Friday, March 22, 2019

Olivia Fonseca Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Olivia Fonseca is a talented singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Greater Plaistow. I'm so
excited she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I hope you enjoy what she had to say!
So, lets see what happens when Olivia Fonseca visits Section 36!
As Olivia continues her time as Miss Greater Plaistow, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Greater Plaistow Facebook page. It’ll be worth your time! 

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Greater Plaistow crown?
After my crowning I went out to eat with my family, my new director, my teen and my new sister queen, Miss Granite State, Alexa. After that I went home and barely slept because I was just so excited!

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish before your time as Miss Greater Plaistow ends?
I have a few to be honest. One is to do as much community service as possible. Community service is something I have always loved doing and now having an even bigger platform to do it on is amazing. I also really want to take my year to spread my platform, Buckle Up: Promoting Seat Belt Safety. Taking those 4 seconds to buckle up could truly save a life and I want to educate as many people as possible on the topic. 

Which part the Miss New Hampshire competition makes you the most nervous?
Oh gosh! As a first time competitor it honestly all is a little nerve wracking. I would have to say I’m probably most nervous about interview. Although it is so fun getting to share your personality and opinions with the judges, I'm sure there will be even harder questions at the state level so I’m a little nervous about that. 

How did you select your platform, “Buckle Up: Promoting Seat Belt Safety”?
When I was a sophomore in high school I lost my best friend in a tragic motor vehicle accident and she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. Although authorities said the chances of her survival even wearing her seat belt would have been extremely slim, as the accident was extremely severe, there still was that slight glimmer of hope. Since then I have wanted to promote and educate the importance of taking those 4 seconds or less to buckle up because as small of an action as it may seem, it could truly save your life. 

As a talented singer, what’s your favorite part about singing on stage?
I love the feeling of being onstage and getting to share my passion with all of those watching in the audience. There is no better feeling then waiting backstage before a performance and having those little butterflies then going onstage and nailing a performance. I always say the stage is where I feel most at home and getting to sing on it is just icing on-top of the cake. 

Which role in a Broadway musical would you most want to play?
Okay this question is extremely tough! Right now I think I would have to say Anastasia in Anastasia. I saw the show in Hartford Connecticut when it was still in previews and I was blown away. It was one of my favorite movies as a child and having the opportunity to play such a strong and empowering female figure and share such a wonderful and meaningful story, would be a dream come true. 

Who’s your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
I would have to say Mookie Betts. Aside from having a super cool name he has accomplished so much in his career in such a short amount of time and I think his work ethic and positive attitude is truly admirable. Mookie is also one of my nana’s favorite players and she’s the biggest Red Sox fan ever so that’s also a very important factor haha. 

Is there a feature/aspect of a Red Sox game at Fenway you would most like to experience?
Getting to sit and watch a game from the Green Monster would be an absolutely life changing experience! I went on a field trip to Fenway park when I was in elementary school, as I’m a Massachusetts native, and I remember standing on the Green Monster overlooking the stadium at such a young age, getting to do it again now would be so cool. 

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
Celebrating with all my friends at school! We watched the game together in the lounge of my dorm and as soon as the Red Sox won the whole dorm just erupted in screams of excitement, it was such a fun night.


That sounds like fun to me!

As always, I want to thank to Olivia for doing this interview, and for sending along that great picture that leads things off.  I also certainly want to wish her the best of luck as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown in a few weeks. Hopefully former Section 36 visitors go back to back in winning that crown?

Thanks again Olivia, and good luck!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Is John Henry Allowed to Make Money?

I caught myself doing it again. When Mike Trout’s mammoth extension was announced, like most of us I wondered what that
might mean for Mookie. My thoughts wandered until I came up with a choice. Give Mookie his $400 million deal, or give Xander $150 million, and Sale $100 million, and Benintendi $100 million. I bounced that around in my head for a while until it hit me. They're doing it to me again.

