Letting Go Of The Illusions Of The Past…

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Anyone who knows me has no doubt become annoyed at one time or another as I have reminisced on the happiness I had in 1995. It was truly an amazing year. For Easter, my girlfriend at the time presented me with the love of my life, my tabby cat, Bubbles, who passed away in 2013. I graduated from high school and started to college. I reintroduced myself to some of the classic TV programs I had enjoyed in my youth (particularly Three’s Company and Perry Mason).

I also began my lifelong love of sports simulation video gaming. Something that didn’t exist at the time but that like-minded people helped to bring to fruition in the following years. I also began my love of UCLA athletics. This actually started when I picked the Bruins to win the 1995 men’s basketball tournament in the pool at school, and they did, the first time in my life a team that I followed one any kind of championship. The UCLA baseball team would follow suit in 2013.

But when you brush away all the fluff, 1995 wasn’t the best year ever. By a long shot. There were still a multitude of annoyances. A relationship I was quickly growing tired of, that engulfed all my spare time and left me with little opportunity to enjoy any of my growing pursuits.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, since next year will mark 25 years since my most “incredible” year. And today I realized, I have had at least three better years than 1995; the earliest being 1982, followed by 2010, and amazingly, 2019, which may be the best year of all.

I started Kindergarten in 1982. My obsessions at that time were the Lone Ranger and the Dukes Of Hazzard. I would soon be introduced to Masters Of The Universe. It was a great time to be a kid. And I remember few moments of unhappiness. My uncle committed suicide that year, but at five years old, who has a grasp on the concept of death? I do remember sitting on his front porch, trying to play his fiddle as I saw the musicians do on Hee Haw every Saturday night.

My family took our first vacation in 1982, to New Mexico and the surrounding area. I remember it, but not clearly. Obviously there were more important things going on then.

To compare 1995 and 1982 is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but taken in the right context, there really is no comparison for me. No doubt, 1982 was the better year.

The same applies to 2010. I had become a single man in November 2009 after a rather annoying three-and-a-half year relationship that was ill-conceived and ill-advised. I would spend a full year single, 375 days to be exact, minus a six-week period where I was in a “Facebook official” relationship that was anything but real. I had an amazing time and really started to grasp what it meant to live. I had good years prior to that (2000-04 were absolutely incredible and maybe equal to 2010, but included more minor aggravations) but 2010 was the closest thing to perfect.

Until now.

Today I elected to take stock of things and I realized that this is, without question, the golden year of my life. I should be happy beyond description. I have everything I could possibly ever want. In 1982, I had a 19” tabletop TV, a ColecoVision video game console and a small, handheld cassette player with three blank cassettes. The VCR hadn’t made it’s way into my world yet.

In 1995, things had expanded dramatically. I had a 25” TV, VCR, Nintendo Entertainment System, a 200-watt stereo with dual cassette deck and a Sony Walkman plugged into the auxiliary jack. I was videotaping Three’s Company and Perry Mason from TV and watching them at my leisure. At that time, it felt like I had it all and I had no idea what the future would bring.

Now it’s 2019. I have a 55” Samsung Smart TV, a DVD recorder, a PlayStation 3 and 4, a Retron 5 (which plays a multitude of old video game cartridges), a 400-watt stereo with a 5-CD changer, an incredible PC I built myself, a Samsung Galaxy S8, more DVDs and CDs than I could ever watch or listen to for the rest of my life, and enough money to have anything I want.

Even though that’s the case, I still find myself dreaming back to 1995. And I can’t stand it. The problem with me is, when I’m unhappy, I try to wish myself away to happier times. But when I’m in happy times, I do the same thing. I can remember back in 1995 reminiscing about happier days, 1982 and 1985 and 1989. Then by the time I got to the early 2000s, I was pissing that time away wishing back to 1995. And here I am, in my happiest period, still wishing the same.

