This Has Been A Great Year

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Over the past few weeks I have read a lot of posts online from people complaining about what an awful year 2018 has been. That lead me to write this, because I can honestly say this has been the best year I have had since 2010 and one of the top three years I have had in the past 15 years.

I’m not saying 2018 has been perfect, by any stretch. January was somewhat disastrous for me but it was also a cleansing moment. I lost my son for the time being but I also eliminated a lot of negatives from my life. I started being able to sleep again, and I was excited for baseball even though I knew the Chicago White Sox were looking at a long season of losing. By the time Spring Training rolled around I was starting to really feel like my life was on the upswing. And after the previous seven years, I was definitely ready for it.

For the first time in my life, I managed to watch every Chicago White Sox game this year. All 162 regular season games and every Spring Training game that was telecast. My only regret is not playing more MLB The Show on the PS4, but hopefully 2019 will be the year I can remedy that.

I was able to reunite with a large number of friends I had not been allowed to talk to in a number of years and met a ton of new friends. I am thankful for all of them. They helped make this year extra special for me.

There were setbacks, including my severely sprained ankle, the fact that I didn’t get into better shape but I am still down 20 pounds from where I was in January. I met a few people I would have been better off not knowing but I can’t complain about those little life lessons we all need to be taught. And it had been a long time since I had an extended run as a single man. The world has changed a lot in the past seven or eight years.

I am ready to take the next step in my life. I am going to begin taking online classes in physics, engineering and mathematics, which I wish I had done 20 years ago but I spent too many years not using the intellectual gifts God had bestowed upon me. Instead of learning and doing the best for myself, I flat-lined and spent my time with people who were not only not on my level intellectually but I lowered myself to that level as well.

I had planned to do my Alfred Hitchcock reviewing project this year but I’m going to put that off to next winter, I want to focus on my online classes and finally watching the complete original Star Trek series this winter. I started on it last year and watched the entire first season and massively enjoyed it, and I still have two seasons to go, as well as the original motion pictures and the animated series as well. I can’t wait.

Most importantly, it’s time to take this broken-down, past-it’s-prime body and turn it into the body I had when I was 22 years old. And there is no reason I can’t, the only thing standing in my way right now is me.

One of my few regrets in 2018 was not getting back into my cigar hobby early enough, I pissed away months that I could have spent enjoying cigars before I bought a new humidor and restocked it. But, now they have months to season and should be ready to smoke next spring. I can’t wait.

As good as 2018 was, and it was great, I think 2019 could be the best I’ve ever had. While my Amazon store is doing the best business it’s ever done in the eight years I have had it, I want to expand it and make it even better. I would also like to get a new job in addition to my Amazon store. I would love to have as much to do as possible to keep me busy in 2019.

I also want to start attending Minor League baseball games again in 2019. That has been one of the highlights of my past summers and it’s time to do it again. I needed the year away to kind of cleanse the memories of the past but now that the slate is clean, I will enjoy getting back into it again.

Life is what you make it. I did a damn good job making 2018 one of the best years I have had in a decade and a half. Here’s to a better 2019.

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What Is And Is Not Going To Happen In Chicago White Sox Baseball In 2019… And Beyond

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After much online discussion and reading a multitude of stories from a multitude of different sports websites, I have come up with a list of things I believe will and will not happen within the Chicago White Sox franchise this offseason and into next year. While these are somewhat open to interpretation and subject to change barring unforeseen circumstances (i.e. catastrophic injuries, etc.) I am relatively certain each of these happenings will come to pass.

  1. Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper will not be signing with the Chicago White Sox. This is the closest thing I can come up with to a no-brainer. Both of these guys are going to get extensive, long-term deals (probably in the 10-year range) with exorbitant salaries (I would say between $30 and $40 million per year) with an opt out after three seasons. This makes no sense for the White Sox on a number of levels and makes no sense for Machado and Harper. The White Sox will not be competitive until 2021, at the earliest. Which would mean one of these free agents could hit the market again just as the White Sox enter their three-to-five year window of contention. That would be counterproductive to producing a winning team, to lose your franchise free agent-signee just as you are about to begin competing. And why would anyone want to sign with a team that’s pretty much guaranteed to be tanking for a couple of more years? Money aside, players want to win, that’s why they play the game.

  2. James Shields will be back in 2019. “Big Lame” James has a $16 million team option for 2019 that will definitely be declined. I don’t think there’s even a second thought about that. However, due to the fact that there will be absolutely no demand for his services, and the fact that the White Sox are enamored of his ability to throw 200+ innings (in spite of his 7-16 record, 4.53 ERA, 1.4 WAR and 1.309 WHIP) regardless of the results. So a $2 million buyout and a one-year, $5 million deal will go down this offseason. That will leave one open rotation spot for the White Sox to fill…

  3. Dylan Covey will not be in the 2019 White Sox rotation. This will be the year that Dylan Covey lays claim to the long relief/spot starter role in the White Sox bullpen. This job should have belonged to Carson Fulmer, but he can’t pitch his way out of AAA so it will fall to Covey. Covey’s numbers overall were putrid in 2017 (5-14, 5.18 ERA, -0.2 WAR and 1.488 WHIP) but he has the stuff to make a move to the bullpen successfully. Facing batters for only one inning (or less, depending on the continued overuse of the bullpen by Rick Renteria) will make him much more effective.

