Monday, January 30, 2012

Magic Headphones?

I saw a couple references this weekend to a gift. Apparently, Chad Ochocinco gave all his teammates a pair of headphones so they could all enjoy the flight to Indy for the Super Bowl. He apparently spent close to $30,000 on these headphones. So, we’re talking about some pretty nice headphones. Not a bad gift.

The weird part is that Ocho isn’t the first Boston sports figure to give a gift of headphones. Apparently, when John Henry first noticed the Red Sox clubhouse troubles last September, he tried to fix everything by giving everyone on the team a pair of headphones. When did headphones get magic powers? For me, the two gifts raise a few questions.

Did Ochocinco know about the Henry gift? Did he think it was a good idea, and copy it? Did he see how the gift worked for the Sox, and decide he wanted the same results for the Patriots? Or, did John Henry and Chad Ochocinco each independently come up with the same idea to motivate their team? I can’t decide which answer would concern me more.

I’m also surprised by the theory behind the gifts. In the case of the Sox, the clubhouse was falling apart. Team unity was crumbling. They needed help. As for the Patriots, there’s no dire issue that we know of…yet. They just needed to go as a team to Indiana and win one more game. So I’m curious. Is the best way to build team unity to give everyone devices specifically designed to isolate them from everyone else? Wouldn’t a better idea have been to take away their headphones?

Plus, these are all pretty rich guys, right? These are all pretty young guys, right? They all travel a lot, right? Why didn’t they all have a nice pair of headphones? If I get on the subway, all I see are people wearing headphones. Teenagers, businessmen, mothers, they’re all plugged into their ipods, ipads, and iphones. I would guess that these young rich men would have gotten headphones immediately.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jenga Anyone?

This is your one-week warning! In exactly one week, the 2011 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt will end! And, don't forget, the contest happens to end on Super Bowl Sunday. Don't wait!

I know. The stress can be overwhelming. You’ve been scouring the country looking for that darn Jenga game. I appreciate the extra effort!

So, keep those pictures coming. I can’t wait to see who ends up on top. I can’t wait to see who has the most fun!

One Week Left!

Friday, January 27, 2012

List of 36

 Former Red Sox in the Baseball Hall of Fame

1. Jesse Burkett
2. Wade Boggs
3. Herb Pennock
4. Eddie Collins
5. Bobby Doerr
6. Red Ruffing
7. Jack Chesbro
8. Dick Williams
9. Juan Marichal
10. Ted Williams
11. Tom Seaver
12. Tom Yawkey
13. Al Simmons
14. Jimmy Collins
15. Tony Perez
16. Babe Ruth
17. Luis Aparicio
18. George Kell
19. Rick Ferrell
20. Harry Hooper
21. Andre Dawson
22. Jim Rice
23. Heinie Manush
24. Carl Yastrzemski
25. Cy Young
26. Fergie Jenkins
27. Hugh Duffy
28. Jimmie Foxx
29. Waite Hoyt
30. Joe Cronin
31. Orlando Cepeda
32. Tris Speaker
33. Rickey Henderson
34. Lou Boudreau
35. Joe McCarthy
36. Lefty Grove

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Theo’s a Genius

This time last year, there were three first basemen of note entering the last year of contracts. It was pretty much assumed that one of them, Adrian Gonzalez, was all but signed to a long-term deal. The other two were unknowns. Now, they’re both knowns. And, boy, that Gonzalez deal looks like a gift. And Theo knew it.

He brought this very thing up during the negotiations last year. Gonzalez all but assured Theo that a deal would be reached. It was safe to make the trade for him, and work out the details later. Theo actually brought up the other two first basemen. What if, he asked, their contracts this off-season shoot the market to the sky, and the Sox can’t resign Adrian. He was told not to worry. Gonzalez only wanted what was fair. Thank goodness for that. Gonzalez’s contract is shorter, and about 25% less than the contracts for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. You can argue which of the three is a better contract. But, you can’t argue that Gonzalez is 25% less of a player than they are. Nicely done Red Sox.