In 1995, I didn’t have the luxury of pulling up any TV show in the world and watching it at any time I wanted, only the ones I had managed to tape from TV and even then, I had to wait to tape them day by day, because the concept of just buying a season or complete series of a TV show was non-existent. Cell phone? Nope. And the concept of a smart phone wasn’t even close. Back then I was at the mercy of whatever baseball game happened to be on at the time. Now I just turn on the MLB app on my Smart TV and watch the White Sox game when it’s on.

This is, literally, my time. Everything is in front of me. As happy as I have been in the past, in 2010 or 2002 or 1995 or 1989 or 1982, this should be putting all of those years past to shame. But I keep trying to sabotage myself, either through constant reminiscing of year’s past or trying to do stupid things to wreck the current wavelength I am living on, like introducing women into the fold. No woman has ever brought anything but misery and unhappiness into my life, yet I kept remaining open to allowing more and more of them into my life. Why I keep doing this is beyond my comprehension.

Some have said it’s just a part of my life that’s missing. I disagree. From 1996 to 2005, I was single. I spent nine glorious years as a single man. And that’s what 1982, 2010 and 2019 all have in common, there is no woman taking over my life and making it unhappy and dramatic and boring and miserable. That’s how 2010 came to a grinding halt, I allowed a bottom-of-the-trash-can greaseball to come into the picture and it was almost instant misery for the seven years that followed.

So why would I be stupid enough to even consider allowing that to happen again?

I am NOT a good fit for relationships. For one thing, I am extremely selfish and protective of my time. I have things I want to do and one of those things is watching White Sox baseball, a privilege for which I pay money. If I am doing so, that is going to take precedence over other less-important things, like whatever some girl wants to do. I also enjoy spending my money on me for a change, so I have spoiled myself to the ultimate degree. Not just the smartphone and stereo and TV and game consoles and DVDs but all the other little purchases that make my day seem a little happier.

And then I realized just how much women can negatively affect my life, as this past Friday I allowed a female to corrupt my schedule, missing Friday night’s White Sox game to watch a movie. It took me three days to get myself back into my groove, and to what end? What was the point of spending my Friday night doing anything other than what I want to spend my Friday night doing?

Now, understand, I’m not saying I am 100% anti-woman, if I ever met a woman who enjoyed baseball and video games and Star Trek who cooks like Nigella Lawson and is built like Raine Michaels I might give it a go. But until that time, why should I sell myself on millimeter short?

I have taken great pains in the past week or so to detach myself from anyone who brings anything but happiness into my life. This has included pretty much every local single woman in my area. Whether they had an interest in me or not (not in 96% of the cases) didn’t matter. I needed to build a wall and they needed to be on the other side of it. I have changed my Facebook settings so I am almost unreachable unless you are a Facebook friend or you know my cell phone number.

And even those who I know had it are finding themselves blocked and unable to use it.

I just can’t let this time period be corrupted. This is MY time. This is my golden hour. This is the point in time that my whole life has been focused on. When all the parts come together and make a complete picture, this is it. I will not do anything to ruin it, and that includes spending it reminiscing about times in the past that don’t hold a candle to what I have right here in front of me.

From this day forward, and maybe through the end of my life, it’s all about me. I cannot have it any other way. I nearly ruined my life a number of times, and I managed to extricate myself from those dilemmas and reach the point I am at now. And I am going to make the most of every second. Everyone deserves to be happy. And now, finally, it is my turn. It’s all about me.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Peace.

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Rebooting My Life In 2019

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OK, I’m going to give this another try. Hopefully the third time is the charm. I didn’t think changing my life would make such waves. But I have taken a voluminous amount of flak over my previous two posts, which I have removed to replace with this one.

The point I was attempting to make was that it was time to reboot my life, due to nearly 15 years of poor decisions that had left me in really poor shape physically and emotionally. At the top of my “poor decisions” list is the relationships I have subjected myself to, and I pointed out that I was desirous of not making any further of those mistakes.

