Friday, December 29, 2017

Quite the Year

Yup. It’s time for another year-end review here at Section 36! I know it’s a couple days earlier than usual, but I’m sure the anticipation was really getting to you and waiting any longer would just be too much. Besides, the Red Sox are doing NOTHING these days, so my list of topics to write about is just about all crossed off. So, it seemed like the perfect time to reflect on Section 36’s 2017. 

Boy was it quite the year.

This will be my 174th (and most likely final) post of 2017. That’s more than I posted last year, and is right around my goal of posting about every other day. That seems like a sustainable output level to me where I can balance quality and quantity. Hopefully that’s been enough to keep your interest throughout the year.  

Even more exciting than the number of posts is the growth of Section 36’s little corner of the World Wide Web. The Section 36 twitter account has added followers this year. The Section 36 Facebook page has about 10% more “likes” than this time last year. The Section 36 Instagram account had done about twice that well, increasing its number of followers by about 20% in the last year. More people are adding Section 36 on snapchat all the time, and even Section 36 Pinterest is seeing some activity. All of those numbers mean that more and more people are enjoying what Section 36 has to offer, which is just thrilling.

Last year at this time I pointed out that the world of Section 36 had expanded to other sports as well. Those individual blogs, while still lagging well behind this one, have seen growth as well. The Section 36 Sports conglomerate is reaching people though those blogs, its own Facebook page, and its own twitter account. It’s so exciting to have that much interaction with fans of all Boston sports.

The biggest news on the expansion front is due to my amazing visitors. In last year’s review, I was beyond thrilled that four titleholders from within the Miss America Organization had visited Section 36 in 2016. I was really hoping that would continue. Well, in 2017, Section 36 had the honor of hosting visits from an incredible 25 titleholders! That’s right. Twenty-five visitors, representing seven different states. I never would have dreamed of having a visitor almost every other week. They have been fascinating interviews, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed having them. In fact, the sheer number has led to even more expansion in the Section 36 family. You’ve probably noticed the “Miss America” tab on the top of the screen. There were so many visits, the sidebar couldn’t hold them anymore. They needed their own page. Then, when the visits still kept coming, I went even further. In September, I created Section 36 Pageants. That’s right. An entire new blog solely to celebrate the amazing women who have visited with us. This gave me the chance to not only organize the visits better, but to host them in an a more appropriate setting.  But wait, there’s more! Just a couple weeks ago, the Section 36 Pageants family added their own Facebook page and Instagram account! That gives a couple more places to share pictures and highlights of the incredible titleholder visitors. They’re so very new, and growing their audience all the time! Feel free to go follow them yourself!

Last year at this time, I was also excited about having sold a few more blog tank tops in 2016. I was hoping to be able to make another order to sell in 2017. Well, once again, that good news from last year has expanded to great news this year. In June of 2017, I opened a full-time Section 36 store! There you can not only buy the very popular tank tops, but t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing items too. You can even get mugs and stickers and other household items! It really allows me to offer a wider selection than I ever thought possible. I’ve been so excited every time a sale goes through, which has happened a lot more than I ever dreamed. You may even see a titleholder visitor or two wearing a shirt around town. How amazing is that!

Yes, 2017 has been another year of incredible growth here at Section 36! The family now includes six different blogs, a store, and a much wider social media presence than ever before. It can really touch on any number of things that can interest you. It’s been beyond my wildest dreams.

Hopefully you’ve continued to enjoy Section 36 through all this expansion. I’ve tried hard to stay true to myself, and what I want out of Section 36. If I’m failing at that, please call me out on it.

After everything that happened in 2017, I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!

