Monday, October 22, 2018

What more could you ask for?

When the season started, the Sox had a good team. We knew they were good. They were the defending division champs, and had added slugger JD Martinez. The sky was really the limit 

But, as we knew, the Sox may have won the division last year...but they didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Astros pretty quickly. So, they had that cloud hanging over them pretty much all season. Sure, the might be good (again) but can we trust it? Or would we get our expectations up (again), only to have them deflated in crushing fashion (again)?

Now, to actually harp on that all season is a pretty pathetic way to live your life. But, it’s always a question. Teams are (oddly) defined by how they play during potentially nineteen specific games as opposed to the other 162. Or, even any other selection of 19 games. So, as much fun as it was to watch the regular season, another early postseason exit would be annoying at best. Once the playoffs started, it was anticipation to see if they could move past that first series. 

Once they did that, it became fun again. 

There was a definite difference between the 2004 playoff run and the 2007 playoff run. In 2004, the team was still “cursed”. People weren’t happy. They were waiting for the Sox to blow it at every chance. Even up three games to none in the World Series, people weren’t comfortable. But, in 2007 it was different. The curse was gone. The Red Sox, in fact, didn’t always lose. More people seemed to be enjoying the run. Down 3-1 to Cleveland? No problem. Beckett will win game five, and the Sox’ll take the next two at home. The World Series? No problem. They’ll roll over them. 

This year seems to be both at once. Until the Yankees series, people were waiting for a collapse. They may have won 108 games, but that bullpen will kill them! But, then they steamrolled the Yankees, and there was a switch flipped. They could win a playoff series after all. They’re actually a good team! We should probably enjoy it!

Which is how I plan to approach the World Series. This team is good, and I see no reason why they should lose. 

So, why not enjoy it? I’m excited to see this team show what they can do. What Chris Sale can bring. What a confident David Price looks like in the playoffs. What this lineup can continue to do. 

This should be a lot of fun!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sophia Lovis Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Sophia Lovis is a singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Merrimack. I’m thrilled she was
willing to take some time out of her schedule to visit with us to
discuss those topics, and a few more. I’m sure you’ll love reading everything she had to say!

So, let’s see what happens when Sophia Lovis visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Merrimack crown?
While I wish my answer was more exciting, I celebrated my crown with a good night's sleep (and by that I mean I slept for about thirteen hours that night!) Our check-in time that day was 10 AM, and by the time I was done taking pictures and helping clean up it was easily 11 at night. Considering the time I also needed to get ready in the morning and drive over, as well as go home and take my makeup off, I think I deserved it!

You didn't sign up to compete for Miss Merrimack until the last minute. What made you finally decide to compete?
As a current senior, I have been looking at colleges and the overwhelming cost of it has really sunk in over the last few months. So when I saw Miss Merrimack was offering a $1200 scholarship I simply asked myself “What do I have to lose?” and, well, here I am!

This spring will be your first time competing for the Miss New Hampshire crown. What part of that competition are you most nervous about?
I’m most nervous for Onstage Question. The whole fishbowl concept is seriously nerve-wracking, and I think it’s a competition that you’re either prepared for or you’re not. To prepare, my mom and I have been reviewing current events every day for about fifteen minutes, discussing both sides and forming educated opinions. While I may not know what question I’ll get, I’m going to make sure I am as prepared as possible.

How did you select your platform: Be BIG - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?
I have been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America since 2016, and my little sister has been my best friend and mini-me since December 6th of that year. We aren’t matched anymore because she does not attend the same location where we would meet, but we text all the time and are constantly in touch. For my Little, it’s a fun, reliable, and encouraging relationship. For me? Nothing beats that smile when I walk through the door (and of course the bear hug).

What is your favorite part about performing your talent onstage?
Talent is not my strongest competition, but I love to be able to stand on stage with all eyes on just me and simply sing. I might not be the best singer technically, but I truly love it, and I think that shows onstage.

You make appearances as Disney Princesses. Which Disney princess would you say is most like you?
I would definitely say that Anna is most like me-which is funny, because she is one of the only princesses I don’t play! Anna, like myself, is bubbly, energetic, and fiercely loyal to her sister. And if you ask anyone that knows me, they can certainly attest to all those traits.

Which current Red Sox player is your favorite? Why?
My current favorite Red Sox player is definitely JD Martinez. He brings a much-needed maturity to a young team, and could be the MVP of the league.

