Thursday, November 23, 2017

List of 36: Things I'm Thankful for this year

1. Chris Sale's slider
2. Twitter followers
3. Jackie Bradley, Jr.'s arm
4. Visits from titleholders
5. Releasing the Kimbrel
6. Back-to-back division crowns
7. Pictures in Section 36
8. Anticipating Cora
9. Benintendi's arrival
10. Drew Pomeranz's emergence
11. Chris Sale's fastball
12. Purchases from the store
13. Pictures with the Section 36 logo
14. Instagram followers
15. Jedi Mookie Betts bobbleheads
16. The Yankees lost
17. Pictures with Section 36
18. Rafael Devers in Boston
19. The hot stove season
20. New books
21. Reducing wantlists
22. Facebook likes
23. Pictures of Section 36
24. Sunny days in the bleachers
25. Brady and Gronk on Opening Day
26. Scoring
27. Manny Ramirez bobbleheads
28. A new blog in the family
29. People who'd Rather be in Section 36
30. Red Sox wives food drive autographs
31. Paper tickets
32. Snapchat adds
33. Souvenir food containers
34. People wearing Section 36 gear
35. Red Sox wins
36. Readers!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Is Giancarlo Stanton the Answer?

I guess that really depends on the question.

The baseball off-season is in full swing, and that means everyone hanging on every rumor to see how their favorite team will try to improve. Some years it’s by a big trade. Sometimes it’s a splashy free agent acquisition. Some years it’s both. While this year’s hot stove season has started slowly, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some big names being floated about.

The biggest name is almost definitely Giancarlo Stanton, the NL MVP. When Marlins ownership declared that they wished to trim payroll, the bidding war on twitter went crazy. (We’ll ignore the fact that shedding Stanton is a terrible idea for the Marlins) Should the Red Sox try and get Stanton? What should they give up?

Unfortunately, the easy question is the most useless. Would the Red Sox be better in 2107 with Stanton on the team? Yes. Absolutley. If you replaced one of the Red Sox outfielders with Stanton, any outfielder, the Sox improve. If you slide him in as a full-time DH the Sox improve. But, that doesn’t address the meat of the question.

Which outfielder does he replace? Does anyone else have to go? Does that cripple the team for years to come? 

Because it’s about the amount of improvement. I’ll assume that trading for Stanton means he’s a full-time outfielder. You don’t use that much money on a DH. His WAR during his monster season last year was 7.6. Assuming he replaces Bradley or Benintendi, that’s about a 4 WAR improvement. But that’s only if you lose one of them. If you had to deal both, or one of them plus Xander…suddenly it’s almost a wash. So, if you can do, say, JBJ and some prospects, it makes sense from a talent perspective. That improves the team in Boston. Otherwise, it’s probably not worth the exchange. Remember, this team is coming off two straight division titles. It’s not like they have holes in every area, or a bunch of useless parts to deal away. 

That leaves the salary aspect. It’s huge. I will always say I don’t care how much of his money John Henry spends. As long as it doesn’t hurt the team elsewhere. If trading for Stanton means they lose Betts and Bogaerts, that’s a problem. So, even if the asking price is just Bradley and minor leaguers, I need to know what his contract stops the Sox from doing.

Plus, there are other options. JD Martinez is a free agent. His numbers are really just about as good as Stanton’s. Plus, since he’s a free agent, he wouldn’t cost any players to get him. It would require a deal of some sort to free up an outfield spot…but that would allow you to fill another need. The rest is just a lot of cash. I mean, a lot of cash to be sure. But, just cash. And, less cash than Stanton. So, that’s actually pretty attractive.

With either of those options, you still need to replace Mitch Moreland. What if, then, you just replaced him with a better option? If you signed, say, Eric Hosmer, you’d double Moreland’s WAR from last year. You could also keep the outfield intact. And, it would cost you significantly less money than either Martinez or Stanton. You could then use the extra money to extend the players you currently have on your team.

