Monday, October 31, 2016

Holding the Ball

I don’t watch a lot of games on television. For any number of reasons, most of the times I catch the Sox are radio broadcasts, gameday simulations, or live in the park. I certainly don’t catch many Cubs games on television. So I had no idea of the magnitude of this Lester case of the yips. I knew he didn’t like to throw the ball to first. I didn’t know that he NEVER threw to first.

How does this work?

Just watching his one game last night, I was beyond frustrated. I can’t imagine being a Cubs fan and having to watch it happen 30 times a year. A guy reaches first, and he takes his lead halfway there, and steals second on the first pitch. How did that not drive fans, players, management, everyone beyond crazy?

I remember watching Rickey Henderson when he was with the Sox. Now, this was 2002 Henderson, not 1982 Henderson. But, you could tell he still terrorized pitchers just by taking a lead at first. Their concentration was gone. The batter became secondary to them. They’d keep throwing over. And over. And over. They’d throw high fastballs to at least give the catcher a shot at throwing him out. Everything the pitcher did was based on a reaction to Henderson being on first. I would sit there watching him wondering just how he wasn’t named the MVP every year from 1981-1986. He changed the game.

With Lester on the mound, every runner at first base is Rickey Henderson. In his prime.

How is this not a huge problem for the Cubs?

Are teams just not as equipped to take advantage of it as I think they are? I remember a playoff series back in the day against the Angels and Yankees. The Angels realized that Bernie Williams had no arm. So, they were going first to third every time he had the ball in his hands. Or, second to home on every hit. They made a mockery of him. I remember thinking “this is it.” He’s going to be a weakness for the Yankees from here on in. But, it never really worked that way. I guess David Ortiz doesn’t go first to third no matter who’s in centerfield. 

So, is that what’s saving Lester? Do you need at least some speed to steal second, even with a 15’ lead? Are the Cubs able to compensate for it because they know the guy’s running? If you know he’s running, a pitchout is probably more effective. Or, do they have other tricks up their sleeves? After all, they did throw a runner out at second last night. So, not everyone can steal off Lester in any situation.

But, geez, why not? And how can the rest of the team just not beat him with a stick? 

At some point doesn’t he have to throw something over there? Even if it gets away, the guy was getting to second either way. What’s the harm? Maybe Rizzo knocks the ball down and can make a play at second. Maybe by sheer luck it goes right to Rizzo? Don’t you have to at least try something? Because I don’t understand how what he’s been doing isn’t a huge problem.

Of course, he did win his World Series start last night.


Without throwing to first.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Samantha Russo Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Samantha Russo is a Red Sox fan, an on-air radio and television personality, and a former Miss New Hampshire. Thankfully she was nice enough to visit with us to discuss all of those topics, and a few more. So, let's see what happens when Samantha Russo visits Section 36!

You spent some time working for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. What sorts of things did you do there?
Provided by Samantha
I absolutely loved working in minor league baseball! I was able to do a little bit of everything around the ballpark: community relations, media relations, on-field promotions, and social media. During the games though I would sit up in the press box next to the official scorer and run the MiLB GameDay program online.

While that relationship with the Blue Jays organization must have been nice during the playoffs the last couple years, does it make it tough when the Red Sox play the Blue Jays?
Provided by Samantha
First and foremost, I'm a baseball fan. The Red Sox are "my" team but I have a soft spot for other players and teams as well. But it's definitely tough when I want to see the Red Sox win but if I guy I worked with on the Blue Jays is playing, I want to see him do really well. 

Which team has the brighter future, the Red Sox or Blue Jays?
I think both teams do a really great job in developing players throughout their minor league systems and both teams have a lot of young talent on their current rosters. I think we're going to see these two teams battling for the top of the AL East for many years to come.

As we all know, David Ortiz retired at the end of this season. What is your favorite David Ortiz memory?
Provided by
Samantha
It's hard to not say, "This is our f*'n city". Thinking about that moment gives me chills. Papi is an icon to Red Sox Nation and has given so much to us. I love the Dunkin' Donuts commercials, the video of him impersonating a Lyft driver, and when he teared up watching his daughter perform the National Anthem. 

