Updated Thoughts On The 2020-21 Chicago White Sox Offseason

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 30: Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox is congratulated by Jose Abreu #79 after Grandal hit a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning of Game Two of the American League Wild Card Round at RingCentral Coliseum on September 30, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As a longtime Chicago White Sox fan, I can say this offseason has been quite a roller coaster ride. The disgust over the deciding third game of the 2020 American League Wild Card series against the A’s turned into absolute euphoria at the announcement that manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper had been relieved of their duties.

That quickly turned to surprise and confusion when general manager Rick Hahn did a 180 on his “what we’re looking for in a manager” talk, telling the press he wanted to hire a manager with recent championship experience, only to turn around and pass on the guy he was describing (A.J. Hinch) to bring back a nearly 80-year old Tony La Russa.

In turn, that negativity quickly turned around with the hiring of pitching coach Ethan Katz, who turned the career of Lucas Giolito around completely and will hopefully be the breath of fresh air the White Sox pitching staff has needed for five years or more.

While I really did think Hinch was the goal, I can live with La Russa for a couple of years managing the team because I know he’s well-schooled and one of the most successful managers in the history of the game. No one will out-manage him. But I do admit I’m worried about what comes after La Russa leaves the dugout, who will replace him.

As to the roster, I was never stupid enough to believe the White Sox would drop $30 million a year on Trevor Bauer, though I did think maybe there was a chance they would loosen the purse strings for George Springer, not at $30 million annually but maybe at or around $20 million. As it turns out, the purse strings are still quite taut, as instead of spending $30 million on one player, the White Sox will spend $15 million for two, acquiring starting pitcher Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers and signing retread Adam Eaton as a free agent, with Lynn making $8 million in 2021 and Eaton pulling down $7 million.

So far, these are not the moves of a major market team gearing up for a championship run. These are the moves of a small market team who thinks they have enough in the tank to make a one-year run at a championship before it all comes crashing down.

Rick Hahn had said on numerous occasions that the White Sox would not be taking on “rentals,” or players with one year (or less, depending on when they were acquired) of control in exchange for younger talent that they had multiple years of control over. In a trade that reeks of Kenny Williams, the White Sox traded former Top 100 prospect Dane Dunning (who is basically under control until 2027, the last year he’ll be arb eligible) for ONE YEAR of Lance Lynn. And if Lynn goes out in his first Spring Training appearance and his elbow pops? The White Sox are just plain out of luck, without much depth behind him.

Big market championship teams have depth. They can overcome a serious injury and still make a run. If the White Sox were to lose one of their starting five, it’s anyone’s guess where they’re going to get a replacement. Pull Garrett Crochet out of the bullpen and stick him in the rotation to work 200 innings? To put that into perspective, in three years at the University of Tennessee, Crochet worked a total of 132 innings. Jonathan Stiever? He has worked a total of 173 minor league innings. Of course, there’s always Reynaldo Lopez.

After those three, there is literally nothing. A major injury would be a disaster. Two major injuries would cripple the franchise in 2021 and possibly beyond, especially if the injury turned out to be a Tommy John situation. These are dangerous waters.

There is also the back end of the White Sox bullpen, as they are rumored to be pursuing Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks (or at least the Chicago press is hoping they are) while the White Sox own closer for the past two years, Alex Colome, is also a free agent. While the smart money says they’ve GOT to bring one of those two in to close, there’s also the possibility that they hand the job to Aaron Bummer and his $3 million contract.

Again, this is what small market teams do, they make due with what they can.

The offense can be otherworldly, assuming catcher Yasmani Grandal doesn’t get injured, third baseman Yoan Moncada bounces back from COVID-19, Luis Robert makes adjustments from his poor final month of the season and Eaton shows his three year regression with the Nationals is a fluke rather than a trend (everyone already knows what I think).

Barring injury, there’s no reason this team can’t win the American League Central with the team they have. But one catastrophic injury, especially in the rotation, and their goose is cooked. I’m still hopeful of at least one more starting pitcher as well as one of the two closers mentioned earlier and maybe an extra outfielder who can split time with Eaton or Jimenez in the outfield and also spend time at DH. I think the perfect pick for that spot would be Michael Brantley, of the Houston Astros. A veteran and a winner, with a .297 career batting average, he could play a day or two a week in the outfield while Eaton or Jimenez serves as DH, and then DH himself while those two play the outfield.

This would also be good for top prospect Andrew Vaughn, who has never played above Class A and if he were handed the DH job with no safety net and failed, now you’ve got another hole in the lineup. Brantley would solve a lot of problems in one signing. You also can’t overestimate having a winning veteran in the clubhouse with a young team.

So at this point (December 18, 2020), I’m underwhelmed with the White Sox offseason so far. The bungled managerial hiring, trading seven years of Dane Dunning for one year of Lance Lynn and bringing back Adam Eaton were all poor decisions, but none of them should have lasting implications, as I doubt La Russa lasts more than two years in the dugout and Lynn and Eaton will both likely be gone in 2022, regardless of Eaton’s option.

However, a lot can be rectified by signing Brantley and either Colome or Hendriks, as well as another starter, preferably either Jose Quintana or James Paxton, who can fill in the back of the rotation, allow Dylan Cease to hold down the fifth spot as he works to regain his lost command, let Michael Kopech get himself back into game shape at AAA Charlotte after a full two years off and move Reynaldo Lopez into a swingman role as a long reliever and spot starter, a role I think he would excel in because he still has outstanding stuff.

Next year (2021) will mark 30 years I’ve been a Chicago White Sox fan, and while it’s been great to experience the 2005 World Series title and the division titles in 1993, 2000, 2005 and 2008 and the Wild Card appearance in 2020, that’s not much to show in 30 years. I’m hoping the 30 years going forward, and especially the next five or six, will exceed the previous 30, but this team needs to develop a winning attitude, not so much on the field as they do in the front office. So I’ll wait to see what happens between now and February before I make a final grade on the White Sox offseason. But there definitely needs to be some more improvement and it would still be cheaper overall than signing Trevor Bauer for $30 million.

Peace. And GO SOX!

2020 A Personal Retrospective

You don’t have to scroll too far back in my blog to see what high hopes I held for 2020. The beginning of a new decade, and putting an end to the worst decade of my life. It felt like the right time and the stars were aligning to make 2020 a real direction-changer for me. It was going to be the beginning of something special.

Well, we all know 2020 wasn’t exactly the “best year ever.”

However, I’m also going to be the first to admit it was far from being the “worst year ever.” Yes, there were challenges and things didn’t always work to plan. But 2020 was still a far cry better than, for instance, 2018. And it was perfection when compared to any year between 2010 and 2017. So I’m not here to bury 2020, just to remember it.

I will say the first six weeks of the year were as close to perfect as they could have been. I was so happy. I was working on my MLB The Show rosters because I wanted to kick off MLB Spring Training on the actual date and play a full season on the game in franchise mode, so when the offseason hit I could make the transactions as I saw fit.

And this plan worked up until COVID-19 shut down baseball for almost five months.

At some point in mid-February it felt like everything changed. Where as everything had been so perfect those first six weeks, there was a negative connotation to everything and when we went on lockdown, it felt like everything had fallen apart. My new year/new decade triumph wasn’t a loss, but it was shaping up to be far from what I had anticipated, which I am sure was the case for everyone on earth, not just me.

One of the highlights of February and March was getting Doom Eternal for my PlayStation 4, as I was a huge fan of the original Doom games dating back to the Super Nintendo in 1996. And I was so happy with Doom Eternal that I also bought the Doom Slayer’s Collection, which covered several of the games for the newer consoles I hadn’t played before.