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you'd especially like to experience?
Before I die, I would love to throw out the first pitch for the Sox. It’s totally on my bucket list, I just need to figure out how to get to a place that I would be worthy of that!

If you had an extra ticket to a Red Sox game, who would you take with you? Why?
I would take one of my friends from the Boudreau family. They’re baseball fans (that is seriously the understatement of the century) and I think it would be a blast to take one of them. They are extremely loud while watching a game at home, so I can’t even imagine how hyped up one of them would be at a real live game!


I hope she finds a way to throw out that first pitch!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Sophia for doing this interview. I also want to thank her for providing so many amazing pictures to accompany the interview. They make it a lot more entertaining for everyone.

As Sophia continues her time as Miss Merrimack, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Merrimack Facebook page. It’ll be worth your time!

I also want to wish Sophia the best of luck this spring as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown! It would be incredible to have a second consecutive Section 36 visitor take home that title! 

Thanks again Sophia, and good luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It Was Fan Interference

It was clearly fan interference. It was so clear that I can't believe there's any actual argument. It's so clear that even Joe West could see it from 100 feet away.

Which is actually the best argument in favor of fan interference.

I assume that when an umpire is running out towards the wall, and can't quite tell, that the default ruling is “home run”. Without any evidence to the contrary, the umpire assumes the ball went into the stands. But, West didn't make that call. He pretty quickly signaled fan interference. he said that he saw something. That he saw a fan reaching out and hitting Mookie’s glove. That he could tell Mookie was away from the wall. That he could see all that. After all, he was at a pretty good angle to see that sort of thing. I haven't seen a camera show from his angle yet, but I bet you can tell if someone is leaning. And everything he's said after the game repeated that. Which you can say, of course he's going to say that. But, remember in 1999 when the ump admitted that he didn't see Knoblauch make the tag? That he only anticipated the tag being made? Or after the interference call on Will Middlebrooks in 2013 where the umpire claimed Will was in the baseline, when he wasn't? So, Joe West sticking to his story, and having his story hold up is actually a thing.

But, you don't need his angle or his call to determine that it was fan interference. But, it helps if you combine a few different angles. First, you need to know how the seats are situated behind the wall. They're close to the wall. Very close. So close that if you stand up, you're pretty much up against the wall. So, someone standing straight up in front of their seat is basically making their stomach a vertical extension of the wall.

So, if you're standing up, and your stomach is the face of the wall, anything in front of your stomach is within the field of play. Unless you're leaning your upper body back at a 45-degree angle.

Now, back to the view we've all been staring at all day. Do the fans have anything in front of their stomach? Absolutely. They all have their hands out in front of them. Not even just crossed in front of them, but reaching out in front of them. One guy is reaching out so far he has to brace himself against the wall using his other hand. You only need to do that if you're reaching out over the wall, not if you're staying behind it.

It's not even close.

So, now that we've determined that the fans interfered with a player on the field of play, we can discuss the other loophole people like to use. They claim Betts wasn't going to catch it anyway. They give two lame excuses for this train of thought. My personal favorite is that Betts was already closing his glove before the ball got there. It had nothing to do with a fan hitting his glove. Mookie was closing it himself, so he would have missed the ball.


Mookie is probably the best defensive right fielder in baseball. Have you ever seen him try to make a catch, but close the glove too early only to have the ball bounce off the side of the glove? Have you ever seen anyone try to catch a ball with a closed glove? Manny? Of course not. That's because you don't manually close the glove yourself. The force of the ball entering the pocket of the glove basically closes it for you. It’s crazy to think that Mookie is trying to time the closure of his glove for the exact instant the ball goes inside. I can't even fathom how that would work.

The other excuse is that you can’t assume Mookie would make such an incredible catch. Which, I admit is a valid question. It's also one that the fans cheated us out of ever being able to learn the answer to. A lot has to go into a catch like that. Tracking the ball down. Leaping to reach it, timing the leap just right, and grabbing the ball out of the air. That’s not easy. But, the key part is that Mookie already did the toughest parts. You know how if a third baseman makes an amazing dive to stop the ball, gets up, and throws the ball into the stands you can still give him an error? It was a difficult play, but he did the difficult part before the error. Once he's standing there with the ball, it's a routine throw. That's where Mookie was. He already ran to the wall. He already jumped. He already timed the jump perfectly. He already had his glove in the right spot. We know all of this because the ball actually hit his glove after the fan knocked it closed. So he did all the hard stuff. All that was left was the routine part of actually catching a flyball. That's much easier to assume.

