Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Scored!

Boy, does this card bring a trip down memory lane, or what?

First, look at the pitcher's box. A great start by John lackey. Of course, that was the year he performed so terribly before we all knew that his arm was simply being dragged along for fun. Nice to see a good one here. Speaking of good performances by lousy that 1.1 great important innings from Daniel Bard? Remember when he used to throw those? And, remember when Jonathan Papelbon used to come in and close the door? It seems like so long ago.

Speaking of which, check out that line-up. This was back when they were still instilling fear in the rest of the American League. Hard to remember a better top five in the order. Ellsbury was in the middle of an MVP caliber season. So was Adrian Gonzalez (How soon we forget.) David Ortiz was all the way down at fifth in the order, and rightly so. My goodness.

The player of the game? I have to give it to the clean-up hitter. Kevin Youkilis showed why he was batting right where he should be. 3-4 or the day with two RBI and a run scored. Exactly the production you need from him. 

The goat? Well, remember how I said the top five in the order were fearsome? The bottom third? Not so much. On the day they went 0-12. But, only JD Drew added the two strikeouts to really drag down the day. He gets to wear the horns.

But, obviously, it didn't matter. Things were still good in Red Sox Nation as the top of the order carried the Sox to an easy victory. Ellsbury and Pedroia set the table, and Youkilis and Reddick drove them in Just like they drew it up in Spring Training. Or, something like that.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

List of 36: Things I’m Thankful For

1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Seeing three ring ceremonies
3. Trade bait
4. Souvenir helmets
5. Great seats
6. 160 Instagram followers, and counting
7. Hot stove season
8. Every new pic with Section 36
9. A patient GM
10. Scoring as often as possible
11. Pablo Sandoval
12. Making trades
13. The next move
14. Every new “Rather be in Section 36” pic
15. The 2015 schedule
16. 1050 Twitter followers, and counting
17. Red Sox books
18. David “The Recruiter” Ortiz
19. Championship goals
20. Every new pic In Section 36
21. Scavenger Hunt entries
22. World Series merchandise on clearance
23. Home jerseys without names on the back
24. Every new pic of Section 36
25. Vintage cards
26. Every comment on blog posts
27. Line-up discussions
28. 317 Facebook “likes”, and counting
29. Fenway statues
30. A great view
31. Souvenir cups
32. Every new Pic from Section 36
33. Team sets
34. Being an internet sensation
35. A great line-up
36. Readers

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ben Cherington's Not Stupid

Unlike, apparently, people on twitter.

As I write this, it's the middle of the afternoon. In a few hours, it'll be dinnertime. I'm going to have to make myself something to eat. I know that. But, it's still early. The fact that I'm writing this post doesn't mean that I put writing a blog post at a higher priority that eating. In fact, I put eating at a higher priority than just about anything else. I just know that I still have some time to get other things done before I need to have dinner cooked and ready to eat. So, I can write this post. I can check the mail. I can even catch up on some reading. All things that need to get done. None of them as important as eating. None of them will prevent me from eating when dinnertime rolls around.

Sort of like pitching.

The Red Sox signed two fine hitters to add to the line-up. That's pretty exciting. Considering that last years line-up had Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr in it, adding Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval is a HUGE upgrade. (Pun intended.) We should be thrilled! But, what did twitter say?

"Can Hanley pitch?"

"I don't care. Get pitching!"

"They're not going to help at all if the team can't pitch!"

That's probably true. It's also true that Ben is well aware of that fact. He didn't make it to be a major league GM without realizing that there is both pitching and hitting. He also didn't make it to be a major league GM without knowing how to do two things at once. After all, didn't he just do the Hanley and Panda deals at the same time? So, why does everyone assume this is an "either/or" type thing? So, because the Red Sox signed two hitters, they aren't concerned about pitching? I'm writing this post. Does that mean I'm not concerned about eating?

Of course not. Just like I still have time to make dinner, Ben still has time to make a pitching staff. The deals for the two hitters just presented themselves, and he went for it. How annoyed would Sox fans be if the Sox signed Lester in two weeks, then announced at the press conference that they were so focused on that deal that while Lester was mulling his options, Hanley signed with NY and Pablo signed with Baltimore. Oh the outcry! You mean that while Lester was thinking it over, the Sox were just sitting there twiddling their thumbs while the other GMs were improving their team? Fire him now!

