Monday, October 22, 2018

What more could you ask for?

When the season started, the Sox had a good team. We knew they were good. They were the defending division champs, and had added slugger JD Martinez. The sky was really the limit 

But, as we knew, the Sox may have won the division last year...but they didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Astros pretty quickly. So, they had that cloud hanging over them pretty much all season. Sure, the might be good (again) but can we trust it? Or would we get our expectations up (again), only to have them deflated in crushing fashion (again)?

Now, to actually harp on that all season is a pretty pathetic way to live your life. But, it’s always a question. Teams are (oddly) defined by how they play during potentially nineteen specific games as opposed to the other 162. Or, even any other selection of 19 games. So, as much fun as it was to watch the regular season, another early postseason exit would be annoying at best. Once the playoffs started, it was anticipation to see if they could move past that first series. 

Once they did that, it became fun again. 

There was a definite difference between the 2004 playoff run and the 2007 playoff run. In 2004, the team was still “cursed”. People weren’t happy. They were waiting for the Sox to blow it at every chance. Even up three games to none in the World Series, people weren’t comfortable. But, in 2007 it was different. The curse was gone. The Red Sox, in fact, didn’t always lose. More people seemed to be enjoying the run. Down 3-1 to Cleveland? No problem. Beckett will win game five, and the Sox’ll take the next two at home. The World Series? No problem. They’ll roll over them. 

This year seems to be both at once. Until the Yankees series, people were waiting for a collapse. They may have won 108 games, but that bullpen will kill them! But, then they steamrolled the Yankees, and there was a switch flipped. They could win a playoff series after all. They’re actually a good team! We should probably enjoy it!

Which is how I plan to approach the World Series. This team is good, and I see no reason why they should lose. 

So, why not enjoy it? I’m excited to see this team show what they can do. What Chris Sale can bring. What a confident David Price looks like in the playoffs. What this lineup can continue to do. 

This should be a lot of fun!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sophia Lovis Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Sophia Lovis is a singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Merrimack. I’m thrilled she was
willing to take some time out of her schedule to visit with us to
discuss those topics, and a few more. I’m sure you’ll love reading everything she had to say!

So, let’s see what happens when Sophia Lovis visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss Merrimack crown?
While I wish my answer was more exciting, I celebrated my crown with a good night's sleep (and by that I mean I slept for about thirteen hours that night!) Our check-in time that day was 10 AM, and by the time I was done taking pictures and helping clean up it was easily 11 at night. Considering the time I also needed to get ready in the morning and drive over, as well as go home and take my makeup off, I think I deserved it!

You didn't sign up to compete for Miss Merrimack until the last minute. What made you finally decide to compete?
As a current senior, I have been looking at colleges and the overwhelming cost of it has really sunk in over the last few months. So when I saw Miss Merrimack was offering a $1200 scholarship I simply asked myself “What do I have to lose?” and, well, here I am!

This spring will be your first time competing for the Miss New Hampshire crown. What part of that competition are you most nervous about?
I’m most nervous for Onstage Question. The whole fishbowl concept is seriously nerve-wracking, and I think it’s a competition that you’re either prepared for or you’re not. To prepare, my mom and I have been reviewing current events every day for about fifteen minutes, discussing both sides and forming educated opinions. While I may not know what question I’ll get, I’m going to make sure I am as prepared as possible.

How did you select your platform: Be BIG - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?
I have been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America since 2016, and my little sister has been my best friend and mini-me since December 6th of that year. We aren’t matched anymore because she does not attend the same location where we would meet, but we text all the time and are constantly in touch. For my Little, it’s a fun, reliable, and encouraging relationship. For me? Nothing beats that smile when I walk through the door (and of course the bear hug).

What is your favorite part about performing your talent onstage?
Talent is not my strongest competition, but I love to be able to stand on stage with all eyes on just me and simply sing. I might not be the best singer technically, but I truly love it, and I think that shows onstage.

You make appearances as Disney Princesses. Which Disney princess would you say is most like you?
I would definitely say that Anna is most like me-which is funny, because she is one of the only princesses I don’t play! Anna, like myself, is bubbly, energetic, and fiercely loyal to her sister. And if you ask anyone that knows me, they can certainly attest to all those traits.