March, April and May were enjoyable because I played Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II all the way through to completion, back to back. But I played II before I because I wanted to play the games in chronological order in regard to the timeline of the games. I also was neck-deep in watching old western shows and movies.

Looking back, I wish I had taken that time to play my baseball season on MLB The Show and saved the Red Dead Redemption games for winter.

June and July are a complete blur. I have no idea what I was doing during that time. Clearly nothing constructive. I wasn’t even taking time to smoke cigars or watch Star Trek or do any of the other things I wanted to do even before baseball had been rescheduled. The very idea that I just threw time away like that annoys me to no end.

August brought “MLB Training Camp” and a sixty-game season. So I got a couple of months of baseball and that was enough to whet my appetite for MLB The Show, so when the season ended I downloaded the latest roster and began making all the real transactions (and a few of my own with the White Sox that weren’t made in reality but that I wanted to do) so that when Spring Training 2021 comes, I can do what I wanted last year.

I was also concerned when the season ended about what direction I was going to go in terms of entertaining myself for the winter. I used to play one of the Grand Theft Auto games to completion back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and in 2015 began a yearly tradition of playing a Batman Arkham game as soon as baseball season ended.

This year I thought about immersing myself in Spider-Man games, shows and movies. I bought several Spider-Man video games, as well as the early 1980s cartoon series and the 1994 cartoon series, as well as the original movie trilogy on Blu-ray.

Then, by a complete fluke, I happened onto the show Chicago Fire. And I realized I had my winter all sewn up. So I bought eight seasons of Chicago Fire, seven seasons of Chicago P.D., five seasons of Chicago Med and one season of Chicago Justice on DVD. I started watching them in chronological order, along with the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit crossover episodes. As of today (December 18), I am 111 episodes into a 448 episode marathon, with new episodes set to begin in January 2021.

Enjoying these new shows has definitely been the highlight of the year for me, because I haven’t watched a “current” show since Family Guy debuted in 1999.

So, as 2020 comes to a close, I can’t say I’m altogether thrilled its over, like a lot of people can, but all the same I’m ready for a new year. I’m also ready to do the things I neglected to do in 2020, like working on my White Sox franchise on MLB The Show, smoking cigars and just enjoying life. And working myself back into good physical shape.

In closing, on a scale of one to ten, I’d give 2020 a six. I can’t really complain but I did miss out on a lot of opportunities I’d hoped to take advantage of. The major positives (finishing both Red Dead Redemption games and beginning my fandom with the Chicago shows) definitely outweighed the negatives this year. And I guarantee no one on earth is looking at 2020 ending the way they had anticipated or wanted. Hopefully 2021 will remedy that situation and everyone can move forward with their hopes and dreams.

Peace.

My Thoughts On The 2020 Election

November 7, 2020

This wasn’t really something I wanted to do, but the more people I see posting about the results of the 2020 Election, the more I feel like I need to be the voice of reason and explain some things that may have passed some people by.

First, I am a Trump voter and supporter, I voted for him in 2016 and again in 2020. In fact, I voted a full Republican ticket and will continue to do so in the future. While I’m not thrilled with the results of the Presidential election, I will offer my congratulations to Joe Biden on his win, out of respect for the office of the Presidency.

I am, however, thrilled with my home state of West Virginia which is growing more red by the day. We now have a Republican Governor with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. This pleases me. I am very proud of my state.

Now, to address those who are going overboard following the results.

I’ll begin with my fellow Republicans who think the sky is falling. It’s not. While the far left of the Democrat party has gone full-on socialist/communist, that’s not where Joe Biden has spent his near 50 years in politics. There’s a reason people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wanted Bernie Sanders in the White House as opposed to Joe Biden.

Biden’s not a socialist. His views haven’t changed. He may pretend that he’s “woke” or whatever in order to pander to the far left, but that’s not where he stands. He’s not going to walk into the White House on Inauguration Day and sign an executive order outlawing capitalism and installing communism. It just doesn’t work like that.

Yes, I expect much of the same that we had under Obama, higher taxes, higher gas prices, stagnant economy, etc. Democrats are clear about the fact that they don’t care about the stock market, and it shows in their economic plans and results. This is just something we’re going to have to live with for the next four years. But it’s not the end of the world.

This same thing applies to my liberal friends/readers. If you’re expecting a socialist utopia to pop up in January, I would recommend you don’t hold your breath. It’s not coming. Basically, the next two years, at minimum, will be gridlock. The GOP will remain in the majority in the US Senate and not much of anything is going to happen.

Naturally, Biden will never see the end of his term, as he will eventually be deemed unfit for office and this will allow Kamala Harris to take over. This will be a very smooth move by the Democrat party, because there is no way she would have, or ever will, will an election for the office. She couldn’t get through one Democrat primary in 2020 before dropping out. Elizabeth Warren would have a far better chance of winning the Presidency.

Yes, I think there was some chicanery in this election, but I’m not going to spend the next four years posting #NotMyPresident or calling for a special counsel to investigate Chinese meddling or watching for articles of impeachment. I don’t care that much.

I’ll never hate anyone for casting their ballots the way they see fit. However, I do take issue with people who hate on others, to the point of bullying or harassing them over their voting decisions. I also find a post that was floating around the past few week to be particularly disgusting, which I’ll share now and then I’ll explain my thoughts on it:

People who post something like this clearly do not understand that it would not behoove me to vote against my interests. I need to vote for myself, not for someone else and not for someone else’s values or ideas. That completely goes against the whole concept of a free and open society, and anyone who believes this or posts is should be ashamed of themselves.

At this point, I’m finished with politics and ready to begin focusing 100% on baseball again. My enjoyment of politics ended a long time ago. I can remember a day when I could spend hours discussing anything of a political nature with friends who had different viewpoints and while we likely agreed to disagree, it was never mean-spirited or hateful.

That’s all changed. In the past 15 years or so the Democrat party has been overrun with the most hateful, vile, anger-spewing pieces of human filth that I’ve ever seen. So I get no enjoyment out of discussing anything of a political nature. Or even looking at those people. That you can hate so strongly over a political viewpoint shows me a legitimate mental condition.

So, I’m done. I’ll check back in come 2024, when Donald Trump is forgotten and the GOP has a new candidate for the left to hate with the fire of a thousand suns, be it Ted Cruz or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or South Carolina senator Tim Scott, I can’t wait to see the left completely lose their mind with hatred over a political candidate. Again.

Peace.

The Jason J. Connor 2020 Chicago White Sox Season Wrap-up and Off-season Preview

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 16: Manager Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox watches during Summer Workouts at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

All I can say is “wow.”

I had planned on doing a season-ending critique of the 2020 Chicago White Sox, much as I had last year, but had planned on waiting until after the World Series. Today’s situation, however, made me move my timeline up a bit.

October 12, 2020: The Chicago White Sox announced they were “parting ways” with manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper, and that the rest of the staff was basically waiting to see if the new manager would retain them. This really came out of left field, as it was pretty much set in stone all season that Renteria and his staff would return until he decided it was time to move on.

Of course, maybe he did. The whole “parting ways” thing really doesn’t give us much insight into who made the decision and what exactly went down. The White Sox are becoming notorious for playing things close to the vest, as Renteria received a contract extension that was not mentioned until months after it had been signed, and no information about length or amount was ever discussed openly.

So first, I’ll touch on the 2020 season and then I’ll move into my top five picks to replace Ricky Renteria, with an “honorable mention” dark horse candidate that most people probably would never even consider.

When I think of the 2020 season, looking back a year or a decade from now, I’ll always think of this team winning in spite of it’s manager. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. This team is so talented that the worst tactical manager I’ve seen in 32 years of watching baseball couldn’t derail this team from a playoff birth. With the exception of DH, third base and right field, this team was exceptional.