What do the Red Sox need to do this off-season to improve their team?
The Sox have a great core of young talent but there is a ton of dead weight on the payroll that might make it difficult to do anything big this off-season. It would be nice to beef up the back-end of the rotation and to pick up another power hitter like Papi. But we're not in a terrible position right now to work with what we have.

You're currently on the air in NH with Rock101 (WGIR FM) and Z107 (WERZ FM). What drew you to radio?
I never thought I'd get into radio. I went to school for broadcast journalism but with more of a focus on television but radio is where I just happened to get my first broadcast job. I actually really love it, especially because I love music so much. I worked a bit for our AM station on the talk side and that is a whole new beast to try to tackle. I have a new found respect for sports-talk show hosts. It really is such a talent to be able to talk for hours on end without sounding foolish.

Provided by Samantha
You're also on the air with Dirty Water TV. What challenges has that presented?
Yes! I have had an absolute blast getting to work with Dirty Water Media. The opportunity to get back on-camera and on NESN is something I am so grateful for. There really haven't been any challenges other than some long drives. I live and die by my planner so multi-tasking and time management are two things I excel at. 

As a former Miss New Hampshire, you're going back on stage to compete for the Miss New Hampshire USA crown this weekend. What made you decide to get back into competing?
I never thought I would compete again after competing in the Miss America Org. But I'm a competitive person by nature and a goal setter. I love having a set goal to work for. The Miss Universe Organization provides another set of opportunities both personally and professionally that I could benefit from. It would also be another opportunity for me to get out into the community and give back to organizations that are important to me like D.A.R.E. and Veterans Count.

When you're at Fenway, if you can't sit in Section 36, where do you (or where would you) like to sit?

I'm happy as long as I'm at Fenway but I've been dying to sit up on the Bud Deck..maybe next season!

--------

The Bud Deck is one of the few places I've never sat in as well. I agree that it's something worth checking out soon!

I certainly want to thank Samantha for taking the time to visit with us. Especially since I'm sure she's been extremely busy preparing for the Miss NH USA competition starting tomorrow, I'm grateful she took the time to visit with us. I'm also glad she sent along some great pictures to go along with the interview. Pictures make any post all the better!

If you want to hear even more from Samantha, I highly recommend you follow her on Twitter or Instagram. You can also check out her website. And, of course, be sure to catch some of her on-air duties!

And, naturally, I want to wish Samantha good luck in the Miss NH USA competition this weekend as she looks to win another crown!

Thanks again Samantha!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One Down!

Now the Indians just need to work on the "three to go" portion.

That's really going to be the tricky part. The Indians rotation can't match the Cubs. Which is why it surprised me a bit to see Andrew Miller in the game last night so soon. I know it was relatively close at the time, but I would have been tempted to save him. If your ace can get one more inning before hitting the showers, maybe Miller is available tonight for a bit longer. 

Of course, who am I to argue about the way Terry Francona uses his bullpen? I'm willing to assume that he knows more about his team than I do. I'm also fully aware of the masterful job he did with Keith Foulke in 2004 for the Red Sox. Looks like he has the same thing in mind for Miller this year. Use him to get as many of the most important outs as possible. If he can't lift his arm by election day, so be it.

Or, maybe he saw the weather forecast? Maybe he figured he wasn't going to use Miller tonight anyway? Either the game was going to be rained out, or rain shortened, or he wasn't going to risk the most valuable player he has pitching in the slop. Maybe he took a calculated gamble that throwing Miller to his max wouldn't come back to bite him. After all, what the old saying? Never save your pitcher for tomorrow...tomorrow it may rain.

But, it does make me wonder what Francona has in mind if the game is actually played tonight. Hope for a blowout? Hope he can get more out his starter than he needs? Hope Miller isn't needed to put out a fire in the eighth? I guess just hope it all works out?

I hope it does all work out. Not just because I'm hoping that the indians win the series. But, because I love the way Francona is using Miller. I love that he's using him to get the most important outs, whenever they may be. However many there may be. 

