Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hits for Trade

Once again, I find myself with a stack of "hits" I've amassed over time. I'm sure that these cards will be much happier in another collection than mine. So, I'm offering them up for trade. All I ask in return is a similar card featuring a Red Sox player. It shouldn't be hard to work something out. So, have a look at what I have.

If you see something you like, leave a comment saying so. That way, everyone knows you're after that card. Then, send me an e-mail (section36 at gmail dotcom) telling me the card you want, and what you're offering.

Let's make some trades!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Do I Do What I Do?

Fuji has asked us all to answer a simple question.

How did you first decide to collect sports cards, and when?

I'll ignore the obvious flaw in the question, where it assume that collecting sportscards is a choice. It assumes it's not a calling from a higher power, or something I was destined to do. But, assuming it was a choice, where did I make it?

I was probably eleven, when I was at a friends house. He was a comic book collector. Had them in plastic sleeves, and everything. I didn't understand it, but whatever. He asked me if I wanted to go o the comic book store with him. Why not? So, I tagged along. While we were there, I noticed a flyer on the counter. The shop was looking to buy baseball cards. Huh. I had some of those at home. My dad would get me some packs here and there when he went to the store. So, I brought the flyer home, and looked it over. As it turned out, I had one of the cards on the list! A 1985 Topps Dwight Gooden. The store was offering $3.50 for one! I convinced my mom to bring me back to the store. I handed the card to the woman behind the counter. She looked the card over. She started talking to me about thinks like condition, and mint. My card, she'd only offer me $3. Deal!

Now, before you assume I started collecting because I was money hungry at 11, that's not exactly the case. It was more the realization that collecting cards was a "thing." I had been getting cards here and there for years, so I had a bunch of cards. I also had a bunch of Masters of the Universe action figures. But, they weren't a "collection." Baseball cards were something different. The could be collected. Bought, sold, organized, traded. I never traded my matchbox cars. They weren't a collection. baseball cards had a life of their own. That was pretty cool.

And it still is.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Do Olympic Cards Belong in a Team Collection?

With the London Olympics starting up, it reminded me of an important question. Do I put cards of players shown as members of Team USA in my Red Sox collection?

This wouldn’t be a big deal were it not for two players. Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek. They are both major Red Sox stars. If you made an all-time Red Sox team, they would both be on it…probably as starters. They both started their careers with the Sox. Nomar was drafted by the Sox. Varitek made his ML debut with Boston, and never wore another uniform. I’m not talking about Tino Martinez in a Cardinals collection. These are Red Sox players. Unquestionable.

But, not on their rookie cards. Ordinarily, that would be an obvious reason for exclusion. I don’t have any David Ortiz rookie cards in my Red Sox binders. (Or anywhere else in my collection, for that matter.) He’s not a Red Sox player on his rookies. Bleh. That’s clearer though. There’s he is on his card looking at me from his Twins uniform. It just shouts out at you as being wrong.

Varitek and Nomar are different. It’s not a card of another Major League team. Is it more similar to a minor league team? I have Nomar minor league cards in my Red Sox collection. Of course, they were Red Sox minor league affiliates. So, they were clearly Red Sox Organization cards. Not quite the same.

It’s probably closer to a college card. Since both of them were at Georgia Tech at the time, that’s the team they were on. Would I put other college cards on my Red Sox collection? I have. I grabbed a Mo Vaughn card from his Cape Cod League days, and it resides in my Red Sox binder. Although, that’s really a remnant from a Mo Vaughn player collection that has since dissolved. The card was too neat not to hold onto. But, it does give me a precedent…sort of.

So, what’s the standard practice? Do Olympic cards make it into a team collection? Does the player matter? Does the timing of the Olympic appearance matter? Does anything else?

Can I have a 1992 Topps Red Sox collection without two all-time greats? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

For Love of the Farm System

Heard a couple interesting things lately as potential deadline deals have been tossed about. Most of them have ranged from silly, to flat out wrong. Thankfully, I have this place here to make a plea for sanity.

Someone actually said that, “the best way to build a team is through homegrown talent.” That is, of course, absolute bunk. The cheapest way to build a team is through homegrown talent. The best way to build a team is to have the best player at every position using any method you can to get them. If the best way to build a team were using homegrown players, nobody would make a trade. Ever. Now, I’ll admit. If you made up a team of active players that the Sox drafted, it wouldn’t be a horrible team. But, it wouldn’t be as good as the one they have now. (That might be a fun little exercise.) I’ll also admit that this isn’t a perfect world, with endless pockets. So, in this world you do need to consider having some cheaper younger players. But, you can’t say that it gets you the best team.

