Friday, January 29, 2016

One Week!!!

Yup, that's right!

Just one week remains in the 2015 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt!

That's not a lot of time, so you'd better get started on your entries if you haven't already!

Buy, at the same time. Don't stress. One week should give you plenty of time to find everything you need. After all, anyone reading this blog probably already has a good selection of items sitting around their house somewhere. Maybe you won't be able to schedule that trip to Boston to pick up those last couple items. But, most of them should be easy to find!

So, look in the basement for that ticket stub. Run to your local sporting goods store to find the jersey you need. Get crafty with an old t-shirt. 

Have fun with it! After all, that's the main point of the hunt!

And, don't forget, the winner gets all this great stuff!

How can you not pull together an entry?

Get out there now!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Eight Years!

Yup. That's correct. It was just over eight years ago today that I made my very first post. (somehow I always miss the actual day. I need to get better at that!)

I know I probably say it every year. But, when I look back at that first post, I can't believe a few things. First It's pretty short. I mean, a lifetime of pent up things to say, and that's all I could muster?

Second is the fact that I asked for pictures. Who in the name of Tris Speaker did I think I was? Why would people send me things? Well, I'm happy (and amazed) to say that eight years later almost 150 different people have sent in pictures to be posted on the blog. I'm always humbled whenever I am reminded of that number. So many people taking time out of their days. Incredible.

Of course, the blog and its readers have humbled me in other ways as well.

The blog has a Facebook page. So far, over 360 people have "liked" it. People I don't even know are having the blog's posts delivered right to their feed. Amazing.

The blog has a Twitter account. At the moment, more that 1,100 people are following it. Who would have imagined that over one thousand people want to hear the drivel that I spew? Wow.

The blog has an Instagram account. Over 500 people have voluntarily had my pictures sent right to their phones. Whenever I post one. Yup. 

There are even some people who follow section36 on snapchat. Not as many as the others, but its new. So, I wonder if that number will grow. I sure hope so.

The Scavenger Hunt has proven to be a lot of fun. Every year people look for items and send me pictures. What participation! I can't wait to see all of this year's entries.

I've had visitors! Actual celebrities (like Lauren and Alayna) have taken the time to be interviewed for this here blog. Talk about humbling.

Wonders beyond wonders, I've even had blog t-shirts made...and people are wearing them! Knock me over with a feather. Because of that success, I'm going to try selling tank tops soon. Who'd a thunk? Stay tuned!

So, a big thanks to everyone as I celebrate the blog's belated 8th birthday! Whether you've been here all along, or if this is the first post you've ever read. Whether you've sent in a dozen pictures, or you've just been looking at them. I truly appreciate each and every reader. It's been amazing, and can't see what happens for the rest of the journey.

Happy Birthday to Section 36!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Well, Now Who’s Going to Throw Out the First Pitch?

You’re probably aware that I like pictures. I know. I know. I mention it all the time. And, I bet you also know that I post pictures on the Section 36 Facebook Page. Right? You knew that. I try to post one a day to bring some joy to people’s lives.

When I can, I try to make the pictures relevant to the day they’re posted. Whether that’s Opening Day, or Star Wars Day, or Arbor Day. So, I’ve been posting appropriate Patriots pictures on football Sundays. Or, I suppose, whatever day the Patriots happen to be playing. But, as this season has been winding down, my collection of available pictures has been dwindling. (And I don’t like to post the same pic twice.) But, I actually thought to myself that it was OK. After the Patriots win the Super Bowl, they’ll probably be asked to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day again. So I’ll be able to restock.

How’s that for a statement you wouldn’t have made 20 years ago.

“No biggie. After the Patriots win back to back Super Bowls for the second time in 12 years or so, I’ll be able to get more pictures.”

What a time to be a Boston Sports fan. The amazing part is, that the fact that the Pats lost doesn’t eliminate the chances of celebrating a championship on Opening Day. Sure, the chances of the Celtics bringing one home are remote. And, I’m not sure what to make of the Bruins. But, I don’t think I’d be completely blown away if they managed to bring home a cup. All it takes is a hot goalie, right?

And, if all else fails, the Red Sox themselves are in a pretty good position to bring home their own ring.

I remember in the mid 80’s thinking how sat it must have been to be fans in other cities. After all, the Pats, Celtics, and Red Sox had made it to their sport’s final games in that time frame. The Bruins would make a finals not long after. But that was nothing compared to the run Boston has been on.

“No biggie. When the Patriots win the Super Bowl I can get more pictures”. The word “if” never entered my mind. I was planning on it.