I know that FOX said last night that you can't use a reliever like this in the regular season. But, I'm not sure why not. Oh, sure. You can't use him every night. But, imaging if you had a long guy that could dominate for na inning or two or three? And you could bring him in in the sixth, or eighth, or second. He'd get the job done. What a weapon that would be.

So, I'm anxious to see what the indians do tonight without their ace on the mound. I;m curious to see how Francona handles pitching changes. I'm interested to see how they pull it out.

I certainly know better than to think it won't all work out.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Stage Has Been Set

With the Cubs beating the Dodgers in the NLCS, it was all over except the waiting. It meant the Indians and Cubs would be waiting to face each other in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night.

As with any match-up of this magnitude, there’s really only one question on anyone’s mind. Who do I want to win the Series?

This year, that decision is trickier than some. There’s no clear cut winner. If the Red Sox are playing, that’s an obvious one. If the Yankees are playing, just as obvious. Sometime my rationale is stupid. I would probably cheer against the Giants because I don’t want them to have more championships this century than the Red Sox do. I’d probably cheer against the Rays because the Devil Rays were so annoying, and for the Phillies because I’ve always felt a kinship with their fans. I would have cheered for the Dodgers because Adrian Gonzalez was cheated out of his 2013 ring with the Sox. Or the Blue Jays because so many Blue Jays fans seem to be fans of this blog.

But, for this match-up, things are a bit murky. Both teams are littered with ex-Red Sox. Both teams have gone a long time since winning their last World Series championship. Neither team is a particular rival of the Sox. I would have expected that I’d be rooting for the Cubs, as sort of a “long championship drought” kinship. And, a few years ago, that probably would have been the case. But, not this year.

I’m rooting for the Indians.

The first reason why is Joe Maddon. While it has slowed a bit since his move to the Cubs, but I’m already annoyed by the treatment Maddon gets from the media. His “genius Joe” routine is beyond annoying. The fact that he makes his team dress up in ridiculous costumes is maddening. For a guy who hasn’t won anything, he’s treated like god’s gift to managing. Imagine if he actually had a ring on his finger to go along with it? I shudder to think. From there, a couple other minor reasons. Jon Lester made a decision to not sign with the Sox. He could have chosen them, but he didn’t. Likewise, Theo made the decision to abandon the team to fit his desires. I figure they deserve to go winless more than other players.

Like the ones on the Indians, for instance. Mike Napoli was ditched by the team. Same with Coco Crisp. It seems to me that Tito Francona was tricked (by Theo) into leaving the Sox before he might have wanted to. I don’t been bad cheering for them. They’re still “one of us.” There’s also the marginal reason to root for the AL team. Keeping it in the League. Or, rooting for the team that beat the Red Sox. It’s slightly easier to swallow if the Sox are swept out of the playoffs by the eventual World Champions. 

Now, I admit, I’m not thrilled about hoping for Cleveland to win another championship this year. I’m not comfortable with them becoming a sports powerhouse to rival Boston’s glory days. But, then I look at the Browns, and don’t worry about that too much. I’m also not all that eager to open the “What if the Sox had traded for Miller instead of Cleveland?” line of questioning. But, those are minor issues in comparison. When it comes down to it, I can’t cheer for Joe Maddon.


Let’s go Indians!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Who Dresses Ceremony Guests?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be at Fenway for several special ceremonies.  Whether it be ring ceremonies, or regular Opening Day ceremonies, or whatever…these events usually involve special guests. Sometimes, guests from other Boston Area sports teams. These guests usually wear the jerseys of the team they play for during the ceremony. With all the championships they’ve won, I’m starting to lost track of the number of Patriots players I’ve seen in the standard Jersey/jeans combination. But, I’ve also seen Bobby Orr, for instance, in his Bruins jersey, or Leon Powe in his Celtics warm-up jacket. (It was April, after all. Sleeveless was definitely not the way to go.) I never really gave the wardrobe much thought. 