Along those same lines, someone mentioned, “the farm system is just getting respectable. Now’s not the time to start trading them away.” Why not? Really, the farm system is designed to do one thing. Provide you with players for the major league club. It can do that by having players you can call up to the bigs. Or, it can provide you with players to trade for someone who you can play in the bigs. Either way helps the team out. Really, the comment should have been, “the farm system is respectable again, so they can afford to trade some pieces away.” Make those chips work for you.

This love of the farms came up one more time when someone was discussing the Sox and their playoff chances. The Sox should stand pat at the deadline, the theory went, because if you trade away a prospect, you may lose the wild card game. Then, you will have traded away the prospect for nothing. I suppose that’s true. It’s also a horrible way to run a ball club. Fear should never be a motivator. Just be smart about it. Yes, trading away your three best prospects for some bench strength might not make sense. But, if you can improve your club without being crazy, you need to do it.

People need to stop falling in love with the future. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Have to Give Cashman Credit

Most people, if they got completely fleeced by a team in a trade would be reluctant to deal with that team for a while. Maybe try some other teams. But, not Cashman. When he realized that he needed a washed-up former all-star, he got right back on the phone to Seattle. I bet he didn’t even wonder if the erosion of Ichiro’s skills was due to an injury of some sort, as opposed to simple old age. That takes some guts. Kudos.

The Yankees move prompted a Yankees fan to ask me today when the Red Sox would sell. I’m not really sure what he meant.

To me, the term “sell” or “seller” refers to the team that parts with a star player for prospects. The idea being that the team isn’t going anywhere with the star, so it’s better to cash him in and try again another year. The “buyer” is the team that tosses prospects to another team for its star to win now. When the Expos traded Pedro Martinez to the Sox for two prospects, they were the seller.

Frankly, the Sox don’t seem to fit either of those terms. Are they going to trade away any of their stars for prospects? I can’t imagine who. Are they trading away prospects to land a star? Maybe. Are they more likely to trade some middling guy for another middling guy? Probably. Let’s look at this logically.

Barring some major blockbuster, Salty, Gonzalez, Pedroia, and Middlebrooks are staying right where they are. They’re too good. Gonzalez may be expensive, but he’s worth it. You might see Ellsbury moving if the Sox wanted to get something before Boras asked for $300 million. But, who would rent a player coming off a half-season injury? He’s better than anything the Sox would get for him. Same goes for Crawford. Even if you foolishly wanted to trade him, he’s better than anything you’d get. That leaves you with Ross, Sweeney, and Aviles from the list of starters that could move. Personally, I think they should move Ross, since they can get the most for him. He may be the most valuable chip they have from the starting line-up that might be available. Would moving Ross constitute a “sell?” Not to me. But, if you want to, I guess that’s up to you.

What about the pitchers? You’re not getting anything for Lester or Beckett that’s any better than what you have. Unless you go for the old “change of scenery” idea and swap Beckett for another guy who is his equal, and just hope they remember how to pitch in Boston. Doesn’t seem like all that useful of an idea to me. Really, there’s nothing there either. I guess this is a long way of saying I don’t expect much to happen at the deadline.

I think I’m OK with that.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Red Sox 1-36: 11 is for…

11 runs scored by Sox in game 1 of 2004 World Series

And they needed just about all of them. What an amazing game.

Really, you can expect a World Series game to be tense. You can even expect it to be back and forth. After all, in theory, these are the best pitchers and best hitters in the game. They should be able to have quite a battle. What you don’t expect is to start things off with an 11-9 game.

The Sox were able to score a lot of those runs right away. A four-run bottom of the first gave everyone in the stands something to cheer about. They got four more over their last two innings. That’s spreading out the fun.

The crazy part is that was most of the scoring for the rest of the series. The Sox won game 1 11-9. They won games 2-4 by a combined 13-3.

Were those the most important eleven runs in Red Sox history? Maybe. Maybe not. But, they certainly helped bring that first World Series victory of the century. That makes those eleven runs pretty important in my book.

11 is for eleven runs scored by the Sox in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Does Wally Sit in a NY Chair?