My guess is that now, barring one of the other teams pulling through, is that the honor falls to Wade Boggs. That will be fine. It just won’t help me with my stock of photos.

Guess you readers will all have to help me out. Grab those Patriots jerseys (and any of the other Boston teams for that matter), make a “I’d Rather be in Section 36” sing, and send me a picture. That way when the Patriots season starts in the fall, I’ll have plenty of pictures ready to go. 

Unless, I suppose, Boggs wears a Patriots jersey for his pitch.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Two Weeks!

Yup, that's right!

Just two weeks remain in the 2015 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt!

That's not a lot of time, so you'd better get started on your entries if you haven't already!

Buy, at the same time. Don;'t stress. Two weeks should give you plenty of time to find everything you need. After all, anyone reading this blog probably already has a good selection of items sitting around their house somewhere. Maybe you won't be able to schedule that trip to Boston to pick up those last couple items. But, most of them should be easy to find!

So, look in the basement for that ticket stub. Run to your local sporting goods store to find the jersey you need. Get crafty with an old t-shirt. 

Have fun with it! After all, that's the main point of the hunt!

And, don't forget, the winner gets all this great stuff!

How can you not pull together an entry?

Get out there now!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

From the Pedro Binder

2001 UD Legends

You know what really bugs me about cable TV? There’s so much wasted potential. There are so many channels with so many great ideas with so many great topics. But, then they blow it all away. MTV? Music television. What a concept. Hey, it’s cable. You can make an entire channel devoted to showing music videos. What happened? It’s now showing reality shows. Do they even mention music on those shows? Or The Learning Channel. Sure. A channel devoted to education and educational documentaries. What is it now? “Life Unscripted.” Reality shows. Educational value? ‘Nil. The History Channel? Nope sorry. We’ve decided that History Happens Every Day, so we’re just going to show reality shows. ESPN Classic? Showing a classic sporting event from years gone by? What a concept. But, no. We’ve decided that “Instant Classics” are the way to go. Nobody wants to stick with their niche. Even when it’s a good one.

That’s what I love about this card. Upper Deck made a set called “Legends.” So, what did it do? It gave it an old timey feel to the design. Made it seem like something hanging in a gallery, or a Hall of Fame. Not exact replicas of painting. This isn’t Topps Gallery. Not a replica of a plaque. This isn’t UD HOF. But, it has that feel. Like something elegant or noteworthy. Something about the border calls out “important” or even “stuffy.” Like it belongs in a professor’s office. The wood grain. It’s all a part of it. This is a set that knows what it is, and what it wants to be. It’s about Legends.

Now, you can argue it Pedro was a “legend” in 2001. As an active player, there’s a line to be drawn somewhere. But he’s as good an option as there was in the game at the time. 

I also like how they showed a picture of Pedro laughing. Sure the set is stuffy and important. But, Pedro’s a goofball. Just go with it. So, I give this set and card a lot of credit. It knew what it wanted to be, and stuck to the plan. It didn’t stray off course with a lot of the flash and flair that was common in other sets. It stayed true.

No reality shows to be found.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Waiting for the BBC

Red Sox fans are a little odd. Well, I guess people are odd, so Red Sox fans are too.

Justin Upton signed an enormous deal yesterday, apparently. (Quick side note. It's wonderful how every additional signing makes the David Price deal look like the steal of the century) With the signing, some Red Sox fans commented that apparently the Sox are happy with their outfield situation.

I'm sorry. Was that ever in question?

The odd part is that I can't decide what the problem is. Could it be as simple as falling in love with the back-up quarterback? When Hanley Ramirez was in the outfield, Sox fans couldn't wait to see the kids play. Heck, some fools were actually calling for De Aza to start. So, now that the Sox have listened, fans are wondering where the veteran outfielder is. 

It's reached the point where I don't know what fans would think if the Red Sox acquired Mike Trout. I swear half of them would say his best years are behind him, while the other half would say he's so young that they need an older guy with a longer consistent history.

Yes, the outfield has some question marks. Duh. Every player has question marks. But, here's the big factor. The Sox aren't depending on those question marks. Will Mookie Betts be an MVP candidate again this year? It would be hard to expect that. But, should he be at an all star level? Most likely. If he's going to drop much farther than that, well, them's the breaks. Can Jackie Bradley Jr hit? No idea. Question mark. Can he hit well enough to be the ninth batter in the line-up? Probably. Will Chris Young be able to take some of the heat off? Maybe. Will Bradley continue to play defense so amazing that it might not matter if he hits his weight? Most likely. Can Castillo play? At an above-average level? Maybe. Question mark. Can he play as well as some of the left fielders the Sox have tossed out there in the past? Probably. 