Which current Red Sox player is your favorite? Why?
My current favorite Red Sox player is definitely JD Martinez. He brings a much-needed maturity to a young team, and could be the MVP of the league.

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you'd especially like to experience?
Before I die, I would love to throw out the first pitch for the Sox. It’s totally on my bucket list, I just need to figure out how to get to a place that I would be worthy of that!

If you had an extra ticket to a Red Sox game, who would you take with you? Why?
I would take one of my friends from the Boudreau family. They’re baseball fans (that is seriously the understatement of the century) and I think it would be a blast to take one of them. They are extremely loud while watching a game at home, so I can’t even imagine how hyped up one of them would be at a real live game!

—-

I hope she finds a way to throw out that first pitch!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Sophia for doing this interview. I also want to thank her for providing so many amazing pictures to accompany the interview. They make it a lot more entertaining for everyone.

As Sophia continues her time as Miss Merrimack, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Merrimack Facebook page. It’ll be worth your time!

I also want to wish Sophia the best of luck this spring as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown! It would be incredible to have a second consecutive Section 36 visitor take home that title! 

Thanks again Sophia, and good luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It Was Fan Interference

It was clearly fan interference. It was so clear that I can't believe there's any actual argument. It's so clear that even Joe West could see it from 100 feet away.

Which is actually the best argument in favor of fan interference.

I assume that when an umpire is running out towards the wall, and can't quite tell, that the default ruling is “home run”. Without any evidence to the contrary, the umpire assumes the ball went into the stands. But, West didn't make that call. He pretty quickly signaled fan interference. he said that he saw something. That he saw a fan reaching out and hitting Mookie’s glove. That he could tell Mookie was away from the wall. That he could see all that. After all, he was at a pretty good angle to see that sort of thing. I haven't seen a camera show from his angle yet, but I bet you can tell if someone is leaning. And everything he's said after the game repeated that. Which you can say, of course he's going to say that. But, remember in 1999 when the ump admitted that he didn't see Knoblauch make the tag? That he only anticipated the tag being made? Or after the interference call on Will Middlebrooks in 2013 where the umpire claimed Will was in the baseline, when he wasn't? So, Joe West sticking to his story, and having his story hold up is actually a thing.

But, you don't need his angle or his call to determine that it was fan interference. But, it helps if you combine a few different angles. First, you need to know how the seats are situated behind the wall. They're close to the wall. Very close. So close that if you stand up, you're pretty much up against the wall. So, someone standing straight up in front of their seat is basically making their stomach a vertical extension of the wall.

So, if you're standing up, and your stomach is the face of the wall, anything in front of your stomach is within the field of play. Unless you're leaning your upper body back at a 45-degree angle.

Now, back to the view we've all been staring at all day. Do the fans have anything in front of their stomach? Absolutely. They all have their hands out in front of them. Not even just crossed in front of them, but reaching out in front of them. One guy is reaching out so far he has to brace himself against the wall using his other hand. You only need to do that if you're reaching out over the wall, not if you're staying behind it.

It's not even close.

So, now that we've determined that the fans interfered with a player on the field of play, we can discuss the other loophole people like to use. They claim Betts wasn't going to catch it anyway. They give two lame excuses for this train of thought. My personal favorite is that Betts was already closing his glove before the ball got there. It had nothing to do with a fan hitting his glove. Mookie was closing it himself, so he would have missed the ball.

Really.

Mookie is probably the best defensive right fielder in baseball. Have you ever seen him try to make a catch, but close the glove too early only to have the ball bounce off the side of the glove? Have you ever seen anyone try to catch a ball with a closed glove? Manny? Of course not. That's because you don't manually close the glove yourself. The force of the ball entering the pocket of the glove basically closes it for you. It’s crazy to think that Mookie is trying to time the closure of his glove for the exact instant the ball goes inside. I can't even fathom how that would work.

