Monday, August 21, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #19

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #19 A favorite card from a country other than the United States.

I wish I had a really cool card for this challenge. I wish I had a card from some really obscure country that you didn't even know printed cards. Or, even, if I had grabbed a Daisuke Matsuzaka card from Japan when I was thinking about it. But, they were too expensive when I wanted one, and now that they're cheap I don't really need one. So, I had to go pretty local with the challenge, and pick this card.

Yes. It's yet another card from my almost entirely stagnant Phil Plantier player collection. (In fact, this whole exercise has me thinking that I should get that PC up and running again. I bet it could be fun.)

I like this card, as I did at the time, because it helps work towards the 1992 Topps rainbow...even though I didn't know it at the time. But, I did always know this card looked pretty neat on the page with the regular Topps and the Topps Gold. (Oddly, I don't have the "winner" variety...yet.) Made you do a double take when you realized that the cards weren't all the same.

Which definitely qualifies this as one of my favorite cards from another country.

Still should hunt down a Dice-K, though.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Gina Salvatore Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Gina Salvatore is an actress, singer, Yankees fan, and the current Miss Bristol. Wait, what? Yes, Gina
hails from the “Yankees fan” section of Connecticut. So, I thought it would be fun to have her visit line up with the Yankees visit to Fenway Park this weekend. Thankfully she agreed to discuss all those topics, and more. I’m sure you’ll be glad she did.

So, let’s see what happens when Gina Salvatore visits Section 36!

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss Bristol?
After years of being a title holder I am always surprised at the way young children look up to me! I’m still shocked that they are in awe of me when they see me out in the community and it is so heart warming when they want to have their photo taken with me! It means so much when young girls say they want to grow up to be Miss Bristol because I know in their hearts they want to lead a life of service and be a able to serve the place they call home and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them! 

As your time as Miss Bristol comes to a close, is there something you’d like to accomplish before the end of your term?
My goal is to keep spreading the word about my platform and the Fisher House Organization. Little do people know that it is a top rated charity and having a Fisher House in the state of Connecticut will change the lives of so many veterans and their families. 

How did you choose your platform, “Heart to Heart: Supporting Military Families and Veterans”?
I come from a military family so it was a no brainer when I chose my platform. I currently volunteer with the Fisher House Organization, which is like a Ronald McDonald house but for veterans and their families. They are building the first Connecticut Fisher House in West Haven right now and I can’t wait until veteran families from across our state and in the Northeast can reap the benefits of this house! 

You’ve performed in a couple dozen plays and musicals. How does being on stage in a pageant compare to being on stage as an actress?
Being on stage competing in a pageant is so different from performing in a play or musical. In a pageant you get to be yourself and show the judges and the audience your self expression and what brings you the greatest joy whereas in a play you take on the personality of someone else so you’re always focused on bringing that character to light and leaving your true self in the shadows. 

As a talented singer, you’ve been able to sing the national anthem on several occasions in several venues. Which has been your favorite?
Singing at Fenway for the Frozen Fenway series was a remarkable
experience but nothing compares to singing at home at Gampel Pavillion at UConn. The entire crowd joins in on singing the Anthem and there is no other feeling like it. Another amazing stadium I’ve had the opportunity to sing at was Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, CT! The stadium is gorgeous and the Hartford Yardgoats sure know how to play an entertaining game! 

You mentioned that earlier this year you were able to attend the Uconn vs Maine men’s hockey game at Fenway park. What was that experience like?
I never knew why they nicknamed Fenway the “Green Monster” but after walking on the field and taking it all in, I could easily see why! Singing at Fenway was absolutely phenomenal. Not only was it the biggest venue I’d sang in but there’s a sense of pride and excitement that fills the air before any UConn game and this time that feeling was almost palpable. Being in such a large venue rooting on one of UConn’s greatest teams is an experience I will never forget…and hope to do again one day...but maybe after I’ve sung at Yankee Stadium!

