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.

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's a Sale Day!

Ok, well technically it's a Sale Three Days!

That's right! This week the Section 36 store is having a sale!

Today marks the start of limited time sale prices at the Section 36 store! Today through Wednesday, you'll have the chance to buy the items you love at discount prices!

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, get something now during the limited time sale!

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. Remember, the sale only runs through Wednesday! 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 blogFacebook, and even Instagram!

Like Kylee did to show off her amazing new tank top.

This tank is 27% off!

Or Holly did with her cozy new hoodie.

This hoodie is 21% off!

Or Nicolette did with her great t-shirt!

This t-shirt is 30% off!

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

What will you get?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Walking the Plank

A few months ago, I realized that I had a lot of Pirates cards floating around. I absolutely hate having cards I don't need when I assume there are people out there who will enjoy them. I'm sure you're aware by now that I only keep non-star non-Red Sox cards ten years. Then, I cast them aside. I was never able to find a Pittsburgh fan resting spot. So, I needed to do something with these extra Pirates. 

I decided to walk the plank. Bob Walk The Plank, that is. I reached out to Matt, and he graciously accepted my unwanted cards. One man's trash...sort of thing, right? To read about the cards I sent him, check out his post. (Oh, and stick around a bit and read some of his other stuff. You won't be disappointed. I can wait.)

I was pleasantly surprised when he decided to send some cards my way. The ever-exciting bubble mailer arrived ay my door, and I tore into it.

Matt started with a sticky note affixed on the card stack saying he hoped I liked the cards. Peeling back the sticky note revealed this.

Oh, he "hoped" I'd like a Pedro relic! Yeah, there's a pretty good chance I like a Pedro relic!

Oh, whoops. My mistake. There's a pretty good chance that I'll like a Pedro relic numbered to 250! Basically, the package could have ended there, and it would have been a rousing success.

But, of course, he didn't end there!

Yup. He also decided to complete my 1975 Topps Red Sox team set. Two more Hall of Famers!

The package then ended on the Wright foot (sorry) with this amazing blue scribble autograph. Hopefully this guy returns to form next season.

So, thank you Matt for a fantastic package! Since the 2018 sets will be coming out soon, I should have a stack of 2008 Pirates looking for a home in the near future.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Alex Cora Era Begins

The Red Sox had their press conference yesterday introducing their new manager, Alex Cora. Most everyone I can find thinks the hiring was fantastic, and the press conference only made that feeling even stronger.

I’m not going to disagree with that. But, I am going to wonder when the last time people left an introductory press conference thinking ‘My gosh, I can’t believe they actually hired that guy.” 

And, Cora certainly seemed to say all the right things yesterday. It looks like he has an idea of what he’d like to do, which is the biggest thing when your start as a new manager. I wasn’t thrilled when he mentioned his close relationship with Dustin Pedroia. Last thing this team needs is another manager to allow Pedroia to run amuck in the clubhouse. But, he did reference having to have some tough conversations with Carlos Beltran in Houston. So, maybe he’ll knock Pedroia around when he needs to. We’ll have to see.

I did like how he understood that there needs to be a balance between numbers and guts. The way I always thought analytics should be used is to help your gut make more informed choices. Not to blindly control the way the game is run. I thought the game seven example he gave was perfect. They had a game plan at the ready. Every all-star in their pitching staff was in the bullpen ready to go at a moment’s notice. But, the coaching staff looked at what was happening on the mound, and decided “let’s give this guy another inning.” At some point, maybe using the guy on the mound pitching well is a better option that assuming that Verlander still has something left in the tank. Sure, if the guy on the mound is struggling, by all means consult the spreadsheet to see who might be a good option to bring in next. 

I’m glad he’s continuing the philosophy on the bases of aggressiveness, when it’s called for. Sure, those decisions can be tricky on the fly. But, if they’re reinforced over time, they’ll be easier. I don’t want this Sox team to be a station to station team. They’re too athletically talented for that. They need to put the pressure on, and take what they’re being given. Don’t back off. But, don’t be stupid.

The rest will come as the season progresses. This team has loads of talent. Will this change be the kick in the pants they need? Will there be some tweak that Cora makes that leads to more success?

How long before the title of this post becomes “The Alex Cora Error”?

Monday, November 6, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #27

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 #27: A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later. 

Let's just get right to it.

Take a look at those!

Yes, I know. I was supposed to pick "a" favorite card, and here I am showing three uncut sheets. So, fine, if I have to pick one...I'll take the World Champions card in the middle. Happy now?