The Fielder contract remind me of the Gonzalez trade because both teams already had darn good first basemen. They both had to get an all-star to switch positions for the new acquisition. Thankfully, both were more than willing to do so. There are mixed feeling as to what kind of a third baseman Miguel Cabrera will make. But, he won’t be bad enough to offset the added value of Fielder, that’s for sure. That’s a pretty potent line-up.

Of course, the Sox get to see this all in person right off the bat. They get to open the season in Detroit. Good thing the Tigers don’t have any pitching to go along with those bats.

Oh, right.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fenway Needs a Tris Speaker Statue

I’ve said before that I like statues as a way to honor people. I also really like the idea of having statues around a ballpark. When I went to Pittsburgh, it was really cool to walk around the park, and keep running into statues of past greats. It makes the place more visually interesting. It also makes for a great meeting place when you’re going to a game with friends. “See you at the game. Meet me by the Clemente.”

Fenway, of course, has statues. They’re an interesting selection of players. There’s one of Ted Williams and a little kid, and one of the famous four teammates from the forties. On their own, they’re great statues. They’re both deserving subjects. But, is it weird that Fenway only has the two statues, and both are of Ted Williams? I know he’s the greatest Red Sox of them all, but how about some variety? And, speaking of variety, the two statues are right next to each other. That puts a bit of a kink in the “meet you at…” appeal of a statue. It would be one thing if the sidewalk were turned into a walk of fame sort of thing with statues of all the greats along one sidewalk. But, this isn’t that. Why not put Ted on the other side of the park? On Ted Williams Way, perhaps? But, location isn’t as important. They just need more.

Photo by Ruben
Let’s assume the Sox move Ted to Gate C. How about some statues at the other corners. Wouldn’t a statue of Tris Speaker be perfect in the back corner…behind center field? To be honest, this would have been a great thing to unveil this year. As we celebrate Fenway’s 100 birthday, why not have a statue of Fenway’s first superstar? But, it’s probably too late for that. How about getting it in place for 2015, the 100th anniversary of Speaker’s other championship season? That would be fantastic.

The ownership has done a great job fixing up Fenway. Now it’s time to work on the area around it. 

I like statues.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Two-Week Notice!

That’s right. There are only two weeks remaining in the 2011 Section 36 Scavenger hunt! Hopefully you are all scurrying about trying to find those last few items. Remember, you only have to find and photograph the items. You don’t need to own them. A few years ago, Kayla was able to turn a trip to the mall into a second place finish. It’s that easy!

Remember, along with the item(s), every picture needs one of the following three things in it:
     You, or
     The address of this blog written somewhere, or
     The Section 36 logo

After all, I need to know you took the picture, as opposed to stealing it from somewhere. I know that there are probably other ways to prove you found the item and took the picture. But, I’m making the rules.

Has everyone been having fun with this? That’s the whole idea, after all.

Two Weeks Left!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why Do Fans Go to Spring Training?

It happened again today. It happens all the time once the calendar flips. People ask me if I’ve ever been to Spring Training. It’s a logical question. I’m a Red Sox fan, after all. I’m a pretty big Red Sox fan. So, it makes sense that I may have made it down to the Fort. I haven’t. My answers are usually, “No, but I can’t wait to.” or “One of these days.” But, I’m starting to wonder if those answers are really true. Because, the other answer I sometimes give may be at the crux of the issue. “I have to figure out when I want to be down there, first.”

That’s really the answer. Since I don’t know the answer, does that tell me something? When would I want to be at Spring Training? What is my goal if I ever get down there? Don’t get me wrong. If I find myself in Florida around Spring Training time, I’m swinging by. I always figured I’d be at Disney World some February, and swing by the Braves camp, at least. I’m talking about a dedicated trip. Do you go down right as players report? In the middle of workouts? Once games have begun?

If you’re there the day pitchers and catchers report, isn’t it pretty empty? Aren’t players basically taking physicals, and filling out passport applications? Sure, you would have access to the players unlike you’d get in Boston. But, aren’t you pretty much limited to watching them scuttle from one building to another? That sounds like something that would get stale after, oh, an hour.

