Monday, September 20, 2021

2021 Bowman Blaster!

Always fun to open packs of Bowman. While the design is always treated like an afterthought, there are still some fun players and cards to be had. How did this one go?

Let's get to it!



Here is the box.


And the packs. Only six packs, but an incredible twelve cards per pack!


And the first Red Sox is the surging Dalbec. When the year started, people were mentioning him in the ROY conversation. Then, his start to the season really squelched that...until he's put it all together of late. It's turned into a good year for the rookie. See what I mean about the design, though? Boxes, angles, colors, banners...the borders are a mess. Just like every other Bowman design.


Another Red Sox! Glad they included "outfielder" in JD's position since they're showing him with a glove on his hand.



This shiny retro insert of Tatis harkens back to the days when Bowman wasn't a computer graphics nightmare. A simple name banner. Weird that a brand that started with basically one graphic, if that, evolved into what it has become.

So there you have it. Several Red Sox. A nice insert. Not a bad haul from the blaster.

How did yours go?

Friday, September 17, 2021

Abby Garner Visits Section 36!

Photo - Faces Photography
Section 36 ha
s another visitor! Abby Garner is passionate about the Arts, and a talented singer. I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more!

So, let's see what happens when Abby Garner visits Section 36!

What made you want to compete within the Miss America Organization?

When I was 11 years old my voice teacher was Miss Lehi 2009. I thought she was so incredible, she had the most beautiful voice, and always made me feel so important. Growing up I had other dreams and never really saw myself as a titleholder. My Senior year of High School I saw a flyer for the Miss Lehi 2016 competition and decided on a whim I wanted to compete. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing but from that first night I was hooked! I have been involved ever since.


You recently had the opportunity to compete for the Miss Utah title. What was that experience like?

It was absolutely magical. I have been working towards this goal for five years and I held my first title for two years so it just felt even more fulfilling. I made some of the best friends I've ever had, I gained confidence I didn't know I was capable of, and I was able to share my Social Impact Initiative with people from all over Utah (which ultimately is why I'm still involved with this organization.)


What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Utah competition that will help you in future competitions?

I don't even know where to begin. I think the biggest thing I learned was that at the end of the day this isn't about a crown or a sash or even a title. The service opportunities I've had and the sisterhood are the true reasons why MAO is so important! I didn't do as well as I had hoped to at Miss Utah but I was still so proud of myself and I came away with even more connections than before. Going forward I think it has just given me a new perspective and helped me be extra grateful for the experiences I've already had and every new experience I have heading my way.


How did you select your social impact initiative, “Let's Create Wellness - Creating Positive Mental Health Through the Arts”?

I lived with undiagnosed mental illness approximately from the time I was 7 until I was diagnosed when I was 17. That caused a lot of confusion and pain throughout my adolescence which led to suicidal thoughts. I truly believe that the only reason I am alive today is because I started theater when I was 8 and found a community and an outlet to take care of my mental health. Musicals got me through some of the hardest times in my life. When I had to choose my SII I started out with BREAK THE STIGMA - Mental Health awareness.  I loved this SII but it didn't feel personal enough to me. For my second year I discussed my story and passions with a really trusted friend and thus #LetsCREATEWellness was born. The arts saved my life and I love being able to share their healing power with my community!


As a talented singer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?

First of all, Thank you so much! I absolutely love singing but my favorite part about performing is being able to express myself through the music I've chosen. It's simultaneously the most vulnerable and most empowering experience and I never seem to get tired of it.


If you could play any role in a Broadway show, which would it be? Why?

This is a HARD question because honestly there are hundreds of roles I'd like to play. My longest standing dream role is Amneris in Aida. She is an Egyptian princess, engaged to the captain of the army, her father is dying and she is heir to the throne. She starts off the show as a really shallow character. She talks about how her appearance is all that matters to her and doesn't have any deep relationships. Throughout the show she goes through a lot of trials and the audience gets to watch her character development. She is a very strong character and I LOVE playing character growth so this one has been on my list for a long time.


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

I would probably be Megera. As you can probably tell I love strong female characters and Meg has always been one of my favorites. She is sassy, witty, and selfless. I think she is a great role model. Her character arc is so interesting and I really admire her vulnerability and willingness to grow. 


As a Yankees fan, if you had an extra ticket to see them play, who would you take with you? Why?

100% my dad. He is the reason I am such a Yankees fan and he has helped foster my love for baseball. He is always willing to explain a rule or a term I don't understand and his love for the game is fun to watch. No one I'd rather cheer on my Yanks with.


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

I've always wanted to throw out the first pitch! I think that is such a fun honor and I am hopeful that I'll get the opportunity to do so one day. It would be such an honor to throw the first pitch for Utah's Minor League team the Salt Lake Bee's! I'd also love to sing the national anthem at a baseball game some day (when I was a kid I was able to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game with my sister at a Las Vegas Aviators (formerly known as the 51's) game and that is one of my favorite memories from my teenage years.

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That would definitely be a fun experience!

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

I encourage you to check out the #LetsCREATEWellness Instagram account to see how the Arts can help spread positive mental health. You should also be sure to follow Abby's personal Instagram account to make sure you don't miss anything as she takes another crack at the Miss Utah title!