I was contacted yesterday by someone who had just made a startling realization. She was watching the NESN broadcast of the game, and saw a shot of Wally resting comfortably in his custom Adirondack chair. An Adirondack chair? Those are from NY. How could that be? I looked it up, and Wikipedia agrees with her. Adirondack chairs originated in NY. (Not NYC, but still.) Has there ever been an explanation given as to why Wally would conduct such a treasonous act? I don’t watch many games on NESN, so I can’t be sure. Why can’t he watch games, instead, from a comfortable Boston rocker? We need answers!

Quite a game last night. I was so worried that the Sox were gong to waste a spectacular performance from Clay Buchholz. Just when the Sox needed a strong outing from a starting pitcher, they got one. It would have been a shame if they lost the game 1-0 anyway. It’s actually too bad that Buchh got the no-decision. It means the EEIdiots can still look at a sub par record for the starting rotation. “The Red Sox may be such and such after the break, but their starters are…” I’ll certainly take the win though. Look at that ninth inning. Hits by Crawford and Gonzalez to get the winning run on base. They deserve some credit for doing what needed to be done in an important spot. And, of course, Ross did all he needed, and more. What a tear he’s on at the moment. With Papi down, extra power needed to come from somewhere. Ross obviously got the memo.

I still chuckle at the idea of Pedro Ciriaco as the designated hitter.

Toronto comes in, sans Jose Bautista. Shouldn’t have much trouble finishing this homestand off strong on their way out to Texas. It would be nice to have some momentum going before heading off.

It’s sure a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why Isn’t Crawford in the Rotation?

Carl Crawford played his first games of the season this week. He has looked fantastic in those games. I know my fantasy team had gotten a huge boost from his return. (And Ellsbury’s too.) He’s doing everything Red Sox fans hoped he’d do when he was signed. He’s doing it from the number two spot in the order too. Some people, including Crawford, think that spot in the order might have something to do with it. That had drawn the ire of some fans.

It shouldn’t matter where he’s batting. We’re giving this guy 100 million dollars! He should bat wherever Valentine wants him to, and just hit. If he’s in the seven spot, he needs to suck it up and perform. His only job is to help the team. But, there are a few flaws with that argument. The first one is that it always stops too soon. If the theory is that we’re paying him 100 million dollars so he should hit wherever we put him, why does that theory end with the batting order. What if Valentine said, “We’re paying this guy 100 million dollars. We seem to have a lot of outfielders on the team at the moment. But, Lester’s been struggling. So we need to have Crawford pitch. I know he’s never done that before. But, like I said, he’s making 100 million dollars. He’ll just have to suck it up and throw that curve ball.” That would be ludicrous. Why is it any different to force him to bat in a spot he’s not used to?

Come on, you say, we’re just talking about a line-up shift here. He should be able to deal with that. Well, if a player should just produce no matter where they bat, why does it matter where you put Crawford? Why does it matter where you put Pedroia? Why not hit Crawford second and Pedroia sixth? If it doesn’t matter, why does it matter so much?

The real answer should be, “We’re paying Crawford 100 million dollars. Why are we asking him to do something different than what he did to earn that 100 million?” If the Lakers get Dwight Howard, are they going to make him play point guard? Of course not. They’re trying to get him because he’s an elite center. When a company hires a new CEO, do they put him on the line in the cafeteria? That would be crazy. They’re paying him millions because he has elite skills to run a company. Not make creamed corn. Nobody’s telling him, “For all that money, you’ll work wherever we tell you to.” They hired a guy with a specific set of skills, so they put him in the position that uses those skills.

It’s the same thing with Crawford. The Red Sox chased after him because he was an elite talent. He could set the table at the top of the order. He could drive pitchers crazy. He made it easier for everyone else hitting behind him. He made the team better from that two-spot.

Why would you put him anywhere else?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sox Everywhere!

There was so much good to see from last night’s game, I’m going to ignore the downer of David Ortiz’s ankle issues. There was just too much positive.

Was there anything better than seeing Ellsbury-Crawford leading things off for the Sox? There was such a sense of relief that came along with it. The long wait is over. I had grown tired of sitting back waiting for the real team to finally show up. I was tired of treating the first half of the season like spring training. I was ready to really see what this team had. It looks like the team is ready to start kicking some butt. No more treading water waiting for reinforcements. No more hoping the AAA outfield can piece together enough hits to keep the team afloat. The cavalry had finally arrived, and the team can get back to winning. Phew.