I can see that there’d be more to see once full workouts are in full swing. And, again, the access to players would be great. But, don’t the workouts take place on the field? Is it exciting to watch players run sprints in center field? Again, that sounds like something the sun would drain the excitement out of pretty quickly.

I assume the least interesting time to visit is when the games actually start. The workouts are limited at this point, right? Sure it would be fun to see the future stars in game action. But, I’m remembering the 1999 All-Star futures game I was at. Alfonso Soriano put on a show hitting two home runs. I had no idea who he was. I couldn’t care less. I left early. Maybe it’s just me?

I guess one reason I haven’t made it down yet is I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. It sounds like a lot of standing around and waiting. I can do that here. Even the autograph hound in me can’t get too amped up about being in the sun all day hoping for the best.

Or is there more to it then that? Are the autographs endless? Is the direct contact with players incredible? Is it just “being there?” Has anyone been?

What made you have a good time?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ok, Who Was Asking for Something to Happen?

Things were a little slow in Red Sox nation leading up to Spring Training. The crickets and disinterest were obvious as we all counted down the days until the Truck took off for Florida. I’m guessing that surgery wasn’t what everyone was waiting for to spice up the day.

So, Carl Crawford had wrist surgery. That’s interesting in a couple of ways. It’s interesting that it doesn’t appear that the Sox waited very long. I’m used to a person having an injury, and then waiting months to see if rest and massage will fix it before going under the knife. Going under quickly is either good or bad. Either the Sox finally trust surgery to consider it a quick fix. Let’s get it done now, heal up, and be ready for the season. Of course, the other reason is that the injury was so bad it was obvious right away that surgery was the only option. But, the way this team has been handing out Tommy John surgery like it’s a dinner mint, I’m going to assume that this team has just decided to cut-fix-heal rather than wait it out. Which is fine with me. Sounds like he’ll be back to playing baseball during Spring Training, and miss just a bit of the season. Glad they got it out of the way now.

Of course, it had to happen to Carl Crawford. People seem to dislike Carl Crawford for reasons I can’t quite understand. He seems like a nice guy, and a terrific player. The sort of player that should be beloved in this town. He’s hard working, and fun to watch. But, for whatever reason, that’s not the case. My assumption is that he doesn’t give a very good interview. Usually, when that happens the media makes it their duty to make the player disliked. Take a look at JD Drew and Dice-K. They were both fine players who were oddly vilified by the media and the fans. Coincidentally enough, neither one gave great interviews. But, enough about that. The interesting twist with Carl Crawford and the wrist is that the media has been reporting for some time that Bobby Valentine hadn’t talked to Carl Crawford. It’s was an almost daily non-update. Why hasn’t he talked to Carl? Where was Crawford? Who doesn’t return their manager’s call? Lots of people. It’s the off-season. Some people just like to be left alone. The Sox spent an off-season trying to contact Jonathan Papelbon once, with no success. But, Papelbon gave colorful quotes, so it was OK. With this injury news, the latest idea is that Crawford was avoiding Valentine to hide his wrist injury. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. I know that every time I’m on the phone, someone asks me specifically how my wrist is doing. It would be hard for Crawford to hide a sore wrist over the phone. Or, at dinner. You know Valentine would be staring at him to see how he picked up his cup to drink. Was he favoring it? It was a better idea to just avoid the whole issue.

Of course, that’s nonsense. Crawford wasn’t hiding anything. Sounds like he was very up front with it all. He had the surgery, and he’ll be ready to go and help the team make the playoffs. We need to just leave the guy alone to get ready. We should just be thankful we’re not Tigers fans.

Or Yankees fans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pitching Like It’s 1999

In the 1999 Playoffs, the Red Sox had four pitchers make starts. Pedro, Ramon Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, and Kent Mercker. That was the playoff rotation for a team that lost the ALCS in five games, after winning 94 games in the regular season. In 2004, the pitchers who made playoff starts for the Red Sox are: Pedro, Derek Lowe, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, and Bronson Arroyo. This was a team that won the World Series after winning 98 games in the regular season. What’s my point? Suddenly a rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Andrew Miller, and Alfredo Aceves doesn’t sound too crazy.