Third base should fix itself, once Yoan Moncada recovers fully from COVID, assuming that people do fully recover. Since we don’t know what the long-term effects of the virus are, we can’t really say he’ll immediately bounce back to his 2019 form (.315/25/79). While he only missed eight games in 2020, his numbers took a nosedive (.225/6/24, which would project out to .225/19/75 over a 162 game season).

Moncada clearly looked like he was fighting every day to make contact. If he is able to recapture his health, there’s no reason he can’t bounce back.

Designated hitter and right field are a different matter. I was stoked when the White Sox signed Edwin Encarnacion, I figured there was no reason he couldn’t come in and drive in 45 runs and be the best DH the Sox have had since Jim Thome left town. Instead we got a .157 batting average and 19 RBI in 44 games. A total waste.

Right field was even worse. While I was really happy about the Encarnacion signing, I hated the acquisition of Nomar Mazara from the day it was announced. I saw Mazara for what he is, a worse version of Jason Heyward, a guy who looks like he should be a .300/40/120 hitter who, for whatever reason, just isn’t. In a full season, Mazara is a .260/20/70 guy. He has a track record. There is no “untapped potential,” he’s been the guy he’s going to be for the past five years. There’s nothing hidden in his ability.

I will admit I was impressed with his glove, as I was under the impression he was not much of an outfielder but he played reasonably well, displaying a soft glove and a strong arm. But as much as his defense improved, his hitting tanked.

This was the first spot where I started to ask myself “why does Renteria insist on playing this guy so much when there’s a better option on the bench?” Adam Engel hit .295 in limited time, has a far better glove (even taking into account Mazara’s improvement) and showed himself to be at least a borderline option to start in 2021.

I had figured all season the Sox would retain Mazara because he’s eligible for arbitration and would surely not be so foolish as to take his case to a hearing, considering his .228/.295/295 slash line. However, after the Renteria firing, I now am not so sure this team won’t just cut it’s losses and non-tender him. Which just makes the whole acquisition that much more ridiculous because they could have Steele Walker in the system and instead may end up with absolutely nothing. Those are loser moves.

The rest of the team, from Jose Abreu’s incredible MVP-caliber season to Tim Anderson’s chase of a second batting title that ran out of gas to James McCann’s excellent second-showing to Eloy Jimenez continuing to improve to the solid debut seasons of Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, this team is really solid top to bottom.

That said, Madrigal will improve on his base running and defense and Robert will improve on his strike zone judgment; neither is a finished product.

The pitching was amazing considering the shortcomings. The Sox had only two legit starters and a collection of maybe’s to fill in the other three slots. But they were able to overcome that with a lights-out bullpen that may be the best I’ve ever seen. My hope is that if they can’t sign closer Alex Colome they’ll at least make him a Qualifying Offer, which would give the team an experienced closer again in 2021 and give Colome a nice raise ($18.9 million) for the outstanding season he had. But works needs to be done.

Rick Hahn has been vocal about the faith he has in his young pitchers, mentioning Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning and Garrett Crochet in particular. I have faith in Cease and Dunning and Crochet, but am not really sure what Kopech will bring to the table, assuming he ever makes it to the table to begin with. He needs to learn that there’s more to life than women and get his head screwed on straight.

So if I were serving as general manager of the White Sox heading into the 2021 season, there are a few obvious areas of need. One, maybe two starting pitchers. A decision to make at closer. A bullpen arm or two to compete with the likes of Jimmy Cordero and Jose Ruiz. A decision about James McCann. And Nomar Mazara. And what to do with the DH spot and whether or not to exercise the option on Edwin Encarnacion.

I’ll begin with the pitching situation. The obvious #1 option on everyone’s board is Trevor Bauer, and no question he would be an incredible addition to the White Sox rotation. However, if his goal is to be a vagabond for the rest of his career, and sign only one-year contracts, I’m going to pass. The White Sox are more than one player away from a World Series-contending team, so signing a guy who is a “final piece” doesn’t make sense if you only get one round into the playoffs and then he leaves.

I’m OK with the names I hear most often after Bauer: Jose Quintana and Marcus Stroman. Yeah, they’re not the biggest names in the world but since we already have Ace 1 and Ace 1-A, we don’t really need to go out looking for a top of the rotation starter. The Sox need back of the rotation production and these guys are both viable options. Neither will be particularly expensive and could be easily jettisoned if one of the younger options (Cease or Kopech or Dunning or even Jonathan Stiever) locks down a spot.

As much as I like James McCann, it’s also time to let him walk. He’s earned an opportunity to be a #1 starting catcher somewhere. Had I been running the team last season there is NO WAY I would have given that massive contract to Yasmani Grandal, I would have given McCann an extension and used what was left over to bolster the pitching staff. Grandal was a luxury this team really didn’t need under the circumstances.

But now that he’s here, we’re stuck with him and hopefully there won’t be a massive decline in his skills as he’ll turn 32 in November.

Since I would also not even consider exercising Encarnacion’s option, my roster would consist of Grandal and Zack Collins at catcher and a platoon of Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn at first base and designated hitter. I don’t see the need to add anyone to this mix, though if Collins fails as the backup catcher, bring up Yermin Mercedes or Seby Zavala and give them a fair shake. There’s lots of depth at the position.

As for right field, my plan there would be the same as it was a year ago. Sign Yasiel Puig. He could probably be had for next to nothing and chances are he’ll give you .265/25/80 and steal 15 bases, far better production than the team has gotten at the position in several years. Worst case scenario, just hand the job to Adam Engel.

This team has proven it is talented enough to win in spite of these holes, but there’s no need to have them when upgrades are available and cheap.

Now, to move on to the managerial vacancy and what I see ahead.

First, I’ll give my top five options as I see them and my darkhorse candidate and I’ll explain who I think will actually get the job and why I see it that way.

DARKHORSE CANDIDATE:

CLINT HURDLE

Yes, this will probably be eye-rolled over but hear me out.

You want someone whose been a winner recently? This guy lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to the playoffs three years in a row, a team that hadn’t been there in 21 years. He also has a World Series appearance on his resume with the Colorado Rockies.

I would imagine his age (63) would be the biggest obstacle to his hiring but he’s known as a player’s manager and his resume is excellent. Definitely worth a look.

CANDIDATE #5

JOE McEWING

I think Super Joe is more than qualified to be a Major League manager, and it has shown itself when he’s stepped in for Renteria. The team plays hard for him and he seems to have a plan. He also likes to use the running game, which for some reason Renteria never did, even though this team is loaded with speed and could dominate teams with it, as the old St. Louis Cardinals teams of the 1980s did during their run of success.

But I think Joe may have the same stench of losing on him that Renteria does, not because he’s a loser but because he’s so closely identified with this team during the rebuild, first as third base coach and then as bench coach under Renteria.

CANDIDATE #4

JOEY CORA

A former White Sox player, Joey Cora has done it all in his career except manage at the MLB level. He’s been a minor league manager, MLB coach (including serving as Ozzie Guillen’s bench coach in 2005) and has even served as a broadcaster for MLB Network during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. For whatever reason, he’s never gotten a shot at managing an MLB club and currently serves as third base coach of the Pirates.

Cora should have gotten an MLB managerial job a decade ago, especially coming off serving as bench coach for a World Series team. Not sure what the problem is.

CANDIDATE #3

ALEX CORA

The pluses and minuses here are obvious, as the younger brother of Joey Cora has excelled as a coach and manager, winning two World Series in two years, as a coach with the Houston Astros in 2017 and as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018.

Then there’s the sign stealing scandal that caused him to lose his job with the Red Sox heading into 2020. That’s likely to follow him wherever he goes and be a detriment to the team that hires him. Honestly, considering the firing of Ron Roenicke, I think the Red Sox will bring Cora back into the big chair again and move forward with him.