Why do I have to choose?

There's no salary cap in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox can spend as much as they'd like. There's nothing stopping them from giving out all the contracts I wondered about, and more.

But, that really means one thing. I'm expecting John Henry not to make any money. Or, even to lose money on the Red Sox.

I admit, growing up I always assumed it was the latter. When I used to dream about winning the lottery, I'd sometimes consider using my winnings to buy a small stake in the Sox...if that sort of thing was even possible. When I took that fantasy further, I would sometimes wonder if they would allow a one-time investment like that. After all, I wouldn't be able to continue spending money to support the team. Because, in my head that's how it worked. You buy a year, and every year the money for salaries came out of your pocket. It was a hobby. Like buying baseball cards or autographed memorabilia. It never occurred to me that an owner would be turning a profit from it. When Disney bought the Angels, I assumed it was as a bookkeeping “loss” for tax purposes. I never considered it a business investment. Sure, Disney was in a rare position to capitalize on the secondary merchandising aspects of the team. But I assumed the day to day baseball operations were a losing venture.

Maybe that's the way it used to be? Maybe Tom Yawkey or George Steinbrenner bought their teams for fun. Maybe they were hoping to break even, at best. Maybe that's how that assumption got into my head.

But, I don't imagine it actually that way any more...if it ever was. I think owners consider the Red Sox a business like any other. You can either build a blogging empire, or a baseball one. It's really just a different business.

So, is John Henry allowed to make money at this business?

I know. I know. “They got you again, defending cheap ownership!” But, I’m actually trying to work it out in my head. Is he allowed a profit? The other partners? So, when they raise ticket prices, but don't then sign Bryce Harper, is that OK? How much can they raise them and have it be OK? Anything they want as long as they're World Series Champs?

Because I honestly keep going back and forth. On the one hand, I can't even imagine the costs involved in running a baseball team beyond the roster payroll. So, I don't even know how much of a ticket increase is even available for players. So, I tend to believe the Sox when they say they have constraints. I think I've decided I don't expect John Henry to slowly dwindle his bank account for each signing. But, I also don't want the Sox making 100% profit on every ticket sold or advertisement hung. There's a limit that I'd hope for.

And hopefully that limit allows them to sign everyone they need.

What would your limit be?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Sale for Opening Day!

It's almost here! The season is just over a week away! You can almost taste it, I'm sure. Can you see it? The baseball on the field? The sun shining down on you wearing your Section 36 shirt? 

Wait, what's that? You don't have a Section 36 shirt? Well, you'd better hurry up! As luck would have it, I'm here to help. Because there's a sale!!

Today through Sunday, the Section 36 will be on sale! Don't miss this opportunity to show your support for the blog all season long! 

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. Remember, 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 Bridget did! (With some help from K. Garcia Productions)

This sweatshirt is on sale!

Or, like Bernadette did to show off how amazing this tank top looks on her.

This tank is 27% off!

Or Phil did.

This tank is also 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!

Or like Allison did!

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?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Change for the Sake of Change

You're probably all well aware that Major League Baseball announced several rule changes for the upcoming seasons. Some make sense, some don't, and some are just plain odd. I don't know if there are any actual official explanations for these rules but I'd love to know the “fly on the wall” answer.

A few of the rules take place in time for the 2019 season.

They monkeyed around with the All-Star voting, which I should probably care about. The problem is, ever since Joe Torre ruined the game and selection process, and MLB decided to go along with it, the selection to an all-star game has become practically meaningless. So it's certainly not something to worry about now. Until MLB follows my plan, it'll always be a waste of time to try and worry about selections.

I care even less about the home run derby format. Unless they're planning on opening it up to non-all-stars, which I'd be in complete favor of. Otherwise, it's just an exhibition so I don't care what the rules are.