Until the Patriots won their last championship. I saw them visit other area teams for ceremonies. I saw Gronk spiking a puck at a Bruins game…wearing a Bruins jersey. Wait. That’s odd. Or, at least different. I guess that’s one way to go…wear the jersey of the team you’re visiting. Huh.

Again, different teams do different things. But, then the Patriots made their appearance at Fenway. You may remember that Brady was just wearing a t-shirt. The rest of the group was dressed in their civilian clothes. Again, odd. I figured that, maybe, since the rest of the group was ownership or management, they didn’t really have jerseys. The Krafts do wear a button down shirt to games. Maybe it would have been weird to just have Brady in a jersey, so they all went casual. I guess that made sense.

Then they had the triple-ceremony for David Ortiz at the end of this season. There were Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque wearing their usual Bruins jersey. But, the Celtics team all wore jerseys with the #34 on them. Pretty sure they weren’t all Paul Pierce. It was a slight shift. Why wouldn’t Bourque and Orr wear #34 Bruins jerseys to be consistent? Who makes that call?

It got even weirder during the final ceremony on Sunday. They brought back several of Ortiz’s teammates from World Championship teams. They all marched out from underneath wearing their jersey. All except Doug Mientkiewicz. He wore a #34 Red Sox jersey. Huh. Who’s call was that? Everyone had a jersey with a David Ortiz patch on it. So, it’s not like they all brought a jersey from their playing days, but Doug’s was lost by the airline on the way in. Everyone had special jerseys made (maybe even provided) for them. Why was he the exception? I also saw Pedro Martinez make his way out the centerfield before the game. He wasn’t wearing the jersey then. Neither was Kevin Millar. They both put one on while they were waiting under Section 36 for the ceremony to begin. So, they made a conscious choice to wear that jersey. It wasn’t just something they grabbed on the way out the door.

Later in the ceremony, the President of the Dominican Republic threw out the first pitch. He was wearing a Red Sox warm up jacket for the occasion. Made sense. It was a bit chilly and rainy, after all. But, who decided he’d wear a jacket? Why didn’t Robert Kraft wear a Red Sox jacket? I’m guessing that the President doesn’t usually wear a baseball jacket. Who told him to put one on for the ceremony? Why isn’t there any consistency?

Suddenly something I never really thought much about is loaded with questions. Who picks out the wardrobe? Who supplies the wardrobe? If it’s not the team, does it have to be cleared with the team first?

So many questions, so few answers!

-----
Update!
------

We have an answer! Keith Foulke was nice enough to help me out a little bit.
So, that answers that. Now we just need to decide why Mientkiewicz got the wrong jersey...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

David Ortiz Live

With all the hoopla at the end of the season surrounding David Ortiz, this one just seemed like a natural fit. How had Ortiz performed while I was in the park? I hadn’t looked at anyone with such a large sample size before, so I thought this would be interesting. First, of course, I needed to be sure that I was really covering every game I saw him in. So, I waited until after the Red Sox were eliminated, just in case. Of course, that made me really regret that I don’t have every time I’ve seen Ortiz chronicled here. There are games I don’t score for one reason or another. That’s especially annoying in this case because I notice no October games in 2004. That means I missed ALCS game 4. I feel like he did pretty well in that game.

But, even missing those few instances, I have an amazing sample of Ortiz performances ranging from 2000 to 2016. Those games encompass his entire Red Sox career, and then some. I scored 65 of his games, totaling 270 plate appearances. 

How did David Ortiz do while I was in the park?



Yup. Pretty damn well. Exactly what you’d expect from Ortiz, and maybe then some.

Just the raw numbers. I’ve seen David Ortiz hit a home run at least fifteen times. I’ve seen him drive in over 50 runs, and score more than 40 himself. Those are fantastic numbers.

But, look at the extrapolations. If I scale his performance to a 660 at-bat season, I can see what kind of player I was watching. From the looks of it, I was watching an MVP. Look at that slash line. Slugging over .600? An OPS of 1.025? Monster numbers. 200 hits. 150+ RBI. 44 HR. Even if he didn’t exactly end on a high note, he was a magical player while I was in the park.

