians. Now, the gap is 3.5 games going into today’s double header at Guaranteed Rate Stadium

I have given up on the White Sox many times already this year. It’s frustrating to watch them fall behind early in games, leave so many potential runs on base, and make sloppy errors in an effort to catch up. Yosmani Grandal came back from the injured list to go a pitiful 0-3 in clutch situations. Luis Robert took his place on the DL with dizzy spells. Injuries and a lack of hustle have sadly become their trademark this season. 

I was only 5-years old when the 1956 Sox took the field. Sherm Lollar hit .293 and had 11 home runs and 75 RBIs. It wasn’t until 1959 and the televised World Series games that he became my favorite player. Minnie Minoso led the 1956 team with a .316 batting average. Larry Doby was the home run leader with 24 on this team that finished 3rd in the American League with a record of 85-69. As far as the All Star game, Yogi Berra (2-2) of the Yankees won the starting position as catcher with Sherm (1-2) as his back-up. The NL won 7-3. I might have been a Mickey Mantle fan back then, but soon fell for #10 Sherman Lollar and have been following him ever since. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Looking Forward #2092

All the factors seemed to be working against me this morning on run #4,950 – eye patch, heat, humidity, headache, and a malfunctioning GPS. A voice kept repeating “Pausing workout” and then “Resuming workout” to the point where it consumed a half-mile of recorded distance and in the end what should have been 3.1 miles showed only 2.6. It was annoying and the headache persisted but I completed the course, watered some plants, won for the 65th straight time at Wordle, swam a few laps in the pool, and started the laundry. 

We’ll pick up my grandson at his mother’s house later this afternoon in Sarasota and take him to dinner. I’m also looking forward to watching tonight’s Home Run Derby and tomorrow night’s All Star Game. The White Sox finally came through in their series against the first place Twins, winning three of four and moving to within three games of the lead just behind the Guardians. Injuries continue to be an issue with both Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez nursing problems. Liam Hendriks was finally named to the AL squad and will join teammate Tim Anderson. Former Hoosier, Cub, and Nationals Kyle Schwarber, now with the Phillies, is favored to win the Derby, but has fallen short in previous attempts. 

I’m watching “Black Bird” on Apple TV, a Dennis Lehane production. A friend and I went to one of his book signings years ago, so he has become a favorite. He’s written A Drink Before The War, Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Gone Baby Gone, among others. I have a personally autographed copy of Shutter Island on my office shelves, but have only seen the movie. Other author autographed books in my library include those by Pat Conroy, Michael Connelly, Richard Price, Sue Grafton, and Kirk Eichenwald. A new episode of “Black Bird” will be released on Friday, so something to look forward to watching before we hit the road. 

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: Bad Hands #2050

I had written a few weeks ago that the White Sox had turned the corner with their home series victory over the Yankees. However, both the Red Sox and Blue Jays quickly proved me wrong. Then, they continued to play poor baseball, dropping the first game (Friday) of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays and were stuck on a four-game losing streak. An old radio friend and I were enjoying our annual ball park trek to see our beloved Sox on Sunday, hoping to finally claim a victory. We watched them helplessly lose last year and several times in Chicago back at the turn of the century, thinking there was some kind of curse preventing us from seeing them win while together. He proved that it wasn’t him (just us), by going with his wife on Saturday to watch them snap the current losing streak with a game two victory.

My son, a lifelong Cubs fan, joined us for the trip into St. Petersburg and Tropicana Stadium. The two of us old guys had our throwback jerseys on in anticipation of perhaps breaking the curse. On the way into the park, I was surprisingly accused by a young woman of grabbing her butt. I assured her that it was accidental, since she had cut in front of my awkward arm swing while the back of my hand grazed her behind. She looked incensed but I was there for baseball not groping other fans. I apologized for being so forward, and tried to keep my wandering hands to myself for the rest of the day. 

The guy right in front of me grabbed a baseball while I was still sitting on my hands. It was as close to getting a game-used souvenir that I’ve ever come, but my hands did not react. I sat there envying his girlfriend who shed a few tears of joy when he presented her with the ball. It reminded me of being a teddy bear hero at the state fair.

The game looked promising after the Sox scored six runs in the first two innings, but the Rays eventually scored five and had us on the edge of our seats with Liam Hendricks on for the save. Yasmani Grandal was out of position with the numerous Sox injuries and failed to make a critical play at first base. It nearly caused the curse to continue, but fortunately did not become a deciding factor. Bad Hands!

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: #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: Sunshine Skyway #1915

1914  saw the beginning of what became known as World War I, after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrillo Princip. It also saw the first airline to provide scheduled regular commercial passenger services with heavier-than-air aircraft, with the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line.”

As Wikipedia went on to point out: “The St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line (SPT Airboat Line) was the first scheduled airline using a fixed wing aircraft. The airline provided service between St. Petersburg, Florida and neighboring Tampa across Tampa Bay a distance of about 23 miles. It was in service from January to May 1914.”

The route that this flight covered is now drivable over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the modern link between Tampa and St. Petersburg. We drove it last weekend to get to Comic Com. It goes right past Tropicana Field  where the Tampa Bay Rays beat the White Sox last season. “On May 9, 1980, Harbor Pilot John Lerro was guiding the ship MV Summit Venture under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when storm winds pushed the vessel into the southern span. A chunk of the span came down. Vehicles fell into the water- a truck, five cars and a Greyhound bus. Thirty-five people died,“ once again according to Wikipedia. I can’t help think about it every time I cross.

As the war raged on in 1915, “the second year of the First World War, included the first German Zeppelin raid on England, the Gallipoli Campaign and the Battle of Loos. The first German Zeppelin raid on the east coast of England; Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn are both bombed.”

Speaking of a different kind of war, I watched the Paramount Plus adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, reminiscent of our current battle with Covid. King happens to live in this part of Florida, at least part of the time and is just as vulnerable as the rest of us. Fortunately, Coronavirus isn’t as deadly as Captain Trips, the fictional illness that he created. 

We had lunch at Brown’s Food Factory, another mobile restaurant that visits our resort community on occasion. Today, it was a spicy breaded tenderloin that pleasantly didn’t include a long wait in line. We’re still looking for something to match the Indiana tenderloins that we enjoyed at places like the State Fair, Murphy’s Steakhouse, and The Mug & Bun.  The closest we’ve found so far is nearby Darrell’s Restaurant.

Georgia is the new NCAA National Champion in football, a status that had eluded them since 1960, sixty-two-years ago. They gained revenge over an Alabama team that had beaten them for the SEC crown a month or so ago. Maybe 2022 will also be the year of the White Sox, as we once again cross the Skyline Bridge to watch them play?

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.

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