I'm fully on board with the “pace of play” rules for 2019. Limiting the number of mound visits is wonderful. Five still seems like a lot in a nine inning game, but it's better than six. Frankly, I'm ok if they limit it to “0”. I am also 136% on board with cutting the time between innings. It's the biggest contributor to the increased length of games, and it was the one I never thought they'd fix. So, I'm astonished and thrilled that they actually did it.

So going into this season, I’m all in on the changes.

The ones for 2020 get a bit murkier.

Increasing the roster size to 26 is fine. My only problem with it is it means another player a manager needs to keep fresh. If you need to sit Mookie more often because Blake Swihart hasn't played in two weeks, that's not good. But, if it ends up meaning that Mookie rests a tender ankle an extra day because they don't need to IL him thanks to an extra bench player, I'm good with that.

The reduction in September roster size is fantastic. Again, having all those players in the dugout needing playing time can get annoying. The only downfall would be having to play stars more in September as opposed to resting them on that final weekend and playing the cup of coffee players. Which might actually be the point.

Limiting the number of pitchers on a roster, and limiting position player pitching just seems odd to me. Who cares? What was the downside to a second baseman throwing an inning? Was the the union worrying about a Jose Canseco injury when a team makes a player do something they’re not accustomed to? Or, was MLB worried about using position players to get around some other rule? If a pitcher is in left field to start the inning, would that count as a pitching change if they brought him in to pitch? Could he just face the one batter if he wasn't new to the game?

Because the biggest proposed change seems to be forcing a reliever to face a minimum of three batters before being removed mid inning. I'm probably supposed to be all up in arms about this.  But I'm honestly having trouble seeing the arguments. I will firmly come down on the side of not fixing what isn't broken. I will also come out against changing things that won't fix a problem. So, I should probably hate this rule because of those reasons. This will not speed up the pace of play. Certainly not as much as shortening the time between innings will. Because, how often is a reliever pulled mid inning before facing three batters? No idea. But, I looked at my most recent scorebook. I scored fifteen games in it. This rule would have come into effect in three of the games, a total of four times. So, if those changes added three minutes each, that would mean twelve minutes of added time to those fifteen games. So, 48 seconds per game. That's what it takes to make a rule change? (Even in the individual game where it happened twice, I have a hard time imagining that the entrance six minutes was making me have a terrible time at the game.) I'm not sure that's worth changing strategy.

Because, it will change strategy. Any time you limit what a manager can do, you limit strategy. But, really, won't this also add strategy? Honestly, is there an easier call for a manager to make than “a lefty is up. Bring in my lefty specialist”? No. Any fool can make that call. Reminds me of the people who hate the DH because a manager has to strategize a pitcher bunting every time he's up. It's probably more strategy to say “ there's a lefty followed by two I still bring in a lefty specialist?” Which actually brings up the real problem with the rule. No matter what call the manager makes, the chances of batters getting hits increases. There is nothing that prolongs a game more than batters getting hits. So, really, any time savings from not having a pitching change will be lost to the additional base runners. Which brings us back to changing a rule for no reason.

So that's my one gripe. There's nothing wrong with the rule either way it's written. But changing something to fix a problem when the change won't fix the problem is never a good idea.

Hope Major League Baseball is prepared for that.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Emma Colen Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Emma Colen is a talented dancer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Auburn. I'm so pleased we were finally able to find some time for her visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I hope you enjoy what she had to say!

So, lets see what happens when Emma Colen visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Auburn crown?

I actually already had plans to go visit my family down in Cape Cod for a week so when my mom and I did get down there, we had some snacks and watched a movie! It was a very chill night but then we spent the whole next day on the beach and ate lunch at my favorite restaurant, Arnold's!

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish before your time as Miss Auburn ends?
Last year, I held an event called “Striking Out For Spinal Cord Injuries” where I raised money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals along with Victoria’s Victory Foundation, so I would say my biggest goal is to hold a second annual “Striking Out For Spinal Cord Injuries” and raise even more money than last year!