Who was your favorite Yankees player growing up? Why?
THIS IS MY FAVORITE QUESTION. Hands down my favorite player was Alfonso Soriano. I was heartbroken when he was traded to the Rangers before I could get a Soriano Yankees shirt so my aunt got me a Rangers one instead and she even got me a signed baseball which I still have to this day- kid in a candy store over here!! He was a solid ball player as a Yankee, played second base which was the position I played as a kid in softball, was cute as can be, and also wore my lucky number, 12, so what was there not to love?! 

Which young Yankees player are you most excited about?
Aaron Judge! Watching the homer derby on t.v. and seeing him sweep the competition to seeing him play at Yankee Stadium just a few weeks later- this is one player I believe is unstoppable. You can see when he steps up to the plate his determination to get a good hit in for his team but you can sense the fun he is having and how much he genuinely enjoys the game. The best is yet to come for him! 

How do you think the Red Sox and Yankees will finish the 2017 season?
I know the Yankees have it in them to win another World Series this season and despite losing their last 2 out of three games against the Sox, I have a good feeling we will sweep the series next time we see them on the field! Yankees for the win!! 


Hmm. One of the few times I’ve ever disagreed with an answer! But, I have to give Gina tons of respect for liking Soriano over Jeter. Definitely OK in my book!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Gina for doing this interview. She did a wonderful job. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview. They definitely spruce up the post, and make it a lot more fun to read.

As Gina finishes her time as Miss Bristol, I encourage you to follow her on the official Facebook page. It’s also definitely worth checking out her personal website to catch up on all the great content posted there. And, of course, go follow Gina on social media, including Instagram and Twitter.

Thanks again Gina!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

That’s Why You’re Aggressive

My Little League coach was fond of saying “Let the perfect play beat you.” It was a way to judge your aggressiveness on the base paths. If you can take the next base easily, do it. If there’s no chance you’ll make it, don’t. Those are easy. But, the in-between cases took a decision. That was his. Let the perfect play beat you. So, if you’re thinking about taking third base and think to yourself, “if the left fielder fields the ball cleanly off the wall, and fires a strike to the third baseman right on target who fields it cleanly all while slapping the tag down I’ll be out”…give it a try. The odds of all those things happening to perfection on a single play were low enough that it was worth the chance. If the other team did happen to make that perfect play, tip your cap and head back to the dugout. Sure, you were going to make an out here and there, but in the long run you gained much more than you lost.

I keep thinking about that rule when I think about the 2017 Red Sox. People keep harping on the number of outs the team is making on the bases. Near or at the top of the league all year. But, I think the counter to that is, “if you’re not making any outs, are you trying hard enough?”

Take last night.

The Sox were down a run with two outs in the ninth, runners on first and second. Mookie lofted a double to left, scoring the lead runner easily. The question mark was Jackie Bradley Jr trying to score all the way from first base. The Sox rolled the dice, and sent him home. Game over, Red Sox win.

But…a perfect play would have beaten JBJ.

It actually almost happened. The left fielder made a nice barehanded play off the wall. He got it to the cutoff man, who fired it home. The throw home was just enough to the first base side, that the catcher was unable to handle the throw and make the tag. If the throw from the cutoff man was right on the money, Bradley would have been out and the game would have gone on to extra innings.

If that had happened, would people have been outraged? More bad base running from the Red Sox? I’m guessing they would have. But, what was the other option?

The Sox could have held JBJ at third, leaving runners at second and third with two outs. That means it would be up to Benintendi. He would need to get a hit to score the winning run. Or, you know, reach on an error or something. Or, a wild pitch. Or a balk. So, what is that…adding the odds of those happening to Beni Baseball’s batting average…a 30% chance of happening? Probably lower than that? 

So by being aggressive, the Sox scored the winning run. If they were cautious, they would have left themselves a 30% chance of scoring. Seems like a no-brainer.

Why wouldn’t you be aggressive?

Monday, August 14, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #18

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #18: A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team.

Since my collection consists almost entirely of Red Sox cards, I was a bit limited here. Not many former Red Sox players managed the Red Sox unless you go way back to the early player-manager days. Johnny Pesky did it recently, but I already featured one of his cards. So, I went with this guy.

This is such a classic 70's card. The pullover uniform proudly displaying the centennial patch. Those bright red caps. It's just perfect.