It seems even less crazy when you remember that this rotation will be matched to a line-up that led the major leagues in runs scored last year. This same line-up is back this season. Actually, the same line-up without JD Drew and the rest of the platoon that made up the worst statistical right fielder you can imagine. So, how can I not be excited about this rotation?

Is it better to have five shutdown aces? Sure. But, if you have five of those, chances are you don’t have enough money to score more runs than anyone else. It’s a give and take. It’s about the relationship between both sides of the equation. It seems to me that the Sox have the pitching that has worked in the past, and an offence that has worked in the past. I like it. I don’t know how I can expect anything less than 95 wins and a playoff spot from this rotation.

How can I not be excited about that?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Sox 1-36: 5 is for…

5 ft. The height of the bullpen wall at Fenway.

I wonder, sometimes, how things are decided on. Why is the bullpen wall in right 5 feet tall? What confluence of factors led to that number being plucked? The height of the wall in left is slightly more obvious. The wall is really close to home plate. A high wall meant fewer balls would leave the park. Granted, why it’s 27 feet instead of 26 or an even 30 is up for questioning. Much like the bullpen wall. Why five? Why not six? Why not three, like it is around Pesky’s pole?

To me it looks like a fairly careful calculation. Obviously they took an average player and stood him up against a wall. They had him take a little hop, as if he were reaching for a ball. They then marked the spot where his ribs were. 5 feet. That way, anyone crashing into the wall would be sure to at least bruise a rib, if not break it completely and puncture their lung.

Life-threatening injuries aside, low walls add to the excitement. There might not be a defensive play as dramatic or exciting as robbing a home run. The 5 feet at Fenway have certainly led this to be the case. From Section 36, you can get a good view along that bullpen wall, and see the right fielder approaching it. It’s easy to see the arc of the ball coming towards the bullpen, and try to guess just where it will land. Every once in a while that fielder will stand up against the wall, and reach back into the bullpen and take one away. It’s a play that is sure to evoke a strong emotion.

Almost as much emotion is evoked when a ball actually clears the wall. My favorite memory of that? Has to be the 2004 ALCS game 4 walk-off from David Ortiz. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see a ball clear a five-foot wall. But, I’m sure there are plenty of other wonderful moments involving that wall. Not bad for something 5 feet tall.

5 is for the 5-foot tall bullpen wall.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Scored! July 19, 2003

The first thing I think of when I look at this card is, “So that’s why I made my own card!” Only room for two players per batting position? Only room for three pitchers? Only nine innings available, but room for 16 batters? Off the shelf cards just weren’t working for me. But, beyond that to the game itself…

What an exciting game was. I see a lot of back and forth action. The Sox had a lead, and gave it up. Had a lead, and gave it up. Fell behind, but crawled back in late. A 2-out rally in the ninth. A walk-off victory. Fantastic. Everyone played a role. The game was tied thanks to their superstars. Nomar walked and stole a base in the ninth. Manny drove him in to tie the game with two outs. Frankly I’m shocked that with the winning run on second, Ortiz only grounded out. No matter. The role players finished the job. Jeremy Giambi led off the tenth with a walk. Gabe Kapler stole a base as a pinch runner. Trot Nixon sent everyone home with a single. It was a complete team victory. Just the way you draw it up in Spring Training. I also look at the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Millar singled to lead off the inning, with the Sox trailing by a run. Damian Jackson pinch-ran for him. Everyone in the world knew he was only in the game to try and steal second. Like he did many times in 2003, he did just that. I’ve said before that the one thing I thought the 2004 team was lacking was a guy who could steal a base when everyone knew he was stealing. Until, of course, they traded for Dave Roberts.

