Monday, February 6, 2023

Go Red! 2020 Topps Opening Day Target Red Foil Andrew Benintendi

February is American Heart Month. As a nod to the Go Red for Women activities going on this month to help raise awareness, I thought I'd contribute several "red" themed posts sprinkled throughout the month. Here's the next one.

Let's talk about this card...


I'll never quite know what happened with Benintendi. Considering he was such a big draft pick, it seemed like the organization was never really in love with him. I always assumed that professional talent evaluators were able to pick up on something I couldn't. But, it seemed like he was a better player than he ever showed. Or got the chance to show.

The card itself is fun. The red foil cards always work better on Red Sox cards, or obvious reasons. The photo in this case is a nice image for the very narrow vertical space allowed on the 2020 Topps cards. I only wish he wasn't wearing the blue jersey. The home whiles would probably work better with the red borders. Can't have everything I suppose.

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If you are able, I highly recommend you support the American Heart Association's efforts with a donation. You can find the link here.

Support the efforts to Go Red for Women!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Brittany Costello Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Brittany Costello is passionate about global watersheds, a talented singer, and the current Miss Scott County. I was so excited that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when Brittany Costello visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Scott County Crown?

Over the last 13 years of competing in Miss America, it has been my tradition to go to our local ice cream store, Whitey’s, after every competition. After being crowned Miss Scott County, I introduced my teen, Ellery, to the tradition and we enjoyed the best ice cream in the midwest! This has been a tradition that I have always cherished, regardless of the competition outcome and I am so glad I was able to introduce it to Ellery and her mom!


What has been the biggest surprise about your time as Miss Scott County?

I have always felt very supported by my community both in my hometown and in all the times I have served Scott County. However, this year I have been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support and interest in my initiative. I have had community members reach out to learn more, asking how to get involved, and inviting me to speak at events. The interest and support has improved my confidence in advocating for water quality, and has given me even more reason to do so. I am so grateful and blessed to serve Scott County not once, not twice, but four different times.


What part of the upcoming Miss Iowa competition are you most nervous about?

Making sure that I have everything I need during the week, specifically enough food, water, and all the small accessories for my outfits. I usually have a spreadsheet for this to make sure I am completely organized, but I still get nervous that I am forgetting something.


How did you select your social impact initiative, “Watersheds: Think Global, Act Local”?

For all of my life, I have known that I wanted to do something environmentally related when I ‘grew up.’ I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what that would be until I went on my 6th grade field trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. While there, I met the marine biologists and did a squid dissection with them. I knew right away that this was what I was meant to do; I was going to ‘grow up’ to be a marine biologist. Ever since then, I have worked towards that goal. I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences - Life Sciences emphasis in May and will continue my education by attending graduate school to achieve my PhD in Marine Biology. With all of this being said, in order to study sharks (my favorite animal, and the main motivation behind my admiration for marine biology), we have to have healthy water sources. In doing my own research for fun, I found that there is a major watershed health issue in my state AND it affects oceans all over the world, but more directly affects the Gulf of Mexico! Unhealthy waterways creates public health scares and ecosystem deterioration. A large part of Iowa’s water pollution comes from excessive nutrients which are extremely harmful to the environment and to people (specifically children and expectant mothers). When exposed, we are faced with increased risks of birth complications, cancers, disruption in concentration abilities, and harmful algal blooms (kills off fish, messes with our breathing, and more). Iowa is bordered by two large rivers (the Missouri and the Mississippi) which flow right into the Gulf of Mexico and are home to the nation's largest watershed- the Mississippi River Watershed. Iowa plays a direct role in the health of the Gulf so we desperately need to be diligent and mindful in what we are putting into our local areas in order to protect areas around the globe. After I did all of this research, I knew I needed to do something. I knew that if this was something I was unaware of, most people also probably had no idea. That is why I created my initiative and that is why it is so important and relevant. Lastly, the importance of my initiative can also be expanded to self actualization through aiding individuals into understanding their full potential - that all individuals are powerful and truly can make a big difference.


You’re studying Environmental Science at University of Northern Iowa. Where do you see that field taking you?

I will continue my education by attending graduate school for marine biology to obtain my PhD. I want to use my environmental science degree in conjunction with my marine biology degree to study marine ecosystems and find ways to improve the hydrology within these ecosystems.


What is “Real Talk Friday”?