I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

List of 36: Things I'd Like to See Under my Tree Tomorrow Morning

1. Star Wars Night tickets
2. Jim Rice 1975 throwback jersey
3. 1934 Wide World Gum Herb Pennock
4. Dave Roberts autographed "the steal" picture
5. Terry Francona autographed 2004 World Series baseball
6. David Price home jersey
7. David Ortiz autographed 2013 World Series baseball
8. "El Trece" SGA necklace
9. Section 36 t-shirt
10. Fenway used wall padding
11. Pedro Martinez away jersey
12. Theo Epstein autographed 2004 World Series baseball
13. 1939 Playball Ted Williams
14. Fenway used locker room chair
15. Xander Bogaerts Fenway used locker nameplate
16. Kelly Clarkson autographed 2004 World Series baseball
17. 2016 Red Sox media guide
18. Chris Sale jersey
19. Papi, by David Ortiz
20. Pedro Martinez retired number hat
21. 2017 Red Sox media guide
22. 2017 Topps Fire Benintendi auto
23. 2017 Topps Holiday Red Sox team set
24. Carl Yastrzemski SGA replica statue
25. Jackie Bradley Jr #19 shirt
26. 1904 Fan Craze Jimmy Collins
27. Fenway dirt
28. Section 36 mug
29. Chad Kuhl-Amanda Debus dual signed baseball
30. John Henry autographed 2004 World Series baseball
31. John Farrell autographed 8x10
32. Rafael Devers autographed jersey
33. Mookie Betts SGA bowling pin
34. Win-dance-repeat SGA bobblehead set
35. Grady Little SGA bobblearm
36. Autographed pictures of Section 36 visitors

What's on your list?

Friday, December 22, 2017

More Mitch

I know I'm super late on this, but I wanted to at least touch on the Red Sox latest huge signing. They brought back fan-favorite Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal. Surprisingly, this was met with not much fanfare from Red Sox Nation. 

Remember when I said "fan-favorite"?

I mean, sure, I guess adding a player you already had isn't cause for a party. But, it was an important move to shore up a position that previously had a hole. 

And the Sox did it smartly. Looking at some other deals being handed out, and some of the projections of other possible deals, the Sox got a comparable player to a far smaller contract. It was a great move.

Because, again, the Sox don't need huge moves. They're the champs, if you remember. If you assume that Betts and Bogaerts will rebound under their new manager, and you believe in Benintendi and Devers then the Sox are all set. Sure, if they wanted to find a place for JD Martinez, or some other superstar they can acquire via the trade market, I'm not going to complain. 

And, frankly, there's every indication that they're going to find something like that. After all, in the time Dombrowski's been here, he's traded for Sale and Kimbrel, and signed David Price. He doesn't sit back. He goes for it.

So, even though it would be fine if it were, this isn't the end of the Red Sox rebuild. Stay patient.

And wait until you see what's next.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Josie Pearce Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Josie Pearce is a pianist, the current Miss Berlin-Gorham, and (despite being a native Californian) a
Red Sox fan. After wrapping up her semester at Dartmouth, I wondered if she'd be willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. Luckily she agreed. I hope you’ll be glad she did.

So, let’s see what happens when Josie Pearce visits Section 36!

What made you decide to compete for the Miss Berlin-Gorham title?
I competed as a teen, and I wanted to compete as a Miss when I went to college. Now that I’ve been at Dartmouth for over a year, I thought it was time to get involved in the pageant community in New Hampshire. Not to mention, I was excited about the potential for scholarships! 

How did you celebrate winning your crown?
I got chicken nuggets! Chicken nuggets are my favorite food, and I was not eating them for a while leading up to pageant. It was a nice treat! 

Your talent is classical piano. How do you decide which piece you’ll perform at Miss NH?
Deciding a piece for Miss New Hampshire is a big task because you have to see what is possible to learn within a few months and find something that the audience will think is entertaining. The piece also has to show off your skill level, but still be the right amount of “pageant flashy.”

How did you select your platform, “Lupis Foundation of America”?
I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 15. Since my very first pageant, the Lupus Foundation of America has been my platform because they support researchers who are finding a cure for Lupus. The foundation also provides support groups for patients and puts on events where you can meet other people suffering from Lupus. 

What part of the upcoming Miss NH competition are you most nervous about?
I am most nervous about making sure everything is prepared on time. I only have 5 months or so left to prepare talent, swimsuit, interview, etc. 

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Berlin-Gorham?
My overall goal as Miss Berlin-Gorham is to bring awareness to invisible illnesses. I think it is so important for young girls to have positive role models who embody strength, despite living with a chronic illness. I know when I was first diagnosed, Venus Williams was an influential person to me. She has Sjogren’s, which is another autoimmune disease. Knowing that she was still able to pursue a professional tennis career gave me hope that I could be successful, as well. 

Who is your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
I do not know much about baseball, but my favorite player is Dustin Pedroia. I think it is cool that he has been on the team for so long and that he is such a great player. He is also originally from California, like me! 

You were able to make it to Fenway for a game this season. What was that experience like?
Being at Fenway was super fun! It was my first time at a Red Sox game. I’m pretty sure it was pouring rain, but the energy from the crowd was tangible! 