CANDIDATE #2

SANDY ALOMAR, JR.

Much like Joey Cora, I think Sandy Alomar, Jr. should have had a MLB managerial job a decade ago. A former catcher (which is always considered a plus for a manager since they’re basically an on-field manager and handler of a pitching staff), I can’t for the life of me understand why he hasn’t been hired as a manager. It was rumored that the White Sox wanted to hire Alomar to serve as bench coach under Robin Ventura (a job which subsequently fell to Rick Renteria) but Alomar didn’t want Ventura to be feeling the heat if the team played poorly and his replacement was right there.

There’s another angle to the Alomar story, and that’s the health of Indians manager Terry Francona, who missed a large portion of the 2020 mini-season with health problems. If Francona is unable to return, Alomar would certainly be his replacement, I can’t think there would be any second thoughts about making that move.

CANDIDATE #1

A.J. HINCH

The obvious choice. World Series winning manager who is only 46 years old and famously has a degree in psychology from Stanford University. The only downside to Hinch is the cheating scandal with the 2017 Houston Astros and the bad blood that will follow him wherever he goes, much like Alex Cora. But I think it will be worse for Cora than it will be for Hinch, as Cora has been guilty of the charge twice.

Like Alomar, Hinch is a former catcher and one of the best bullpen managers I’ve seen, he’s basically the polar opposite of Ricky Renteria. He’s originally from Iowa and has seven years of managerial experience in spite of his age.

There’s literally no downside here. The guy has a .558 career winning percentage. He’s managed three 100-win teams in his career.

There is also the elephant in the room with Ozzie Guillen, who I think is a better choice than Hinch, because of his connection to the team and the city, the fact that he’s bilingual and the fact that he’s won here before. But Rick Hahn was quick to mention that he would not be considered for the job. At first I thought this was ridiculous, but the more I think about it, the more I understand why they made this decision.

Let’s take a recent example of how managers deal with things today. Late in the 2020 season, Renteria put pitcher Carlos Rodon into an unwinnable situation, pitching him out of the bullpen in an important game when he hadn’t worked out of the ‘pen in five years and was just coming back from injury. The move backfired badly and Ricky was quick to go to the press and say “put that one on me,” meaning the criticism.

Let’s be honest, first, Ozzie would never have made a move that ridiculous. Ozzie was an excellent bullpen manager. Second, if a guy went out and completely blew it, Ozzie wouldn’t think twice about going to the press and saying “Rodon really blew it today.” That was about accountability. That’s not really popular in today’s world.

So maybe if this team was a little older, Ozzie would be perfect. But these are still “kids” in the grand scheme of things and I don’t think they wanted Ozzie throwing them under the bus while they’re still “growing.” And I kind of understand that.

Naturally, there will be other candidates besides these and the manager may end up being someone we haven’t even considered. I’m thankful that Rick Hahn mentioned he wanted someone who had experience because that eliminates guys like A.J. Pierzynski, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko, who have no business managing a team that’s on the cusp of being a legit World Series contender for multiple seasons.

As this coming year will mark 30 years that I’ve been a fan of this franchise, I have kind of become cynical when anything happens, expecting the team to make the worst decisions but they seem to be growing out of that, so I’m not going into the offseason automatically expecting the worst. I did expect them to keep Nomar Mazara and platoon him with Adam Engel in 2021 just because they had a year of control left, now I’m not so sure. They finally seem to be at the point where they know they can contend and they’ll do the best they can to win. Today’s decision proves that point beyond dispute.

I now want to address Renteria and Cooper. I was never a fan of Renteria’s hiring, and made that clear publicly on a number of occasions immediately after his hiring as well as in the three years since. I always thought of his hiring the same way I looked at the White Sox hiring of Eddie Stanky 50 years earlier or the White Sox trade for Ron Santo in the early 1970s, it was just a way to “put one over” on the Chicago Cubs.

“We’ll take the guy you couldn’t win with and we’ll win with him.”

Naturally I don’t have any personal dislike for Renteria. He’s a good coach and seems to foster a good vibe in the clubhouse. He seems to be a good teacher. But he’s as poor of an in-game strategist as I’ve ever seen. While most managers are playing chess, he seems to be playing 52-card pick-up. Some coaches are just not cut out to be managers and yet they still get opportunities. Lloyd McClendon is a good example, as he proved to be a poor manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates but somehow has gotten opportunities since, with the Mariners and as a interim manager with the Detroit Tigers.

Ricky will be known from here on out as a guy you hire when you do a rebuild and get rid of when it’s time to compete, since it’s now happened twice. The Cubs were smart enough to get rid of him before they were ready to make the jump. The White Sox held onto him a year too long but at least they wasted little time in fixing that.

Coop is a different situation entirely. For whatever reason, the front office was always enamored of Coop even though I think his abilities were grossly overrated. When you look at the parade of guys who were either stars before he got a hold of them (Mark Buehrle was a 16-game winner the year before Coop was promoted to the MLB staff) or were legit starters that saw their careers point down with Coop (Javier Vasquez and Jeff Samardzija). The only two starters that Coop really developed who amounted to anything were Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, which isn’t much to brag about in 19 years.

We were told how great Coop was almost daily from Steve Stone and Rick Hahn and now he has a chance to go get another job and prove it. I think enough people realized that the 2005 staff was loaded with good veteran pitchers who were successful before they came to the White Sox and his recent failures (Samardzija, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease dealing with regression, Lucas Giolito going to his high school coach for help) have rightfully tarnished whatever reputation Coop had cultivated in the past.

This is a “what have you done for me lately” world we live in and Coop hasn’t done anything of note in a long time. And I’ll stick to what I’ve said throughout the mini season of 2020: This team won IN SPITE of the coaching staff, not with it.

So, in closing, this should be a really fun off-season. In a perfect world, the White Sox will hire A.J. Hinch and sign a couple of back-of-the-rotation starters, resign Alex Colome and bring in a legit right fielder who is more production than “untapped potential.” This team can be dominant for a good five or six years, so it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and go out and win. The Renteria Era is over. The Winning Era has begun.

Peace. And Go Sox. #ChangeTheGame #WhiteSox



EDIT

After writing this blog I heard that the White Sox are entertaining the idea of talking to former White Sox manager Tony LaRussa about the job.

I can’t even begin to express how ridiculous that idea is. LaRussa is 76 years old and hasn’t managed in nine years. Who in their right mind would want to take a young club and saddle them with a manager who was born during World War II?

There is no way LaRussa could interact with the baseball player of the 2020s, there’s a cultural divide there that’s unbridgeable. And there is an example of the White Sox trying that once before, with disastrous results: In 1976 the White Sox rehired former manager Paul Richards, who had managed the team from 1951 to 1954. He was 67 years old (a decade younger than LaRussa) and hadn’t managed since 1961, a layoff of 15 years. He was totally unprepared for the job and the Sox finished 64-97.

LaRussa was a great manager a generation ago. But his time has passed and the very idea of even discussing the job with him makes me cringe. Don’t do something so ridiculous when you have a great, young team that’s ready to contend.

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off.

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For the past few months, I’ve found myself debating about whether or not to open my mouth about everything going on in the world today, to the point that I’ve crafted blogs in Word only to just delete them and walk away. A lot of this is due to the fact that I know what I want to say will offend most everyone, in one way or another. I know if I share my feelings through social media, I’ll end up kicked off. Because people like me, with my “white male privilege,” have no right to say what I think in the world today.

But I finally decided that I don’t care what anyone thinks about anything. Today I reached my breaking point when I realized I can’t sit down and look at TV or Facebook or Google or Twitter or Instagram or anything else without getting angry. So now, I’m going to say what I think and let everyone else get angry for a while. This is payback.