So I wish people would stop saying the Sox got lucky. Unless you consider an umpire making the correct call "luck". I wish headlines would stop saying that the Astros had a home run taken away. They never had a home run. It would have been an out if the fans weren't there. The headlines could say "Great play by Mookie prevents Astros home run" because that would at least be true. 

It was a great play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Trade Deadline Deals

Remember when everyone was pretty annoyed with Dave Dombrowski at the trade deadline? Everyone insisted that the Red Sox needed bullpen help. Like really needed bullpen help. But, Dombrowski didn't listen. He traded to fill in some other holes instead. Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce were added to the team to help out. A good bat off the bench, and a great tweener starter who might just help the bullpen in the playoffs. Pearce has been every bit of that, including hitting the go ahead home run in a crucial game three last night. Eovaldi got the start and the win last night. He's been the Red Sox most consistent and effective starter in the playoffs. He's even been able to help the bullpen after all. Because he took over the third starter role, Rick Porcello has been able to pitch the eighth inning in two Red Sox victories.

Oh, and the big bullpen arm that the Astros picked up? He gave up five runs, including a grand slam, after hitting consecutive batters in the eighth inning to blow the game wide open.

It's almost like Dombrowski knows what he's doing.

So the Red Sox now sit having taken back home field advantage. The pressure is now all on the Houston Astros. There are two more games in Texas, and the Red Sox really only need to win one of those to put a stranglehold on the series. The Astros are pretty much in must-win territory from here on out.

Which gives the Red Sox the luxury of having options. This is especially nice with the health questions with Chris Sale. While I prefer stomach issues to shoulder issues, neither one is great if you’re in a dire situation. But, now the Sox aren't in a terrible spot if Sale is waiting until game six, or even seven, before taking the mound. While you certainly want to win as many games as you can as soon as you can, it's nice to be able to think ahead. So it's good to be on top.

Being on top 3-1 is even better, which is why tonight's game is pretty big on its own. I can only imagine that Rick Porcello will show up huge. He's been on fire this postseason. Since the Red Sox got to Morton when they faced him earlier in the year...without Mookie...I like their chances against him tonight.

Let's see how it goes!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Almost Everything!

So close. David Price needed one more out to qualify for the win last night. But, he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning, after finding himself in a bit of a jam. It was probably the right call, but I do wish he could have gotten that first playoff win as a starter. 

It’s those last few words that annoy me. It’s one of those classic “moving the goalposts” things. Because it seems that people who don’t like David Price are constantly finding ways to confirm their belief that he is a terrible pitcher and waste of money. 

Now, I’m not here to tell you that Price has been dominant in the playoffs. I do think that overall he’s generally been good. But people like to point out all his flaws. He’s never won a game in the playoffs! Well, actually he as. Ok, then he’s never won as a starter! 

Because they need to find qualifiers. Because he has dominated in the playoffs. Just ask the 2008 Red Sox. He’s gotten wins from that dominance. He’s pitched well as a starter, and not gotten the win. So, if they’re not going to count times he pitched well but didn’t win, I’m sure as heck going to mention a time he didn’t pitch well but did. If he had just gotten one more out!

Someone who did start prying a playoff monkey off their back was Mookie. He had not exactly been playing like Mookie in the playoffs. Admittedly it’s been a small sample. But, people were nervous. Which is why watching him lead off last night with a double before scoring was such a welcome sight. He went on to go 2-4, with two runs and an RBI. Suddenly his numbers this series look pretty darn good. Hopefully that settles things down, and is a signal of what's to come from the MVP.

The Sox are going to need both these guys moving forward.

If they show up, this will be fun.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Celebrating Sale

Trying to decide the best way to celebrate the Red Sox advancing to the ALCS? Have you considered rewarding yourself with some great gear from the Section 36 store? It's a great way to make a wonderful day even better.

As it happens, the store is in the midst of a sale! You can take advantage of the opportunity to stock up on wonderful gear you can wear!

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. The sale only runs through Sunday! That's right only a few 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 Bernadette did to show off her amazing tank top.

This tank is 27% off!

Or Phil did.

This tank is still 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?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Had 'em All The Way

While the ride wasn't as smooth as we might have hoped, the destination was right. The Red Sox beat the Yankees last night to advance to the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox have now won seven of their last eight playoff games agains the Yankees. Pretty dominating if you ask me. 