I went on to point out the fact that I have gone to great lengths to cut myself off from local single women, from blocking them on Facebook to only going out at times that I am unlikely to run into any women who may be on the prowl. Simple self-preservation.

In addition, I had a lot of negative things to say about relationships in general and local women, specifically. This drew the most fire. I did not say every local woman was a harlot and I did not say every relationship was a waste of time, but it seems that everyone took it to mean that, so I am clearing that up now, that is not what I said. At all.

What I was trying to say was that I had made poor decisions as it came to women in the past, 100% of the time since 2006. This applies only to me and it is a simple matter of fact. I also was trying to push the point that it is in my best interest to avoid relationships, specifically with the kind of bottom-rung garbage that I have frequented in the past which has lead me to where I am today. This seems like common sense.

Now, let me try to expand on my situation again and hopefully this time it will make more sense and be less controversial since I have stripped it down to it’s base parts.

As I look at my life and compare it to, say, 2010, the only thing that has improved is my financial situation, because I’m not wasting every paycheck on worthless women. Everything else about my life has moved in a negative direction. And the vast majority of this is due to women I have been involved with during the last eight years. This is fact.

Right now I am probably a good 80 pounds overweight. This is from stress eating. This can’t be argued. That extra weight is taking its toll on my back and knees. I am also extremely self-conscious about the fact that extra weight takes length away from my member, due to the amount of fat that is now hovering over it. That is completely unacceptable.

Another issue that plagues me is my inability to let go of anger I have carried for over a year due to situations outside of my control that were perpetrated by an ugly, good-for-nothing ogre and her lying, bastard kid. I have done everything I can to let go of this anger, short of pounding myself in the head and hoping to suffer from self-induced amnesia. Carrying this anger isn’t doing me any favors, and the fact that I have let this consume me just makes me that much angrier. It’s a vicious circle I can’t seem to work myself out of.

Something else that has bothered me is the fact that I have let my mind stagnate for so long. I have a thirst for knowledge and learning and I simply buried it in order to watch stupid TV shows and go to stupid places with stupid people for almost a dozen years. I recently started on Stephen Hawking’s “Brief Answers To The Big Questions” and I have never enjoyed anything more. Now, don’t get me wrong, I also loved watching less-intellectual fare with my son, because any time spent with him was enjoyable regardless, but his mother was more interested in Game Of Thrones or Sons Of Anarchy than anything of an intellectual pursuit. So, for seven years, I didn’t get to pursue any of my passions.

The upshot of all of this is that I need to better myself. Am I saying I am completely done with women for life? No. But I am done with the kind of filth I have dealt with in the past. If I meet a woman someday who likes baseball and science and heavy metal music and steaks and sex and Star Trek then I would be a fool to walk away.

But it’s also a pretty solid bet that such a woman does not exist.

So, in lieu of finding a girl to spend time with, I am going to spend my time improving myself, and clearly I am badly in need of it. Dieting, exercising, getting enough sleep, studying everything from astrophysics to paleontology to mathematics, watching as much baseball as I can, smoking the finest cigars, catching up on all the shows and books and movies I neglected over all those years. I just want to live as myself again.

It’s amazing to look back at myself in 2005, before I started getting stupid and making ridiculous decisions again, and see how I have changed. At that point, my obsessions were baseball and professional wrestling. I haven’t watched a professional wrestling event since then. My obsessions with history and some of my favorite TV shows have faded to the point that I don’t even think about them anymore. I don’t want that to happen with my current state of mind and my enjoyments. I want to be happy and enjoy myself.

The one thing most people don’t even consider when getting angry at my point of view is that maybe, once I have myself in a better place, I’ll be a better option for women who may be available at that time, if any. Yes, I have admitted I am 41 years old (42 in just over a month) and the dating pool is not only shallow but rancid and poisonous. This is another point that has angered people but the fact of the matter is, it’s true.