There are a lot of things I’m sick of. I’m sick of three years of endless (and baseless) Trump attacks. Yes, I’ll be voting for President Trump again in November, without question. I’m sick of Joe Biden, because he’s a God damn, blithering idiot. I’m sick of Nancy Pelosi for the same reason. But don’t misunderstand, this is not a pro-Republican or anti-Democrat post, because I hate both political parties equally. That’s where I stand.

The Democrat party makes me sick to my stomach, which is to be expected considering I’m a straight, white, employed, functioning, intact, native-born male. The Democrat party can’t do a thing for me. Now, if I were any minority of any kind, I wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be a rank-and-file Democrat. And don’t misunderstand, I have nothing at all against any minority group (well, there’s a few, we’ll get to those). But I do have a real problem with anyone telling me that my opinion doesn’t matter because I belong to the majority. My opinion is just as important as anyone else’s. That’s how it is.

The Republican party makes me sick to my stomach because it’s nothing but a bunch of gutless pricks desperately holding onto any level of power they can. They don’t have the balls to stand up to Antifa or BLM, so why should I think they would have the balls to stand up to the Chinese or the Russians if they were to attack? I always felt like no matter what happened, or who was in the White House, I could depend on my fellow Republicans to fight the good fight. I was sorely mistaken. Gutless and pathetic.

I’m sick of COVID-19, as is everyone. But I’m more sick of these God damn idiots who preach “trust the science” until the science doesn’t agree with them anymore. The fact is, 90% of what’s being pushed out there is political, because the world we live in today has made us this way. We’re not Americans, we’re split up into our little groups so the government or that wrinkled up bastard George Soros can control us, all at once.

Yes, I wear a mask. That’s a personal choice that doesn’t jive with my Republican friends who have asked me, “do you do everything the government tells you to do?” Well, I pay my taxes, I drive the speed limit, I haven’t killed anyone, I don’t steal, so yeah, I guess I do everything the government tells me to.” Give me a break. It’s a fucking mask. I wonder if the young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day whined and complained because they had to wear helmets? Man up and wear your fucking mask.

I’m sick of celebrities. I don’t give a damn how popular or little known they are, I don’t care what ANY of them think or say or feel. I’m as likely to read their opinions as I am for them to read this blog, and I don’t give a damn about that, either. The fact is, most celebrities are liberals, who love the idea of socialism. Because they figure they’ve made their fortune, no one will take it away. This is the same mentality that lead to these creatures calling for open borders while living in homes with six-foot walls around the perimeters. And if you don’t see a problem with that level of hypocrisy, you’re as dumb as they are.

I’m sick of hearing about George Floyd, because I don’t give a fuck about George Floyd. George Floyd was an ex-con, a garden-variety criminal. He is being portrayed as a martyr. If that’s the case, you got a piss poor concept of what a martyr is. He was being arrested for passing counterfeit bills, and the media was quick to try to hide his criminal past because it didn’t fit their fucking sickening narrative. If you truly wanted a martyr, Breonna Taylor was that martyr. My heart grieves for her and her family, because if anyone ever deserved martyrdom on ANY level, she did. That should have been the ultimate case against crooked cops and innocent blacks being killed, but the media and the idiots decided a failed rapper with a rap sheet was worthy? Fuck you, George Floyd. Fuck you.

I’m sick of hearing about the officers involved in Floyd’s death as well. They are the scum of the earth. It doesn’t matter that George Floyd was a worthless ex-con, the police as an entity doesn’t have the right to serve as judge/jury/executioner. Derek Chauvin, who committed the actual murder (and until someone can prove Floyd died from literally anything else, I’ll call it murder), deserves to die. Yes, an eye for an eye. Because both of them are equally worthless. Fuck you, Derek Chauvin.  Fuck you. The other officers should be charged with something in line with accessories before and after the fact, since they did nothing to alleviate the situation. If nothing else, their abject stupidity makes them guilty in my eyes.

I’m sick of hearing about the KKK, BLM, Antifa, ISIS and every other TERRORIST ORGANIZATION on the planet. They all belong under one umbrella. You just pick the color of your skin or the political movement you want to get behind and there’s a terrorist organization right there waiting for you. If you belong to any of those organizations, I have nothing but disdain for you, regardless of who you are. Period.

I’m sick of the government, or the “deep state,” or whoever is doing it making a push to split us into “factions.” We’re Americans, and we all deserve to be treated for who we are, not what color we are or what religion we are or where our ancestors came from. If you’re a murderer, you’re a piece of shit regardless of whether you’re white, black, Latino or any other race. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, it was about the content of one’s character, not the color of their skin. But that idea went out the window a long time ago because “uncle Tom” King and his teachings don’t fit the narrative of current times.

I’m sick of the media. I don’t care if it’s CNN or Fox or ABC or CBS or NBC or the Washington Post or the New York Times or The Blaze or anything else. If it’s a media outlet, there’s an agenda and it’s been proven that they’ll manipulate anything they can to push their agenda. American media is a cesspool that makes used car salesmen look like upstanding citizens. I find myself now avoiding the news altogether and what little news I do get comes from my local radio station, which I turn off when the national news comes on.

I’m sick of mother fuckers who shove their opinions in each others faces on social media, regardless of whether you are a conservative, liberal or independent. No one has ever changed anyone’s mind by berating them on Facebook. If you think you can do that, you’re a fucking moron. But I’m not one of these people who can post that “no matter what you believe, I’ll never unfriend you.” I’ve unfriended a LOT of people this year because I got sick and tired of their political posting. And I don’t have one regret about it.

I’m sick of Cancel Culture. You little bastards. Who the hell do you think you are? You think you can dictate to everyone else what is and is not acceptable in the world? You can tear down or deface statues or monuments and you think that’s OK because of your beliefs? I don’t give a fuck about your beliefs. They are worthless. Just like you are. When I saw a well-known (at least among those of us who are intelligent enough to know our American history) monument in Boston depicting the 54th Massachusetts regiment, the FIRST ALL-BLACK VOLUNTEER REGIMENT IN THE CIVIL WAR. But I guarantee that 100% of those “brilliant, learned college grads” who decided to destroy it knew nothing about that. Because you’re STUPID. Most of you can barely read, let alone comprehend.

I’m sick of social networking. I’m sick of the kind of people who use it and what they use it for. I started using Facebook in 2007 to network with other White Sox fans. I didn’t give a fuck about their backgrounds, we had one thing uniting us all, and that was our love for our ballclub. And for 13 years I never unfriended or unfollowed a fellow White Sox fan for any reason, until 2020 came and suddenly everyone had more important things to argue about. So I eliminated the problem and I’ve been happier since, in a minuscule way. But I find myself wishing for the early 2000s every day, before social networking existed.

And finally, I’m sick of feeling the way I do. I’m sick of the negativity that eats at me day in and day out. I never asked for much out of life, at this point I just want to enjoy a baseball game, grill, drink a Coke, smoke a cigar, talk baseball with the guys, go for a drive, share memes and get a decent night’s sleep. But it seems like I can’t do any of that anymore. While baseball may be coming back, I’ll have to get pissed when I see posers kneel during the National Anthem. I can’t grill much due to the insane heat, as it reaches 90 degrees almost every day. It’s too humid to smoke a cigar. I can’t take a drive and listen to the radio because it pisses me off to hear the news. I have to watch my memes because some dickhead might get his panties in a bunch and I’ll end up back in Facebook jail. And I can’t sleep for all of the above reasons. And I’m really, really sick of it.