  4. The White Sox major acquisition prior to contending will be a catcher, because no one in the farm system is going to develop into a franchise catcher. Zack Collins is the Sox top prospect at the position and he is coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .234 and made nine errors in only 74 games behind the plate (out of 122 games played overall). Seby Zavala was the “surprise” of the 2017, but his numbers regressed significantly in 2018 (from 21 home runs to 13, from 74 RBI to 51 and a .282 batting average to .258) in roughly the same number of games (107 in 2017, 104 in 2018).

  5. Carson Fulmer will never see the MLB level with the White Sox again. After a horrible performance early in the 2018 season with the Sox (2-4, 8.07 ERA, -1.0 WAR and 1.887 WHIP) his numbers were not any better with the AAA Charlotte Knights (5-6, 5.32 ERA, 1.64 WHIP). His numbers are poor as both a starter and a reliever, and another reason I don’t trust the White Sox brass when it comes to the MLB Draft.

  6. Avi Garcia will be shopped heavily during the offseason and if not traded, may be non-tendered. Garcia has nearly 2,500 career plate appearances over parts of seven seasons with the Tigers and White Sox and still has yet to hit 20+ home runs in a single season. Given his lack of speed he is pretty much a one-dimensional player. The time has now come to start slowly introducing the outfielders of the future and that will begin this year with Eloy Jimenez. Garcia’s 2017 salary of $6.7 million is bound to rise due to his career high in home runs in a very limited season (93 games) and he’ll be the odd man out in the outfield once Jimenez is recalled in mid-April.

  7. This will be the final season in Chicago for Matt Davidson, Leury Garcia, Nate Jones and Kevan Smith. These four are just placeholders and nothing is going to change. Davidson will hit in the .220s with 20 home runs and hit pitching exploits will get more coverage than anything he does with the bat, much like 2018. Smith is a solid defensive catcher with no hitting prowess to speak of, and Garcia is a versatile player who can’t stay healthy enough to contribute much. Jones has a triple-digit fastball that he throws straight as an arrow and his inability to stay healthy has cost him. Of the four, I see Davidson getting a minor league deal for 2020 somewhere other than Chicago due to his power bat, but the rest will just sort of disappear.

  8. Ricky Renteria will not be retained following the 2019 season after the White Sox finish the season with 90+ losses again and very little to show in the way of progress. Renteria is supposedly a great teacher, and that’s what earned him the managerial job with the Cubs and the White Sox. I haven’t seen it yet. I have watched a guy who doesn’t know how to handle a bullpen any better than I know how to do needlework. Instead of letting these kids work their way out of trouble and learn what they should and should not do, he can make three or four pitching changes per inning like he’s managing the 9th inning of Game Seven of the World Series. Which he’ll never see. Renteria was a reflex-reaction hire because the White Sox thought they were getting one over on the Cubs by hiring their former manager. I say if Ricky were that good, the Cubs would have kept him, regardless of who became available. They had no faith in Ricky. Neither do I. Ricky’s contract, which he signed prior to the 2017 season, expires after 2019.

  9. Jose Abreu will sign a contract extension before the end of the 2019 season. Jose is the heart and soul of the franchise and the White Sox have little in the minor leagues to replace him with. He has carried the team at times when no one else in the lineup was producing anything. His defense has improved immensely. He’ll be handling first base and occasional DH duties when the team begins competing in 2021.

  10. Omar Vizquel will lead the White Sox to the playoffs, and to a World Series title as the team’s manager. Vizquel’s success, along with his familiarity with the young players who will be getting to Chicago over the next few years, make him the perfect candidate. I sometimes wonder if this was the plan all along, or if maybe I’m giving the White Sox too much credit. Vizquel lead the Winston-Salem Dash to an 84-54 record in 2018 and the Carolina League Southern Division title. By 2023 he will be leading the Chicago White Sox to the American League Central Division title.

Random Thoughts…

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Random Thoughts

  • I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I spend every day in a mild state of depression as I look at myself and wonder what I did with the past 41 years. With the exception of baseball, I have basically failed to pursue any of my intellectual passions. My love for history (both world and American) are well known, as are my love of science (especially physics and paleontology) and politics and mathematics. Now, suddenly, my mind has become a sponge and my thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. I study all I can, all the time. I even listen to YouTube programs about physics before I go to sleep. Why didn’t I have this desire 25 years ago?