Real Talk Friday is a series of posts I do every Friday on Instagram and Facebook. The goal of these posts is to initiate an open and safe conversation about topics that are unrelated to my initiative and aren’t talked about enough. The overarching goal is to help people feel validated in their feelings, struggles, life, etc. I think it is extremely important to have representation in all aspects of life; to show others that they are never alone. I also like to use these posts to feature others and their stories. If you want to be featured in these posts, you can send me a message or fill out the google form that is linked in my bio (on both Facebook and Instagram). I am looking for people (does NOT have to be a titleholder!!) who can speak candidly about a topic that hits close to home for them. Topics can be about anything, there really is no topic that is ‘too small’ for Real Talk Friday. To give you a little taste of my Real Talk Friday posts: one of the posts talks about imposter syndrome, which is really common among titleholders. In this post, I featured a sister titleholder who has imposter syndrome. I did all the preliminary research to give facts and resources regarding imposter syndrome. The most important piece of the post, however, is the last couple of slides. In these slides, my sister titleholder shared her story- talking about her struggles, how she deals with them, and how she has overcome them!


If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

It is impossible for me to choose between Belle and Moana. Belle is a classic Disney princess and I have always resonated with her love for learning. I also have always wanted to play Belle in a musical rendition of the movie. However, as a future marine biologist, Moana blew me away the first time I watched it. I remember crying at the beauty of the ocean animations, and the music that Lin Manuel Miranda composed for the movie. I relate to Moana’s connection with the ocean, and her love for exploring. Moana is a newer Disney princess, but that doesn’t take away from her brilliance. Both characters have large pieces of me intertwined with their stories so I would be perfectly content being either for a week!


If you had an extra ticket to the Quad City River Bandits play the Cedar Rapids Kernels, who would you take with you? Why?

This is such a hard question because I would have to choose between my brother, dad, and mom. They are the reason I am such a huge baseball fan, and I would like to share the experience of the game with all of them. If I absolutely had to pick, I would pick my brother so that he could help me understand any parts of the game that I don’t understand.


Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?

I know this is a Red Sox Fan Blog but, I am a HUGE Chicago Cubs fan and have attended many games within my lifetime. My favorite part of going to Cubs games is sitting in the Budweiser Bleachers because you are given the opportunity to interact with the outfielders. I have even been fortunate enough to catch balls thrown by Wilson Contreras and Ian Happ! I highly recommend attending a game at Wrigley while sitting in the bleachers, even if you’re not a Cubs fan!! Something else I would love to experience is getting an autograph from Anthony Rizzo. He was my favorite Cubs player until he had been traded, but he remains one of my favorite baseball players to this day. I really love that he uses his platform for a good cause, advocating for cancer patients and their families through the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. He is an incredible role model and has inspired me in many ways.


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Rizzo is an old Red Sox farmhand, so he's definitely cool with me. 

As always, I want to thank Brittany for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.

I also want to wish her luck when she competes for Miss Iowa! It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 Forever wear that crown.

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Brittany during her journey as Miss Scott County. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on. 


Thanks again Brittany, and good luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2022 Topps Archives Blaster!

More Cards! Today, let's try another box of 2022 Topps Archives. I know I opened one of these not too long ago, but it's always good to open more. Right? Plus, with so many different designs in one set, it's almost like a new set every time. It makes it all a lot more fun.

How did this box go? Let's find out!


Still love how Topps went with the archive feel on the box as well.


And the packs as well.


So, "archive" on top of "archive" on this one. A player from 100 years ago on a design from 45 years ago. I'd say it just works.


Not a Red Sox card, but I had to wonder if the ad placement behind Johnson was intentional. 


Oooh. Lookie here. I never get a Red Sox hit, so this was pretty cool. Even if it's Pedroia. I love the 1992 Topps design on this card. The colored borders really work with the rest of the card. Simply elegant.

And there we go. Not many Sox cards, but quality definitely made up for the lack of quantity. I'll take that trade any day.
How did your box go?

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

2022 Bowman Blaster!

It's time to open another blaster of this I'd say. Like I've said before, it's is always a little less fun to open than some of the other sets since with all the pre-rookies. There's a lot of, "I think I've heard of that guy" when you open the packs. But, it's still fun opening them...right? And who knows. Maybe I'll look back at this post in a year or two and marvel at the key card I pulled.

Let's see how it went!


I am officially on the lookout for green parallel cards.


The packs copying the box. That's not fair.


And a rookie right off the bat. Will Duran be the Sox starting center fielder this season? Will it be OK if he is? Where did all his promise go? Can it come back?


Yup. Have no idea who this is. But, it's his first Bowman card. So, there's that.


Another rookie! Another guy who probably won't play much for the Sox. 


And, a guy who definitely won't play for the Sox. I wonder if he regrets not signing with the Sox after the Devers deal.