At this point, I’m not sure that I’m going to blog again after this, or that I’m going to keep any of my social networking accounts. I’ve tried to fight the good fight, I’ve tried to let everyone do their thing and tried to be supportive of protesters, police, blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, you name it. I don’t hate anyone (except Antifa, Marxists, communists and extreme left-wing and right-wing lunatics). But I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. You want to elect a God damn, stupid jagoff like Joe Biden? Go ahead. You want to get a Marxist VP so you can put him out to pasture the day after he’s inaugurated? Go ahead. I just don’t care anymore. I don’t want to hear about it.

I just don’t care about any of it anymore. I’m laying down my sword.

I’m done.

PS – As I mentioned, I always share my blogs on social media as they usually involve sports or electronics or something that I know my friends and followers would enjoy. I’ll not be sharing today’s post in any way, not because I’m ashamed of one word I said, but because I’m not taking the chance that I’m going to end up in Facebook jail again. That would be the ultimate ending to my social networking career because when that day comes, I’m closing the accounts for good and walking away. And I may end up down that road anyway.

15 Years Of Social Media In My Life: A Retrospective

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This summer, I celebrated the 15th anniversary of my own personal participation in social media. This began in June 2005, with my Yahoo 360 profile. In September 2005, I created my first MySpace account. Today I’m going to look over my own personal experiences with social media, how I looked at the concept then versus how I look at it now, and the downward spiral that has followed.

Yahoo 360 was not much more than a glorified AOL account page, it told your name, relationship status, likes, photos, a blog and your Yahoo handle. But there was also an option to add links, which I did with my first blog, the only entry of which (long gone) was talking about the 2005 Chicago White Sox, who eventually won the World Series. I was pushed to further my inclusion on social media due to the fact I had no one to celebrate the Series win with; stuck in the middle of West Virginia with people who don’t like baseball to begin with. It was at that point I realized I could network with other White Sox fans.

MySpace was incredible when I first started using it. I added a White Sox background to my profile page and changed my profile pic to include myself wearing a White Sox hat (amazingly, prior to that, my profile pic featured a Dallas Cowboys hat, a nod to my younger days). I began adding other Sox friends I could find, but it would turn out there wasn’t much to celebrate over the coming years other than a 2008 American League Central Division title.

I got my first Facebook account in the summer of 2007. Immediately I preferred it to MySpace because it had a more “mature” feel, even though at the time MySpace was by far the more popular platform. By 2008, Yahoo 360 had been abandoned and Twitter would soon rise. I got my first Twitter account during the 2009 World Series after seeing it mentioned during the broadcast.

I have closed and opened several accounts since then. I closed my MySpace account in the summer of 2010 due to a steep decline in usage. At the same time I also closed my Twitter and Facebook accounts and opened new ones, as I had a habit of opening new accounts every time my life needed a reboot.

My current Facebook and Twitter accounts were opened in December, 2012. I opened an Instagram account in 2016 and a Pinterest account shortly after that. I’m not a huge fan of either, though I do use IG daily and don’t use Pinterest at all. But whereas I share White Sox stories, information and photos on Twitter and Facebook, IG has become nothing more than a repository for the memes that I also post on Facebook. It really serves no other purpose than that.

From 2010 to 2017 my friends list dwindled to less than 200, not because I wanted it that way but because people who were involved in my life wanted it that way and I was told I really didn’t need any friends, even online friends. But luckily that changed and my online footprint expanded dramatically in 2018 and my FB friends list swelled to nearly 2,000. Then the backlash began.

Come to find out, maybe the persons who said too many wasn’t good was right all along. So every six months or so I’ll “prune” my friends list. Or at least, that was the process up until all of the civil unrest began and Facebook became a cesspool of nothing but politics, racial strife, arguments and nonsense.

At this point, I’ve come to hate social networking and I find myself longing, daily, for the era before I even had internet access or a smart phone (or a cell phone in any way). I wake up every morning wishing it was 2004 or 2002 or 2000 or 1997 again. I had to admit to myself that the happiest days of my life were post-college and pre-internet. Not to say that pre-college days were bad, I had a great childhood and my teens years were great as well. I wouldn’t trade that time for the world. And my time spent in college was extremely happy as well.

But the truth of the matter is, when I first got internet service in the spring of 2005, things began to change. And as soon as social networking, and the women on social networking entered the picture, it went downhill, and fast.

The truth is, the first 28 years of my life were pure bliss with a few small potholes along the way, but nothing I would even consider “bad,” just “unfortunate.” The 15 years that have followed have been nothing but misery with the occasional happy moment, fleeting as they may have been. And the internet, specifically social media, has been at the forefront of all of my unhappiness.

Now, don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying social media as a platform is a bad thing. Most of my problems have been self-induced anyway, with social media as the means to introduce those problems. I used to enjoy discussions of sports, politics, religion and everything under the sun with everyone who was willing to join in. Now, it just takes one post to rub me the wrong way and I’ll hit that unfriend or unfollow button faster than you can say “quick.”

Adding to this is the lack of baseball (with more to come considering the current COVID-19 situation in MLB summer camp) and I have little to post or talk about. As far as religion, I’m a Christian, if you don’t like it, I don’t care anymore. I have no desire to talk about it and you’re free to leave or, if you wish to argue about it, you’ll just be deleted and forgotten. As far as politics, I’m a Trump supporter and I’ll vote Trump in 2020, if you don’t like it, I don’t care anymore. Leave or be deleted and forgotten. I don’t post about either of these things anymore because I know how I feel having to read other people’s opinions I don’t care about. I’m not being heartless or ruthless, I just am past the point of caring.

Which basically brings me back to 2005, when I first started social networking. I’m here to post about White Sox baseball and network with White Sox fans. Nothing more. I’m not here to meet girls or talk politics or tell jokes or anything else (except memes, of course). And with that lack of White Sox baseball to talk about, social networking, and the internet in general, just isn’t enjoyable.

When the 2020 baseball season is canceled (and I’m 99.99% sure it will be) I’m strongly considering deactivating my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and getting my NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball and NCAA Baseball games out of the attic and rolling the clock back to my pre-internet days and doing things I used to enjoy, that I let go of when the internet revolution changed my life. I dream about this daily. Some days it’s all I really have to hold on to.

There’s a point at which things stop being fun and start being monotonous and grating and that’s where I am right now with social media. The fun is gone, the enjoyment is gone, not that there was a whole lot to begin with but at least I had something to hang my hat on. Now I have nothing but aggravation.

So, until I have a solid footing and know what’s going on, I’ll maintain the status quo, only going on social networks when it’s time for meme posting or White Sox news posting and the rest of the time, just avoid it. I’ve found that to be far more satisfying than spending hours blocking people who annoy me.

It’s amazing to think it’s been 15 years, that’s more time than I spent in public education and more time than I’ve spent in my three longest relationships combined. But maybe it’s finally time for a break of ultimate dimension.

Thank you for taking the time to read. God bless.

How I Finally Learned To Stop Wasting Time

I walked into 2020 with such high expectations. It was the beginning of a new decade. I had streamlined my life, eliminated a lot of people, especially ones who did nothing but make me miserable day in and day out. I had laid out plans to start my franchise on MLB The Show and was preparing a new workout regimen. I was on good terms with everyone in my life. It was truly the beginning of a new era.

Within six weeks, things started falling apart to the ultimate dimension.

I let people back into my life that didn’t need to be there. I had issues ordering the 2020 version of MLB The Show. I decided it was a better expenditure of time to watch ridiculous YouTube videos than to begin my new workout regimen. Instead of going to bed earlier and getting more sleep, I rarely made it to bed before midnight.

In other words, nothing changed and, in fact, things got worse. I’m a God damned, blithering idiot who doesn’t have the willpower to accomplish anything, no matter how simple. I’ve been furious with myself for a couple of weeks, thinking it all over.

Then, things started to fall into place and I’m ready to stop wasting my life.