And while the Series ended up being an easy win, every game wasn't. And, the clincher certainly wasn't. But, they can't all be 16-1 games, can they?

So, thoughts from last night?

I wasn't a huge fan of taking Porcello out after five. Obviously Cora knew what he was doing, and bringing in Barnes to face the Yankees thumpers makes some sense. I guess I'm just tired of the quick playoff hook the Red Sox have been using in the playoffs the last few years. Want to know why the Red Sox starters don't win? Because they get taken out after giving up three runs in four innings. Porcello was going along pretty well, and I guess I would have tried to get one more out of him. Which, I suppose, is why they didn't hire me as manager.

I loved Chris Sale coming in for the eighth. No, not because I thought he was the best option or idea (although, he probably was). I loved it because it meant Cora really didn't have any concerns about him. To hear the EEidiots talk about Sale, he was a fragile peach who could very well be terrible next time on the mound. But, the guys who actually knows something clearly didn't share those thoughts. Obviously, Cora isn't worried about the shoulder. He's not treating Sale with kid gloves hoping to squeeze two more starts out of him. He's also clearly convinced that the mechanical flaw is fixed. The eighth inning of an elimination game isn't the place to hope something turns out OK.

Kimbrel was not sharp. 

Unless, he was? One thing that always made me ponder with Dice-K is that he always seemed to work himself out of trouble. He'd walk the bases loaded and then strike out the next three. Or so it seemed. He was also known for throwing a ton of pitches, going back to high school. I always wondered if that was a strategy. Walk the guys that are tough outs, go after the ones who he can handle. Does Kimbrel follow an approach like that? Facing Judge in the ninth inning with a three run lead? Nibble a bit, see if he'll chase. If not, a baserunner in that situation isn't terrible. Because he seemed to go from being "wild" against Judge to being able to handle Stanton. I bet he figured he could handle Sanchez too. Now, I wouldn't say his plan was to load the bases. But, I would understand it if he didn't consider it a terrible idea either. 

Or he just wasn't sharp.

I'm sure people have been mentioning it, but the play by Pearce to end the game seems underrated to me. Not only did he actually get the out, but he kept the ball from getting by him in the first place. That's a tough play in that situation when you know that if the ball gets by you, the game is probably tied...if not over. Heck, even a little bobble might have been enough. But, he grabbed it clean and just kept his foot on the bag long enough. Pretty impressive. 

Which is what happens on good teams. Everyone contributes when they're needed. 

It's how you win a playoff series.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Christiana Berenguer - Live at Fenway

I'm sure you remember my post about a new in-game entertainment option at Fenway Park. At a recent game, I was
surprised and delighted to notice Christiana Berenguer live on the field singing between innings. (Check out "I Was Entertained") I hadn't noticed anyone singing on the field before, and wondered how it came to be. I reached out to Christiana and was thrilled that she was willing to share her experience with us. Here's how it all went down, in her words.

So I have always really wanted to sing at a stadium because it’s an easy way to get in front of such a big audience, and Fenway Park is legendary so that was a dream in itself. I saw a posting on the Berklee hub (an email every Monday about opportunities around Boston) and I just applied. 

Dan Lyons and the rest of the team had me come in for an interview and they said I was one of the 8 people chosen and to send them clips of me singing some of my favorite crowd pleaser songs that
everyone would know. So I sent a couple and they liked “Walking on Sunshine” the most. I was super excited because me, my mom and uncle surprised my dad with tickets for him and my mom to come to the game since I got four free tickets. My dad is a HUGE baseball fan and was living his dream. 

So the day before the show I went to soundcheck and was on the field ready to go and there were some delays due to meetings with the Yankees and Red Sox and so they asked me to soundcheck the day of the game at noon. However, it was POURING that day and long story short they ended up canceling  me singing because I didn’t get to do a soundcheck before the doors opened. I tried every loophole possible and Dan even tried to get me to sing at the game
on Sunday but nothing worked out. We still got to go to the Yankees Red Sox game and my dad got to live out his dream so I’m happy about that. 

