Piffcast: The ‘Game of Thrones’ S6 Review Special

If you aren’t caught up on Game of Thrones, go do that and then listen to our show.

TJ and Michael go ALL OUT THRONES for the 20th Piffcast episode, recapping and reviewing the entire epic 6th season. We bounce region to region, House to House, giving our 2 cents on every storyline and where we think they are going. Listen in for our favorite (and least favorite) episodes from Season 6, favorite characters, and ALL THINGS THRONES. 

React as you listen on Facebook or Twitter!

You can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

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Ballpark Foodie: What To Get During White Sox ‘Homecoming Weekend’

It hasn’t been a shabby year to be a White Sox fan. The team’s in 1st place, Chris Sale is undefeated (both as of 10:30 AM CT on May 19th), and the food is absolutely delicious. More on that shortly…

The White Sox are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of U.S. Cellular Field with an awesome “Homecoming Weekend” series against the reigning champion Kansas City Royals. If you attended the 10th Anniversary celebration of the 2005 World Series “Win or Die Trying” White Sox last year, then you know it will be a good time. Along with Fireworks Friday night and cool promotions all weekend, players of White Sox-past like CY Young winner Jack McDowell, 7-time All-Star outfielder Tim Raines, 2-time All-Star closer Roberto Hernandez, and Lance “One Dog” Johnson will all be in attendance.

So what will taste best with your South Side baseball, sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s all weekend? I’ve made a few visits to the ballpark this season and these were some of the items on the concourse that I can’t wait to go back for.

Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Dog

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Pretty self-explanatory. A big Vienna Beef hot dog on a fresh pretzel bun, topped with nachos cheese and bacon pieces.

Found at the All-Star Stands along both foul lines and behind home plate. 

Tater Tachos

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Who doesn’t love tots? Topped with nacho cheese and jalapeno peppers. Can also be served in a souvenir green batting helmet.

Found in Sections 110 and 544.

Merkt’s Cheesy Beef Sandwich

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Merkt’s should have sold you by itself. Thin-sliced ribeye steak grilled and infused with the Merkt’s cheese, topped with Comiskey Pico.

Found at the Burger Barn stands in Sections 112 and 528.

Also found at theBurger Barn stands…

Bacon on a Stick + The Comiskey Burger

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As my friend Night Train Veeck once described it, here’s the #ProTip:

Step 1. Order both the double-thick maple bacon on a stick and the double-patty Comiskey burger (with Merkt’s cheddar and pico).

Step 2. Remove the stick from said bacon.

Step 3. Place double-thick maple bacon on the burger.

Step 4. Enjoy…and eat like nobody’s watching.

Other Delicious Items

Beggars Pizza – Section 163

  • Barbecue Chicken Pizza
  • Italian Beef Giardinara Pizza
  • Chicken Parm Sandwich
  • Fried Caprese Ravioli
  • Cheese-filled Breadsticks
  • Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

Hooters Buffalo Chicken Sandwich – Section 156

  • Also wings available with medium, hot and honey Thai sause

35th Street Tacos – Section 127

Avacodo/Bacon Grilled Cheese – Sections 110 & 544

 

Cuban Sandwich – Along LF on 100-level and Club

Elotes & Tamales – Sections 104, 127, 142 and 529

 

Wow Bao – Section 158

 

Funnel Cake & Churros – Sections 110, 155 and 531

 

Grilled Hot Dogs, Polish Sausage and Brats – EVERYWHERE

 

…and gluten-free options. It’s cool. My my mom needs this guide. via the White Sox Website.

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Be sure to share your foodie photos at the ballpark or follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter

Piffcast: The Thirteenth – Jessica Kleinschmidt and The Winter Soldier

Making her return to The Piffcast is FanDuel sportswriter Jessica Kleinschmidt! With Chicago being the hottest town in baseball at the moment, we ask Jessica to settle a few Cubs/White Sox arguments for their respective fanbases that will likely come up before the Crosstown Cup series. We also cast our own version of the Space Jam sequel, but with Major League Baseball players. Find out if your favorites make the cut! (27:21 mark, if you’d like to jump ahead)

Now that Captain America: Civil War is finally here, TJ and I (WITHOUT ANY SPOILERS) discuss what the movie got right compared to Batman v. Superman. I also reveal where it ranks in my “Favorite Movies of 2016 so far” list.