Wouldn’t most women want a well-read boyfriend who is intellectually stimulating and is in shape physically and mentally? Right now, that is not me in any way.

So, now I am ready to reboot myself. I have taken so many steps to make this successful. In addition to cutting myself off from local women, I have also made a point of scheduling time for learning and time for baseball and time for video games, which I have also neglected badly over the past 15 years. My dream has been to play a full franchise mode season (or more than one) on MLB The Show, and I have failed 100% of the time.

Most years, that was not my fault. If I fail this year, that’s on me. No one else.

For the first time in at least 15 years, and maybe ever, my future is in my hands. It is all on me. I have no one else to blame for my failures, if it comes to that. I just want to forget the past 15 years (other than time with my son I will treasure forever) but the rest of that era needs to be forgotten, specifically the issues of 2017 that I can’t let go of. But I have to because if I don’t, it’s going to destroy me. And I need the brain space for my future studies, I don’t need to be clogging up mental capacity with angered thoughts.

I just want to be happy. And this is, literally, my only path to success. In a year, or two, or ten, I’ll re-evaluate my situation. If I meet a girl during my re-evaluation, that’s great, I’ll know it was destined to happen. If I don’t, I’ll know that was destined also. I don’t need a woman to be happy, though I would enjoy, just once, being in a happy relationship with no lying and cheating and hatred, because I have never gotten to experience that.

In closing, I want to remind you that life is short, and if you’re not doing what you want to do, you need to do something to change that situation. Don’t waste your time doing things that you don’t want to do, or with people you don’t want to be around. Life is too short for that. I have literally wasted close to 40% of the time I have been alive doing things I didn’t want to do with people I didn’t want to do things with in the first place. That is not only unacceptable, it’s terrible. I just want to be happy. And this reboot will do it.

Peace.

I’m Happy… And I Have To Admit, That Scares Me…

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I’m happy.

And I have to admit, that scares me.

First, let me put my life into perspective. I’m a generally happy guy. I have a good sense of humor, and I love to laugh. And when I’m not happy, I’m miserable. But that hasn’t been the case very often. In fact, I can easily say I have been legitimately happy through 75% of my life.

I’m 41 years old and obviously I have no memory of the first few years of my existence, but from everything I have seen and heard, I was happy. I do know that, from my earliest memories (1981?), I was happy. I was happy all through elementary school, junior high and high school. I’m not saying every day was perfect but the good days outnumbered the bad 100 to one.

I was also happy in college, in fact, that was one of the happiest periods of my life. And after college, for the next eight-plus years, I was happy. And I mean happy, fulfilled, loving life and truly enjoying myself.

That changed in the spring of 2005. And then it kind of snowballed and I was unhappy pretty consistently for the next 12 years, some years were worse than others (for instance, 2010 was a great year overall, with the exception of the last six weeks, while 2011 and 2012 were just miserable).

I started to feel some happiness begin to run through my veins in 2018. And like an addict needing a fix, I knew I needed a lot more of that and a lot less of the unhappiness I had dealt with the previous decade-plus.

So I started to take a look at my life, where I was then, where I had been in the past and realized exactly what I needed to make myself happy.

GETTING OUT OF PRESTON COUNTY

The most important thing was to get out of Preston County.

Preston has a reputation, and I dare say, it was earned. Moving to Fairview was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Preston County is the cesspool of the state of West Virginia. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone in Preston County is gutter trash (though I would say about 90% are), there are some great people there. But the human garbage outnumbers the good folks by a huge margin. And it seems to be getting worse as time goes on.

There’s also a feeling of impending misery at all times. When I’m in Preston County, I can’t sleep, I can’t focus, it’s just like I’m waiting for something bad to happen. When I get to Fairview, I have a habit of falling asleep in my recliner because I am so relaxed and my worries seem to melt away.

