Dexter Fowler has been nothing short of a revelation since coming over to the Cubs in a trade for Luis Valbuena that was announced during the 2015 Cubs Convention. The lanky leadoff man patrolled center field with more, ahem, dexterity than was expected and he put up 3.2 wins above replacement, easily the best total of his career. He also scored a career-high 102 runs, largely the result of yet another career high.
Fowler’s 84 walks last season were easily the most he’s ever taken, outpacing the 68 he drew in both 2011 and 2012. He’s tracking toward yet another high-water mark this season, as his 15.6% walk rate is nearly three and a half points higher than last year’s number. When he drew a base on balls in the 5th inning of Wednesday’s game, it wasn’t just his 24th of 2016. Dexter Fowler has now walked 500 times in his MLB career.
Okay, it’s probably not a stat he’ll earn a plaque for and there won’t be any reputable writers putting together entire posts on it (particularly given the circumstances surrounding the free pass). Still, it’s pretty cool. So cool that I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite 500’s from sports and pop culture.
It’s the greatest spectacle in racing and something you absolutely have to experience to truly comprehend. I’ve only been twice myself, despite the fact that I live close enough to hear the cars when the wind is right. My family has always been into the race and some have had tickets for 40 or 50 years now, so that’s stoked my general affinity for it. Plus, I’ve long felt that there’s sort of a kinship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Wrigley Field.
Both are located smack-dab in the middle of residential areas, both are over a century old, and both have managed to remake themselves while retaining their charming anachronisticity. Both prominently feature pee troughs. Both boast a mix of fans who are there for the party and those who truly love what’s taking place before them. Oh, and both provide an atmosphere in which being sloppily day-drunk is not only acceptable, but something to be celebrated.
Similarities aside, nothing can really prepare you for a day at the track. Even if you’re not a racing fan, the history and the magnitude of the Indy 500 is nigh overwhelming. Consider that one in every 800 Americans will be congregating in little ol’ Speedway, IN to watch a bunch of open-wheel cars turn left for a few hours. Sounds too crazy to be true, right? Some of the stuff that goes on in the Coke Lot or the Snakepit defies convention and social mores too, but that’s all part of the deal.
Now if only we could only get it broadcast locally.
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
It’s definitely not one of the most well-know Dr. Seuss books, but it’s way up near the top of my list. Scrambled Eggs Super, If I Ran the Circus, and Yertle the Turtle are up there too. In any case, this tale about a poor country boy whose grandfather’s hat gains magical regenerative powers over the course of a trip to the city is one that I finally rediscovered a year or so ago.
Among other things, I think the dark undertones really drew me to it. The kid is actually sent to the executioner at one point and is almost murdered by the prince…twice. It’s clear to me now that this was one of many gateway books to Stephen King.
(500) Days of Summer
I really, really like this movie and will generally stop to watch it for at least a little while whenever it’s on. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star in an offbeat story about imperfect people and imperfect relationships, all of which is presented in a non-linear fashion. I enjoy movies that play around with chronology anyway, but this one really struck me for other reasons.
Things don’t always work out the way we think they’re going to, and that is certainly true in love and life. That’s what drew me to 500 DoS. It reminded me of my own experiences and thinking I had life figured out, only to learn that I really had no clue. I still don’t.
There are surely more worthwhile additions to the list and I’ll probably kick myself for omitting them, but I’ve already non-baseballed enough for one post. If there’s anything egregiously absent, go ahead and let me know.