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Auburn competition that will help you at Miss New Hampshire in the spring?
One thing I learned about myself at the Miss Auburn competition was that I have the most fun and perform the best when I don’t try and hold myself to any standards, but instead just relax as much as I can and put my best foot forward. 

How did you select your platform, “REP Spinal Cord Injuries: Rehabilitation, Education, and Prevention”?
I chose my platform after I fractured my lower back. I was in
physical therapy to regain strength in my core to prevent further issues and pain in my back and was then introduced to Project Walk Boston in Stratham, New Hampshire. I began volunteering and knew at that moment that I wanted to bring awareness to spinal cord injuries of every type. After doing a lot of research, I learned that on average of 12,500 people a year in the U.S. suffers from a spinal cord injury with a majority of those being from preventable causes. I have now made it my mission to spread prevention of spinal cord injuries through education and still volunteer to rehabilitate those who are already suffering from spinal cord injuries.

As a talented dancer, what’s your favorite part about performing on stage?
My favorite part of being a dancer is striving to make the audience
feel what I'm trying to portray through my dancing. Performing onstage, to me, is the best feeling in the world. From picking the song that speaks to you to then picking the steps that embody that feeling, to then finally performing the dance is the most fulfilling feeling in the world.

You’re a freshman in the University of New Hampshire nursing program. What drew you to that field?
For a while, I actually wanted to be a Physical Therapist, but when my stepsister came into my life, she was a role model for me since the day I met her. When she became a successful nurse and told me
stories of what she did, I realized that nursing was what I actually wanted to pursue. Being a student dance teacher I also knew I wanted to work with children, so at this moment I am hoping to become a Pediatric Nurse when I graduate!

Who’s your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
Mookie Betts for sure. Being the AL MVP and an incredible bowler how could he not be my favorite?

Is there a feature/aspect of a Red Sox game at Fenway you would most like to experience?
I’ve been lucky enough to attend many Red Sox games in my life and have even sat on the Green Monster for a game, but one of my life long goals is to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game!

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
As lame as it may sound, I was studying for an exam during the World Series! I was with friends, so of course, we were multi-tasking, but I'm proud to report I got an A on the exam!


That sounds like a double success to me!

As always, I want to thank to Emma for doing this interview. I also want to thank her for sending along so many great pictures. I love the ones of her with other titleholders who have visited with us.  I also definitely want to wish her the best of luck as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown in a few weeks. Could former Section 36 visitors go back to back in winning that crown?

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

Thanks again Emma, and good luck!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hall of Fame Match-Ups (Updated)

Last year at about this time, I had another of my many wonderments. After noticing that when I saw Jim Thome face Pedro Martinez I was seeing future Hall of Famers face each other, I wondered how often I had seen that happen. As it turned out, that had happened nine times. When I finally got around to admitting that people had been elected to the Hall this year, I wondered if those numbers had changed. As it turns out, I was able to add two more games where I saw future Hall of Famers face off. Naturally, both included Pedro Martinez and the newly elected Edgar Martinez. When you add those numbers into my totals, the hitters end up doing a little bit better. Somehow, Edgar managed to get two hits off of eight at-bats. And, yeah, that brought the numbers UP. See for yourself.

Yup. Those were the only two hits I saw a future Hall of Famer get off another future Hall of Famer. If you eliminate Eckersley walking Junior, all of those were Pedro dominating the best hitters in the game. Look at those insane projections of a 660-AB season. 43 hits. A .212 OPS. That's just unfair!

I guess that's why Pedro is the best there ever was.

Did you see any Hall of Fame match-ups?

How did the hitters do?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Having Heritage Hangover?

What can I say. My Target seems to be incredibly pokey when it comes to bringing out the new stock. It took forever to bring out the 2019 Topps flagship. And, of course, it's been fully stocked since then. Likewise, it was in no hurry to put 2019 Heritage on the shelves. But, I was finally able to grab a blaster today. Does anyone still care what I got in the packs? Either way, here we go!