So, of course the Red Sox did the deal they could do when they could do it. It's how it works. I, for one, am pretty excited about it. Now they can move onto the next move. After all there's still time to make it. And the next one. And the one after that. When Spring Training comes, they'll have addressed all their needs.

And at dinnertime, I'll have something to eat.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

From the Pedro Binder

1999 Topps Picture Perfect?

Do you see it?

I admit. I have to give Topps come credit here. Just for a little fun, they went in a different direction with their insert set. As the question mark implies, the picture may, or may not be, perfect. In this case, it's the latter.

Do you see it?

It's a fun little activity, at least the first time you see the card. What do I like about it? The name of the set on the card is hidden. A set with the name "Picture" in the title allows the picture to be the focal point. I like that. Even the gimmicky imperfect part doesn't detract from the overall effect. It's not like they replaced Pedro's head with the Incredible Hulk's.

Do you see it?

So, it makes for a great card. It's an insert, so I don't mind that it doesn't have things like Pedro's name, position, etc. I'll let the base card take care of that stuff. There are no foil spirals or zigzags to compete for my attention. There's nothing. It's simple, and wonderful with nothing in the way.

Except, of course, for the intentional "imperfection."

Do you see it?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What is Mookie Betts?

It’s hot stove season, which means a lot of rumors. Rumors about free agents. Rumors about players under contract. Rumors about possible trades. It’s a lot of fun.

During the trade rumors portion, Mookie Betts’s name has come up quite a bit. And, why wouldn’t he? He’s an attractive prospect that I’m sure any number of teams would like to add to their roster. It seems, though, that many in Red Sox Nation are completely opposed to letting that happen. Which brings me to one question.

Why not?

Oh, sure. I know you’re aware that I consider every player to be potential trade bait in the right deal. There are no names on the roster that another team could include that would stop me from at least reading the entire trade offer. Obviously, if the first three names are Ortiz, Pedroia, Bogaerts…the name at the end better be Trout. But, at least I’d read and see what it said.

But, this is even beyond that. Frankly, I think the Sox should be actively trying to sell “high” on Betts. After all, what is he? What’s the best you expect out of him? I’m not even talking about this season. What’s the best you expect out of Mookie Betts, ever? I’m guessing it’s not 2004 Manny Ramirez. I’m guessing it’s not 2011 Jacoby Ellsbury either. 2008 Dustin Pedroia? Maybe. 2013 Jacoby Ellsbury? More likely.

Isn’t that really what we’re looking at as a peak for Betts? Especially the next handful of years? .285-15-70? Why is that untouchable? After all, we just had a guy do that, and we couldn’t let him leave for the big contract elsewhere fast enough. Good riddance. We can replace you with Jackie Bradley Jr.

Now that guy is untouchable?

Sure, Mookie was fun last season. He was exactly what the team needed at the end of a lost, dreary season. He was a blast of excitement. He was something enjoy as he showed us all what he could do.

But, it’s not like he was having Phil Plantier’s September call-up. So, why would we guard him with an iron shield? Heck, the Sox don’t even have a position open for him at the moment.

Shouldn’t he be the first name on the offer sheet to Philadelphia? Shouldn’t he be the exact chip that you’d use to get a proven top of the rotation lefty with a great postseason resume? Shouldn’t he be the guy that Philly overvalues from afar? Instead, people are actually willing to stop a deal for Cole Hamels, or anyone else for that matter, if Mookie’s name in brought up. It’s unbelievable.

Am I wrong with Mookie’s assessment? Do people think he is, in fact, going to be 2005 David Ortiz? Or, are people confusing “fun” with “productive”? (Maybe it’s an infielder thing. They certainly confuse the two when it comes to the second baseman)

What is Mookie Betts?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy 36th Darnell McDonald!

Today we wish a very Happy Birthday to former outfielder and fan favorite Darnell McDonald!

McDonald was an outfielder on the forgettable 2010 to 2012 Sox teams. He had a little bit of Daniel Nava in him. He had a better pedigree than Nava, being a former first round pick. But, in the decade since then, he had appeared in less than 100 games. So, there was an “off the scrap heap” feeling to him. When he started performing well, the fans fell in love with the story. He played a couple hundred games for the Sox, before leaving town.

I saw McDonald play live five times in 2010, and he started four of those games. In those games, he hit a couple homers, and scored a couple runs. All the while playing a solid outfield.

The addition of Carl Crawford in 2011 spelled the basic end of McDonald’s playing time. He only appeared in one more game I was at the rest of his time in Boston.