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here and listen to our past Piffcast episodes

MLB All-Star Game Voting Has Begun

Just 3 weeks into the regular season, polls are officially open for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game voting. You can vote early and often by clicking here to go directly to the ballot.

The 2016 All-Star Game takes place July 12th, at Petco Park in San Diego, CA, with some of the best craft beer selection you could ask for. Voting ends June 30th at 11:59 PM ET. Fans can vote up to 5 times in any 24-hour period.

This is what my first ballot looks like, considering the small sample size of work everyone has done so far.

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As of Sunday, April 24th at 1:00 PM CT…

  • Cubs OF Dexter Fowler leads the league in Wins Above Replacement (1.8 WAR) and is tied for the most doubles hit (9).
  • White Sox OF Adam Eaton leads the league in Defensive WAR (0.8) and runs saved (7) while batting .309.
  • Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy leads the league in Batting Average (.411) *with the required number of at-bats*
  • Nationals OF Bryce Harper and Rockies SS Trevor Story lead the league in Home Runs (8), while Harper leads all in Runs Batted In (22).
  • Astros 2B Jose Altuve leads the league in Stolen Bases (7).
  • Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo and Orioles 1B Chris Davis lead those in their respective leagues at their position in Home Runs (6).
  • Orioles 3B Manny Machado leads the league in Hits (27), Total Bases (53 and, On-Base Plus Slugging (1.225 OPS), while batting .397.

You can make your votes and see the stats lined up from each player from the MLB website here.

Let us know who you are voting for on Facebook or Twitter. 

Your Annual Reminder It’s Opening Day

While the weather forecast may have called for overcast skies (a day after disheartening April blizzards in Chicago), there’s still a ray of sunshine breaking through any and all mundane mediocrity clouding your life. For one day, every cliche and sports movie monologue feels as inviting as the guy selling programs when you walk through your favorite stadium’s gate.

Only a handful of teams are playing today, the Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Rays, Mets and Royals. The whole league will be in action tomorrow and the hometown love will pour over each respective ball club, but it’s amazing how we can all be just as excited today. Is it because everyone is tied for first place at this very moment? Do we forget that there are 161 games to go and anything can happen from now till October? Or is it because we just can’t help but “get romantic about baseball”?

The romance is real. It hits you when you first climb the steps from the concourse toward your seats at Wrigley Field, much like walking up a ramp to your aisle at Fenway Park when the sun starts to set. If you’re lucky enough to share that with someone, don’t take it for granted. As a White Sox fan, I lose myself in their brand new pregame montage every year, with moving music and memories. I forget I’m 28 years old and involuntary noises erupt from my windpipes as the fireworks signal it’s time to begin. There are micro-versions of these instances throughout the long regular season, but nothing compares to the first.

I could go into a long thing about hope for every team, only for someone (maybe myself) to shoot it all down with projections, sabermetrics, and the pessimistic cold hard reality check that not everyone is meant for the playoffs. However, baseball is weird…quite possibly the weirdest of the major sports. While numbers, trends, and track records are real and incredibly valid, you can’t predict injuries, suspensions, personal issues, trades or the litany of fortune-bending occurrences that are bound to happen over the next 6 months.

Also alluring is the mystery of what kind of greatness and individual accomplishments this new season will hold. Who will be the closest to batting .400? How long will someone go in their hitting-streak, and will the challenge Joe DiMaggio? Who will throw the next perfect game? Can anyone emulate the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire (and not be busted for steroids)? Where will longtime veterans finish on the all-time lists (Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols) and who can we get excited about to possibly surpass them someday (Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant)? Who will come out of nowhere?