Which is, of course, exactly what I was hoping for. It’s always nice when I do these and see that I saw a pretty fair representation of the player. I don’t like that I saw the very worst of Paul Konerko. I wish I had seen more of the “real” Mariono Rivera. (On second thought, scratch that. I’m glad I saw the worst of him.) But, much like Pedro, with Ortiz I got a true representation of the player, and I’m thrilled.


How did Ortiz do when you were in the park?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Collecting the Sox: Phantom Tickets

Postseason baseball creates a great many things. It creates heroes. It creates goats. It creates memories. It creates disappointments. It also creates a fun Red Sox collectable. Phantom tickets.

Phantom tickets are ticket stubs to games that never happened. Those can occur during the regular season if there’s a rain out, for instance, that is never made up. But, it’s much more prevalent during the playoffs. Due to the nature of the bracket system, fans and teams don’t know when or where games will be played until very late in the process. If the Red Sox waited until they made it to the ALCS, for instance, before they printed up and sold the ALCS tickets, they’d run out of time. So, they have to be printed and distributed well in advance.

The problem with that is, of course, sometimes the Sox don’t then make it to the ALCS. 

Enter the phantom ticket.

I’ve heard of people specializing in this type of collectable. As a baseball-wide type thing, I can see the appeal. It’s a unique collectable that has a curiosity aspect to it. Just about every team has one for any number of years. A potential checklist of items to add you your collection would be large, and ever-growing. The thrill of the chase would always be there.

As a team collectable, I can see the plusses and minuses. On the one hand, if a game isn’t played for a good reason, it might be fun to have a stub in your collection. I think it’d be neat to have the Red Sox World Series tickets for game six or seven of the 2004 World Series. It would be a constant reminder that the Sox swept the series, and therefore didn’t need those games. Or, tickets to the 2016 Wild Card game played in Fenway Park. Those would be a constant reminder that the Red Sox won the division this year, so didn’t need to play in the Wild Card Game.

But what about the other side of it? Not sure how I’d feel about having 2003 Red Sox World Series tickets sitting on my shelf. Talk about a never-ending kick in the gut. Or tickets to the 2011 playoffs. Or 2016 ALCS. Bleh.

I have often thought about going for phantom tickets from other teams. As the converse of the paragraph above, wouldn’t it be neat to have Yankees 2004 World Series tickets?  Or 2007 Indians? That would be another fun reminder that those teams didn’t need those tickets because the Red Sox won the Series that year. Maybe a collection of game six tickets for the other AL teams that didn’t make the Series in 2013. That would make for a fun little display. Game six tickets with the Red Sox, Tigers, Rays, Indians, and A’s logos on them all framed up in a row. Maybe there are even tickets out there of AL teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. That could be a great item.

So, as with any great collectable, there are some options there for a fun addition to your Red Sox collection. The possibilities are almost endless.


Do you have any phantom ticket stubs?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Not John Farrell?

(I mean, other than the fact that I STILL have to think way too long to convince myself that his name really has two r’s and two l’s.)

The Red Sox announced yesterday that John Farrell and his entire coaching staff (assuming they’re willing) will be returning to the team next season. This announcement was met with far too much angst for my liking.

Why isn’t that good news?

John Farrell has been the manager here in Boston for four years, and he has won the division twice, and not won the division twice. Not exactly a terrible job by that metric. 

Ahh. But it’s those other two years that people are hung up on. The two years that the Red Sox didn’t finish first, they finished last. That’s unacceptable to some people. But, I think people are looking too much at rankings as opposed to results.


The person in the Hall of Fame with the fewest number of home runs, is still a Hall of Famer. Even though he ranks last. 

Yes, they were last. But, the Red Sox won 71 games in 2014 and 78 games in 2015. Neither of those win totals would have finished in last place in any division this year. In fact, the East was the only division those totals ranked last in those years. So, we're not exactly talking about the 1962 Mets here. 

If we ignore the "last" place finishes, it comes down to whether or not he's been a good manager. The problem with that analysis, is that every manager makes mistakes. Every manager has that moment where you don't bring your closer into a tie game and it bites you. Every manager has a pinch hitter who strikes out, or doesn't pinch hit for a guy who grounds into a double play. So, generally, does John Farrell make well thought out decisions?