Aaron Cook pitched a great game as well. I would prefer that it was Lester or Beckett pitching a gem. But, I’m not going to get picky. Cook has turned in a couple of fine outings this season. He’s going to make trimming the rotation down to five guys a little bit of a tougher decision. Honestly, I don’t have a problem sticking with the six-man rotation for a couple weeks. Maybe they can use one of the guys at the back end to add another piece by then. Until then, I’ll happily accept any contribution like last night.

It was fantastic to see the Gonzalez home run too. I’m not declaring him “back” or anything like that. But, he’s been hitting pretty well in his last 25 games or so. If he’s going to start driving balls the other way with authority, that’s definitely a good turn of events. Having it be a late, important home run is great for the team too. I never bought into the idea that Gonzalez isn’t a clutch player. He’s had plenty of key hits for me to erase those doubts. But, it’s nice for the team to know that a close game can turn into a victory. It really is as easy as keeping it close until the bats figure it out. They won’t waste every opportunity. This team is capable of scoring runs when they need them. It’s always nice to be reminded of that.

This is a big week for the Sox. This is the easiest stretch of games they’ll have for a while. It would be nice to stockpile some victories before facing Texas, New York, and Detroit.

A 3-1 second half is a great start. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Extra Innings, By Bruce E. Spitzer

The year is 2092. The science of cryonics has finally progressed to the point where they’re ready to bring someone back from the dead. Who should they choose to bring back? How about the greatest hitter that ever lived? What will be different the second time around for Ted Williams? How will he adjust? Will he make the same choices he made in his first life, or will he use this time to right any wrongs? What would any of us do in a similar situation? Extra Innings deals with these questions and more as a futuristic world welcomes a legend.

This was a wonderful book that I was lucky enough to have provided to me for review. I was a bit nervous when I started, because I don’t consider myself a science fiction fan. That wasn’t a problem at all. While set in the future, it didn’t seem to scream sci-fi to me. In fact, this book didn’t scream any particular genre to me, which is part of the appeal. Sure, it was a book about a baseball player, but it wasn’t exactly a sports novel. It dealt with philosophical issues, but wasn’t an inspirational book. It simply wound it all into a single story. I found myself asking what I would do each time Williams made a decision. Could I have done it? The story was easy to follow, and believable. Well, as believable as a story about someone being brought back to life 90 years after they died can be. I could imagine that this story would be exactly how it would happen if we ever get to that point. A person in that situation would have to deal with a new lifestyle, with all the changes that a new century required. They would face the inner struggle between the former, familiar, life and the opportunities for change presented by the new one. Would old values still apply in a new body? It made for a book I had trouble putting down, and suggest you pick up for yourself.

Rating: 3 bases

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Music in the Park

In addition to a baseball game, fans that flock to Fenway Park are also treated to a musical concert along the way. Back in the day, this was in the form of organ music. The new high-tech sound systems these days blare modern classics in all their glory. When done right, it certainly enhances the ballpark experience. I was able to attend a game this weekend at Fenway and noticed that, for the most part, they did it right.

The most obvious musical addition to the game is also one of my biggest pet peeves. The National Anthem. It always amazes me. I would think that if I were asked to sing in front of such a large crowd, I’d make an effort to get a copy of the words and music for the song. Most National Anthem singers seem to ignore the second part of it. They get a copy of the lyrics, but decide to make up the tune as they go along. Bugs me every time. It’s the National Anthem, not a song you’re covering. It’s not your chance to create your own version of “Yesterday.” It’s honoring the country, not your singing. When it’s done simply by instruments it’s usually over in a minute or two. Why do singers feel the need to drag it out and mix it up? Just sing the song like it is supposed to be sung.

Another spot that there’s always music is when a player is coming to the plate. His “walk-up” music. I have no idea when this custom started. I assume it’s one of those things that evolved over time. They must have needed music to play during that time, so the music guy picked some songs. As it went along, they realized it would be fun to assign clever songs to some players. Eventually, it became a standard where the players would select their songs. Some of them can be quite a hoot. We all got a kick out of Nick Punto being introduced to the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dog’s Out?” Is he implying that he lets the dogs out? Seriously? The back-up second baseman? Maybe if David Ortiz wanted to use that song it would be one thing. But, Nick Punto? Maybe he’s actually wondering, “Who let those dogs out? I know I sure didn’t.” The other walk-up song that stood out to me this weekend was Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s use of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus.” Is that a long-time favorite? Did he just want something that was instantly recognizable? What about new players? How do they pick their music? When the Sox called up Pedro Ciriaco, when did he submit his musical selection? Does he have to submit a number and song request when he gets on the bus from the minors? Does the team pick it for the first few games? Is it something he’s always known he wanted? When a high-schooler is dreaming of making the bigs, is he already playing his walk-up music in his head? Does he have the song in mind the second he steps into a big-league clubhouse? I wonder what my walk-up music would be.