I honestly have no idea how I came to own these cards. As such, I don't know much about them. There are three total sheets of perforated cards. I assume they were given out at McDonald's following the historic 2004 series. I, obviously, have left the cards as full sheets. That does make storage a bit difficult. But, I like the look of them as a sheet.

The actual cards are pretty sweet too. Glossy and a nice sturdy stock. I really like the color photo superimposed over the black and white picture of Fenway Park. Player selection is great too, with all the favorites from the team represented.

But what about the one card I picked? Is there a better oddball card out there? The World Championship celebration right there for the enjoyment. It's a nicely cropped picture, too, so the excitement just fills the whole frame. The red border really makes it all pop. Really the only thing missing is a logo on the front other than the Red Sox one. Not sure why the Golden Arches don't make an appearance. That would have really upped the oddball quotient.

But, I can't complain. It's just a glorious card (set). I can't imagine any other card being my favorite oddball from this time period.

Can you?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Kayla Warren Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Kayla Warren is a karate demo team member, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Greater Nashua. I was
excited when she agreet to visit with us to discuss those topics, and more. I’m sure you will be too.

So, let’s see what happens when Kayla Warren visits Section 36!

You were crowned the first ever Miss Greater Nashua. How does it feel to have that honor?
I am very excited to be able to represent the first ever Miss Greater Nashua!  As someone who is relatively new to the pageant world, I feel like I’ve been given an opportunity to really create a positive and unique image for this title.  I grew up in Nashua and am looking forward to building connections with the community and inspiring the youth to reach their goals.

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Greater Nashua title?
First, by calling my Mom who lives out in Arizona and then I drove back up to school in Vermont to share the news with my housemates.  After competing all summer, it felt so rewarding to be able to take a tittle home.  My friends treated me to a large maple creemee before I had to start my preparation for Miss New Hampshire!

Your talent of "Flying Kama Karate" is definitely one of the more unique ones I've come across. How did that come to be?
When I was 7 years old I held my birthday party at a karate studio
and then enrolled in classes.  Ever since then I have been learning different styles of Karate like Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jistu, board breaking and weapon forms.  I was fortunate enough to make the demo team and learned many flashy and cool techniques.  Everyone usually finds one weapon they enjoy to perform and I found flying kamas. I’ve continued to practice this weapon and love that I can bring a new talent to the Miss New Hampshire stage.

How did you choose your platform, “Discovering the Confidence Within”?
Growing up I was bullied and lost a lot of confidence in myself.  I lost out on many opportunities to grow because I was too afraid to be made fun of when I tried new things.  The reason I started to compete was for my senior project in high school.  I was studying how someone could build confidence through competing.  I knew the perfect platform would involve me being able to spread my message of confidence and inspire youth and adults to love who they are and embrace their best qualities.

What is something you learned from the Miss Greater Nashua competition that will help you when you compete for Miss NH?
I learned its okay to not be perfect.  During my interview I stumbled over a few of my words and didn’t think it was the best interview I’ve ever had.  After, when I asked for feedback, I learned its not about being the most ‘perfect’ contestant. Its about being passionate and creative.  I will continue to strive to be the best version of myself in and out of the pageant. 

Is there a specific goal you'd like to accomplish during your reign as Miss Greater Nashua?
One goal I have is to reach 365 hours of community service.  That
is one hour per day of my reign.  Of course I want to get as many hours as I can, but this is a good place to start!

Who was your favorite Red Sox player growing up? Why?
Big Papi of course!  He was known for hitting homeruns and as a little kid seeing someone that awesome was wicked cool.  

Other than Section 36, where do you (or, where would you) like to sit to watch a Red Sox game?
On my grandparent’s couch with my grandfather!  He has taken me to almost every baseball game I’ve gone to and is a great person to attend with.  Especially since he will jump out of his seat to try and catch a foul ball for me!  When we don’t get the chance to sit at Fenway, our couch is the next best spot to enjoy the game.

What do you remember about your first trip to Fenway Park?
I remember walking into the stadium, in awe, since it was my first ever baseball game.  My grandfather stopped and got me the classic ball park dog and soda.  I also got my first baseball hat and felt like a true fan.  I couldn’t believe how many people actually attended the games and I felt so small compared to the crowd.  We almost caught a foul ball, but the people next to us got it first.  This is one of my favorite memories growing up of my grandfather and I.  


What a great memory. Those first trips to Fenway certainly have a way of imprinting themselves on you forever.

As always, I want to give a huge thank you to Kayla for agreeing to the interview. It was a lot of fun, and is always flattering when someone takes the time to share their life with us. Another big thanks to her for allowing us to use the great pictures in the post. They certainly add a little bit of flair to the visit.