I think he does. I think a vast majority of his decisions are at least defensible once you have all the info. Once you realize that a certain reliever was unavailable. Or needed extra work. Or a batter was feeling rusty and needed to get some action. Insider information like that usually makes a curious decision make a lot more sense.

So, I'm glad the Sox brought him back. They players seem to like him. I don't think he makes many wrong decisions. And, in two of the three years they tried...his team won the division.

Now, just need that second title.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What on Earth was That?

I’m saying that a lot to myself today. What exactly did I just witness over those last three games?

That question has led me to an interesting place emotionally. There isn’t the kick in the gut feeling that I would have expected from a sweep. The confusion involved sort of lets me off the hook in that area.

After all, going into the playoffs, some people had concerns. I didn’t have many, since the Sox were clearly the better team. But, there were some areas that even I was less confident in than others.

None of those areas were Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, or Hanley Ramirez. Never in my wildest fears would I have expected them to bat .167, .111, .200, and .250 respectively for the series. Really. The areas of concern did also not include Rick Porcello. He was as much of a sure thing as the Sox had. Five runs in four innings weren’t exactly on my radar.

So, if I could blame the series on David Price once again blowing up in the playoffs, I could be frustrated today. But, even if you want to call his performance “blowing up”…which it probably was…the offense didn’t score that game. Price could have gone a complete game giving up one run, and the Sox would have lost. This isn’t on him.

If I could blame the loss on Farrell, I might be frustrated. Sure, he did a goofy thing or two. I think he was too quick to pull his starting pitchers. ( I assume it was a case of pulling early to save them for a next start. So, at least there’s a reason.) I was also dumbfounded by the pinch hitting last night. Wasn’t ‘Tendi the only guy hitting the ball? And why was Travis Shaw even on the roster? But, Young reached base pinch hitting, and even Shaw got a hit. So, have a hard time calling those the reasons for the sweep either.

Kimbrel didn’t blow a save. He didn’t explode in a non-save situation. Clay Buchholz gave up two runs. Joe Kelly got lots of outs. Not one of the things people were complaining about before the series came back to bite them.

It came down to your four best hitters (or five, if you include Bogaerts and his .250 average) just having a brutal stretch at the absolute worst time. Whether it was match-ups, or situations, or what. They just disappeared. Not sure I can get too bent out of shape about that.

Because, I believe they tried. I’m not the group that thinks going hitless means you’ve given up. Bogaerts not hitting a curveball isn’t something he just decided not to do or work on. Ortiz didn’t decide that three rings were enough, so he was just going home early. They just didn’t get it done. In some instances, the key hit just didn’t fall in. I really can’t explain it.

I remember after the Red Sox won the Series in 2004, the St. Louis paper started their recap by saying it was too bad. The world didn’t get to see the “real” Cardinals team. The one that cruised through the regular season. The one that kept hitting the cover off the ball. It was just too bad, they said, that the whole team went into a slump at the one time it all mattered. (Of course, in that case they were ignoring the fact that the team “slumped” only when facing Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. ) 

But, that’s really where I am. It’s just too bad that the real offense didn’t show up. It’s too bad they never got going. It’s too bad they weren’t still on the run they were on a month ago. It’s too bad that their unquestioned strength abandoned them for the worst three-game stretch it could have picked. It cost them in the end.


It’s just too bad.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Who Are You?

So, an annoying thing happened the other day. I looked over to the left sidebar of this here blog, and something was missing. All my blogrolls had disappeared. Gone. Vanished. Crashed.

Dang.

I know it's possible that most of you don't care about my blogrolls. I don't know if any of you even knew they were there. Maybe you care what sorts of blogs I read, but maybe you don't. So, this may have gone unnoticed by most of you.

But, I use the blogrolls. It's how I see which of the blogs I like have posted recently. It's an easy way for me to remember which ones I've read, and which ones I need to get to. I need my blogrolls.