They also play music during pitching changes. That’s another time that I don’t mind music. If the songs can be a little clever, all the more power to them. This weekend, Blondie’s “One Way or Another” was used during one of the exchanges. It was a nice tune, and didn’t seem forced. It even acts as a clever taunt. That’s always appreciated. The pitching change is a nice time, because there’s actually time to play the entire song. Sometimes they try to squeeze it in during a mound visit. That just sounds like filler, and I don’t like it. That’s closer to playing a “breaking glass” sound effect when a foul ball goes into the stands. It’s just noise. But, a full song is just fine. Although, I do wish they’d break out “Fool on the Hill” more often.

Another big music time during the game? Obviously the seventh inning and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Clearly, I have no problem with that classic. I love the fact that they play the organ as background instead of celebrity covers. Actually, I do have one small problem with the song. They only sing the chorus. There’s plenty of time during the stretch to play the verses as well. They already put the words on the scoreboard, so why not add the rest? Why not teach us all about Katie Casey, and her young beau? A classic ballpark like Fenway should play the entire classic song. Maybe then people would stop asking “Why do we sing ‘Take me out to the ballgame’ when we’re already here?”

Of course, in Fenway, there’s another traditional baseball song sung an inning later. Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” had become a modern classic in the middle of the eighth inning. Some people have a problem with the song, but I don’t. I don’t mind, because it evolved naturally. It’s not like some publicist decided to make something out of it, started playing it and put the lyrics on the scoreboard. It’s not like it was forced down our throats like “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys was. They simply played the song, and people enjoyed it. That’s exactly how traditions are supposed to start. I don’t care that people sing along when the Sox are losing either. What are you supposed to do, sit in silence every second the Sox aren’t ahead? I don’t mind trying to have a little fun.

Really, there are few moments during the game that doesn’t have background music to it. It makes the down times float by a little faster.

Which is always appreciated.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It Is Time

Here we sit, ready to start the unofficial second half of the season. What can we expect from our beloved Sox in the months ahead? I can’t wait to find out.

Can you believe I actually heard one of the EEIdiots say that we already know what we’re going to get? He had the gall to say that they’ve been a .500 team all season, so that’s what we should expect. After all, half a season is a legitimate sample size, so this team is what it is at this point. Huh? What team is what it is? The team that’s been on the field for the last couple months? Maybe I’ll concede that that team has had time to see exactly what it is by now. But, even that’s a stretch. After all, there are a couple things that are going to be different about the second half. Namely the number of all-stars on the field at any given time.

Sure, the Red Sox who start Kalish-Nava-Sweeney in the outfield has had plenty of time to show exactly what they are. What about the team with Crawford-Ellsbury-Ross on the grass? We haven’t seen that team on the field yet. If the Red Sox of the first half are a .500 team, that new outfield has to be worth a couple games. Right?

But, the offense has been fine, the EEIdiots claim. They point out that the replacement outfielders haven’t been performing that poorly. And, no, they haven’t been hitting .200 or anything. It’s the consistency. Sure, the AAA outfield can hold their own, or even excel, against weaker pitching. But, top of the rotation guys shut them down. The Red Sox of the second half doesn’t get swept in Oakland.

What about the pitching? Nobody’s hurt on the pitching staff! Well, except for the closer. He’ll be coming back. Anybody not think bringing in an all-star closer will help a bullpen? Even if you have him set up for a while? Oh, and the third starter. He was on the DL, and is now back. Remember when he was pitching well before he left? Are we expecting a return of his stomach issues? Shouldn’t we expect Clay to be Clay in the second half? But, Beckett’s awful! He needs to be shipped off! Ahh, but he spent some time on the DL in the first half too. Lumped together, his body of work in the first half is less than stellar. But, he wasn’t John Lackey out there. He had a couple terrible starts surrounding his DL stints. He’s had quite a few fantastic outings. I don’t see why we should expect Beckett to continue to struggle.

The Sox are a couple games out of the playoffs as the second half starts. Sure, there are a lot of other teams bunched along with them. But, are any of those other teams planning on adding three all-stars to the team?