First, the biggest albatross in my life blocked me on Facebook. This was a huge tipping point, as I wasted hours upon hours every day messaging with her and, in the words of Judas Priest, “living bad dreams.” I was wasting my time chasing shadows.

Once she was gone, I finished up the run I was on playing Red Dead Redemption II every day for hours. Like most people, when I get into a game it’s hard to put down. I would try to limit myself to a couple of hours a day but that quickly would expand to four or five hours. Time that should have been spent working out and playing franchise games on MLB The Show. I also spent hours watching The Dukes Of Hazzard.

I put the game and the DVDs away, which removed three of the biggest wastes of time I was dealing with. This literally eliminated 15 hours worth of nonsense a day, time I had been completely wasting. That gave me a clear picture of what I was working with.

Now, finally, I’m ready to put 2020 back on track and start using my time wisely rather than wasting it, knowing I’ll never get it back. I’m ready to start focusing on my life now. Home improvement, personal and physical improvement, focusing on my writing, on MLB The Show, on my exercise program, cooking and grilling and smoking cigars. These are all tangible assets that I can see, not ghosts that don’t really exist.

Admittedly, the whole COVID-19 thing was going to put a damper on 2020 anyway, but it wasn’t going to affect me to the level it does a lot of people. The worst thing about it from my standpoint is the lack of baseball this season. But I planned on watching old games on MLB.TV and playing MLB The Show to get my baseball fix. Other than that, COVID-19 wasn’t going to play a big role. It’s not like I don’t social distance all the time anyway. It’s been a long time since someone has been inside of my house.

So, now that I’ve wasted the past three months and have absolutely nothing to show for it, I’m finally to the point that I’m ready to move forward. This is the second time in my life that I’ve literally felt something snap inside of me and my life changed completely, the previous time was in 2013 and it did not turn out well in the end at all.

I expect this time to be different. In fact, I expect this time to be the polar opposite.

Once I have worked myself into a good daily schedule, I’m ready to start taking stock of my future, specifically where I’m going to spend it. If there’s one thing I know for certain, I’m not spending the rest of my life in West Virginia, unless I drop dead in the next few months (knock on wood). My heart is in Illinois but my brain is screaming Arizona. Either one would be a massive improvement over West Virginia.

There’s nothing for me here. There never has been. But I’ve always had a bad habit of fooling myself and then falling for it. No more. I’m tired of sticking my head in the sand and not seeing reality for what it is. West Virginia is a dead-end hell hole, and maybe if I were a worthless, cockeyed, drug-addicted alcoholic with tendencies toward domestic violence and a lack of money and teeth, then I might be all set for West Virginia. But I’m not. I don’t fit here. I never have. And that’s why I have to get out of here.

In 2013, I was laying down the foundation to leave here for Chicago. I ended up getting talked into staying here by something I had scraped off the bottom of a trash can. I lived to regret that decision. I’ll not make a similar mistake again.

But in the meantime, it’s time to get this house in tip-top shape for sale and start getting myself back into the mental and physical shape I had hoped for back in December when I was looking forward to the dawning of a new decade.

On Sunday I plan to start my workout program and 2020 season of my Chicago White Sox franchise on MLB The Show, as well as enjoying a cigar and cooking a nice breakfast and a good dinner. Then I’ll move forward, day by day, until I reach the point where I’m at the point I want to be on every level, mentally, physically and emotionally.

It’s all in front of me now. All I have to do is reach out and take it, stop wasting my time and make the most of every day. Yesterday is in the rear-view mirror, eating my dust. All it takes is a little willpower and focus and I’ll reach all of my goals.

The most important thing is that I have to realize that God has everything in hand and that trying to force things that just aren’t right isn’t going to get me anywhere near where I need to be, it’s like pushing a car that’s out of gas the wrong way down a one way street, and I don’t want my life to be a parallel to that kind of ridiculousness.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I had hoped my blog would be baseball-focused this year but obviously nothing else has worked out the way I planned, so hopefully once the 2020 season starts, I can get my blog focused again as well.

God bless.

How “Getting The Last Word” Has Kept Me A Virtual Prisoner All My Life

The Last Word

Today I became aware of a crippling character flaw that has been part of me all of my life. My incessant need to have the last word in any kind of disagreement or disconnection with someone, I have to have the last word. Whether I’m right, whether I’m wrong or whether there are only shades of gray, I considered it a loss if I didn’t get the last word.

And the fact is, I rarely get the last word and for the past 15 years, I never do.

I have noticed this most recently when eliminating people from my life. If I manage to get the last word, I can easily let go of whatever negativity lead me to have to remove said people from my life in the first place. Whatever the disagreement was over is irrelevant; if I got the last word in, I won. If I didn’t, I’ve noticed that I’ll do a slow burn over it for years. I can never let go of the feelings that accompany someone getting the best of me.

This is an absolutely horrible way for me to conduct myself, especially when it’s dealing with a circumstance that isn’t at all important. Over the past two and a half years I’ve let things get to me that have kept me from being able to sleep normally or think straight because I didn’t get the last word. Women who have fucked with me in one way or another and I never got the chance to tell them to take a long walk off a short pier. Family members or people who pretended to be friends that I should have been able to tell exactly what I thought of them, but circumstance dictated that I would never have that chance.

At first I thought how unfair that was, that I would be burdened with that (lack of) outcome for the rest of my life. And believe me, I carried it with me. I wore it on my sleeve.

Those who have taken advantage of me or done me wrong in one way or another walk away and don’t give me a second thought, while I sit behind and stew over it. Not any more.

It’s not doing me any good to hold onto anger or frustration, and by holding onto it, I’m not causing anyone else any issues. No one cares. As Mark Twain said, “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured,” especially when the party getting the anger poured on them doesn’t care.

I’ve carried a lot of anger with me over the course of my life. And it’s always seemed like it was totally justifiable. But part of the problem with doing that is that I’m constantly shaking my fists at the past rather than concentrating on the present or the future.

It’s an exercise in futility to be so wrapped up in the past that life passes you by. I know, because I’ve lived it most of my adult life. There comes a time to let it all go.

That time, for me, is now.

I can’t spend the rest of my life being angry about things that happened to me two years ago or a week ago. It’s a waste of my time and it’s keeping me from being able to live my best life. And regardless of anything that happened, that all falls right on me. I can’t blame anyone else for my inability to let go of the rage that burns inside of me.

So now is the time to begin focusing on me and letting the past remain in the past, where it belongs. I’ve been smart enough to eliminate a lot of negativity from my life but held onto the residual anger that accompanied that negativity, and that didn’t accomplish anything. The whole point of getting rid of negative people is to eliminate that anger.

I have made some really dumb decisions in my life and I regret all of them, but carrying around that regret doesn’t change the decision or make the end result of the decision any different. It is what it is and no amount of bitching or complaining is going to change it.

Carrying around hatred for people who aren’t worth my time is a big part of this. That hatred leads to negativity and that’s the crux of the entire situation. Eliminate the negative people and eliminate the hatred I carry for them. That ends the cycle.

So, I’m going to try to start catching myself when I’m about to do something that I know has some kind of negative connotation to it (i.e. posting a song or a meme because the lyrics fit a situation that is left long in the past). There’s no place for that. I’m bigger than that and I’m too old to continue acting like I did when I was 19, or 33, or 40. That time has passed. And in less than a month I’ll be 43 years old. It’s time to let the nonsense go.

While I am known for my sense of humor, I know myself better for my bitter attitude and inability to let things go. And I’ve had it with that. Today was the last straw.

From now on, I’m present and future-focused. Day by day. Making the most of each day I’m given rather than wasting today, lamenting the failures of yesterday. That doesn’t help me and doesn’t hurt anyone I may be holding a grudge against. It’s a waste of time.