The first Red Sox in the box has to share his card with two Astros. How is that fair? 

The first solo Red Sox card is this beauty of EdRo posing in front of his hedge. I'm expecting big things from EdRo this year, so it's nice to see the look of determination on his face.

Of course, we all know what the backs look like. We've been looking at them since 1970. But, since the Sale card listed the other league leaders on the back, this is the first Red Sox back in the box. The cartoon is nice. Although, winning the pitcher of the year for the Red Sox in 2015 isn't exactly the same as winning the Cy Young. Wonder who finished second.

For obvious reasons, I was excited about the World Series subset in this year's set. Naturally, the only card I pulled celebrates the only World Series game the Red Sox lost.

The last pack was apparently a Red Sox hot pack. First came these two cards of two more Sox players posing in front of the hedge. Wonder if we'll see Pedroia at 2nd base much for the Sox this year.

The pack also included these two cards, bringing the total to four Red Sox cards in the last pack. If I was excited about the World Series subset, I didn't actually know this subset existed. A set celebrating the ALCS championship is definitely OK in my book. 

Other then the Red Sox, this was the best card out of the box. Of course, with the 36,000 different variations in Heritage, it took me a while to figure out this was in here. With Harper's monster contract in Philadelphia, this card will soon find a home in The Phillies Room. No idea if Jim can speak french. 

So, that was my box.

Is it better than yours?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Erika Farrell Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Erika Farrell is a talented singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss New Haven County. I was
thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I hope you enjoy what she had to say!

So, lets see what happens when Erika Farrell visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss New Haven County crown?
I celebrated winning like anyone in the United States celebrates— with food! I was so thankful to have my family and friends there supporting me every step of the way. We all went out to dinner after the pageant, and that is when it had truly set in that I had won. 

What portion of the upcoming Miss Connecticut competition are you most nervous about?
It is hard to say what I am most nervous for. I have a lot of excited energy towards the upcoming Miss Connecticut competition. I felt overwhelmingly calm at Miss New Haven County, that I can just hope to have that same feeling during all portions of the competition in June. 

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss New Haven County?
My biggest goal as Miss New Haven County is to grow my social impact. In just one short week of being crowned I have already had the opportunity to be featured in multiple media outlets, newspapers, and on television. I can only continue to go up from here! Turning your pain into power can be a hard concept to adapt at first, but by the end of my year I plan for it to become a household term across Connecticut. With my help, people will be able to always find a positive outlet through their darkest of times. 

How did you select your platform “Pain into Power”?
In 2014 I was diagnosed with three chronic illnesses that completely changed my world. That first year after diagnosis was a pivotal time for me, and helped me realize that this all happened to me for a specific reason. I have come to find that my life purpose is to help others by sharing my journey with chronic illness, and including all of the amazing things I am still accomplishing despite my constant battle. “Turn Your Pain into Power” has become my motto and I really believe it is something we should all try to live by. 

What is your favorite part about performing your talent on stage?
I have been performing on stage since I was three years old in my
first dance recital. The arts are something that I grew up with and hold very close to my heart. I feel that I best express myself through singing, which will be my talent at Miss Connecticut! My favorite part is just being in the moment and leaving it all on that stage. I have grown so much as a performer through the years and my love for performing continues to grow with that. 

What is your favorite holiday?
My absolute favorite holiday is Christmas. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a countdown going all year long. I start decorating October 1st. Christmas music and movies don’t have to be enjoyed just in December. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way since Christmas in July exists on the Hallmark channel (second best time of the year). 

Who is your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
My favorite player is Dustin Pedroia. My dad is a diehard Yankee’s fan and even he loves him! He is just an all around great player. It is too bad he spent most of last season injured. I am hoping he makes a great comeback this season. Maybe I can give him a few pointers on turning his pain into power. 