I’m about an hour away from Preston County now, and that’s a nice buffer. I come back occasionally to visit with mom and dad and check my mail that hasn’t gotten the address change processed yet, and it still has that same old Preston County feel, as soon as I get there, I start to feel miserable again.

And now, I wonder if I wouldn’t be even happier getting even further away. I’ve fantasized about leaving for Illinois or, especially, Arizona a lot over the years. I never had any intention of staying in this state all my life. I think just getting out of West Virginia in general would do a lot for me going forward.

BEING SINGLE

I had to take a real close look at my life and realize something that was told to me a year ago by my friend April, who told me how easy it is to get comfortable being single. The sad thing is, I should have already known that from my own life experiences. I have lived on each side of that situation.

The happiest I have ever been in my life were times that I was not involved with anyone, from my earliest period of recollection through the end of college. Now, I do have to admit that one of my longer relationships took place within that time frame, with my girlfriend from 1994 to 1996, but we had a very good rapport while we were together and when it ended, I think we were both really glad it was over, as I just get tired of someone after a certain length of time.

From the end of that relationship, I was single until the very early summer of 2005, and boy, did my quality of life go down when my love life was on the rise. As I look back at the mid-to-late 2000’s, the only good thing I can say about them is that the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005.

That’s literally the only good thing I can say came out of that era.

Then, 2010 to 2017 was even worse.  That was, without question, the unhappiest, most miserable era of my life. The only redeeming happening from that period was my son, everything else was suicide-worthy.

And what do those two periods of time have in common? I wasn’t single.

BEING SELFISH

For the first time since 2005, I’m doing for no one but myself. And I love it. I do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want. I don’t argue with anyone over anything. It’s all about me, and it’s going to stay that way. With the exception of my son, whom I would have done anything in the world for and who came first, regardless of circumstance, this will never change again.

I don’t have to answer to anyone. If I want to get up at 3 AM and play MLB The Show on my PS4, I do. I don’t have to go spend the night anywhere that I don’t want to. I can go eat anywhere I want. I don’t have to negotiate about where to go or what to do with anyone. “Being selfish” is a big plus after you realize how important “being single” is. And while people may seem like they’re being selfish in relationships, ultimately there has to be some level of give and take, whether it’s 50/50 or 95/5, no one is having it their way 100% of the time.

This brings me to the second part of this piece, why being happy scares me…

After 12 years of unrelenting despair, 2018 felt like a breath of fresh air, but I still did things I shouldn’t have done. I got involved in situations that I should have known in advance were better to be avoided. And that’s what scares me, could I still have the potential inside of me to screw my life up again?

My mind says “no,” but if you went back 25 years ago and asked if I would possibly screw my life up as bad as I did the past dozen years, I would have said “no” to that as well. And even though I knew how happy I was in 1999 and 2002 and 2004, I still made decisions back then that could have completely ruined my life, rather than just making it unbearably unhappy. And it’s not like I was in one bad relationship from 2005 to 2017, I was in four of them.

How could anyone be so stupid as to continually putting themselves into bad situations like that is beyond me. And each one got worse, making the previous one seem not as bad, until it hit rock bottom. So, clearly, I had no sense of timing or the ability to distinguish trash from treasure.

Not that there were any treasures to distinguish, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact remains that I still made those stupid decisions.

So, here I am, single, selfish and out of Preston County. What could possibly go wrong? On the surface, nothing. One thing I have now that I did not have 12 years ago is the experience of being so unhappy that I don’t want to live, as I did on numerous occasions in the 2010’s. I am hopeful that experience will steer me away from any future issues, because I should be a little smarter now than I was a decade or two ago. As the old saying goes, live and learn.

I have so much I want to do in 2019. I want to watch ALL of my baseball movies, I want to play MLB The Show and watch every White Sox game (again) this year and I want to watch every episode of every Star Trek series and I want to smoke cigars and I think I have set my life up to do just what I want.

So long as I don’t do anything stupid to screw it up.

and that’s what scares me.