The first six weeks of 2020 were the best I’ve had in 15 years or more. I want to feel that again. Yes, the COVID-19 situation has clearly changed the dynamics of 2020 since mid-February, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the most of every day in quarantine and make the best of my life until things get back to some semblance of normalcy.

No more anger over unimportant nonsense that has no connection to the present and future. Focus only on today, tomorrow and those people that have earned a place in my life. Those that are gone are gone for good. The will never be allowed to return to any position in my life again. Good bye, and good riddance. Here’s to the future.

A future (and present) of positivity and accomplishment.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Red Dead Redemption II: How Life Imitated Art… And The Closure And Happiness I Got From It

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For the past month or so I have been playing Red Dead Redemption II on the PlayStation 4. I originally bought this game when it was released (October 2018) but neglected to actually play it until April 2020. Apparently, MLB and MLB-related offseason activities were keeping me from being able to spend the time necessary to enjoy the game.

(That’s probably not accurate since I’ve played the entirety of the Batman Arkham series in the past 5 years beginning when the baseball season ended)

Today I reached the sixth chapter of the game. Today I also had a friendship I had hoped would develop into more end after knowing her for over a year and literally nothing going anywhere. So how are these two happenings related?

I woke up this morning to a message in my Facebook mailbox basically telling me to take a long walk off a short pier from the girl I had been pursuing. While this isn’t the first time, or the fifth time, it is the final time. How does that relate to Red Dead, though?

Today, my character (Arthur Morgan) received a goodbye letter from the woman he had pursued in the game prior to the story beginning and had dealt with on a few occasions during the game, drawing out their history and issues.

Mary's letter

I’m not going to include the full text of the letter here simply because the relevance isn’t in the details, its just the fact that I got to enjoy two curb-kickings in one day.

On the plus side, watching Arthur put the letter away and go back to work without giving it a second thought was a great motivator to me. Not that I was as crushed as I had been the other nine times I’ve endured this, but I was down enough that it ruined my day.

This was the wake-up call I’ve been needing for a long time. I have been trying to fool myself into thinking I was “relationship material” for too long; over 15 years, in fact. And the fact is, I never was, and I never am going to be. Deep inside I’ve known that for my whole adult life, but I guess it took a video game split to make it hit home in real life.

So, I’ll get this out of my system today and tomorrow is a new day, and a new era. It should have been already because 2020 was supposed to be the new start, and for six weeks it was. Then I hit a little detour. Tomorrow will put things back on track, like they should be. Today I lick my wounds, and tomorrow I go out into life a little smarter than I had been.

All thanks to Arthur Morgan getting dumped by his should-have-been girlfriend, Mary.

Life is truly beautiful…


Never Again: The End Of The Road

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I had hoped I would never have to write about this subject again, but circumstances outside of my control necessitated that I address it one final time. While my opinion hasn’t changed, the direction I take to get to that point has. The decision I have expanded on is not new, it was reached some time ago, and this blog entry has been in development for days; the fact that it landed on Valentine’s Day is just kind of an added bonus.

Ten years ago, right around this time, I made a “list” of prerequisites for any woman I would date in the future. I can’t remember specifically all of them but they’ve been addressed in my blog previously, and the original list is long gone, but suffice to say it was a pretty steep climb to make it to the top without violating one of the rules. Of course, in the long run, I failed to keep to the list and ended up with gutter trash that literally violated 90% of the rules I had set for myself. But once I got out of that mess, I decided to reinstate the rules and make a point of actually sticking to them the second time around.

The rules list has opened me up to some criticism, I was once told that no one could possibly live up to the standards I had set. While that may or may not be true, I made it a point to at least try to stick to those guidelines, knowing it was better for me to weed out the trash from the available treasure. The problem with the rule list is that I didn’t look at the big picture, and had to realize there was one rule that didn’t make the list that was kind of a deal breaker if it didn’t work out: The girl in question had to want me.

And that has left me where I am today. But in the past couple of months, I have come to realize, through scrolling my newsfeed daily, that there’s a better reason for me to leave the relationships to people who can handle them. Through meeting single women, not just now but over the course of my life, one point binds them all together and it’s a point I have heard until it rings in my ears. It seems every single woman within a 50 mile radius of where I sit right now has been literally destroyed by an ex at some point in time.

While I’m sure some of these are legitimate, I still take the story with a grain of salt on the simple basis of the fact that people do tend to over-exaggerate. For example, I once dated someone who accused me of “destroying” her because I didn’t spend the night often enough. Sorry, I don’t see that as life-altering and never have. So it’s hard to take it seriously when every woman alive and breathing have been “destroyed” as well.

I know some have been, I know there are guys out there who are gutless pieces of garbage who abuse, but I also have been told right to my face that women like “bad boys” because of a motherly instinct to “fix” them. Drug addict? “Great!” History of physical abuse? “Turn on!” Mental abuse? “That will give me a chance to post about narcissists later on down the road!” Served jail time? “Mmmmm…” Jobless? “He obviously needs me!”

While I’m sure all of those character “enhancements” will really make for a wonderful relationship, the fact is I have none of them and that makes me basically worthless as a potential boyfriend, unless it’s gutter trash who sees me as a potential ATM, which has happened a lot more often than it should in the distant past. But it still happened.

So, the combination of women unable to let go of their exes, even as they berate them and complain of their past on social media ad nauseam, the fact that the worse a guy is, the more character flaws he has, the better, the fact that I lack these character flaws and the fact that no one will ever pass my screening process again, has left me at the point of no return, the point at which I realize that no relationship would ever be worth it.

And before anyone thinks this is a knee-jerk reaction to anything or any kind of Valentine’s Day cloud hanging over my head, I assure you it is not. As I mentioned, this blog entry has been in the works for days and this decision was made some time ago, but has really been set in stone over the past couple of weeks, as I allowed myself to inch outside the box. I cannot imagine many circumstances in the world that would ever change my mind.

I also don’t want it to sound like I’m positioning myself as being “better” than everyone else. I’m guessing it sounds that way but that’s not how I feel inside. I have made a ton of mistakes on my own, I don’t pretend I’m perfect because my own flaws could swallow me whole. But 20 years ago I would have been considered a “catch” due to the fact that I didn’t have all of the issues that are glorified today in making worthless guys into “bad boys” that are somehow the answer to every single woman’s prayers. Good luck.

Had I went about my life differently, I would like to have been married with a family but the fact is, that was never in the cards and it took me a long time to realize it. Naturally, when I did, my first thought was “that’s not fair, what’s wrong with me?” Then I realized its just as much my fault as anyone’s, it’s not just the fact that I lack all of the character flaws that bring out the motherly instinct in single women, or that I boast openly and regularly about being self-sufficient to the point that I don’t need anyone for anything. It also is my own fault, for getting myself into bad situations and then staying in them for years.

I know this whole things also makes me come off as bitter and angry, but that’s not the case at all. I’m as happy as I can possibly be. Given the circumstances of life, I couldn’t ask for much more. I have everything I have ever wanted minus the wife and family, and those aren’t necessities. And I don’t hate women, I love women. I think the female is the most beautiful creation on this planet. As most people know, my Facebook wall is a celebration of the female form. And I’ll always feel that way about women. But as W.C. Fields said, “Women are like elephants. I like to look at them, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”

So, in closing, let me say I wish everyone all the happiness they deserve. I sincerely hope the strung-out, jobless, toothless half-wit that some women have their hearts set on works out, and if not, I hope you find hours of joy with your “narcissist” posts and the attention you get from them until you reconcile or find another dude who fits the same parameters. And for those who have found the love of your life and it’s real, I think that’s beautiful and I wish you all the best. But that kind of thing just isn’t for me anymore. Never again.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.