I didn’t think so.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Some Stars Game

The annual midsummer classic was held last night. I have always liked seeing the All-Star game. It has been appointment TV for years. Thankfully, however, I started that tradition before Joe Torre ruined the game. I wonder if it would be the same if I didn’t start watching until now.

Really, the whole idea of playing everyone has to go. I hear lots of complaints about why the game might be losing its appeal. One of the excuses that I heard yesterday was that interleague play is a big problem. In the old days, people would watch the game to see how an elite hitter from one league would fare against an elite pitcher from the other. With interleague play, I already saw how David Ortiz fared against Gio Gonzalez. That’s a valid point, to an extent. The match-up is not something new. But, I contend that it’s not the uniqueness of the match-up that makes the difference. It’s the quality of the players. Just because I saw Pedro Martinez face Manny Ramirez a dozen times doesn’t mean that it got boring. Adrian Gonzalez faces CC Sabathia every couple days, it seems. I still am riveted by those match-ups. So, I still want to see how David Ortiz would match up against Stephen Strasburg, even if it weren’t the first time. You want to know what I don’t need to see? How Billy Butler matches up against RA Dickey. Or how Melkey Cabrera does against anyone. That has no interest in me. I would gladly watch the starting line-up face the entire opposing pitching staff (except, I suppose, that guy starting at short for the AL).

The other complaint is that there isn’t the same intensity. It doesn’t mean anything to the players. Why would it? It clearly doesn’t mean anything to the leagues. If the leagues really wanted to win, Josh Hamilton would not have come out of the game. So, if the leagues think it’s just a chance for 60 guys to get their picture on TV, why would the players think any differently? Why the starters just can’t play nine innings is beyond me. If you want to get clever and pinch-run for David Ortiz in the ninth with Mike Trout, be my guest. That’s trying to win. Not trying to make Angels fans happy. And, really, how happy are we making them? I got to see David Ortiz take, what, two at-bats? I didn’t get a giddy feeling over that. So, why would MLB allow the product to be diluted just so White Sox fans can see Paul Konerko for five minutes? I’d rather have watched a great team for nine innings.

Wouldn’t you?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Clever Phillies Phan

I’ll admit that my latest contest placed some people at a disadvantage. The contest asked you to take a picture of yourself in Section 36. Obviously, that task was much easier if you happened to be going to a game at Fenway in June. Just snap a picture while you’re there. It also slightly favored some fans who take a lot of pictures while they’re at game. Maybe in your picture collection, you happened to have a shot of you in Section 36. But, that only helps if your local ballpark has a Section 36. What if it doesn’t?

What if you’re a Phillies Phan? What if Citizens Bank Park didn’t have the foresight to have a Section 36? What do you do in that case? You need to get clever.

Enter Dawgbones, a Phillies Phan. He didn’t let a little think like an inadequate ballpark stop him. Take a look at his entry.

That’s right. He took it upon himself to create a Section 36. In case you can’t read the sign on the wall, it states that “For the entirety of June, this cubicle will henceforth be referred to as: SECTION 36 with all of the appurtenant responsibilities, entitlements, and accouterments!”

How wonderful is that? That’s the kind of creativity and dedication I like to see. Unfortunately, despite all of that, Dawgbones did not win the drawing for the prize. Here at Section 36, however, I can’t let that kind of effort go unrewarded. When you think that far outside the box, and overcome such an obvious obstacle, you deserve some recognition. So, I have scoured Dawgbones’s wantlists, and he should be expecting a consolation package of cards shortly.

So, thanks again to Dawgbones, and everyone else who entered the contest. Stay tuned for another chance to win.

And, thanks for the creativity!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pedroia Screws the Sox Once Again

So, instead of a healthy Dustin Pedroia coming off the DL in time for the Yankees series, we have a stubborn Pedroia going on the DL in time for the Yankees series. Not only that, but we had to suffer through him clogging a roster spot as he gritted it out and acted tough while he performed like garbage in the games he could play in. When is everyone else going to get tired of Laser Show’s act?

Probably never, because the media loves the guy. I actually heard a radio idiot wonder this afternoon if the Red Sox were looking past Seattle to the weekend series with the Yanks. Was that the reason they got swept? Was it another example of the poor character of this team? Was it lack of focus? It certainly wasn’t because Pedroia was awful while he was playing, and robbing Bobby Valentine of flexibility when he wasn’t. Did anyone see the line-up the Sox had to use in the last game against Seattle? Would focus have really helped?