What is your favorite memory from the 2017 Red Sox season?My favorite memory from this season was when Pedroia made a bare-handed throw at a game in Texas, which eventually resulted in Carlos Gomez getting tagged out. 


I'm sure we all remember that play!

As always, I want to give a huge thank you to Josie for finding time in her busy schedule to visit with us. It's always so much fun! Another thank you to her for providing the  pictures to go along with the interview. I'm glad she was able to find one from her visit to Fenway.

As Josie continues her time as Miss Berlin-Gorham, be sure to keep track of her on all the official Miss Berlin-Gorham Facebook and Instagram accounts! You can also follow along with her adventures on her personal Instagram account. That way you won't miss a thing.

I also want to wish Josie luck at the upcoming Miss New Hampshire competition. It would be so fantastic to have a member of the Section 36 family bring home that crown!

Thanks again for the visit Josie!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pedro, by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman

Pedro Martinez was the Red Sox ace from the second he was
acquired from the Montreal Expos until the second he signed with the New York Mets. Anyone who had the honor of watching him pitch had an experience they won't soon forget. But what drove the man to be the best pitcher to ever hold a baseball? What life events shaped him? How does someone go from a mango tree to the baseball Hall of Fame? This book explores all of that, from Pedro's point of view. 

I'm ashamed that it took me so long to finally read this book. But, once I started I found it impossible to put down. My one complaint? The book is too short. Oh, sure, it brings it for the full 336 pages. But, that covered his entire life. With the exceptional storytelling in the book, I wanted 336 pages on every season. I would eat that up.

Because this book told you everything. There was the "young Pedro" section. Stories from his childhood that I had never heard. He dove into his time in the minor leagues as he struggled to have people believe in him. His time with the Dodgers and Expos was discussed with wonderful detail. All leading to the awesomeness that was his Red Sox career. There were behind the scenes stories that I always thought I knew, but not in the same way. There were new explanations for old events. There was so much, and it never stopped.

Now, I will point out that this was written from his point of view. So, he was never the villain in any of his stories. He was never late, it was always a misunderstanding. Now, knowing what I know about the Boston media, I'm inclined to believe Pedro's version. But, it's worth pointing out that at times it felt a little defensive.

That, however, wasn't nearly enough to take away from all the incredible content in this book. If you haven't read it yet, don't be a baffoon. Go read it today.

Rating: 4 bases

Monday, December 11, 2017

Why Did the Red Sox Fire John Farrell?

It seems to me that many Red Sox fans have forgotten their answer to that question. Or, they've decided to change their minds all of a sudden.

I was told that the Sox needed to get rid of Farrell because he was costing them wins. He wasn't getting everything he could out of the players he had. Without him holding them back, the Sox would have won even more games than they did.

Because, that's the only reason you'd fire a manager coming off back-to-back division titles, right? Because you could do even better with the next guy?

Then, they got the next guy. Alex Cora was their top target. He's the guy who can form this group of talent into a real team. He's going to get the Sox over the hump. 93 wins and a division championship is the floor when it comes to expectations. 

Not only that, but the Sox expect to be a better team. With any luck David Price will be David Price again. They're looking at  way to add a little power to the line-up. Even just having Devers at third for an entire season would look to be a significant upgrade. 

So, replacing Farrell along with overall improvement makes the Sox much better than last year, right? Otherwise, why did the Sox do it? 

So why do I care if the Yankees signed Giancarlo Stanton? The Yankees already led the league in home runs last season. They didn't win the division. Sure, they made their team better. Maybe a handful of wins better. Which is good for them, since they had to make up that many games compared to the Red Sox in order to catch up. 

So, it makes the race tighter. Assuming everything works out for the Yankees. Assuming Aaron Judge repeats his 2017 performance, even though there's no reason to believe he will. Assuming Stanton still produces when he's not on a last place team. And, yes, I would have preferred a cake walk. But this news is no reason to cry in your cereal or demand the Red Sox make ridiculous moves. The Yankees needed to come and get them, and they gave it their best shot.

Frankly, Red Sox fans should be thrilled that the Yankees traded for Stanton. They overpaid for a player they didn't need because they were so desperate to close the gap between you and them. The defending division champs improved, and they had to do something to try and respond. So, they made the big splash. The problem for them is that they may be done. So, when the Sox add JD Martinez, or even Eric Hosmer, the gap widens again. 