Right now, more than any time the rest of regular season, you can comfortably be a fan. You can be excited. You can be optimistic. You can be a full grown…kid. For a few hours at a time, you can escape to a game you love and forget about the drama and stresses of life for a little bit. It’s Opening Day. Just have fun.

Share your experiences and thoughts with me this season on Facebook or Twitter

 

Ballpark Foodie: White Sox Unveil New Food Items for 2016 Season

As that new baseball season smell keeps fans anxiously waiting for Opening Day’s first pitch, baseball stadiums across the nation will be permeated with the unique smells of ballpark food. Sure, you can pickup your classic baseball hot dogs, pretzels and nachos, but why not indulge the foodie culture that the sport has come to identify itself with in recent years.

The Chicago White Sox have been especially keen on the tastebuds of their fan base. Double-thick maple bacon on a stick is staple for fans (and goes great on the Comiskey burgers grilled at the same stand). Thursday afternoon, the club rolled out their new concession items for the 2016 season at U.S. Cellular Field.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Merkt’s Cheddar Beef Sandwich

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Thinly-sliced ribeye, grilled and tossed with Merkt’s cheese. Seved on a hoagie roll and topped with Chi-Town Pico.

 

Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Dog

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Vienna all-beef hot dog on a pretzel roll bun. Topped with nacho cheese and bacon. 

 

Tater Totchos

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Tater tots, available in a mini green betting helmet, topped with nacho cheese and jalapenos. 

 

New Beggars Pizza Options

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Barbecue Chicken – Thin crust with sweet BBQ sauce base, diced chicken and mozzarella.

Italian Beef and Giardiniera – Pretty self explanatory. 

 

Click here for concession location details and gluten free options (for those who need them). White Sox home opener is Friday, April 8th against the Cleveland Indians. Tickets available for the upcoming season here

I’ll be there April 9th to try everything out myself. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram

#TBT Year in Review: 2005

Looking back a decade ago.

  • Watergate whistleblower “Deep Throat” was revealed to be former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.
  • Pope John Paul II passed away, Pope Benedict XVI succeeded him.
  • YouTube is launched. First video is uploaded April 23rd at 8:27 PM ET. 
  • “Live 8”, 10 simultaneous concerts around the world, took place featuring more than 1,000 artists broadcasted on 182 TV networks and 2,000 radio stations. 
  • Actor John Spencer passed away at the age of 58.

And here’s what we saw from the world’s of Movies, Music, and Sports

Movies

Comedy

The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Hitch, The Longest Yard, The Pacifier, Bewitched, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fun with Dick and Jane, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Fever Pitch, Waiting, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Just Like Heaven, Guess Who, The Duke’s of Hazzard, The Man, The Ringer, Kicking and Screaming, Rumor Has It, A Lot Like Love, Be Cool, and…

Thank You For Smoking

(starring Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s doppleganger)

Action/Thriller 

Batman Begins, Lord of War, Harsh Times, Saw II, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Island, Hostage, V for Vendetta, Flightplan, The Interpreter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chaos, Doom, Red Eye, The Descent, Into the Blue, Assault on Precinct 13, War of the Worlds, Hostel, The Cave, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Four Brothers, Transporter 2, Serenity, Elektra, Stay, Hide and Seek, Hard Candy, The Skeleton Key, The Devil’s Rejects, Domino, House of Wax, Revolver, and…

Sin City

(wish the sequel was better)

Drama

Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, North Country, Kingdom of Heaven, Pride and Prejudice, The New World, Capote, The Constant Gardner, A History of Violence, The Family Stone, Coach Carter, Proof, Derailed, Cinderella Man, Elvis, Munich, The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, Green Street Hooligans, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Squid and the Whale, The Jacket, An Unfinished Life, The Proposition, Syriana, Archangel, Lords of Dogtown, Jarhead, and…

Good Night and Good Luck

And the Oscar goes to…

The 78th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Terrance Howard, Hustle and Flow
  • Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
  • David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote – Winner

Best Supporting Actor

  • Matt Dillon, Crash
  • Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt, A History of Violence
  • George Clooney, Syriana- Winner