  • I am finally learning that it doesn’t pay to carry a grudge, no matter what has been done to you. Not only because I saw what happens to other people who have been wronged as they make complete asses of themselves on social media and that is the only recourse they are getting, but because I know now that carrying a grudge is a one-sided situation, because the person you carry a grudge against may not care at all. Especially when the person in question is a psychopath.

  • In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to start watching every existing Alfred Hitchcock-directed film (I have all of them in my DVD collection) and I have yet to start on that due to my horrible time-management abilities and lack of focus. So I am trying very hard to get that started this week.

  • I also need to take better care of myself physically. Between 2010 and 2017 I fell apart both mentally and physically and now that I am completely on the other side of that mentally, and have wiped my ass of it permanently, it’s time to fully put my body back together. I know I’ll never be as fit as I was at 22, but that’s my goal. I can’t believe I even made it to 41 years of age, to be honest. From the time I was 15 I always said I would never make it to 40. I never knew at 40 ½ I would be reborn and have to basically start over, but here I am, ready to go.

  • Finally, I am thinking about getting a new job. I have been self-employed for the past 11 months and while I enjoy it and I am financially secure, I am also bored out of my mind and couldn’t imagine spending another 20 or 30 or 50 years like this. Or, maybe I’ll just take this opportunity to start taking some classes in some of my preferred subjects that were neglected for so many years.

Top 5: My Favorite Everything… Revised

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This entry is a revised version of a previous entry, from January 2018. This was just for fun, to see how many things had changed in the ten months since the original entry. New additions to the list will be marked with a (*). Enjoy.

FAVORITE MOVIES
Back To The Future
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Return Of The Jedi *
First Blood
The Lady Vanishes *

FAVORITE BOOKS
The Art Of The Deal
The Catcher In The Rye
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin *
Moneyball
Think Big And Kick Ass *

FAVORITE COLORS
Black
Blue
Silver
White
Gray

FAVORITE ACTORS
John Wayne
Brad Pitt
Harrison Ford
Joseph Cotten
Gene Wilder

FAVORITE ACTRESSES
Sharon Stone
Uma Thurman
Julie Newmar
Kim Novak
Grace Kelly

FAVORITE SUPERHEROES
Batman
Superman
Captain America
Spider-Man
Wonder Woman

FAVORITE VILLAINS
The Joker
The Red Skull
Lex Luthor
The Penguin
Mandarin

FAVORITE FRUIT
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Grape
Watermelon

FAVORITE VEGETABLE
Corn
Potatoes
Green Peppers
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVORS
Rocky Road
Chocolate
Neapolitan
French Vanilla
Coffee

FAVORITE MOVIE CHARACTERS
John Rambo (First Blood)
Sam McCord (North To Alaska)
Marty McFly (Back To The Future)
Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct…  Hey, that’s what got me through puberty)
Han Solo (Star Wars series) *

FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS
Jack Tripper (Three’s Company)
Perry Mason
The Lone Ranger *
Paladin (Have Gun – Will Travel)
SpongeBob SquarePants *

FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Mystery Science Theater 3000 *
Alfred Hitchcock Presents *
Three’s Company
The Lone Ranger
Perry Mason

FAVORITE CANDY
M&Ms
Whatchamacallit
Snickers
Rolo
Hershey With Almonds

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Longhorn Steakhouse
Denny’s
Chili’s
McDonald’s
Burger King *

FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS
AC/DC
Megadeth
Hank Williams, Sr.
The Beatles
Judas Priest *

FAVORITE WEBSITES
Facebook
iFunny
YouTube
Wikipedia
Amazon *

FAVORITE SONGS
“Sin City” by AC/DC *
“I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles *
“Angry Again” by Megadeth
“How About That” by Bad Company *
“Hysteria” by Def Leppard *

FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES
MLB The Show
Batman Arkham series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES trilogy *
Super Mario Kart *
Grand Theft Auto III *

FAVORITE BOARD GAMES
Monopoly
Life
Chess
Scrabble
Yahtzee (which doesn’t technically have a “board” but it makes the list anyway)

FAVORITE SPORTS
Major League Baseball
Minor League Baseball
NCAA Baseball

FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYERS (ALL-TIME)
Frank Thomas
Bo Jackson
Jose Abreu
Pete Rose *
Mickey Mantle *

FAVORITE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
2010
1995
1987
2018 *
1998

FAVORITE SUBJECTS FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND/OR COLLEGE
History (high school)
Journalism (high school)
Criminal Law (college)
Business Law (college)
American Civics (high school)

FAVORITE CITIES
Chicago
Los Angeles
Phoenix
Las Vegas
Pittsburgh

FAVORITE BEVERAGES
Coca-Cola
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Folgers Black Silk coffee
Ocean Spray Cran-Grape Juice

FAVORITE CEREAL
Apple Jacks
Cap’n Crunch
Frosted Flakes *
Cocoa Pebbles
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats *

FAVORITE CARTOONS
Looney Tunes
South Park
Beavis and Butt-Head
SpongeBob SquarePants *
Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

Peace.