Then what are the Yankees going to do?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Katie Elliott Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Katie Elliott is an incredible singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Maine. I took much longer than I should have to see if she'd like to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. Luckily she agreed. I hope you’ll be glad she did.

So, let’s see what happens when Katie Elliott visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Maine?
Photo By
Susan Costa Photography
After winning Miss Maine, I celebrated with a cheeseburger and sweet potato french fries from Red Robin! I also visited my camp about a week later and enjoyed some time at the lake before the craziness that is Miss America prep began. 

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss Maine?
I've been surprised by the amount of people who think that being Miss Maine means I won a "beauty pageant." There are still so many stereotypes about pageantry in general, but once I explain that I have earned over $10,000 in scholarships to pay off my student debt and serve as the state ambassador to the Children's Miracle Network people seem pleasantly surprised. The Miss America Organization empowers young women all over the country and I love sharing what the four points of the crown stand for (service, scholarship, style, success) and educating people about the benefits of competing. 

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss America competition?
Competing at Miss America was one of the best experiences of my
life. I will never forget my two weeks in Atlantic City and the amazing friendships I made with women across the country. However, I learned the most about myself during the preparation process. So much goes into getting ready for an endeavor like Miss America and there were days filled with coaching, traveling, and appearances. Sometimes I wondered how I could possibly get it all done and still feel prepared. Once the end of August rolled around I was ready and excited to leave. I learned that I really can accomplish my goals no matter how scary or overwhelming it may seem at first. The best thing to do is make a plan and follow it. The only person stopping you from achieving your goals is you. 

How did you choose your platform, “F.L.A.G. — Female Leadership in American Government”?
Growing up I have always been interested in government and different political systems around the world. Civic engagement is incredibly important because government affects nearly everything in our lives ranging from the roads we drive on to the restaurants we eat at. Not only do we have an incredibly low voter turnout but our governments do not represent all populations accurately. There is a huge disparity between the amount of men and women serving at the local, state, and federal level when women make up over half of the US population. The State of Maine is slightly ahead with women making up roughly 35% of the State Legislature. However, only 19% of Congress is comprised of women. These statistics will not change unless we have more women becoming more civically educated, voting during elections, and running for office. Little girls need role models so they will consider politics to be a viable career path. My mission with my platform is to encourage more women to enter the political process and stress the importance of political participation.I am also hoping to influence the civics curriculum in our schools. There are very few requirements outlined by the state government for a civics course outside of the fact that public schools need to offer one. Having civics be taught during students senior year of high school will hopefully improve the voter turnout of young adults. We are fortunate to live in a democracy and together we can improve our statistics. 

As a talented singer, is there a venue where you’d especially like to sing?
I have always wanted to sing the National Anthem at a Red Sox Game. This was actually what I wrote as my fun fact for my Miss America paperwork! In the program book you'll see it on the Miss Maine page under "Secret Wish or Dream." Think you can help me out Section 36?? 

Is there a goal you’d like to accomplish before your time as Miss Maine ends?
I am hoping to attend as many events in as many different towns as
possible. Maine is a huge, and while I live outside of Portland which is in the southern part of the state, I would love to make it to the Presque Isle or Caribou area. 

If you can’t be in Section 36, where do you (or would you) like to sit to watch the Red Sox?
I'd love to sit in the green monster! The view must be amazing because you can see everything. Plus it would be awesome to catch a home run and my chances seem pretty decent there. 

Who was your favorite Red Sox player growing up? Why?
I'm sure this is a very common answer, but I have always admired David Ortiz. Not only is he an amazing player, but he serves as a great role model for young people. When he speaks people listen and you can tell he is a genuinely good person. 

What was your favorite memory from the 2017 Red Sox season?
This isn't a memory from the 2017 season, but a Red Sox memory I will always have was in 2013 during my freshman year at Wheaton College. This was the year the Red Sox won the World Series, and I remember there were roughly 40 of us packed in the common room of my dorm watching the game on a small flat screen. Once they won students were running around campus cheering and a few even jumped in Peacock Pond. This was such a fun and happy memory that now 4 years later I remember it perfectly! My friends and I even took the train into Boston to watch the parade and enjoy a day in the city. 


That definitely sounds like a perfect memory. And, how about it. Think we can help her sing the anthem at Fenway Park someday?

As always, I want to give a huge thank you to Katie for taking the time to visit with us. It's always a pleasure to discuss things people are so passionate about. Another big thank you to her for providing the wonderful pictures to go along with the interview. They definitely made the post much better.