Fast forward to the day they reschedule me for the Astros and Red
Sox game and I was super excited. I did soundcheck, and then me
and a group of friends went to the game. I remember being SUPER
nervous because I couldn’t hear myself singing so I wouldn’t know
what I sounded like, but I was SO ready. I went out there and was just my quirky, awkward, bubbly self. The whole time I was just
reminded over and over about how much I want to tour stadiums one day and how much my music career means to me. Taylor Swift is a huge role model for me, and I long to perform in front of thousands of people five days a week. I’m super grateful for all the compliments and love that I received from singing at the Red Sox game. I’m really proud of myself and hope that they ask me to come back one day! Red Sox are the BEST team no matter what anyone says ;)


That's too bad that Christiana wasn't able to do it the first time against the Yankees. On the bright side, that allowed me to see her perform!

I want to thank Christiana for taking the time to tell us about her experience. It's always fun to learn what happens behind the scenes with activities like this. I definitely can't wait to hear her performing more shows in stadiums soon. If you'd like to find out more about her, and hear more of her music, check out her page on the Section 36 Music blog!

Thanks Christiana!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Exactly What was Needed

It's as if the baseball gods finally decided to throw Red Sox fans a bone. The game last night was everything we fans needed, all set out nicely in order.

Right from the start. Literally. The first pitch of the game was a 95 MPH fastball from Chris Sale. While not quite 97 or 99, it was a great sign that maybe he did have his velocity. Of course, he then struck out McCutchen on one of his nasty sliders. Sale had arrived. He went on to strike out the side (mixing in a walk) including Judge and Stanton. What more can you ask for?

How about three guys reaching in the bottom of the first against supposed Red Sox killer J.A. Happ. How about the third guy, hitting a three run home run? One way to settle down the pitching staff is to give them a three run cushion almost immediately. It reminded me of David Ortiz homering in the first inning of Game 7 in the 2004 ALCS. It was an immediate statement proving that clutch home runs aren't always hit in the ninth inning. It reversed the narrative before it could get started. It's actually hard to overestimate just how important that home run was. 

And it kept getting better.

The Sox scored two more off Happ after knocking him out of the game and Sale kept cruising into the sixth. Mookie got in on the fun, adding a hit and scoring a run. When you're looking to erase past poor playoff performances, it's nice to start eliminating zeroes. The same goes for Bogaerts who also went 1-3 with an RBI. Things are already different for the Sox offense than feared.

From there, the Red Sox bullpen did its job and held the lead. Even Rick Porcello of all people helped out getting the lead to Kimbrel. After getting four outs, a strikeout ended the game and gave the Sox the win.

So, if you're scoring at home, Sale...the Red Sox starting a playoff win. Rick Porcello pitched in a playoff win. The Red Sox slugged the ball. The Red Sox had an answer for Happ. The Bullpen held a lead. 

I really don't think there could have been a better outcome from a single game.

At least until David Price goes out and dominates tonight!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Not Wild Enough

So, basically nothing that I wanted to happen last night happened. Going into the Yankees-A’s game, there were a few specific things I was pulling for.

An A’s victory. Duh. I will always hope the Yankees lose. Especially in this game since I really wasn't looking forward to a five game series against NY. Mostly because I'm already dreading the slanted coverage of the series. But also because in the playoffs basically any team can beat another one (which is why it might be the dumbest way ever to crown a champion) and I'd rather have the A’s advance to the ALCS than the Yankees.

I was hoping for extra innings. Like, a lot of extra innings. Like record breaking bullpen busting extra innings. I wanted whichever team won to have to throw so many innings that they needed to use some of their starters for multiple innings each. I'm not proud. I don't mind beating a team that's severely depleted.

A brawl. Yeah, that would have been nice too.

But, none of that happened. The Yankees cuised to a fairly easy victory and should be in decent shape come Friday when they show up at Fenway. Damn.

Not that it really matters in the end. The Red Sox have shown that they can beat the Yankees. In fact, they did better against them than against the A’s. Especially if you ignore the last series (maybe two series?) when the Red Sox weren't even trying. There's no reason to think that the Red Sox won't win the series convincingly and move on to the championship.

Ok, well, no reasonable reason. Of course you can come up with a reason the Sox will lose.  The bullpen could blow seven saves. The starters could give up seven runs. Mookie could strike out seven times. But, those things could happen to anyone. They could happen just as easily to the Yankees. Even easier in some cases. (Seriously, give odds on a batter striking out seven times...who's higher: Mookie, JD, Judge, or Stanton)

But if you do that silly checkmark thing where you compare the two reams, a lot more of the check marks end up on the Red Sox side. Going into a series, that's all you can hope for. The rest is just the way the cookie crumbles.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

36 Pack Wax Match: Pack 34

The Stage was set. The Match has been won. But, ending here wouldn't be any fun!