My heart? It tells me to trade for Stanton, and sign Martinez to DH. Then go into next season throwing out a budget-busting line-up of Benintendi-Bogaerts-Betts-Stanton-Martinez-Ramirez-Devers-Pedroia-Vazquez.

My head? Probably the best answer is the Hosmer type signing. You can make up half the benefit of Stanton at much less than half the money.

The compromise? Probably the Martinez option.

In reality, trading for Stanton wouldn’t be a very smart idea at all.

I hate that.

What do you think?

Monday, November 20, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #29

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 #29: A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not.

When I wrote the post about my favorite cards from the fifties, I mentioned that I didn’t have very many of them. I reasoned that those cards were too old to depict any of my favorite players, but too new to be considered “cool.” A random card from 1954 didn’t hold the same allure as a random card from the 30’s. Which became obvious as I looked for a card to fill today’s challenge. I had more cards in my collection from 1910-1919 than I did cards from 1950-1969. For my habits, tobacco cards are “vintage” while cards from the 50’s are just “old”.

Although, I didn’t go quite as far back as tobacco cards for my selection. With his recent passing, when I saw this card I knew I wanted to write about it.

Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I see an old card like this, I always wonder what stories it has to tell. Who pulled it originally? Why wasn’t it thrown away in the last 50 years? Did the person have others? Did the original collector have other Red Sox cards? Was this ever bound together in a stack with the Ted Williams RC? 

The card itself is pretty plain. Just a black and white photo in a white border. The front doesn’t even have Doerr’s name. But there, clear as day, is the silent captain of the Red Sox.

I’ve mentioned Bobby Doerr on this blog before. When I took my first trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as a kid, it was the year of his induction. He was pictured on the cover of the yearbook I bought that day. I didn’t know who it was, or when he played. But, it was pretty cool to have a Red Sox happen to be inducted that year. (As it happens, I’ve made four trips to the Hall of Fame. A Red Sox player has been inducted each of those years. Only with Pedro last year was that intentional. The rest just happened to coincide with trips I was making.) So there was always that “awe’ factor with the mysterious Hall of Famer.

Since then, I obviously learned a lot more about Doerr. I was even at Fenway at least once when he made an appearance. He was always a cool connection to the “old” Red Sox. It was like a link through history. Which is why it’s too bad that link has now been cut. Red Sox history is now identified more with objects than with people.

Objects like this card here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mariah Larocque Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Mariah Larocque is a singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Londonderry. She is currently
preparing to embark on a national tour performing in A Christmas Carol. She was gracious enough to take a break from rehearsals to visit with us and discuss all of those topics, and a few more. I’m so flattered that she did. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading all about it!

So, let’s see what happens when Mariah Larocque visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Londonderry?
It’s become a tradition that family and friends who come to the
local competition, go out to eat after them to celebrate if I win! So, keeping up with tradition, we went out for dinner after I was crowned Miss Londonderry! I absolutely love sitting with my family and talking about the show, hearing ideas for the state competition and just being surrounded by my wonderful support system!

How did you choose your platform, “Pledge to Be #DrugFree - Drug Free America Foundation”?
For years I saw first-hand the effects that drugs and alcohol had on some of my friends and loved ones. I felt lost and unable to help. But I decided that I would not be silent and that I would do all I could to learn and help combat the drug epidemic. Pledge to be #DrugFree comes from an organization called Wait21 ( This organization recruits youth to pledge to be drug free by taking a pledge online and renewing their pledge every spring and fall. Incentives include scholarship awards, college letters stating that your participation in the program and other wonderful prize and benefits. On top of that amazing organization, I am the GoodWill Ambassador to Drug Free America! This organization helps to make sure that laws are being passed to help create safe and healthy communities throughout the country. I am so proud to be a part of both of these organizations!