So, i had to recreate them. There's a problem though. The reason I had the rolls was so I wouldn't have to remember which blogs I wanted to read. With the list gone, it's harder to recreate the list, you know? I have the list of blogs I "follow" through blogger. And, I did look through those. But, there are several blogs I follow that have long stopped posting. Not really excited about adding those back to the blogroll. I also can't "follow" blogs that aren't blogger. That cuts a lot of good choices from the list. (other than those on the BYBHub, of course.)

So, I need your help! As you can see, I have three different blogrolls. One is made up of Red Sox blogs. One is made up of baseball card blogs. The third is "everything" else. That's mostly blogs focused on baseball teams that aren't the Red Sox. (But, there's an occasional personal friend's blog, or friend of the blog's blog that gets some random topics added as well.) At the moment, they're mostly empty. They should be filled.

So, do you write a blog that you think I was reading? Or, a blog that you think I should be reading? Leave a comment with a link to it so I can be reminded of it...or check it out for the first time. You can even let me know which blogroll you think it belongs in. Thus far, I've just been deciding on that for myself.

Sure, there are ways I could research this myself. I can look around, check out other blogrolls, and try to add them that way. And I will do that, but that will take some time. By asking you for help, I not only can find blogs that are probably pretty active, but I can read bloggers who read Section 36. Seems fair.

So, there you go. Who should be added?

Should you?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

List of 36: Celebrities (non-baseball) I’ve seen at Fenway Park

Over the years, I've been lucky enough to see many famous people not related to the Red Sox, or baseball, while I've been at Fenway Park. Here's a list that I've come up with:

1. Stephen King
2. Matt Damon
3. Ray Charles
4. Kevin Costner
5. Dropkick Murphys
6. Kevin Faulk
7. Donna Summer
8. Bobby Orr
9. John Glenn
10. Mark Recchi
11. Boston
12. Ty Law
13. Jackie Chan
14. Neil Diamond
15. Smashmouth
16. Bill Russell
17. Troy Brown
18. Doug Flutie
19. Leon Powe
20. Stephen Tyler
21. Mayor Thomas Menino
22. Trace Adkins
23. James Taylor
24. Mayor Marty Walsh
25. Richard Seymour
26. Tom Brady
27. Robert Kraft
28. Governor Charlie Baker
29. Lawyer Milloy
30. Kelly Clarkson
31. Jonathan Kraft
32. Teddy Bruschi
33. President Danilo Medina
34. Bill Belichick
35. Mary J. Blige
36. Spike Lee

There's my list. Who would make it on yours?

Friday, October 7, 2016

On to Game Two

OK. That was not exactly the result we were all looking for last night. But, naturally, all is not lost. Just one game is.

I'm not even going to bother reminding you that the Indians have traditionally coughed up series leads to the Red Sox. Mostly because that doesn't really matter, but also because you already know. 

What does matter? The fact that there's a reason the Red Sox were favored by most to not only win this series, but the American League itself. They're simply the better team. So, winning three out of the next four isn't nearly as daunting as it would be the other way around.

Specifics about the series as it stands? Yes the Indians won the first game. But, they ran through their bullpen. Andrew Miller shut down the Sox last night. Tonight? He may be able to face a batter. So, if the Sox can get out early, the Indians will be unable to stop them. If they don't? Not sure the Indians will be able to hold them back either.

The starting rotations still favor the Red Sox going forward. Say what you want about David Price in the postseason. But, he has pitched well before. And he's been pitching fantastic down the stretch. There's also the need to remember what ERA means. ERA is based on nine innings. So, a 9.00 ERA means a pitcher would give up nine runs in nine innings. But, Price won't be going nine innings. So, even if he stinks up the joint, and pitchers to a five or seven ERA tonight...that means he gives up fewer actual runs. For instance four runs in five innings, is a terrible start. That would work out to a 7.20 ERA. But, it would only amount to four runs. The Sox should be able to cover that. Heck, last night Porcello's stinker gave him an ERA over ten. And the Sox were right in it. So, don't worry about Price. Even your worst fears aren't all that scary when you're only looking at one game against an opposing starter who was pushed back due to injury.