Thanks again Abby, and good luck with all of your future competitions!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Go Gold! 2015 Topps Gold Blake Swihart

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. As a nod to the Go Gold activities going on this month to help raise awareness of the leading cause of death by disease in children, I thought I'd contribute several "gold" themed posts sprinkled throughout the month. Here's the next one.

Let's talk about this card...



The 2015 Topps Gold Blake Swihart RC. Like the Chavis card I talked about earlier, this card was a lot more fun to have not too long ago. Swihart was an up and coming star ready to take ahold of the catcher's spot for years to come. Unfortunately that never happened. As a hit over field catcher, he was pushed to the side, tried in the outfield, and eventually shipped away. It's too bad since it looked like he was going to be a lot of fun.

The card itself is great. The 2015 Topps borders were fun and colorful, but can sometimes be overpowering. The gold version really mutes that out and allows the photo to really pop, while keeping the character of the design. It's a great combination.

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I'm sure you all remember Miss Michigan Vivian Zhong from her interview with us. Her social impact initiative "Golden Warriors: Fight Like a Kid" is, obviously, quite relevant this month. As such, she's raising money though a "Gold Together" campaign. I highly recommend you support her efforts with a donation if you are able. You can find the link here.

Support her efforts to be Gold Together!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Braxton Hiser Visits Section 36!

Photo: Noblesville Headshots
Section 36 has another visitor! Braxton Hiser is passionate about loving thy neighbor, a talented singer, and the current Miss Indiana. I was so glad that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when Braxton Hiser visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss Indiana crown?

Winning the title of Miss Indiana was a complete surprise to me! As you can imagine my friends and family were and are still so proud of me. To celebrate my accomplishments, one of my friends took me out to a restaurant in Downtown Indy called Prime 47 and somehow had management edit the menu to say, "Congratulations Braxton Kennedy Hiser - Miss Indiana 2021" with the Miss America logo! It was amazing! My family and friends threw this big dinner to celebrate and it meant the world to me! 


What has been the most pleasant surprise about your time as Miss Indiana?
The connections I've been able to make is the most pleasant surprise I've experienced. Former Miss Indiana's told me about what doors would open having the title and they were so right. I've been able to meet so many people across Indiana that have helped me expand my platform, The Love Thy Neighbor Project, as well as meeting so many accomplished young women within the Miss America Organization! 


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

This might be a little unbelievable, but I'm not nervous at all! I love every phase of the competition.I've always loved being on stage and each part of the competition allows me to showcase who I am, my talent, personality, and what I believe in. 


How did you select your social impact initiative, “The Love Thy Neighbor Project”?

When I landed my first teaching job, I was blindsided as to what teaching would really be like. It was not what I had expected it to be. I had students who didn't have homes, food, clothes, or parents who were living to take care of them. I knew I had to do something when I saw one of my students picking scraps of food at the Whole Foods salad bar and asking strangers for money. In that moment, the Love Thy Neighbor Project was born. 


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

My favorite part about performing on stage is giving it my all! Our talents are only 90 seconds and within that short amount of time, you have to show the judges what you're capable of. During my talent, I give it my all, do my best, and perform my heart out! 


You’re currently a third grade teacher. What do you enjoy most about that role?

The best thing about teaching third grade is seeing how much my students grow each year from August to May. Third grade is a tough year for a lot of students. It's the testing grade in Indiana. They all have to take this big assessment called IREAD. If they don't pass, they will be considered to be retained in third grade. So seeing them work hard all year and pass the test is the best feeling in the world! 


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

I actually used to work as Princess Tiana! She was so fun, but if I could choose any Disney Character, it would definitely be Cinderella. She has always been my favorite princess since I was a little girl. People always view the movie as a damsel in distress needing to be saved by a prince. But I always saw it as Cinderella teaching others to have hope, to be kind and to keep believing in your dreams. And of course, I love her blue ball gown! 


If you had an extra ticket to a Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball game, who would you take with you? Why?

I would take my mom! My mom and I are super close and do everything together. So why not experience my first baseball game with her?! 


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

I would love to see a home run! 


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That is always a lot of fun! 

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

As Braxton continues her time as Miss Indiana, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss Indiana website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

 
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Braxton, and good luck!

Monday, September 13, 2021

1975 Topps Page by Page: Page 71 (631-639)

 I'm sure that you all remember that I finally completed my 1975 Topps set.

Now that it's done I thought it would be fun to look through the set and talk about it. Going page by page seemed like a good way to go about it. Hopefully you find it interesting to read what I have to say.

How about we continue with page 71?


Red Sox Cards on the Page  

0. It was a nice little run, but that's over now. 


Cards that make the 1975 Topps set cool 

Team cards are cool. Which is good, because this page has very little going for it. 


My favorite card on the page 

I'm going to have to go with the Cy Acosta and his interesting side eye. In fact, this page has a huge collection of people not looking at the camera. The Acosta and Dobson and Kline almost look like "candid" shots, so that could be an explanation. But, what about Moore? Clearly this is posed, but he's looking off into the distance. Is he supposed to be tracking a pitch that isn't there? Is that how far the "posed action" aspect of the shot is going? It's interesting.


What would your answers to those last two categories be?

What people are reading this week