You’re a talented singer. What is your favorite part about singing in front of an audience? 
I'd have to say that sharing a story with the audience and being
able to influence their emotion through song, is my favorite part.

This holiday season you’ll be a part of a national tour of “A Christmas Carol”. What aspect of that tour are you most excited about?
I am so excited to see parts of the U.S that I have never seen before! Places like New Mexico, Kansas, Idaho and Colorado! And on top of that I get to perform and act along the way. I couldn't ask for more. This entire experience is something I am so excited to be a part of!

What is something you’ve learned from past Miss New Hampshire competitions that will help you this year?
I've learned that you are your own competition. Just be a better you every day and compare yourself to no one! This mentality will definitely help me as I prep for Miss New Hampshire and once I'm about to compete!

Is there a goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Londonderry?
Other than continuing to make great strides with my platform, my goal is to leave a lasting and good impression on those I meet throughout my year. I want to make more people smile and do more for others this year.

Who is your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
David Ortiz is no longer current but he will always be my favorite.
Photo by
Matt Boyd Photography
I remember attending my first baseball game at Fenway Park, years ago, bases were loaded and he hit a homerun and the crowd went wild! It was incredible! However, Dustin Pedroia is my favorite current Red Sox player. He's been named rookie of the year, MVP and he's a 4x All-Star with 2x world series! His stats are great and he's a strong player!

If you can’t be in Section 36, where do you, or where would you, like to sit to watch the Red Sox?
If I can't be in Section 36, I'd like to be in the first row near the field. I've never had the chance to be up close to the field and the players and I think it would be exciting to see the game from that perspective.

What was your favorite memory from the 2017 Red Sox season?
My favorite memory from this season is the Red Sox vs Astros game when we won 6-3. They played extremely well that game and many of the runs from that game I can clearly remember!


It’s always fun when the details of a game just stick in your memory like that!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Mariah for doing this interview, especially since she has so much going on right now getting ready for the tour. She did a great job. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview, including one taken right from the stage! They definitely spruce up the post, and make it a lot more fun to read.

As Mariah continues her time as Miss Londonderry, I encourage you to follow her on the official Miss Londonderry Facebook page. I also definitely recommend you look into attending one of her A Christmas Carol performances. The first two are next week in Rochester, NH on November 22 and November 24 at the Rochester Opera House. Check out the box office for tickets! And, keep your eyes open for the talented actress playing both Belle and Martha Cratchit!

And, after her successful tour, I want to wish Mariah luck this summer as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown! It’d be fantastic to have a prior visitor to Section 36 take home the title! 

Thanks again Mariah, and good luck!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #28

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 #28: A favorite relic/manufactured relic card.

When I first saw this challenge, I had a couple idea run through my mind. Maybe a relic of a favorite player. Or a Hall of Famer. Or, a Red Sox world champion. Then, my eyes fell on this card, and realized it was all three.

Of course, it had to be a Pedro relic. (Even though I've posted about this card before, I'm going to rehash it here.) This card is cool because it's a bat card. For an American League pitcher. That's pretty unique. I mean, Pedro didn't get a whole ton of at-bats with the Sox. So, a game-used bat is pretty awesome.

The other great thing about this card is that it isn't vague about where the bat piece came from. Check out the back of the card.

Can you read the box in the corner there? "Pedro used this Adirondack bat in 2000..."

So, there we go. A game used bat from 2000. Hey, let's take this a step further. Since Pedro probably had few at-bats in 2000, I wonder if we can pinpoint the game. A quick look at Pedro's batting stats over at baseball reference shows us this.

Uh oh. Looks like Pedro never came to the plate in 2000. 

Now things are a bit murky. It says game used. But, it doesn't say what Pedro used the bat for. Did he take a couple swings in the on deck circle for some reason? Was it used for a "game" of pick-up sticks in 2000? Was it Spring Training? It's a mystery. 

Leave a comment with how you think it was "game-used" in 2000.

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