As Katie finishes her term as Miss Maine, be sure to keep track of her on all the official Miss Maine social media accounts: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and even Snapchat

Thanks again for the visit Katie!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Well, That Helps Clear Things Up

This hot stove season has been moving along slower than a glacier. Nobody have been making any moves anywhere, and especially not the Red Sox. I'm not exactly sure what the deal was, but it seems like most teams have been waiting on that first shoe to drop.

The shoe that most people are looking at is Giancarlo Stanton. When the reigning MVP is on the trading block, that certainly affects lots of plans. Which team will be able to add his bat? Which team will have to clear his salary? Which team will have to scramble to get their Plan B? That's a pretty significant shift of power. So, teams were kind of mulling about to see if they, or their rivals, suddenly upgraded their roster.

Another, smaller, shoe is the posting of Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. While I'm not sure what he'll do in the states, the two-way threat is an interesting roster addition. Definitely something that a team could use to their advantage.

It appears that both those shoes have fallen off their Red Sox. Boston has been told that they are not in the running for either player. That has given me a nice sense of relief. I wasn't exactly jazzed about either player. Don't get me wrong, if Stanton fell into my lap, I'd find a place for him to play. But, he wasn't enough of an upgrade over the current club to justify the price tag, both in salary and in trade bait. Remember, we're talking about the two-time defending AL East champs. They don't need a wholesale change. So, giving up real talent for a few home runs would have been a risk.

Similarly for Ohtani, there wasn't really a place for him. Sure, the Sox could use a fifth starter. And, sure, using him as a fielder a few days a week would help save a roster spot. But, it seemed like a bit more trouble than it was worth.

So, now what? Well, unfortunately, nothing quite yet. If the Red Sox were going to sign a free agent, I imagine they're still waiting on Stanton. If you're a player waiting to sign your best deal, you're going to wait for the team that misses out of Stanton to start getting desperate. So, JD Martinez might not sign until after Stanton moves. Then, the other free agents will wait to be a team's Plan C or D. 

So, for the immediate future, the Sox are still waiting. But, it's getting closer. Things should be falling into place relatively soon. 

I can't wait to see what happens.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Kaitlin Soucy Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Kaitlin Soucy is a talented dancer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Capital Area. Since it's been a
few months now since she won her crown, I decided to see if she'd like to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I was so glad when she agreed. I’m sure you’ll be glad she did too.

So, let’s see what happens when Kaitlin Soucy visits Section 36!

Why did you decide to compete for the Miss Capital Area title?
Every year, I compete in local competitions as a chance to be able to promote my personal platform, win scholarships, and hopefully be able to make it back to the state pageant. Miss Capital Area was my fourth pageant of the season, and I was really excited to have the chance to be able to work with the director Michelle Hanson. Michelle is one of the best directors I know, and to have the year to work with her is an absolute blast!  

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Capital Area?
I have a bit of a weird tradition that I do after I win a pageant, and that is to go home and order Domino’s Pizza. It is a little strange, but Domino’s is my favorite place to order from and there is always time for pizza! 

Which part of the upcoming Miss NH competition are you most nervous about?
My mindset going into Miss New Hampshire last year was to just have fun and whatever happens, happens. It was my first year and I did not expect anything because I was still getting my feet wet in the Miss division. This year I really want to go in with that mindset again, and to just have fun with the experience. Of course, you always get a little bit nervous before each phase of competition, but I really try to focus on just having fun and being me!  

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss Capital Area?
What has surprised me the most about being Miss Capital Area is how close the city and community of Concord is. I am from Manchester, so I never really spent a lot of time in the Concord area. But every time I am in Concord, it amazes me how close the people are and how caring the community is. Everyone comes together to support one another, and it is really cool to see. 

How did you choose your platform, “Volunteerism: Lead the Change You Wish to See in the World”?
I chose my platform, “Volunteerism: Lead the Change You Wish to See in the World” because volunteering has always been a cause that I hold near and dear to my heart. Growing up, I attended a school district that has a large population of low income students, and the need for help in the community was always great. I have been very fortunate in my life to have grown up with a family has not had to worry about where our next meal is coming from, or if there would be a roof over my head every night. Going to school every day and seeing the diversity that is in my school’s population has opened my eyes to the needs that not only my community, but the surrounding communities are faced with every day. I chose to make this diversity something to motivate me to make a change, rather than just be a number in the population who goes to school every day, does their work, and leaves at the bell. 