I've heard of this guy. But, only because he's a fellow card collector. He should have a future in Boston someday. If so, I have this card.

And there you have it. A decent haul. Some rookies. A vet. Some prospects. Not bad for a blaster.

How did yours go?



Friday, January 13, 2023

Olivia Andrews Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Olivia Andrews is passionate about music therapy, a talented singer, and the current Miss Pride of the Commonwealth. I was so excited that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when Olivia Andrews visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Pride of the Commonwealth Crown?

The majority of the celebratory events actually happened before the competition! I went swing dancing with friends and celebrated another year of vying for the Miss Kentucky crown the night before. It sent me into the Miss Danville competition with a fresh wave of confidence in the fact that I have an army of dancers behind me who love me no matter what! (Naturally, we all FaceTimed after and spent most of the time jumping up and down in celebration.) 


It’s important to note the competition I entered gives three titles, as well as the corresponding outstanding teen titles: Miss Danville, Miss Heart of Central Kentucky, and Miss Pride of the Commonwealth! I gained four new sisters that night and was able to continue my Miss KY sisterhood with Ashley-Shae Benton! 


What has been the biggest surprise about your time as Miss Pride of the Commonwealth?

I was most surprised at how much community support I received from an area of Kentucky I was formerly unfamiliar with. The people of Danville and Stanford Kentucky are so incredible, hardworking, helpful, and kind, and I am proud to be a member of their community as Miss Pride of the Commonwealth! Our director Reuben Harness is heavily involved in philanthropy and the Danville girls (my sister queens) and I are always out and about helping the community!


What part of the upcoming Miss Kentucky competition are you most nervous about?

Onstage question threw me through a loop last year, so I’m a bit nervous about that—however—I have full confidence in my director and working with him to prepare stellar onstage Q&A skills! 


How did you select your social impact initiative, “The Miracle of Music: Music Therapy for All”?

My SII was originally The Miracle of Music: Helping Elderly Communities with the Power of Music. I was inspired by the care my late grandparents received in their nursing home and how my family gathered together to play music with them. Music was the most healing part of their end of life care and I want to make music therapy more accessible to those in need. As I researched music therapy programs and learned from my friends majoring in music therapy at the University of Louisville, I realized how incredible MT is for various communities. 


The Miss America Organization helps me create goals for incorporating music therapy programs into Kentucky’s health legislature and the resources to reach those goals! 


You’re studying Music Education at University of Louisville. Where do you see that field taking you?

My ultimate goal is to achieve a DMA in Choral Conducting and become Dr. Olivia Copland Andrews. I want to work as a professor in a collegiate choral program and take my choral ensembles to perform in a foreign country every year. I also want to create and participate in community outreach programs surrounding fine arts education and build a collaborative educational program with the surrounding middle and high school choir ensembles. 


As a talented singer, what do you enjoy most about performing on stage?

As a performer, I enjoy connecting with audience members the most. Music is a universal language and it’s incredible to see people I love and people I have nothing in common with all be able to think and feel from music. 


I make a point to talk with audiences after performances and find out what they liked and what moved them. Everyone’s connection to the music is so beautiful and incredible. Some people are reminded of lost loved ones, reflecting on fond memories, or simply immersed in the music itself. 


If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

This one is a no-brainer for me! I would be Princess Ariel! Fun fact about me: I own and swim in a Fin Fun mermaid tail! Being a mermaid helps me advocate for body positivity and find fun and unique ways to exercise! 


I love Ariel, because she is independent, brave, adventurous, and she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and her interests. I see a lot of myself in her when she isn’t afraid to break the mold to go after her dreams…not to mention she sings along the way! 


If you had an extra ticket to a Louisville Bats baseball game, who would you take with you? Why?

I’ll be honest…I’m a bit of a romantic and I think baseball games are the perfect date! I’d ask a crush to go with me and spend the day talking, sharing high-calorie baseball field snacks, and riding the merry-go-round! (Bonus points if we wind up on the kiss cam ;)


Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?

I’d love to sing the National Anthem again! I was asked to sing at a Louisville Bats game a few months and I loved every second! Maybe I could sing the National Anthem for a Red Sox game someday! 


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That would definitely be fantastic! 

As always, I want to thank Olivia for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.

I also want to wish her luck when she competes for Miss Kentucky! It would be fantastic to have the first Section 36 Forever wear that crown.

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Olivia during her journey as Miss Pride of the Commonwealth. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account. You should also check out her linktree! It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on. 


Thanks again Olivia, and good luck!

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