So we'll keep going, and open that thirty-fourth pack!

Red Sox +2
This "action" shot of Marty Barrett gives 1988 two quick points. 

But, that's where the scoring ends for 1988! Let's see how 1990 does!

Red Sox +2
This card of Carlos Quintana gets 1990 rolling. Two quick point for the tally.

Hall of Fame +1
 Another point! This great shot of Yount bunting (Really? Bunting?) is one point for 1990.

Yankees -2
Oops. Give a couple of those points right back. Barfield is sitting here waiting to snatch your points away.

And that ends the scoring! 1990 holds at one point, so 1988 pulls it out!

Sure, now that it doesn't matter.

Box Bottom: 1988 +1 (1-0)
Pack 1:  1990 +6 (1-1)
Pack 2:  1990 +4 (2-1)
Pack 3:  1988 +3 (2-2)
Pack 4:  1990 +1 (3-2)
Pack 5:  1990 +1 (4-2)
Pack 6:  1988 +2 (3-4)
Pack 7:  1988 +3 (4-4)
Pack 8:  TIE   +0 (4-4)
Pack 9:  1990 +2 (5-4)
Pack 10: 1990 +4 (6-4)
Pack 11: 1990 +4 (7-4)
Pack 12: 1990 +1 (8-4)
Pack 13: 1990 +5 (9-4)
Pack 14: 1988 +3 (5-9)
Pack 15: 1988 +2 (6-9)
Pack 16: 1988 +3 (7-9)
Pack 17: 1990 +3 (10-7)
Pack 18: 1988 +2 (8-10)
Pack 19: 1988 +3 (9-10)
Pack 20: 1990 +2 (11-9)
Pack 21: TIE   +0 (11-9)
Pack 22: 1990 +2 (12-9)
Pack 23: 1988 +2 (10-12)
Pack 24: TIE   +0 (10-12)
Pack 25: 1988 +3 (11-12)
Pack 26: TIE   +0 (11-12)
Pack 27: TIE    +0 (11-12)
Pack 28: 1988 +1 (12-12)
Pack 29: TIE   +0 (12-12)
Pack 30: 1990 +1 (13-12)
Pack 31: 1990 +3 (14-12)
Pack 32: 1990 +2 (15-12)
Pack 33: 1990 +5 (16-12)
Pack 34: 1988 +1 (13-16)

So, what will happen next time?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Chelsea Zara Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! As I’m sure you’re aware, with
Section 36 occupying a spot in the centerfield bleachers in Fenway you get a nice view into the Red Sox bullpen. I imagine Chelsea Zara would like that vantage point...after all, her fiancé, Matt Barnes, spends a lot of time in there. Chelsea is a frequent traveler, and a newly certified Doctor of Physical Therapy. I’m flattered she was willing to take some time out of her schedule to visit with us and discuss those topics, along with a few more. I know you’ll enjoy reading everything she had to say!

So, let’s see what happens when Chelsea Zara visits Section 36!

You recently became a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy. (Congrats!) What interested you most about that field? 
Thank you! It has been a long, challenging seven years, but it was definitely worth it! Ever since I was a little girl, I had always been interested in the medical field and fascinated with the idea of helping people. After I graduated from UConn as a biology major, I took a year off before applying to PT School. During this time I spent 3 months in Cape Town, South Africa as a medical volunteer where I worked at an inpatient facility for disabled and abandoned children. It was truly the most rewarding and humbling experience ever and solidified my love for physical therapy & medicine. My favorite part about PT is that I have the ability and the opportunity to work with people of all ages and all levels. From children and school-based therapy, to elderly, to sports rehab and more— it’s reassuring to know I will never be bored at work!

You got your undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut. What did you especially like about UConn? 
I absolutely loved UConn! My favorite part about being there was
that it was away from any big city. Anyone in Storrs, Connecticut is pretty much between the ages of 18-22 which made everything about being there — restaurants, bars, apartments, parties, classrooms — so much more fun. It’s a beautiful campus with great education, great people, and great sports.

