Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Section 36 Store is Having a Sale!

That's right! Now's your chance.

I know you've been looking at all the great items offered in the Section 36 store, and thought that you really should have something yourself. Well, right now the store is having a limited time sale!

These are the regular prices

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. The sale runs through Friday! That's right only a couple days before prices go back to their regular levels.

And, as always, when you do get an item, send me a picture wearing it for me to share with the world! The blog, Facebook, and even Instagram!

But, first you need to buy something you like. There's a lot to choose from.

What will you get?

Monday, July 17, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #14

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 #14: One of your favorite cards from the 2000’s.

I'll assume that this challenge refers to a card from the first decade of the century, and not the entire millennium. That actually makes it pretty easy.

After all, something very exciting happened in the first half of that decade. If it happened to be commemorated on a card, that would be a hands down winner.

Oh, lookie here!

Look at that beauty! Three wonderful photos from the clinching game four. The two key players, and the celebration afterwards. I'm not sure a better card could be made.

So, of course it's one of my favorite cards of the 2000's.

Maybe even if it's counting the entire millennium. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Panda Express

Today the Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment, essentially ending his time in the Red Sox organization. And, while I know I’m in the minority on this…

I don’t really get it.

Oh, sure. Sandoval was vastly underperforming his contract. I’m not going to say he’s been an all-star during his time in Boston. But, here’s the thing. Neither are any of the players replacing him. And, no, I don’t count Brock Holt.

So, you now are stuck having to pay Sandoval's contract AND another player to actually play. So, you’re paying even more to get a player at about the level Panda was playing.

Why does this make sense to anyone?

Again, if Devers is just busting his way into the line-up a la Mookie Betts, I get it. Or if Dombrowski was on the phone right now trading for Jose Ramirez, I get it. I’m not about to play anyone just because they’re getting paid a lot of money. But, I am going to play someone with a proven track record when there isn’t anyone available who’s better.

Sure, some of the fill-ins have done well in spurts. But they generally remember who they are after a time or two. So, I suppose, if you can only play guys when they’re hot, and then replace them once they start to cool down even a little, you can do that. Not exactly the best way to make it through the season though.

I’m honestly not sure what happened to Panda during his time in Boston. For some reason fans decided he was just a publicity stunt, and really never gave him a chance. Sure, he was a big guy. And fans loved making fat jokes. But the Sox have had plenty of big guys who were beloved. It’s not like we expect all Red Sox players to look like Mookie Betts. Once Panda started showing the effects of injuries, he was doomed. The Sox fans never let him recover. While I didn’t get it, I can at least see what happened.

The team, I really don’t understand. Why the Red Sox benched Sandoval to start the 2016 season will always puzzle me. Travis Shaw in no way earned the job. He didn’t outperform Panda in any measurable way. Certainly not by enough for the unproven youngster to take a job away from a veteran. Which is why I assumed that the Sox traded Shaw away in the off-season. They knew Panda was the better option. But, they kept doing it again. Marrero kept getting playing time. As a defensive replacement, of all things, as he made error after error. John Farrell said things like “Pablo will still get at-bats” like he lost his job to a guy hitting .250. It’s puzzling.

And here we are with an even more puzzling move. Cutting ties altogether.

Maybe the Red Sox have a plan. Maybe there’s a player on the roster that can actually play better than Pablo could. I don’t know who that is.

I wonder if they do.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Best All-Star Game. Ever.

On this date in 1999, I made an interesting discovery about myself. I have a maximum volume that I can cheer with.

Yeah, I know. Playing it kind of fast and loose with the word "interesting".

It started with the introductions before the game. It was, of course, the game where they introduced the All-Century players. Having players like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron introduced, you had to cheer for them. But, then they ended with introducing Carl Yastrzemski. Clearly he needed an even louder cheer.

Then they went and brought out Ted Williams! He needed an even louder cheer, that I didn't even have. Nomar and Pedro didnt get the reactions they probably deserved once they were announced, because I had nothing left.

Then came the actual game.

You may remember that Pedro started off the game by pitching fairly well. He struck out Barry Larkin, to a huge cheer. Then he struck out Larry Walker to an even bigger cheer! I didn't have anything left when Pedro struck out Mark McGwire to strike out the side. I had a maximum volume.

So, I had no chance when Pedro started the second inning by striking out Sammy Sosa to make it four straight strikeouts. How loud would you have to cheer for that?

It was a never ending night of even better moments. It just never stopped. A fifth strikeout. An MVP award.

I don't think I could speak normally for days. But I guess that's the price you pay when you're at the best All-Star game ever played.

You mind your maximum volume.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Play the Starters!

There has been, of course, a lot of chatter leading up to tonight's All-Star game. As with just about every conversation about baseball, many of the conversations focus on how unpopular the game has become. Well, unpopular shouldn't be the word since it's more popular than all the other All-Star games. But less popular than it once was.

One thing they pointed to this year is the lack of long-time stars. With Papi gone, there isn't that player you need to tune in to see. And, to some extent that's true. If I look at the AL starting line-up, other than Betts and Sale, I had a hard time remembering which team the players were from. 

But, there's a bigger reason.

As unfamiliar as the starters are, about a third of the way through the game all those players will be replaced by players even less well-known. Because ever since Joe Torre took it upon himself to ruin All-Star games, managers have been insisting on playing every player. So, if I'm interested in seeing the runner-up to the AL MVP last season, I don't have much chance. He's batting ninth, for some reason. He'll be out of the game after three innings and a single trip to the plate. He'll be replaced by someone who didn't finish at the top of the MVP list. By someone not as talented or exciting, just so everyone can play. What's interesting about that? How does that draw me to watch?

(True, sometimes...ok lots of times...the starter is just as undeserving. Which is why the voting needs to be eliminated when it comes to assembling teams. But, that's a story for another post.)

All this constant subbing just waters down the game. To what benefit? So that if I'm a fan of the Royals, I can wait around and see my guy take one trip to the plate? You're sacrificing the good of the game to make Royals fans happy? So, rather than using the game as it's supposed to be, to showcase the best talent the game has to offer, we're just doing a red carpet show where everyone gets a chance to smile for the cameras? Does MLB realize that the red carpet portion draws fewer viewers than the actual awards show?

Imagine a game the way it used to be. A chance to see the best players compete against the best players. Wanna know how Bryce Harper would fare against Craig Kimbrel? Not in this game. Bryce won't last that long. Shouldn't he though?

If you want people to watch the game, the first step is to make it worth watching. And that means playing the best players. Imagine a Broadway Show were the understudies take over at intermission. Or if Springsteen played two songs, and then let a tribute band finish the set. People would demand a refund.

Why doesn't MLB see that? If you want people to watch, put a good product on the field.

Make it actually be an All-Star game.

What people are reading this week