But, he was still a popular player while he was here. He did a great job filling in when the Mike Cameron experiment failed miserably. That’s really all you can ask out of a player.

Happy 36th Darnell McDonald!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Scavenger Hunt

It’s time for the Seventh Annual Section 36 Scavenger Hunt! I’m sure you remember how it works. If not, I’ll remind you. Below, you’ll find a list of 36 items for you to try and find. When you find an item, take a picture of it and send it along to me. Whoever sends me pictures of the most items wins. Pretty simple, right? We’ll make the end of the hunt be 12:36 PM eastern time on February 5, 2015. This both gives enough time to find the stuff, and fills the time almost right up to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. Sound like fun? What do you win if you find the most items? Worldwide fame and admiration! I will post the winner’s name (and picture if one is provided) on this very site and hail them as the 2014 Scavenger Hunt Champion! I’m sure that Bryanne has found her worldwide fame to be quite an honor this past year. If you actually want a prize you can hold in your hand, I’ll award a scorebook made up of the Section 36 official scorecards, bound together to allow you to score twenty games! Not too bad, right? If I come up with something else between now and then, maybe I'll add it on. Ready to get started? Here is this year’s list of items to get pictures of:

1. Red Sox car magnet
2. Ticket to World Series game played by the Red Sox
3. Red Sox retired number
4. Official Program from 1999 All-Star game
5. “Sports Illustrated” magazine with Red Sox player on cover
6. Homemade “I’d Rather Be in Section 36” t-shirt
7. Red Sox rug
8. Wine bottle featuring Red Sox player
9. Red Sox pennant
10. Red Sox ice-cream carton
11. Red Sox player
12. Xander Bogaerts baseball card
13. Used official Section 36 scorecard
14. 2013 World Series baseball
15. Cy Young Statue
16. Jon Lester replica jersey
17. 2009 Red Sox Media Guide
18. Red Sox paperweight
19. Autograph of member of 2012 Red Sox
20. Red Sox bikini
21. 2007 World Championship item
22. Shane Victorino t-shirt
23. Jim Rice Hall of Fame plaque postcard
24. Red Sox coaster
25. Ticket stub from Section 36
26. Red Sox Dunkin’ Donuts item
27. Condiment with a picture of Red Sox player on it
28. 36 of something
29. Lansdowne St
30. 2013 World Championship banner
31. Red Sox license plate holder
32. Biography of Red Sox player
33. “Fenway Park 100 Seasons” baseball
34. Hallmark Ornament of Red Sox player
35. Female Red Sox fan
36. Male Red Sox fan

A quick clarification. Unless it says otherwise, “Red Sox Player” refers to anyone who ever played for the Sox in a regular season game. That counts even if the player isn’t depicted as a Red Sox player in the picture. So, Jim would be able to use anything from his Phillies Room depicting players like Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon, even if they’re in their Phillies garb.

Now, since I want this to be a scavenger hunt, and not a google search, I’ll need a way to make sure you actually find these items yourself. So, in order to qualify any picture must have any one of these three things in it.

  1. You. This might be the easiest way. If you’re in the picture, I can be pretty sure you actually found the item. This has one advantage in that it doesn’t have to be a new picture. If you went to Fenway last summer and took a picture on Lansdowne St, that would work. Or,
  2. The Section 36 logo. Just have it showing somewhere in the picture. Or,
  3. The address of this blog, “” , written somewhere in the picture. Write it out on a piece of paper, on a sidewalk with chalk, on someone’s leg, whatever. (Just don’t vandalize anything).

That make sense? So, send in your pictures to me, section36 at gmail dot com (I bet you know which parts to replace with symbols) You can even tweet it to me, or use a facebook msg. Whatever works for you! It would be nice if you told me which items you thought were in each picture. If there’s a tie between people who have the same number of found items, the tiebreaker will be the person who did it with the fewest number of pictures. If you get a picture of a Female Red Sox fan, wearing a Shane Victorno t-shirt, while holding a Red Sox coaster, it would be 3 items in one picture. That’s a great start, although I’m sure you can do better. One year, Jere had over 20 items in a single photo! (If I need a second tiebreaker, I’ll have a vote to decide the best pictures.)

I think that covers everything! It’s now up to you to start sending me your pictures. I’ll keep reminding you as the months go by.

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What Makes a Player Valuable?

It’s an important question. After all, if I don’t know what player is “valuable” how can I ever hope to decide who the Most Valuable Player is?