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you'd especially like to experience?
I would love to get the chance to participate in the Run to Home Base race. It would be such an amazing experience to be able to cross the finish line at home plate, while raising funds for our nation’s veterans.

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
Unfortunately, working in the hospital doesn’t allow the greatest schedule flexibility. When the Red Sox won, I was at work. Thankfully we have a lounge in the back so I kept stopping by to keep an eye on the score and get updates. 


I'm glad she was able to follow along!

As usual, I want to thank to Erika for doing this interview. I'm also glad that she sent along so many great pictures of her special night. Pictures add so much to the interview.  I also definitely want to wish her the best of luck as she competes for the Miss Connecticut crown this summer. It would be so much fun to have another former visitor wear that crown.

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

Thanks again Erika, and good luck!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Was Mike Mussina Any Good?

I was so disgusted by the announcement of the 2019 baseball Hall of Fame class, that I forgot my regular duties. One of the things I usually do when a player is elected to the Hall of fame, is to see if they were any good in the games I saw them play live. I realized that just because Mike Mussina has no business being in the Hall of Fame, it doesn't mean I should neglect my duties! So, how did he do while I was in the park, and keeping score? I'm glad you asked!

Yeah. Ok. He did really well when I was watching. 

Now, with only four games to work with, his numbers are really skewed by the near-perfecto he pitched while I was there. Those nine innings are a bit of an outlier, since he gave up at least two runs in the other games. But, I can't cherry pick. He was dang good with me in the park.

While a 2.67 ERA isn't exactly Pedro-esque, his 0.79 WHIP is definitely elite. And, a full season projection of 240 strikeouts is pretty good too. 

If only he pitched every game with me there, he may have actually earned his Hall of Fame induction. Instead, we'll have to know that he did have the ability to be great, even if it wasn't all the time.

How did Mike Mussina do while you were in the park?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How Much Junk Wax is Still Around?

I'm a curious sort. I wonder about things. It's part of my charm. I'm the guy who looks at a T206 card and wonders, “why is that still around?” What about this one particular card saved it from the landfill. Or the mouse nest. Was it hidden in a book? Was it lost in the bottom of a drawer in the attic? How
did it make it through 100 spring cleanings? No mom threw it out. How did that happen?

The same thing happens with newer things too. When Santa brought me those two junk wax boxes of 1988 and 1990 Fleer, I couldn't help but wonder how those survived. They weren't valuable as a box. Not worth keeping in a safe place. Why wasn't it opened in 1988? Or 1991? Or any of the other 30 years since it was released? And, if it wasn't opened, why wasn't it thrown out? Sure, maybe you kept them as “investments” for a little but. But, by 2000, didn't we know they were worthless? Where were worthless packs kept the last fifteen years? Why?

It was an interesting wonderment, until I recently opened the repack blaster not long ago.

Junk wax. Lots of junk wax.

Then, people commented that they had gotten the same thing in their boxes. Then, more people. So, there’s on thing that was perfectly clear.


Like, where is it? Where had is been? Who has been storing warehouses of unopened 1987 Topps wax boxes?

One or two boxes on eBay, I can almost understand. A couple boxes stuck in the back of a closet sit unnoticed until the kid comes back to his parent’s house and realizes he doesn’t want them anymore.

But, enough quantity to sell nationwide repacks?

Who is renting out the storage space needed to house that many boxes of wax? Who decided it was worth keeping for 30 years? Why hasn’t it been clearanced? Or given away? Or thrown out? Or donated? Why has it been?

Or, are there just that many individual people holding onto the boxes, that with some effort the repack company could accumulate as many as they need?

Does anyone have boxes of junk wax they’ve been storing since 1989? Does anyone know of anyone with boxes of 1988 wax boxes? My brother has a few packs of 1991 Bowman that he’s hung onto never opened. But, that’s like five packs. Not a box. And not nearly enough to sell nationwide. So, where are they getting the packs?

Was it from you?

What people are reading this week