Not long ago, you participated in the “From Fenway to the Runway” charity event. What is your favorite part about the many activities the “Red Sox Wives” are involved in? 
Chelsea and Chelsea
The entire Red Sox organization is so much more than just baseball. It’s amazing, honestly, to see how they take such a renowned platform and transform it into so many philanthropic events. For example —in just 36 hours of the Jimmy-Fund Radio telethon, $4.4 million was raised by donors. I mean — I can’t even wrap my head around how incredible that is! The entire organization is all about doing things to make Boston greater than it already is and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

You’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, all over the globe. What is your favorite place to visit? Why? 
Cape Town, South Africa has got to be #1 on my list. I loved going
to safaris, surfing, hiking, camping. Next on my list would definitely be Italy — I studied abroad there during college and fell in love with the culture and of course, the food!

How did you and Matt meet? 
Romantically, Matt and I met at UConn at our local college bar! Definitely a story to tell the kids.

You’ll be getting married this winter. (Congrats again!) How is the wedding planning coming along, especially with Matt on the road so much? 
Wedding planning has been going well, but of course stressful at times. The most stressful part is that we are getting married down in Florida, so we’re both unfamiliar with the vendors/DJ’s/florists in that area. Matt has been the most supportive groom ever — his response to everything is, “Whatever you like, I like!”

How often do you get to see Matt pitch in person? 
As often as I can! I have notifications on my phone for every pitching change during every game - so I think I have only missed maybe 3-4 of his outings this entire season. Once I graduated in May, I was finally (for once!) able to spend much more time in Boston than usual and I was also able to travel to some cool new cities like Seattle and Houston.

Other than Section 36, what is your favorite feature or experience at Fenway Park?
I may be bias, but I truly think that Fenway has the most homey,
historic feel to it unlike many of the other commercialized ballparks. And, of course, my favorite experiences at Fenway are whenever I get to see Matt pitch. As a relief pitcher, you have no idea when he may go in. Sometimes I go to 3-4 games in a row and he doesn’t pitch, yet the one game I miss - he does! It’s surreal to see him out there, living his dream like that, with all 40,000 people in the stands cheering for him. He’s come a long way from when I saw him pitch during the UConn baseball days!

Being in the bullpen seems to automatically mean a pitcher will see some criticism during the season. How do you deal with the negative side of Red Sox fan social media? 
It’s tough for pitchers because if they ever give up a run of lose a lead, the fans really take it all out on them. Thankfully I don't have a Twitter because that is where some of the worst comments come from. I do my best to not let it get under my skin. I guess it just all comes with the territory! 


Not having Twitter is probably a real good idea.

Of course, I want to thank Chelsea for taking the time to do this interview. She has a lot on her plate with bridal showers and baseball games taking up a lot of her time, so I appreciate the effort to carve out some time for us. I also want to thank her for allowing me to use the pictures that go along with the post. They always help tell the story better.

Chelsea might not have Twitter, but she does have Instagram. I recommend you go give her a follow so you can keep up to date on her new career, and wedding planning. You won't regret it! And I'm sure you'll all join me in hoping she'll get to see Matt pitch in a lot more games this October!

Thanks again Chelsea!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Three to Get Ready

Three. Three games are all that remain for the Red Sox this season. 

I have to admit that part of me wishes they could sweep the Yankees in this series for many reasons. For one, it's always fun to sweep the Yankees. It would also give the Red Sox 110 wins this season, which would be a fun round number to have. It would also give the A's a much better chance to pass the Yankees in the standings. I didn't think a home game is THAT important in the one game. Certainly less important than having your ace pitch in the game. But, I would definitely prefer whichever team plays the Red Sox to have to do so after playing a game in Oakland.

But I know the Red Sox won't be trying at all to win these games. (Sorry A's fans.) And, I am of course perfectly fine with that. These three games are about keeping people relatively fresh, and healthy. If they win, it will be purely accidental. And, the best players will barely play, if at all.

Because, I think even most of the personal milestones are taken care of. Mookie stole his 30th base. (Thank God he wasn't stepped on.) Xander collected his 100th RBI. Devers crossed the 20 HR barrier. Unless 'Tendi wants to hit four home runs this weekend to reach 20 himself, everyone is pretty much where they'll be whether they play or not. So, rest will be the order of the weekend. 

It will be interesting to see the final positional battles play out, although I don't even know how many of those there are. Maybe trying to decide on an extra reliever? Of course, to do that, you'd have to play people who you might need in the playoffs...which would sort of go against the "rest everyone" plan.

So we'll see how it all plays out. However it goes, the Red Sox will start the playoffs next week as the top team in the American League. That hasn't happened in a bit now. It sure will be a lot of fun.

What are you looking to see this weekend?

What people are reading this week