Your talent for the competition is “ballet en pointe”. What’s your favorite thing about dancing on stage?
My favorite thing about dancing on stage is the rush of adrenaline you get when you take that first step and the music starts playing. I have been dancing for seventeen years, and it holds a really special place in my heart and is something I am really passionate about. To be able to share that love and passion is one of the best feelings in the world. 

Who is/was your favorite Red Sox player/ Why?
My favorite Red Sox player would have to be Dustin Pedroia because even though he wasn’t the biggest guy on the team, he proved that size doesn’t matter as long as you are willing to work hard and never give up!

What’s the best part about sitting in Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox?
The best part about sitting in Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox is that you are always with your friends and family and it is such an energetic atmosphere where everyone comes together. I really don’t think there is anything like it! 

What is your favorite memory from the 2017 Red Sox season?
My favorite memory of the 2017 Red Sox season would be when I got to go for my senior class trip in May. It was such a fun night out with my friends as we celebrated the last couple of weeks we had together in high school. At the game we got Class of 2017 Red Sox t-shirts and the entire night was such a fun time, even if we got back at 12:45 in the morning and had school the next day! 


That definitely sounds like an amazing trip!

As always, I want to thank Kaitlin for doing this interview. I'm always flattered when someone takes time out of their day for a visit. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview. Did you notice the one of her in Section 36? Perfection!

As Kaitlin continues her time as Miss Capital Area, I encourage you to follow her on the official Facebook page

And, of course, I want to wish Kaitlin luck this summer when she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown. There will be a few prior visitors there. How awesome would it be for a Section 36 visitor to come out on top?

Thanks again Kaitlin, and good luck!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #30

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 complete the challenge with Challenge #30: Your favorite card in your collection.

Wow. Did I really say "complete"? This is the last one? I can't believe it!

Unfortunately, this one poses a problem for me. I'm not a "favorite" type of guy. Ask me to list my favorite movie, and I give you a list of five to ten. Each are appreciated for different reasons. I can't just pick one. Similarly, "favorite card" is nearly impossible. Is it my most valuable card? My oldest? The tobacco card I never thought I'd own? Or the autograph card I pulled from a pack? A Ted Williams card? A Pedro Martinez? Tris Speaker? Mookie Betts? There are so many amazing cards out there, I couldn't narrow it down. So, I figured I'd go ahead and break the rules. After all, who's going to report me? I went after a card I no longer own. Although, I did at one time.

What? Why would a Red Sox blogger pick a Mets card as his favorite?

Well, I'm sure I've told this story before. But, in elementary school, I was at a friends house when he invited me to go to the comic book store with him. Sure, why not? While i was there, i saw that there were some baseball cards in some cases. Huh. There was also a flyer on top of the case with cards the store was looking to buy. One of those cards was the 1985 Topps Dwight Gooden. They were offering $3.50 for copies of the card.

Hey. Wait a minute. I have one of those. You mean it's worth money? People buy and sell them? I went home to tell my parents, and they brought me back to the shop along with the Gooden. I was told that my card wasn't in perfect condition, but they still offered me $3. 


I never looked back.

Now, before you think I only got into this hobby because I was a money-hungry kid, that's not it. It wasn't the money coming in, because even back then it's not like $3 made me rich. But, it was the realization that baseball card collecting was a "thing". It wasn't just something you bought a pack of at the convenience store and stuck in your sports cards locker. It was a hobby with shops, and supplies, and prices, and collectors. It was a way to spend your time.

It was legitimate.

So, it was OK to buy lots of cards. Lots of people built complete sets. You could trade them, or sell them, or store them. It was a hobby. How exciting!

So, I bought more cards from the shop. I sold more cards back to the shop. (The 1986 Topps Gooden netted me $1.50) And I amassed a collection. A collection that evolved quite a bit in the years since, but one that is still going strong.

Not sure that would be the case if it weren't for that 1985 Topps Gooden.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Kacie Flahive Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Kacie Flahive is a singer, Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Kingston. You may even remember her
from the picture with Section 36 that she submitted some time ago. I thought it would be fantastic to finally ask her if she'd like to visit with us to discuss those topics, and more. Thankfully she agreed. Hope you like the results as much as I do!

So, let’s see what happens when Kacie Flahive visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Kingston?
I bought myself a planner! Something I decided early on was that I
wanted to better myself this year and stay organized and on top of important dates. It was amazing bonding with my Miss Kingston/Seacoast family early on, especially because our Outstanding Teen titleholders are sisters! It really could not have worked out more perfectly, and I'm incredibly lucky to have such supportive people in my life. 