The player of the game? That’s a tough call. The easy choice would be Trot Nixon for getting the game-winning hit. But, that’s ignoring all the efforts of everyone else to put him in that position. I’m going to have to go with Kevin Millar. He was on base three times, and had a solo homerun. That’s a big effort. The goat? Another toss up. I have to give it to David Ortiz. His two strikeouts put him below Todd Walkers one. Plus, Ortiz grounded out with the winning run in scoring position. All that adds up to a tough night.

In the end, it didn’t matter. The Sox pulled it out in dramatic fashion. The entire team pulled together to get a win when nobody had their best games. It’s exactly the sort of game you expect from a team that would go deep into the playoffs.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why I’m Excited About the 2012 Red Sox Season

Two words. Carl Crawford!

I’ve been going through potential line-up in my mind, and I just don’t know where to put Crawford in it. How beautiful is that? The line-up is so powerful that I don’t know where a four-time all-star fits in. A career .296 hitter has no natural position. This could be fun.

And, we know it will be fun. Last year, the offense was magnificent. They led the majors in runs scored, even with Crawford having an off year. If he’s anything close to where he should be, we’re talking about record output here. I’m really down to two potential line-ups. Batting Crawford second, or sixth. I think the one with him second is better.


I love the speed at the top of this one. Pedroia is going to see nothing but fastballs in this situation. That could be an elite position in any order. The one with Crawford sixth looks like this.


Frankly, I hate sticking Crawford behind the slugs of Gonzalez-Ortiz-Youk. There’s a pretty good chance that if Crawford is on base, he’ll be behind one of the slowest runners in history. Not exactly the best use of his skill set.

But, just imagine the fun the first option will be. Think of the runs they’ll score.

I can’t wait.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Good Was Barry Larkin?

I have to admit. I want to get all worked up over his selection. I want to have a strong opinion that either it’s about time he got in, or it’s a stain on the hall that he was elected. But, I really don’t know. Unfortunately, that leads me to think that’s all I need to know.

Larkin was an NL guy, so my exposure to him was limited. The only time I saw him play live was at the 1999 All-Star game. He was one of the guys Pedro made look absolutely foolish. But that’s all I have.

Shouldn’t there be more if he’s a Hall-of-Famer? Shouldn’t I have known about him, even if he was in the NL? Shouldn’t I have known for ten years that we were just waiting for him to be eligible so he could take his rightful place among the legends?

Is it the new math? Are people suddenly realizing that players are better than we thought they were when they were active? Are people trying to convince people that players are better than they were when they were active? Do the voters need to vote for somebody?

So, people who really paid attention. Was Barry good? Was he a game changer? Did you fear him when he came to the plate? Did you mark the schedule when he was coming to town? Did you always know he was destined for Cooperstown?

I don’t think I did.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Love it When it All Comes Together

Not too long ago, I asked all of you which Red Sox card was missing from my collection. Kyle of Juust a Bit Outside suggested the 1983 Topps Wade Boggs rookie card. That was a fine suggestion. The rookie card of a recent Hall-of-Famer is certainly a must-have for any Red Sox collection. I also made a New Year’s day post saying that one of the things I’d like to do this year is make more trades with fellow bloggers. Sometimes, things just work out.

On January 1, Kyle and I completed a trade for the very 1983 Topps Wade Boggs rookie card. It must have been fate. The Boggs card is one that just had its timing off a bit for me. When I was younger, Boggs was a hot commodity. His rookie cards were priced out of my meager range. Once I had the means to acquire the card, it fell to the back of my priority list. He was a Yankee by then, for goodness sakes. Now that the internet has made every card from the 80’s as common as air, I never got the inkling to go after Boggs. So, I’m thrilled to finally be able to add this gem to my collection.

And, what a great card it is. Boggs is clearly taking a lead off of third base, in the middle of a forest. He could not look more bored to be in scoring position. I also like it when players like Boggs have a weird position listed. Imagine Boggs across the diamond at first? Not exactly the prototypical slugging first baseman. But, it’s a great time capsule back to a time where Boggs was apparently a utility infielder. Who would have guessed what was to come in the years ahead.