As Kayla continues her time as Miss Greater Nashua, I encourage you to following along by liking the Miss Greater Nashua Facebook page. 

Naturally, I want to wish Kayla luck this summer as she competes once again for the Miss NH crown! It would be fantastic if a Section 36 visitor brought home that title.

Thanks again Kayla, and good luck!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Congratulations Astros!

The Astros finished of the Dodgers last night to complete a very exciting World Series. For their fans, it meant the chance to celebrate the first World Championship in franchise history. 

For fans of other teams, it meant a chance to go completely overboard trying to mimic the way the Astros achieved their success.

Heard a radio caller today actually say that this win clearly shows that the only way to win is by drafting good players. Obviously that means Dombrowski needs to go, because he's only interested in winning. To get the good draft picks, the Sox need to lose. Lose a lot. Lose for a long time. Then and only then will the team be stocked with enough talent to win the whole thing.

The hosts didn't hang up on the caller.

But, of course that's an irrational oversimplification of the Astros plan. Even assuming that having four straight 100-loss seasons is actually a goal worth exploring, the thing that pushed the Astros over the edge was adding a pitcher at the deadline with a salary so huge every other team let him pass by on waivers. Because I don't remember hearing Justin Verlander's name being called by the Astros on draft day. 

Beyond that, the plan gets even trickier. There have to be players available to draft while you're losing all your games. Look back at the last few drafts. Well, probably should start a few years ago. See many all-stars listed? Not really a ton. Even in the years the Astros were terrible. And they weren't all taken first overall. It's not as easy as "Finish last, draft MVP". If it was, the Rays would be cleaning up right about now. Remember, JD Drew was far and away considered the best player in two consecutive drafts. As good as his career ended up being, was he ever a franchise cornerstone?

People like to think there's a winning strategy or formula that if followed will lead to success. And, sure, there are definitely guidelines that are better than others. But, you need to know when to go outside. Theo was the master of the farm system. But, won two World Series titles with Manny Ramirez and his enormous contract. He won a third when he handed nine figure deals to Jon Lester and Jason Heyward, and gave John Lackey $30 million.

After Theo left, the Sox fell in love with their own plan a bit. The farm system was hoarded beyond all usefulness. It didn't matter if they had three third basemen of the future. The kids were the answer, and were not to be touched. It stopped the Sox from filling needs when they presented themselves. They stagnated...and finished at the bottom of the league.

Which is why the Sox seem to be doing things pretty well now. Draft the best players you can from where you're drafting. Keep the best ones, trade away others for something even better. Spend the money when you need to to get the thing you need the most. It's the "a little bit of everything" plan. 

And, as usual, it's the best one.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Was Alex Cora any Good?

For some reason Alex Cora’s name has been mentioned a lot lately in Red Sox Nation. Since it’s been a while, I thought it might be fun to take this chance to dive back into the scorebooks and see how he performed in games when I was in Fenway Park.

How did he do? See for yourself.

Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

Granted, I had limited exposure to Cora games. Only nine times did he take the field while I was keeping score, and it appears that the last two were as defensive replacements at the end of games.

So, 19 at-bats isn’t exactly an appropriate sample size. But, what a sample it was! Apparently if I was in the park for every one of Cora’s starts, he’d be polishing off his Hall of Fame speech. 

Despite the fact that he went hitless in five of the nine games I saw (including the two DR games) he did well enough it the others to average out to a .421 clip. That’s not all. Even going homerless, he was able to slug over .600 while I was watching. With his 1.053 OPS, he was clearly more than a defensive guru. He should have been hitting in the middle of the order.

Obviously, I didn’t exactly catch a representative sample of Alex Cora’s career. But, that’s fine. I’m always glad to see players on the Red Sox perform well. 

Hopefully he does the same as Red Sox manager while I’m in the park. I guess we’ll find out!

How did he do with you in the park?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary!

I think I write about this every year. But, I'm not going to go back and check. As much as I hate repeating topics, I'm going to let this one slide. Because this one is that big of a deal.

Thirteen years ago tonight, everything changed.

I'll forever be surprised by my reaction when the ball settled snugly into Doug Mientkiewicz's glove. I mean, when Luis Gonzalez's blooper dropped in to end the 2001 World Series, I was dancing around the room. Heck, I was jumping up and down when the Sox signed Manny Ramirez.

But, thirteen years ago there was no jubilation. There was no jumping. There was no screaming and running.

It was just relief.