On the first day of Jere’s Anti-Boston Media Weekend, I think it’s telling that one of the biggest crimes of the media comes to the forefront. The fact that things that make their jobs easier are examples of good players. Who are some players that have been well liked in Boston? Pedroia? Ortiz? Millar? What do they all have in common? They give the media great quotes. Who are some players who have been constantly dogged? Dice-K? JD Drew? Adrian Gonzalez? What do they all have in common? They’re dull.

What’s the biggest crime a player can commit after a poor performance? Not “owning up to it.” Not talking to the media. Josh Beckett got shelled…and then WASN’T AVAILABLE IN THE LOCKER ROOM! So, it’s a major character flaw, apparently, if a player doesn’t make the media’s job easier? What exactly does talking to the media prove? That you’re talkative. Other than that? I can’t think of anything. Are you more sorry if you tell the Herald that you played poorly? I’m fairly certain that every player dislikes playing poorly whether they say it in print, or not.

So gritty (quotable) Pedroia will continue to get a free pass. He had nothing to do with the horrible west coast trip. He was busting his butt, after all. Not like that slacker Crawford who is waiting until he can actually play before he plays. If only more players were like gutsy (quotable) Pedroia, last September might not have happened. Despite his superior numbers in every meaningful category, it was Adrian Gonzalez wilting (not giving quotes) that killed the team down the stretch.

Drives me crazy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy (two hundred) Thirty-sixth!

Today we wish a very happy 236th birthday to the United States of America!

Why do we call the fourth of July, America’s birthday? It’s the day we declared our independence. Wouldn’t the birthday be when the Constitution was ratified? In any event, Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

I’ve never been to Fenway for a July 4 game. It always seemed like it would be a fun one to get to go to. I came close once. I had tickets and everything. Was going to make a day of it. Game in the afternoon, fireworks in the evening. Then the day came. It was hot. No, not hot. it was HOT. You couldn’t turn on the TV without someone telling you to stay the heck inside. If you even walked down the street, you ran the risk of bursting right into flames. And I wanted to sit out in the sun for four hours at a game? Suddenly didn’t seem like the smartest idea. So, I skipped the game. I know. I feel terrible about it. But, really, at that point it’s a health issue, right?

I’ve been to Fenway on other Holidays. Opening Day. Patriots Day. Easter. Mother’s Day. Memorial Day. Father’s Day. Labor Day. Just not Independence Day. Yet.

Anyone been to Fenway for the Fourth of July?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Banner Weekend

Jere, reigning Scavenger Hunt Champion and author of A RedSox Fan from Pinstripe Territory, has come up with a great plan.

Much like I am, Jere is tired of the local media. He’s tired of them telling us how to think. He’s tired of them making up stories just to create controversy. He’s just sick of it all. So, he proposes we do something about it. An anti-media weekend at Fenway.

This weekend, the Yankees are in town for four games. As it happens, these games will be covered by four networks (NESN, MLB, FOX, and ESPN). So, Jere is proposing that people who go to Fenway this weekend bring signs displaying our disgust with local Red Sox coverage. While the signs might not get much play with NESN, the national networks might be able to have some fun with it. I can imagine that ESPN might enjoy showing a sign on Sunday with Tito in the booth that read “Beer and Chicken aren’t crimes!”

Obviously, a couple things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of a sign. Be creative or clever, NOT profane. And, for the love of Josh Beckett, don’t hold them up while the game is going on. Between innings will be just fine to get the point across.

Naturally, if you’re at Fenway this weekend and take pictures of these signs in or from Section 36, send them along so I can post them here. (Along with any other pictures you take in Section 36, of course.)

Get those creative juices flowing.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And the winner is…

Who is that man, shrouded in mystery? That is none other than the winner of the June contest! So, a big round of applause for Steve who won a copy of the spectacular book, The First Fall Classic. Steve has provided this blog with several pictures in the past, so I was expecting a strong entry from him. As you can see, he came through.

So, congratulations to Steve! If you see him, give him a slap on the back for me. Thanks, as well, to everyone who sent in an entry. I’ll be sharing the runner up photos with everyone along the way in the Pix from 36 page. I’m sure you’ll agree that I had several wonderful pictures entered.

For those that didn’t win, you’ll get another chance. Keep your eyes open for your next opportunity to win.

Congratulations again Steve!

What people are reading this week