Kyle also included some other cards in the trade, including the Clemens Topps Gallery. I like the concept of the Gallery cards. Baseball cards as art. This particular shot, however, probable should have been redone. It’s a rather blah shot of an apparently dumfounded Clemens. Even so, it’s a welcome addition to my Red Sox collection.

So, thank you Kyle for getting my new year off on the right foot!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy 36th Eric Gagne!

Today we wish a very happy 36th birthday to former Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne!

Yeah, I know. Gagne’s Red Sox career wasn’t exactly stellar. OK. It wasn’t exactly decent either. But, boy, when the Sox made the move to acquire him, it was pretty big news. The Sox were caught in a race for the division. They were able to add a former elite reliever at the deadline to really bolster things. In the first part of the 2007 season, Gagne had actually been putting up some pretty decent numbers. But, in Boston, things went terribly wrong. Nobody’s exactly sure why. The one that is the most plausible is that Papelbon wouldn’t give him the closer’s job. Not that it’s entirely Pap’s fault. He was the better closer at the time. But, Gagne said he never really got over the feeling of looking over his shoulder. As a closer, he was used to it being his game, good or bad. As a set up guy, he kept thinking that one bad pitch could have him taken out of the game. He never really got it mentally, and it crushed his season.

Amazingly, he was on the playoff roster for the ALCS, which is where I got to see him pitch for the only time live. He came in to finish off game six against Cleveland. Notice I said, “finish off” and not “close.” When Gagne came into the game in the top of the ninth, the Sox were clinging to a ten run game. Amazingly, he held the lead. He pitched a perfect 1-2-3 ninth to put the Sox one win away from the World Series.

The Sox, of course, went on to win the World Series that year. That means Gagne has a ring from the Red Sox. That has to keep him in our good graces at least a little bit. A little bit.

Happy 36th Birthday Eric Gagne!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who Has the Best Bikini?

It’s reminder time again! This is to let you know that there is only one month left in the 2011 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt! Get those pictures taken and emailed to me (section36 at gmail dot com) as soon as you can so you’re not left out. If you’ve forgotten what you need to find, you can always click on the link on the sidebar to go to the list.

Let’s remember what’s at stake. In addition to worldwide fame and admiration, the winner will also receive an official Section 36 scorebook, and 400 different Red Sox baseball cards. The cards pictured are the actual ones you will receive. How cool is that? Oh, and if you happen to win and are a fan of one of those other teams, just let me know. I can try and replace as many Red Sox cards as I can with cards of your favorite team. Can’t promise 400…but I’ll do my best.

So keep finding those items, and keep taking pictures. And don’t forget to tell all your friends about this fun activity.

One Month Left!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Like My Nachos Extra Cheesy

Not too long ago, I opened a pack of cards. Yeah, I know. Quite the news flash there. It had a card I thought I remembered seeing on a wantlist over at Nachos Grande. Upon checking, I found that I was correct. So, I packaged the card with a few more I found on wantlist and sent them off. In return, Chris was nice enough to send along a package of Red Sox cards to me. They were all most welcome. Let’s take a quick look at a sampling of the package.

For me, the highlight is the Josh Beckett. It came with a note letting me know that “I sparkle!” It is, of course, one of the gimmicky sparkle variations from 2011 Topps. I was thrilled to add it. To be honest, I had done a poor job with these variations. I had never even seen a photo of the Beckett card, and wasn’t even sure that he was the Red Sox representative. So, it was fantastic to have one in my hands.

The rest of the shipment was a smattering of Red Sox cards from Lineage, Allen & Ginter, and Heritage. The Tris Speaker was a great card too. I’m sill not sure I’m a fan of former players in a modern set. But, the Speaker was still welcomed. As I mentioned, I’ve become a bit of a fan of his since reading his wonderful biography not too long ago. Maybe I should start a PC of him. I bet it would be easy and cheap to complete!

So, a big thank you goes out to nachos Grande for the incredible package. I’ll certainly keep my eye on his wantlists in the future.