Peace.

2019: My Year, My Rules

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As we pull into the station at the end of 2018, I have to start by saying it was a very good year. It was a B+ year. Which given the abject misery of the seven years that proceeded it, I think I’ll call that a win. Yes, it had its down moments, and there were more than a few, but that’s to be expected in any year. Hell, the best years of my life (1995 and 2010) had their fair share of down moments.

The year started off horribly, and I literally didn’t know where my life was going from day to day. Luckily, everything worked out and things started to look up. I knew there was no way 2018 could be perfect, but it could be very good. It was just a matter of me keeping my eyes on the prize and going forward.

I met a lot of new people in 2018. That was truly a breath of fresh air. And I needed it. Some have been great, and I hope will remain friends for life. Some have not been and have already been eliminated from my life. More will follow.

In what may have been the biggest mixed-bag of 2018, I got to watch all 162 Chicago White Sox games and every spring training game that was televised. But watching a team that finished 62-100 isn’t exactly a treat, either. On the negative side in terms of baseball, I neglected to play a season on MLB The Show, again, for the 18th consecutive season. I first planned to play a full season with my own transactions on MLB 2000 for the original PlayStation in the year 2000. I’ve failed to do so every year since, always coming up with some excuse why it didn’t work.

That will change in 2019. I am updating the rosters daily, beginning with the first transactions at the end of the 2018 season, with daily attention since. Trades, free agent signings, retirements, etc. I’ve kept them all up to date.

One of my biggest issues in 2018 was my inability to stay out of some type of relationship situation, or the desire to pursue such things. It wasn’t until August that I finally realized I was spinning my wheels and that I was better off not trying to find something that I knew wasn’t there to begin with. But even with that revelation, I still kept trying to beat the system. That won’t happen in 2019.

I’m a single man now, and I’ll be a single man on December 31, 2019. This isn’t up for debate or meant as a challenge being issued. It’s a statement of fact. The situation doesn’t matter, the answer to anyone who attempts to lure me into anything beyond a basic, online friendship, will be “no.” No questions asked.

I was told I was being unfair and closed-minded. Perhaps. But that doesn’t matter to me. I have to live the life that works for me. And this is it.

My life went through a number of upgrades in 2018, not just out with the old and in with the new as far as removing the gutter trash and replacing them all with a much better group of people. I bought a new 55” Smart TV and TV stand, a new stereo for my bedroom with a built-in card reader for a little project I undertook this year, a new stereo for my living room, a new cigar humidor which I filled with some amazing sticks and are seasoning for a great 2019 and a new phone, which I had not upgraded since 2016, but needed to in order to use some of my favorite apps.

I’m not expecting a lot of change on that level in 2019. I’ve been a very lucky man most of my life, when I want something, I go buy it. That was a big part of my life in 2018 and I made the most of it. I’ll go on a case by case basis in 2019.

I lost 20 pounds in 2018 but that’s not even a blip on the radar of what I hope to lose in 2019. Stress helped to put roughly 60 to 80 extra pounds on me between 2011 and 2017, and once the causes were eliminated, I started to drop back a bit but not nearly enough. If I could lose 60 pounds I would be absolutely ecstatic.

I hope to get back into grilling and biking in 2019, which will require me to get a new grill and a new bike, but those are both items that will help me a lot.

I have also been through a multitude of things I would like to watch in 2019, and I finally decided I would like to watch the entire available Star Trek series, from the original 1960s series through The New Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as Discovery and all the feature films available.

If I watch one episode per day, that will more than see me through 2019.

So, as 2018 comes to a close I can look back with mostly happy and enjoyable memories of the past year while also knowing 2019 is going to be even better, because I will live 2019 under my rules. I answer to no one, except myself and my Lord.

In closing, I want to with the best to everyone in 2019. Make it a great one.

God bless.

