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.

What people are reading this week