They had actually finally friggin' done it. It was over. The Red Sox were World Champions. 

I just sat on the couch watching the celebration. Half disbelief, half exhaustion. Just enjoying the moment.

And, I probably always say, it really did change everything. It made it all so much better. The pressure was off. When the lost the next year, it was OK. They had already done it. I could handle big injuries better. It wasn't them losing their one chance to finally do it. It was already done. I could just sit back and enjoy.

I could enjoy 2007 without worry. It wasn't all about to come apart. The Sox were winning all over the place, and it was glorious.

So 2004 didn't just let me buy World Series merchandise. It let me watch baseball a whole knew way. Free and loose. 

And much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I Hate Playoffs

There's a discussion floating around about a reorganization of Major League Baseball. It centers on adding two new expansion teams, then completely resetting the league into four divisions. No more AL/NL. Just N/S/E/W. That I can probably get behind. It's the next part that bugs me. The playoffs will include the four division champs. Fine, I guess. But then there would be EIGHT wild card teams. They would have four one game play-in games to see which four will advance to play the division winners. 

Bleh, bleh, bleh, and bleh. 

Why? Because I hate playoffs!

This season is actually a pretty decent example of why. In the World Series, we have the Dodgers and Astros. Teams with two of the best three records in baseball during the regular season. It would be hard to say they didn't earn their spot. But, it almost didn't happen. The Astros who were just a game behind the best record in the AL had to win a seventh game of a playoff series to advance. Against a Yankees team who finished the regular season a whopping 10 games behind them!

So, the American League had a 162 game season to give teams the chance to prove who was better. Over that length of time, the Astros showed that they were 11% better than the Yankees. But, baseball decided to throw that away, and let the Yankees have another crack at the Astros.

How is that anywhere close to fair?

The Yankees actually finished the season in fourth place in the American league. What exactly did they do to deserve a shot at the title? They didn't even finish first among the group of teams that make up their so-called division. Even worse? They didn't have to play that team in the playoffs. So, the Yankees were a couple innings away from winning the American League pennant because they were allowed a do-over. They could have advanced by beating two better teams in a shortened fluke of a series. They could have advanced without even having to face the team that proved themselves to be the best team in their division. But, were one game away from the World Series. How?

The Tampa Bay Rays finished the regular season 13 games behind the Red Sox in the East. Imagine if they said "Yeah, we know we were way behind the Red Sox after 162 games. But, how about we play them in a five game series for the division title? We're going to ignore the Yankees, though. It's just going to be us and the Sox, five games for the division."

I hope they'd be laughed out of town.

As they should. Why would they deserve a do-over? It's like a "double or nothing" bet. I know you beat about another chance?

If you're going to let the Yankees do it, though, why not the Rays? Why have the regular season at all? Why not just have a bunch of five game series? (Better yet, use the idea I've mentioned before.)

I get it in some other sports. College football has 100+ teams playing each other. It'd be hard to determine over 11 games who really is better. A playoff of sorts can help. But, MLB has 162 games over six months. There are games at home, games on the road. Games in the sun, the rain, the snow. The heat, the cool. Heathy games, and games dealing with injuries. After all of that, it's pretty easy to see which are the best teams. In the American League, the Astros and Indians showed they were 10% better than every other team in the league. That's pretty significant.

So, why would any other team get the chance to win the American League pennant?

Or the World Championship?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Looks Like it's Official

The Red Sox had a small window. Major League Baseball likes to keep the World Series pure and clean. (Aside from naming rights, apparently.) So they prefer teams don't make any major announcements during the Series. That makes sense. It's their premier event. You don't need anyone taking away from the moment by, say, announcing that they're opting out of a contract during the deciding game. So if the Red Sox wanted to name a new manager, it was now or never. After all, it seems that other teams were poking around their guy. How awkward would it be if while the Sox were politely waiting for the Series to end, the Mets made their guy an offer twice the size of theirs? So get it over with.

Which is why the Red Sox officially announced that they had hired Alex Cora as their new manager. They used that short window right after the ALCS ended but before the World Series began. It worked real slick.

But, was it the correct choice?

I'm pretty sure I have absolutely no idea. I know that the media is really high on him. But, that might just be because he used to be one of them. It also scares me a bit when the media longs for a guy. Is it because he's good for the Sox, or good for the articles. They're the ones that always say they "don't root for a team, they root for the story". They were all real excited about the stories Bobby Valantine would bring too. They are also excited about what Cora will bring to the clubhouse. Of course, most of them felt that John Farrell had a problem dealing with the clubhouse. I didn't see that, so I have a hard time giving Cora a "plus" for that. They like to mention that he's bilingual. That it'll help communicating, again in the clubhouse. I have to assume that's true. Although, again, Bobby Valentine was bilingual too.