The Chicago White Sox 2018-19 Offseason, Part I

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With news of the Chicago White Sox decision to extend the contract of manager Ricky Renteria yesterday (November 6), I decided I would do a two, or three-part series of blogs on my thoughts about the 2019 offseason.

Naturally, I am disturbed by the first major decision and question it.

Someone, somewhere, once thought Rick Renteria was a good manager. I’m not sure how they came about that opinion, because his record as a manger (264-384, a .407 winning percentage) would get him fired from any other job in the league, let alone his inability to handle a bullpen (who else wears their bullpen out in the first game of a series?) and write out a sensible lineup every day?

The White Sox front office is still living under the delusion that they pulled something over on the Chicago Cubs when they hired Ricky after he had been fired by the Cubs to make room for Joe Maddon, who is clearly superior to Ricky in every phase of managing a baseball club. That’s not even debatable.

So, the Sox extend their clueless manager. That’s the first step to guaranteeing that the better free agents are not going to want to sign with you. That’s not the kind of move a winning organization makes. And regardless of who wants to fight about it, nothing this team has done yet in this rebuild has actually paid off.

Yoan Moncada was supposed to be a superstar. Some of the preseason baseball literature actually had him winning Rookie Of The Year in 2017 and being an All Star in 2018. Instead, he’s carrying around a .234 career batting average and striking out once every three at-bats, while looking disinterested in the field.

Then there’s Michael Kopech, who looked outstanding overall in four starts despite a 5.02 ERA. In 14 innings, he struck out 15 and walked two. But all that is meaningless because Tommy John surgery has put him on the shelf until 2020.

None of the other prospects, whether it be Dylan Cease or Eloy Jimenez or Micker Adolfo or our 2018 #1 Draft Pick Nick Madrigal has done anything at the MLB level. And with Moncada looking like an overrated bust, who is to say any of the other youngsters won’t turn out the same way in the long run?

No rebuild is guaranteed. Ask the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So, now the White Sox are blowing smoke about being in the running for major free agents. Sometimes I fall in and think anything is possible. Then I remember how this team operates. The largest contract ever given out was a six-year, $68 million deal to Jose Abreu, who has been worth every penny, no doubt.

In my mind, I see free agent targets Manny Machado and Bryce Harper signing ten or 12-year deals for over $350 million elsewhere as Rick Hahn announces that the White Sox made a “very competitive bid” but won’t elaborate.

Behind closed doors, those offers were in the six-year, $75 million range.

Then, to prove that the team isn’t tanking in free agent negotiations, Hahn offers someone like pitcher Dallas Keuchel a monster deal (three years, $60 million) and badly overpays just to show that the Sox will spend money.

While Hahn acts like a schoolboy trying to impress the girls, most of the baseball press has already figured this team out, and I have read on a number of sights that the best bet for a White Sox free agent signee is pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez had a career revival last year with the Atlanta Braves, compiling a 2.83 ERA in 136.2 innings with 135 strikeouts and 42 walks, he certainly isn’t the franchise-defining free agent signing that Hahn is trying to fool us into believing is just around the corner. Sanchez will be 35 in 2019, and no part of a contending team, assuming the Sox are able to actually put together a contending team.

If I were running the White Sox, my first move would be to trade for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, whom I sincerely believe is the Carlton Fisk of this generation. His 2018 season (.274, 21 home runs, 74 RBI, All Star) dwarfs anything any White Sox catcher has done since A.J. Pierzynski. And there is no question that catcher is the most important position on the field. At least, there shouldn’t be.  I would give the Marlins whatever they want, short of Jimenez, in terms of a three or four-player deal and then sign Realmuto to a long-term contract.  Not a second thought.

But, the Sox are happy to get by with Omar Narvaez, who is a solid hitter but lacks any kind of real defensive prowess behind the plate, along with journeyman cheater Welington Castillo, while waiting for top catching “prospect” Zack Collins (who has a .232 career minor league batting average while only working his way up to the AA level) to develop into a guy that can actually hit in spite of his subpar defense.