(Clooney was also nominated twice more that night for Directing and Writing Good Night and Good Luck)

Best Actress

  • Judie Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
  • Keira Knightly, Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron, North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line – Winner

Best Supporting Actress

  • Frances McDormand, North Country
  • Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
  • Amy Adams, Junebug
  • Catherine Keener, Capote
  • Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener – Winner

Best Picture

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Good Night and Good Luck
  • Munich
  • Crash – Winner

(Also won Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25

01. “We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey

02. “Hollaback Girl” – Gwen Stefani

03. “Let Me Love You” – Mario

04. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson

05. “1, 2 Step” – Ciara and Missy Elliott

06. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx

07. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day

08. “Candy Shop” – 50 Cent

09. “Don’t Cha” – The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes

10. “Behind These Hazel Eyes” – Kelly Clarkson

11. “Disco Inferno” – 50 Cent

12. “You and me” – Lifehouse

13. “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” – Black Eyed Peas

14. “Lose Control” – Missy Elliott featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop

15. “Shake It Off” – Mariah Carey

16. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers

17. “Just a Lil Bit” – 50 Cent

18. “Pon de Replay” – Rihanna

19. “How We Do” – The Game featuring 50 Cent

20. “Beverly Hills” – Weezer

21. “Oh” – Ciara featuring Ludacris

22. “Lonely No More” – Rob Thomas

23. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell

24. “Hate It or Love It” – The Game featuring 50 Cent

25. “Lovers & Friends” – Lil Jon featuring Usher and Ludacris

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders:

Offensive

Average: Derek Lee (CHC) – .335

Hits: Michael Young (TEX) – 221

Home Runs: Andruw Jones (ATL) – 51

RBI: David Ortiz (BOS) – 148

OPS: Derek Lee (CHC) – 1.080

Stolen Bases: Chone Figgins (LAA) – 62

Pitching

Wins: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) – 22

ERA: Roger Clemens (HOU) – 1.87

Strikeouts: Johan Santana (MIN) – 238

Complete Games: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) & Chris Carpenter (STL) – 7

Shutouts: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) – 5

Saves: Chad Cordero (WSH) – 47

MVP

AL – Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

NL – Albert Pujols (STL)

CY Young

AL – Bartolo Colon (LAA)

NL – Chris Carpenter (STL)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Huston Street (OAK)

NL – Ryan Howard (PHI)

World Series:

Chicago White Sox sweep Houston Astros (4-0)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four:

(1) Illinois, (4) Louisville, (1) North Carolina and (5) Michigan State

National Championship:

(1) North Carolina over (1) Illinois 75-70

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Allen Iverson (PHI) – 30.7

Rebounds Per Game: Kevin Garnett (MIN) – 13.5

Assists Per Game: Steve Nash (PHX) – 11.5

All-NBA Team

Tim Duncan (SA)

Allen Iverson (PHI)

Steve Nash (PHX)

Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)

Shaquille O’Neal (MIA)

MVP: Steve Nash (PHX)

Rookie of the Year: Emeka Okafor (CHA)

NBA Finals

San Antonio Spurs over Detroit Pistons (4-3)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy:

Reggie Bush (USC)

National Championship

(2) Texas over (1) USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Tom Brady (NE) – 4,110

Passing Touchdowns: Carson Palmer (CIN) – 32

Passer Rating: Peyton Manning (IND) – 104.1

Rushing Yards: Shaun Alexander (SEA) – 1,880

Rushing TD: Shaun Alexander (SEA) – 27

Receiving Yards: Steve Smith (CAR) – 1,563

Receiving Touchdowns: Marvin Harrison (IND) & Steve Smith (CAR) – 12

Receptions: Larry Fitzgerald (AZ) & Steve Smith (CAR) – 103

AP MVP: Shaun Alexander (SEA)

Super Bowl XL

Pittsburgh Steelers over Seattle Seahawks 21-10

Hockey

Sorry Hockey fans…

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Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2011

2006

1998

1992

1989

1987