The other excuse is that you can’t assume Mookie would make such an incredible catch. Which, I admit is a valid question. It's also one that the fans cheated us out of ever being able to learn the answer to. A lot has to go into a catch like that. Tracking the ball down. Leaping to reach it, timing the leap just right, and grabbing the ball out of the air. That’s not easy. But, the key part is that Mookie already did the toughest parts. You know how if a third baseman makes an amazing dive to stop the ball, gets up, and throws the ball into the stands you can still give him an error? It was a difficult play, but he did the difficult part before the error. Once he's standing there with the ball, it's a routine throw. That's where Mookie was. He already ran to the wall. He already jumped. He already timed the jump perfectly. He already had his glove in the right spot. We know all of this because the ball actually hit his glove after the fan knocked it closed. So he did all the hard stuff. All that was left was the routine part of actually catching a flyball. That's much easier to assume.

So I wish people would stop saying the Sox got lucky. Unless you consider an umpire making the correct call "luck". I wish headlines would stop saying that the Astros had a home run taken away. They never had a home run. It would have been an out if the fans weren't there. The headlines could say "Great play by Mookie prevents Astros home run" because that would at least be true. 

It was a great play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Trade Deadline Deals

Remember when everyone was pretty annoyed with Dave Dombrowski at the trade deadline? Everyone insisted that the Red Sox needed bullpen help. Like really needed bullpen help. But, Dombrowski didn't listen. He traded to fill in some other holes instead. Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce were added to the team to help out. A good bat off the bench, and a great tweener starter who might just help the bullpen in the playoffs. Pearce has been every bit of that, including hitting the go ahead home run in a crucial game three last night. Eovaldi got the start and the win last night. He's been the Red Sox most consistent and effective starter in the playoffs. He's even been able to help the bullpen after all. Because he took over the third starter role, Rick Porcello has been able to pitch the eighth inning in two Red Sox victories.

Oh, and the big bullpen arm that the Astros picked up? He gave up five runs, including a grand slam, after hitting consecutive batters in the eighth inning to blow the game wide open.

It's almost like Dombrowski knows what he's doing.

So the Red Sox now sit having taken back home field advantage. The pressure is now all on the Houston Astros. There are two more games in Texas, and the Red Sox really only need to win one of those to put a stranglehold on the series. The Astros are pretty much in must-win territory from here on out.

Which gives the Red Sox the luxury of having options. This is especially nice with the health questions with Chris Sale. While I prefer stomach issues to shoulder issues, neither one is great if you’re in a dire situation. But, now the Sox aren't in a terrible spot if Sale is waiting until game six, or even seven, before taking the mound. While you certainly want to win as many games as you can as soon as you can, it's nice to be able to think ahead. So it's good to be on top.

Being on top 3-1 is even better, which is why tonight's game is pretty big on its own. I can only imagine that Rick Porcello will show up huge. He's been on fire this postseason. Since the Red Sox got to Morton when they faced him earlier in the year...without Mookie...I like their chances against him tonight.

Let's see how it goes!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Almost Everything!

So close. David Price needed one more out to qualify for the win last night. But, he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning, after finding himself in a bit of a jam. It was probably the right call, but I do wish he could have gotten that first playoff win as a starter. 

It’s those last few words that annoy me. It’s one of those classic “moving the goalposts” things. Because it seems that people who don’t like David Price are constantly finding ways to confirm their belief that he is a terrible pitcher and waste of money. 

Now, I’m not here to tell you that Price has been dominant in the playoffs. I do think that overall he’s generally been good. But people like to point out all his flaws. He’s never won a game in the playoffs! Well, actually he as. Ok, then he’s never won as a starter! 

Because they need to find qualifiers. Because he has dominated in the playoffs. Just ask the 2008 Red Sox. He’s gotten wins from that dominance. He’s pitched well as a starter, and not gotten the win. So, if they’re not going to count times he pitched well but didn’t win, I’m sure as heck going to mention a time he didn’t pitch well but did. If he had just gotten one more out!

Someone who did start prying a playoff monkey off their back was Mookie. He had not exactly been playing like Mookie in the playoffs. Admittedly it’s been a small sample. But, people were nervous. Which is why watching him lead off last night with a double before scoring was such a welcome sight. He went on to go 2-4, with two runs and an RBI. Suddenly his numbers this series look pretty darn good. Hopefully that settles things down, and is a signal of what's to come from the MVP.

The Sox are going to need both these guys moving forward.

If they show up, this will be fun.

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