How did you choose your platform, “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Opting to Adopt”?
It was actually a pretty easy choice for me, as I have been a volunteer at the MSPCA at Nevin's Farm for two years. Also being a part of a family who has adopted animals in the past, promoting the adoption of animals has always been something I've been passionate about. It's a topic that's so close to my heart, and doesn't always get the public attention it deserves. 

As a talented singer, what is your favorite thing about performing in front of an audience?
I love the nerves I get every time I perform. No matter how many times I have sang on that stage, or sang the same song, I still get just as nervous every time. It used to be something that held me back a little, but now I use those jitters to push myself to have the best performance I can give. I like to think those nerves motivate me to give the audience a performance to remember. 

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Kingston?
I'd really like to challenge myself! My first year in the program was a learning experience for me, but now that I'm more comfortable and have more confidence I'd love to see what else I can do with this wonderful program. A bit of a side goal, I'd like to increase the amount of events I sing the national anthem for. Being asked to sing the anthem for any of our sponsored events is such an honor, and I love being able to give back to our communities and our sponsors in that special way. 

What did you learn from the Miss Kingston competition that will help you compete for Miss NH?
I think the sheer size of competing in Miss Kingston was something that helped my get back into the Miss New Hampshire mindset. At that competition I believe we had somewhere around 19 contestants, which almost seems like nothing compared to the 28 that compete on the Miss NH stage. It was my first local of the year, so I'm thankful I had such talented girls to compete against and really bring me back into that level mindset you need for states. It was a good reminder for me that no matter the stage, no matter the contestants, and no matter the title; you always have to be bringing your best attitude and preparation to the competition. 
Photo by
Craig Michaud Photography

What part of the upcoming Miss NH competition are you most nervous about?
I wouldn't say it makes me nervous, but I'm interested to see how I leave my mark in the program now that I am officially past my "Rookie" year. We had a really young class last year, and a lot of new competitors (including myself). I'm excited to see how I can step up to the plate and compete now that I have some experience under my belt. 

Who was you favorite Red Sox player growing up? Why?
Curt Schilling! I honestly can't even give you a "why", but as a kid he was just always my favorite! I remember having a set of old baseball cards, and one of them was a special edition one for Schilling about the famed "bloody sock". I was only 5 during the 2004 ACLS game against the Yankees when that happened and the following history-making World Series; but it's a memory that I've always found near to my heart. Something I would always look forward to when I would visit my grandparents (especially my Bumpa, who is one of the biggest Red Sox fans I've ever known) was that whenever there were newspaper clippings of the Red Sox or Curt Schilling, they would always cut it out and leave it for me.  

What’s the best part about watching a game in Fenway Park?
Everything about being inside Fenway Park is magical. From my first time visiting as a 5-year-old, to my high school senior trip, that park has continued to amaze me. I might be a little biased, but Boston sports fans are (in my opinion) the best in the world. There's such a special feeling being surrounded by your fellow Sox fans, singing Sweet Caroline and eating Fenway Franks, that all you can concentrate on is being in that exact moment. I think "magical" is the best way to describe a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. 

What was your favorite memory from the 2017 Red Sox season?

My favorite memory was from the game I was able to attend with my senior graduating class. I just graduated from high school this past June, and being able to drive into Boston with your classmates and make memories at Fenway is something you look forward to since freshman year. Being only days before our graduation ceremony, it was such a cool experience to make some final memories with my classmates and teachers. Before that, the last time I attended a game at Fenway was in 2004. It almost felt fitting that I was able to mark my bridge into adulthood at a place that gave me some of my favorite childhood memories. I remember as we left after those extra innings, I looked back into the park one more time just to take it all in. Looking back on it now, I can feel myself feeling the excitement I had being there. 


I couldn't have said that any better myself!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Kacie for doing this interview. She did an incredible job. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview. There were so many amazing shots, they really helped the interview tell its story.

As Kacie continues her time as Miss Kingston, I encourage you to follow her on the official Miss Kingston Facebook page. (As luck would have it, you can catch up with prior visitor Samantha there as well!)

And, of course, I want to wish Kacie luck next summer as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown. How awesome would it be for a Section 36 visitor to come out on top?

Thanks again Kacie, and good luck!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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

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

What people are reading this week