I Sparkle!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Card of the Week: 2010 Topps Heritage Kevin Youkilis #316

The Topps Heritage line has been very popular with collectors. I can’t decide what the reason for it is. Is it that new collectors are tired of the flash in new designs, and really just like the older feel? Or is it people who collected these sets as kids who like collecting the new players in the designs they remember? Whichever it is, it’s working.

This card has a nice crossover effect to it. It’s a classic design, but has the nice “action” shot of Youkilis manning his third base position. Interestingly enough, he’s listed as a first baseman, but shown playing third. Maybe Topps should have at least listed both positions. The card design works too. It gives you everything you need nicely tucked out of the way. Player name, position, team name. None of it is floating over the image. None of it flashes at you in gold. It’s just there when you need it. The photo is nicely cropped, focusing right in on Youk. There are no distractions in the background.

I notice that someone at Topps had some trouble coloring within the lines. I assume that was a tribute to the older inferior presses from the original release. It’s nice of Topps to admit that they weren’t very good at it back then. With everyone digitally remastering their old movies, it’s nice to see a company leave well enough alone.

Nicely done, Topps.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

As a Red Sox fan, it feels good to turn the calendar away from the disaster that was the 2011 season, and face 2012 head-on. It should be a lot of fun. This is a day when everyone reflects on their life. They think about the good things, and cringe at the bad. It’s a great time to hold onto what you like, and try to change what you don’t. Here at Section 36, I’m not above jumping on a good idea. So, what are my new year’s reflections? Reflection from the Section, you might say? (But, probably won’t)

For me personally, as a Red Sox fan I think the year went well. I was able to make it to seven games at Fenway this season. That’s a number that I find works pretty well for me. I was able to add some star players to my “seen live” list, including Adrian Gonzalez. I was able to attend throwback night when the Cubs came to Fenway. I was even able to visit my fourth park when I made it to PNC in June. I didn’t get to see the Sox play, but it was still a grand time. For 2012? I’d love more of the same. I’d love to make it to another six or seven game in Fenway. I expect to get the most out of the Fenway's 100 seasons celebration that I can, even though I can’t imagine I’ll be at the birthday game. Hopefully I’ll be able to see some players I haven’t seen before…especially Andrew Bailey. Most of all, I’d like to see a playoff game. Of course, wouldn’t we all.

As a Red Sox collector, I’m also quite pleased with the year. I was able to add what I think are some nice pieces to my collection. Through some trades with the wonderful blogging community, I was able to add quite a few oddities that were missing from my sets. I imagine that I speak for lots of us when I say that in 2012 I want to streamline my collection, and give it more focus. I sense that I’m casting too wide of a net over the recent releases. Maybe I don’t need Topps, Topps Chrome, Topps Opening Day, Topps Target, and Topps Wal-Mart. Maybe I should trim a few of those, and chase down older things instead. I’d love to be able to add some tobacco cards to my collection or other unique cards that are out there. With all the Fenway 100 years merchandise that is available, I’m sure I’ll be adding some of that to my Sox collection as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to show at least some restraint in that area. I also want to make a lot more trades this year. I think they’re a great way for everyone to improve their collections.

As a blogger, 2011 was an exciting time. Section 36 made it up to 81 followers, so at least some people thing I’m doing a decent job. I’m also pleased with the success of the Pix from 36 feature. I want to thank everyone who shared their pictures from the Section this year. As a goal for 2012, I’d love those contributions to continue. So, I guess it’s really a goal for all of you. Keep the pictures coming! I’d also like to expand my I Scored posts to include more scorecards from all of you. Once again, that’s your goal, not mine. So send in your scans of scorecards! And, speaking of keeping score…don't forget my official scorecard. The more people who use it, the faster I can make it better. With any luck, I’ll also reach 100 followers this year. More help please! As for things I can control, I have some of those too. I want to try and put out the quality, and quantity. It will be a delicate balance. But, I’ll do my best. I also want to be even more of a presence on other blogs through comments, and the like. The more everyone gets out to everyone else, the better. 

I think that covers it. Here’s to a great 2012 everyone!

(Except Yankees fans)

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