So, what is value?

People are very eager to point out that Major League Baseball isn’t giving out a “Player of the Year” award today. It’s a Most Valuable Player Award. Apparently that’s different.

How, exactly?

Valuable means giving the most value to his team. But, that’s somehow different than putting up the best stats. Could it mean the player that best fits the needs of the team he’s on? Take the 2013 Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury was pretty valuable.The Sox really needed a speedy guy to get on base a lot in front of Pedroia, Ortiz, and Napoli. Ells was perfect. He was on base all the time, and his legs attracted a lot of attention. That was pretty valuable. But, if he was on the Astros, without the bats behind him, that might not have mattered as much. Or, at all. A guy at second is of no value if nobody drives him in. Someone like Mike Napoli might have been more valuable to the Astros because he can drive himself in more often. Napoli might have been more valuable to the Astros than he was to the Red Sox, who also had Pedroia and Ortiz to fall back on.

Does that mean Ellsbury was more valuable than Napoli, just because of the team they played on? That’s weird. Shouldn’t the most valuable player in the league be the most valuable to every team? That would make sense.

That’s where I have trouble with the whole “MVP needs to come from a playoff team” argument. A valuable player should be a valuable player, right? Frankly, as I’ve said before, a good player might be even more valuable to a lousy team than a playoff team.

Say I have a baseball card collection…which I do. Say I have a Ted Williams rookie card in my collection…which I don’t. That right there makes my collection as a whole pretty impressive. That would be a pretty valuable card to my collection. Without it, the Jim Rice rookie led collection isn’t all that great. But, what if Keith Olberman had the Ted Williams rookie…which he might. He also has the T-206 Wagner card, and any number of fantastic cards. The Williams rookie might be a throwaway card to him, and not valuable at all. So, the decent card is more valuable to a lesser collection.

Isn’t the same true for a player? If the Giants had Giancarlo Stanton, would they have performed any better this season? Hard to see how. But, the Marlins were only is even marginal contention because they had Stanton. Isn’t that pretty valuable?

So, what should the voters be looking at when they vote for “most valuable”? They player who happens to fill his specific team’s specific needs? Is that value? Or, the player that would add the most to any team he was on? Is Mike Trout just as valuable to the Angels as he would be to the Red Sox? Is that important?

Is that “valuable”?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In the Media Guide

In my collection, I currently have every Red Sox Media Guide dating back to 1998. I love flipping through them to see what tidbits they contain. I figured that if I liked it, you might enjoy taking a look along with me. So, I had a not-so- random number generator select a page from the 2011 edition to talk about today.

It selected page 8

Page 8 talks about the Red Sox foundation. One of the unusual aspects of the sale of the Red Sox to the Henry group was that the Yawkey Foundation was a charitable organization. As the sale was finalized, this led to the creation of the Red Sox Foundation to offset any charitable losses as a result of the sale. Since then, the Foundation has grown and grown.

The page talks about the Foundation being involved in five main programs, including the Red Sox Scholars, Rookie and RBI Youth Baseball Leagues, and the Home Base Program. Of particular interest today, the Home Base program provides evaluations, support services and care for veterans with PTSD and TBI. The Run to Home Base is a 9K fundraising run ending at home plate in Fenway. In 2010 the run raised $2.5 million. 

Interested in donating? Click the links to reach the Red Sox Foundation, or the Run to Home Base specifically.

Of course, all that information can be found on the Media Guide page, along with lots of other great information.

Just like every page.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Section 36 and the #BYBHub

If you've looked at the sidebar of this here blog recently, you noticed a new graphic for the "BYB Hub"

"What on earth is that?" you may have asked.

I'm glad you did.

BYB Hub is the brainchild of Robert Casey, the fine creator of the "Bleeding Yankee Blue" blog. (I know. It's OK. Really) His idea was to create a spot where baseball blogs could all be listed so that people could be exposed to them at one shot. So, after you read this blog and enjoy it thoroughly, but want to see other great blogs to read, click on the picture in the sidebar, and check out some of the blogs listed on the BYB Hub.

(Unless, of course, you've already been to the BYB Hub, and that's how you got here in the first place. In that case, "Welcome!" I'm glad you decided to visit. Enjoy your stay, and check out all the great things Section 36 has to offer! Did you see the pix or the scorecard? Don't forget to like me, and follow me, and follow me so you don't miss anything.)