After that? I know everyone likes to rag on Buchholz. But, he's been pitching wonderfully. And, it's not like Tomlin is an ace in the making. Then ERod would pitch against the guy the Sox just knocked out of the game last night. Hopefully with a less rested bullpen. Worst case? Porcello comes back in game five. Have to assume he got his stinker out of the way last night.

Yes, the Sox didn't win. The Indians bullpen gave them troubles. But, now they're done. The bullpen will never be that rested again. They'll never be that unfamiliar again. Chances are they won't be getting those strike calls again.

The Sox wanted one of the two in Cleveland so they could try to clinch at home. If they get the win tonight, that's exactly what they'll have.

And things will look even rosier.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pictures Predicting Playoff Performance

Before the playoffs start, it’s customary to make predictions for each series. Not really sure why. Nobody knows who is going to win, and it’s not like anyone has special inside information. But, it’s a fun little post to write. 

Of course, there are any number of ways to analyze a playoff matchup. There’s the position by position checkmarks. One team has a better first baseman, the other team has a better third baseman. Whichever team has the most checks will win the series. Of course, this doesn’t allow for degrees. Is one significantly better in one position, but barely worse in another? That needs to be dealt with.

You could look at metrics. Team defense. Run differential. Fielding percentage. Starter’s ERA. Reliever’s WHIP. You pick the stat, and see who comes out on top. But, which stat is the best? And, if you can decide…where’s the fun in that? If we can all agree that run differential is the master stat, there no more room for discussion. Just look it up. Where’s the fun in that?

So, I’ve decided to branch out a bit, and try a whole new way to predict the Series. 

Which team has had the most fans sport their colors in Section 36 Pics?

Yup. Super-scientific. But, hopefully a little fun. I decided to search through my collection of pictures that have been submitted, and pull out ones displaying gear of the playoff teams. Whichever team has had the most pics submitted clearly has the best fans. The best fans must be fans of the best teams. It’s so clear I’m surprised nobody else has come up with it. I decided to only count it if the gear is actually in the picture. Some of the people that submitted pics I know are fans of specific teams, but if you can’t tell from the picture it doesn’t count. Got it?

So, let’s start it off with the National League. 

Dodgers vs Nationals

Looks like I’m beginning with the dud of the groupings. Not a single person has submitted a picture showing Dodger or Nationals gear. So, as a tiebreaker, I’ll have to go with the “close but no calls”. The white be on the blue background of these hats sure suggests “Brooklyn Dodgers.” 



I don’t think it is, but it’s close. I’ll give it half a point to break the tie. Since it was close, I’ll predict a close series. Dodgers in 5.

Next up: Giants vs Cubs

This is a case where I know I have pictures of a Giants fan, but none of them show Giants gear. So, this one is another close contest with the Cubs supplying the only entry.



Another close match-up suggests another close series. Looks like I’ll go with Cubs in five.

Rangers vs Blue Jays

This one gives us some back and forth. The Rangers are represented by this picture taken in their home ballpark.



But, they had the misfortune of going up against the Blue Jays. Three different Blue Jays fans have submitted pictures. 






If I counted number of pictures as opposed to number of submitters, this one would be even more of a blowout. The clear winner here is the Blue Jays. Looks like they’ll cruise into the ALCS after four games.

Red Sox vs Indians

Once again, the Indians have had a fan submit a picture, but he wasn’t displaying their gear. So, as you might expect, the Indians simply got smoked in this one. They lost the match-up about 36000-0. So, it looks like the Red Sox will have plenty of rest after sweeping the Indians in three games.

So, there you have it. They might as well not even bother playing the games, because we already know who’s going to win.

In this round, at least.

The next round is still up in the air, because new pictures could be submitted. So, if you want your team to win the next round, send in pictures. Go make a “I’d Rather be in Section 36” sign, and take your picture holding it while wearing your team’s gear. Or, print out the Section 36 logo, and hold it in a picture in front of your team’s collectables. Whatever it takes. 


Your team is counting on you!

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