I would sign Jose Abreu to a contract extension. He’s the only guy on this team over the past several years who has produced any kind of quality numbers. Yes, 2018 was an injury-plagued season, but his injuries certainly were not typical “wear and tear” injuries that guys suffer, and he still hit .265 with 22 home runs and 78 RBI.

As for free agency, there are clearly some holes on this team, starting with third base. I like Yolmer Sanchez as much as the next guy, but .242 with eight home runs and 55 RBI isn’t going to cut it at the hot corner. That’s always been one of the traditional power spots, unless you had a once-in-a-generation hitter like Wade Boggs. Yolmer is no Wade Boggs. He’s a good little utility player. Nothing more.

As free agency goes, Mike Moustakas is clearly the best third baseman available, coming off a season of 28 home runs and 95 RBI split between Kansas City and Milwaukee. Here is a guy with four 20+ home run seasons in the past six years and is not even a blip on the White Sox radar. Why? Because Jake Burger is the answer?

The outfield is also a sore spot, but I don’t see a lot being done there, with the expected promotion of uber-prospect Jimenez likely in April and the eventual promotion of Luis Robert to play CF. More than likely, a utility OF who can handle all three spots will be about as far as the White Sox go. They may want you to think that Bryce Harper is on the radar, but take my word for it, he isn’t going to sign for six years and $75 million when someone else will offer him four times that.

The pitching staff is where I expect most of the “action” to take place, much like last year and the year before. Several down-on-their-luck relief pitchers will sign and the Sox will try to flip them at the deadline for some borderline talent.

I sincerely doubt that one move the team makes this offseason will have any impact whatsoever on the roster once the team is competitive. I suspect Hahn will sign stopgap players again just to get through to 2020 when Kopech returns, and hope that Cease develops into a reliable starter and then the team can consider trying to fill holes with players who are a little more Bryce Harper than Melky Cabrera.

Which brings me to next offseason. If this offseason plays out as I think it will (i.e. exactly like last offseason) then there will be a drumbeat to sign third baseman Nolan Arenado. That’s assuming he even reaches free agency, as the Rockies are already rumored to be trying to sign him before he reaches the market.

As of tonight (November 7) the big name flying as a potential White Sox free agent target is pitcher J.A. Happ. Happ is coming off a 17-win season split between the Yankees and Blue Jays, and I’m not quite sure why anyone sees him signing with the White Sox. He should be able to turn that solid season into a nice payday with a contending team. But I’ll leave that for the “experts” to explain.

The more I look at the list of free agents, the more I realize the White Sox are in a state of purgatory. Even pretending to pay top dollar for a player on the wrong side of 30 makes no sense because this team isn’t going to be contending for at least a couple of more years. I think a run at a Wild Card spot in 2021 is their best bet.

But attempting to sign a young player like Harper or Machado makes little sense, as players of that caliber have been adding opt-outs to their contracts which lets them get out of a long-term deal after three years if they so desire. The upshot of that is if the Sox sign them before 2019, they can hit the market again after 2021.

Having said all of this, I’m willing to set back and let Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf prove me wrong. I sincerely hope they do. But coming out to the press and announcing a “competitive offer” isn’t going to fool anyone. If you want to impress me, make Machado a 10-year, $350 million deal and make it public knowledge. Then, if he declines, the fan base can say “they tried.”

But make those kinds of offers to the players who really deserve it, don’t overpay an over-the-hill pitcher twice what’s he is worth just to show that you are willing to spend money. And that is what I am most afraid is going to happen.

I’ll write another entry on this subject after the MLB Winter Meetings are held in Las Vegas, December 9 through December 13. I don’t expect any major happenings between now and then, but, who knows. In the meantime, this is how I see it playing out and if something unforeseen happens, I’ll address it.

Thank you for reading and GO SOX!

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.

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.