About that one word that's been such an elephant in the room. Yeah, I was a little nervous too when a Yankees blog asked me to participate in the Hub. But, Bleeding Yankees Blue is a good read. Plus, there's that saying about keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer. So, I figure there's a benefit from giving the Hub an alternate voice. Don't you? Besides, he plans on adding blogs from all baseball angles eventually. Plus, it's not like the Hub has a pinstripe motif, or anything. (Have to admit I was a bit worried about that when I first opened the graphic)

So, I certainly hope you'll be visiting Section 36 every day. After you do, check out BYB Hub to find something else to read.

And then come back here when you're done.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Long do you Wait for a Prospect?

During the playoffs this year, Peter Abraham tweeted out something along the lines of “Mike Moustakas is why the Red Sox are reluctant to give up on Will Middlebrooks.” I didn’t quite get the reference, since it doesn’t appear that Moustakas is really something you’d want to wait for. But, that’s irrelevant. He suggested that there’s a reason to wait. At the time I thought, that’s a good idea…but how long should you wait for someone to emerge?

Then, the other day Buster Olney tossed out a scenario in which the Orioles should consider trading Manny Machado. The basic premise is that as he returns from injuries the Orioles would probably be reluctant to sign him to an extension until he proves he can stay healthy for a year or two. By the time that happens, Machado might be close enough to free agency that he may decide it’s worth it just to wait for that, as opposed to signing an extension. If all that’s the case, maybe the Orioles should cut their losses and trade Machado now.

Which is similar to the scenario the Sox find themselves in with Will Middlebrooks. I think we can all agree that he has talent. I also think we all agree that he hasn’t put it all together yet. The only real discussion is the probability of that word, “yet.” Will yet come this year? Next year? In five years? Can the Sox wait around?

This isn’t forty years ago. When Carl Yastrzemski struggled his rookie year, I bet there was no thought to cutting their losses and dealing him away. After all, there was a benefit to waiting. Even if it took him a year or two or five to develop, the payback was too great. Even if they waited five years, if their expectations were correct, they’d have a hall of fame caliber player on their roster for 18 years after that. I’d tread water for 5 years if I get that sort of return on the investment.

But, this isn’t forty years ago. As the Machado example illustrates, there isn’t the plan that the Sox will have someone one their roster for the next 23 years. It’s more like a ten year max. Jacoby Ellsbury but up one MVP season, but was let go after seven seasons. Even after signing a team friendly extension, John Lester was dealt after 8.5 seasons. Even the incredibly too long albatross of a contract they gave Dustin Pedroia only assures he’ll be in Boston 15 seasons.

So, if that’s your cap…how much can you afford to wait for a prospect to develop?

Middlebrooks has been with the Sox for parts of three seasons this far. Some parts really good. Some parts, not so much. If the Sox were thinking about signing him to an extension, wouldn’t they want at least one good season out of him? Heck, Ellsbury did that, and the Sox still didn’t sign him. (Admittedly, that was as much Ellsbury’s decision as theirs.) So, would the Sox need two good seasons in order to commit? Sox, if Middlebrooks puts it all together this season, and makes the all-star team…do they wait for another year to prove it? If that’s the case, they’d be right up on his impending free agency. At that point, he’d be wise to wait, and hit the market coming off three good years. If that’s the case, he’s probably gone and the Sox will be onto the next prospect.

So, can the Sox wait?

In some ways, they have to. You can’t keep turning over your young players and sticking in the next batch. If that were the case, what about Bogaerts? Does he only get another year to prove himself? Bradley? Where does it end?

It really has to come down to opportunity. Obviously, if Middlebrooks can be used as a chip to get a proven major leaguer, go for it. That’s the same for any young player. If they can get great proven talent in a trade, move them. Beyond that, the Sox don’t need a bat at third if they have one everywhere else. They can afford to wait a bit, and see what happens. If Middlebrooks get to free agency, and the Sox decide at that point he’s not going to be what they hoped, let him walk.

Until then, it just doesn’t make sense.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Voters Got it Wrong!

How in the name of Tris Speaker did Jackie Bradley, Jr not win the Gold Glove award?

How bad were the voters? How lazy were the voters? How stupid were the voters?

Normally, I could almost understand the under appreciation of a rookie from the voters. After all,
with a defensive award, there’s some amount of subjectivity to it. It’s possible that a rookie might not have the cache that a previous winner has. It would be hard to give the edge to an unknown like that.

But, that’s not really the case here.