Butch had a pretty good season in 1977, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 112. OK. He had a really good season. Of course, the next season his numbers dropped. Bone spurs in his elbow not only dropped his batting number to 17/80, but caused him to commit 43 errors at third base. That Jeterian performance was to be expected when you have to adjust the bone spurs in your elbow after every throw. Yikes.

Of course, Hobson went on to manage the Sox from 1992-1994, posting a 207-232 record. Yeah, not great.

Hobson also managed the Nashua (NH) Pride from 2000-2007. While the Pride was not my favorite team, I used to go to many Nashua Pirates games in the 80's. So, Hobson managed teams in two cities where I often saw games. 

Which definitely qualifies him for this challenge!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Erin Connor Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Erin Connor is a pilot, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Vermont. She was nice enough to take
time away from preparing for next month's Miss America competition to visit with us to discuss those topics, and more. I'm so thankful that she did. Following Alayna and Rylee, she became the third consecutive Miss Vermont to visit. How wonderful.

So, let's see what happens when Erin Connor visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Vermont?
I celebrated being crowned Miss Vermont by saying a prayer. I am a religious person and wouldn't have gotten to where I am without the help of the big man upstairs, my family, and my friends. I said a prayer of thanks for the title and for the people that are in my life! Then I went home and ate a dinner with  my family. I downed artichoke dip like it was my job.

You’re a long-time pilot. What’s your favorite part about being in the air?
My favorite part of being in the air is being able to see the incredible views. I trained for months to try and hone up my piloting skills and being able to witness the beauty of Vermont's landscape is the reward for me!

Your platform is Tailwinds: Training a New Generation of Female Scientists. How did you come up with that selection?
My Grandfather was a big inspiration for me to get into flying. He knew how crucial it was to have a variety of people in the field, especially women because they brought a different perspective to the table. After he passed away I wanted to keep his memory alive and use what he taught me to help others, especially women. I got certified as a private pilot and developed a platform that empowers women, pushes back against gender stereotyping, and educates girls about career opportunities in STEM.

Your talent involves American Sign Language. How did that performance come together?
I have some deaf family and friends and my mom was an American Sign Language teacher at the University of Vermont. I used to go to classes with her when I was younger and help teach the classes! I was signing better than the college kids at 8 years old! I fell in love with the language because I found the signs to be so beautiful. Over the years I discovered that I have a knack for bringing the emotion of songs to both hearing and deaf people. Since then, I have been interpreting songs and entertaining audiences from all walks of life. I can't wait to bring my passion for sign to the Miss America stage.

What part of the upcoming Miss America pageant are you most nervous about?
I'm actually not nervous at all. I believe in taking every opportunity and making the most of it. If I was to go into this competition feeling nervous, then I really wouldn't be enjoying it. But, because I am trained and have practiced for months, I am ready and excited to take the Miss America Stage by storm. Watch out America, Vermont is coming in hot and ready to make a splash!

Who was your favorite Red Sox player growing up? Why?
I loved David Ortiz before he was really famous. I am not embarrassed to say that I still use an email address that has his name in it. But, Ted Williams will always have my heart.

Is Chris Sale the best Red Sox pitcher you’ve seen?
He's pretty great. For a lefty pitcher, he brings the heat. There's
nothing like that slider ball he throws.

This is the first Red Sox season in a while without David Ortiz. What’s your favorite Ortiz memory?
I liked when Ortiz got his 500th career home run against the Tampa Bay Rays!

How do you think the Red Sox will finish the 2017 season?

The Red Sox will finish the 2017 season being the World Series Champions, of course!


Of course!

Naturally, I want to thank Erin for taking the time to visit with us. I know that her schedule is incredibly busy, especially leading up to Miss America in a few weeks. I also want to thank her for sending along the great pictures of her at Fenway. (Luckily her visit occurred just after Vermont Day at Fenway.) 

I know you're going to want to keep up with Erin as she makes her way to Miss America and beyond. So, definitely check out her official Miss Vermont Facebook Page, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts. She's everywhere!

And, of course, let's wish Erin good luck at Miss America! Last year Alissa finished in the top 15. Hopefully another visitor finishes at least that well!

Thanks again Erin!

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