So is Cora a good choice?

Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

He's a fresh start. He's something different. I don't think he'll sink the team to the second division or anything. But, it's not like I expect him to come down from on high and deliver a 110 win season. I will mention, though, that two of the last three managers of the Red Sox won the World Series in their first years. 

He's worked under and played under some pretty good managers over his years in the game. I have no doubt that he can put together a lineup. I bet he knows where the bullpen phone is.

So I'm ready to see it in action. Let's see what he can do with the reigning division champs.

What do you think?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Aaron Judge is the New Derek Jeter

As a Red Sox fan, I was always fearful when Derek Jeter strode to the plate, especially in anything resembling a clutch or otherwise important situation. I feared him getting a hit with every pitch. Not because I though he had a particularly good chance of getting a hit, of course. Certainly no better than any other member of the Yankees line-up. But I know that if he somehow did…if that slapped groundball somehow dribbled by a Red Sox fielder…I’d never hear the end of it.

After all, the clouds parted if Jeter made even a routine play. Catch a shallow pop fly, for instance, in fair territory and then take several more steps before oddly jumping into the stands instead of taking a right hand turn. My gosh, how many frigging times have I been forced to see that play while announcers insist he dove into the stands in order to make a catch. On a fair ball.

Or, what if there’s a throw from the right fielder in a playoff game that is quite clearly on line and in time to nab a runner at the plate. What if Jeter then needlessly inserts himself into the play, grabs the ball halfway to first base, take several steps into foul territory with it, slowly underhand flips the ball to the catcher who now has to catch the ball all the way to the first base dugout side of the plate and swipe the tag all the way back. (Jeter’s darn lucky the umpire blew the call and called the runner out.) How many times am I forced to endure the torture of seeing that play?

So, imagine how nausea inducing it is when he actually does something worthy of praise. My god, you’d think he’s the only player to ever hit a home run in a World Series game. Or hit a double in the playoffs. It’s simply maddening.

And now we have Aaron Judge making baseball unwatchable by doing the same thing. If he takes a couple steps to catch a fly ball and then keeps running until he crashes into the wall before awkwardly falling over? Oh my gosh, “HE CAN DO MORE THAN HIT!” Never mind the fact that Mookie Betts would be camped under that ball and make the catch flat footed. Never mind that it was actually a poor decision to needlessly crash into the wall. Never mind that it was a clear example of lack of athletic ability when he fell down after crashing. Oh, no. I’m forced to hear about the great defensive play. Over and over.

Or, what if he’s struggling at the plate? I mean, epic struggles. Setting strikeout record after strikeout record. Then, hits a meaningless home run to turn a 5-0 lead into an 8-0 lead? Oh my gosh. “ALL RISE!!! THE FACE OF BASEBALL DOES IT AGAIN!” Yup, once again he gets a meaningless hit. But, once again, I can’t escape the hype.

So, yes. When he’s at the plate in something resembling a clutch situation, I’m scared to death. If he happens to catch a mistake and do something worth celebrating. Well…I don’t even like to think about it.

Which is really too bad. Usually I’d enjoy watching baseball. Even a Yankees game if that’s all that I have. But, I don’t like feeling nauseated.

And that’s what happens every time Judge steps to the plate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #26

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 #26: A favorite oddball card from the 1980's.

I was waiting for this post. As I struggled through trying to find an oddball from the 50's, 60's, and 70's I knew this was coming. The 80's. My prime collecting years and, of course, prime territory for some odd stuff. 

So, when I flipped through my binders, I had plenty of choices. The Coca-Cola cards from the first couple years of the decade are favorites of mine, since I love Coke. But, I never actually pulled any of those myself. I had to rely on trades. There were, of course, numerous boxed sets to choose from. But, there were so many I was overwhelmed with choices. 

Then I came to this beauty.

Baseball cards you can get in a loaf of bread! How awesome is that? And, not just any card. In this case, it's a card of the greatest hitter that ever lived! As a J.J. Nissen spokesman, he was added to the set along with current superstars. So you can make a sandwich, and get a card of the Kid at the same time.

These cards I remember actively chasing. Buying the bread, and seeing who was inside. They're nice cards too. Well done on the design, even if the printing quality isn't exactly out of this world. Especially with Ted, the fact that they didn't have logos wasn't such a big deal. 

They're just so much fun!

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