If you’re any sort of baseball person, how could you not be aware of the defensive merits of Jackie Bradley, Jr? The defending World Champion Red Sox elected to let their star centerfielder go to free agency, in part because their rookie centerfielder was such a defensive whiz, he could make up for the loss. They were talking about it all off-season. Then, the rookie centerfielder for the defending World Champion Red Sox struggled at the plate, but was kept in the solely for his defensive wizardry. How did baseball people not know that? He had the requisite highlight reel catches. He had the youtube gimmick where he threw a ball over the fence from home plate. When the Sox traded for Cespedes, the discussion of the two cannon arms in the Sox outfield was widespread. Isn’t that the kind of publicity that gets you votes?

To make it even easier, Jones didn’t exactly run away with the award. He wasn’t Willie Mays out there. Bradley had better numbers. He had fewer errors than Jones did. He beat him in most of the other stats as well. Considering the fact that metrics are supposed to be a quarter of the vote total, the actual voters must have been especially lazy.

Or especially stupid.

Or both.

You could say that his brief demotion was a factor. But, he still played more games in center than the Ortiz-like number that Rafael Palmiero played when he won. Some people are saying that the fact that he didn’t hit well oddly hurt him in the voting for a defensive awards. But, his hitting was soooo bad, that shouldn’t it have helped him? How amazing must his defense have been to for the Red Sox to keep trotting him up to the plate three times a game? He was so good, he couldn’t even be saved as a defensive replacement. He needed to be the field as much as possible…even if it meant an automatic out every trip to the plate.

His defense was that good.

Didn’t the opposing managers and coaches see that? Didn’t they wonder why this schmuck batting .200 was in the line-up against them? Didn’t they see his first amazing catch and find their answer?

What were they thinking?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Scored!

April 19, 2003

This is an early look at the 2003 Red Sox. The team that would have a great regular season, only to crush us all at the end. How early in the season was it? Take a look at the number 8 batter. Yup. Giambi. This is before David Ortiz would make his presence in the line-up permanent. Ortiz would hit 31 HR in 2003. But, Giambi got the nod on this day.

Other than Giambi, though, this line-up looks a lot like the one that would be a mainstay for the championship team. Damon, Millar, Ramirez, Nixon, Mueller, and Varitek would all gets rings in 2004. (OK, Nomar got a ring too…but you know what I mean.) So, it probably should be a surprise that the second time through the line-up, this team just pounced.

Before I go any further, I have to point out the pitcher’s box. Want to know a big reason why I started printing my own scorecards? There’s a bit one. Three spots for pitchers. Three! Oh sure, that’s all I needed in this game…but in any of the others? The Blue Jays used five in this game. That’s much closer to the norm. I needed a new card, just to list pitchers.

The player of the game for the Sox? It’s a tough call. Both Walker and Nixon went 2-4. Both had 2 RBI. Both walked. I’ll have to give it to Nixon though, by virtue of his triple.

The goat? Two players went 0-4 on the day. But, Nomar didn’t even score a run. When you’re third in the order, in front of Manny Ramirez, you’re counted on to get a hit.

But, of course, in the end it didn’t matter. The Sox piled it on in a big third inning, and rode it out from there. It was a total team effort, which led to a great early season win.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

From the Pedro Binder

2001 Fleer Showcase

OK. first of all, lets pretend that my scanner didn't catch this card just before it spun out of control into a nearby tree.

After that, I'm not sure what to make of this card. On paper, it meets the checklist of things I like pretty well, but they all have qualifiers. I like how small the Showcase logo is. But, they cut a box in the middle of the design to help it stand out. Pedro's name is in nice block letters. But, they're gold, sideways, and partially obscured by his hand. I like the picture having the ball in mid-flight. But, it's right in front of Pedro's face. I like how the color scheme lets Pedro pop. But, the square graphics are a little distracting.

What does that mean? I guess, much like the color scheme, I'm pretty neutral. I can't really get excited about it either way. I can't hate it, But, if I'm ranking my favorite Pedro cards, it would take a while to get to this one.

I wonder how Fleer would feel about that. With so many sets, were they just aiming to not turn collectors away? Sure, the best idea is a design that would actually draw collectors to the set. But, really, what are the odds of that? Maybe the best they're hoping for is "adequate"? If they're making ten different sets, as long as I'm willing to buy all ten, that might be a win for them.

It certainly seems to be their goal sometimes.

What people are reading this week