Because, here's the thing. There should be no question marks in the field. Castillo can handle left field as well or better than any of the last, what, dozen left fielders for the Sox? Betts and Bradley might be the Best CF-RF combo in the field since Lynn-Evans, or even Speaker-Hooper.

The questions come at the plate. So, let's look at a potential line-up, shall we?



Are there teams out there without question marks at 7-8-9? That's why there's a bottom of the order. To place players who might not be able to hit. Sort of like a fifth starter. Sure, it'd be nice if your ninth hitter was a future Hall of Famer. But, if that's what fans are waiting for, they're going to be waiting a long long time.

So until then, let's enjoy Betts-Bradley-Castillo. It should be a lot of fun with tremendous upside.

After all, it's exactly what you wanted.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Three Weeks!

Yes, you read that right. There are only three weeks left is the 2015 Section 36 Scavenger hunt!

I warned you. I trimmed down the time this year to cut down on slackers. I’d have to say that it’s worked. I’ve already had several pictures sent in, which is much earlier than they’ve ever been before!

That’s the good news for me. The good news for you is that while there have been entries, nobody been perfect. So, there’s plenty of room for your entry to improve, and plenty of time left for you to do it!

So, get out there. It’s a long weekend for many of you. Take advantage of the extra time, and see what you have around your house. Or make that trip to the sporting goods store to see what they have. Maybe even make that special trip to Fenway to knock off a couple of the tougher ones. 

I’ve loved every picture that’s been entered so far, and can’t wait to see the ones to come.

Get out there and take some pictures!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tessie the Green Monster

Yeah, I’m probably a little bit late to the game on this one. But the Red Sox recently revealed that Wally the Green Monster has a sister, Tessie.

From what I can tell, there have been three basic reactions to the announcement. There’s the “Great, instead of winning let’s add another mascot.” group. These people apparently think that the baseball ops section was sitting around working on a trade of Mike Trout for Allen Craig, but dropped all that in order to finalize the design on Tessie. These are the same people who think that John Henry spends too much time in Liverpool because apparently a team owner can only think about one thing every second of his life.

The other reaction is “Cool! She’s so cute!” These people are excited about the extra fun Tessie can be bringing to the game.

I personally fall into the third group. The “Ok. That’s fine” group. I doubt that Tessie is going to enhance my personal fan experience, but I also don’t see how she’ll detract from it.

But, I definitely see why the Red Sox made the move. 

Wally is a pretty important part of the Red Sox merchandising plan. He’s part of their outreach efforts. He’s part of their appeal to kids. If adding a sister enhances those areas in any way, they need to go for it. I’ve talked before about teams marketing mascots or items not relating to the team, and how it doesn’t make any sense. Whether it’s pierogi races in Pittsburgh or President races in Washington, teams are promoting things that have nothing to do with the themselves. They don’t even wear team caps in most cases. When people see my pierogi magnet on my fridge, they have no idea it has anything to do with a baseball team. Wally, on the other hand, wears a Red Sox uniform. If someone has a Wally doll or shirt, it’s unmistakable that he’s associated with the Red Sox. So, kids don’t fall asleep with their favorite pasta dish or founding father in their arms. They fall asleep with the Red Sox mascot.

It’s another way for the Red Sox to control their merchandising. Sure, lots of people want official gear, whether it’s jerseys or hats. But some people like things a little different. So the Red Sox sell shirts with Darth Vader on them. Or Iron Man. Or even Mickey Mouse. That stretches the appeal into other revenue streams. Wally does the same thing, even better. Instead of splitting some of the money with Disney, Wally goes after the same market…but it all theirs. Tessie should be able to expand that. Which is a good thing.

Will it improve the Sox at all? Certainly not directly. But, it should expand awareness. Kids who wear a Tessie shirt to school will be seen supporting the Red Sox, as opposed to Marvel. They’ll be talking about their Tessie items. They’ll want to go to the games to see her. And while they’re there, the hope is that they become fans. Once they’re fans, they’ll buy more tickets. And more, and more. More tickets being bought means more money which means more talent which means more wins which means more fans which means more Tessie t-shirts which means more kids wanting to got to games.

That’s the plan anyway.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

From the Pedro Binder

2001 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia



Just, wow.

I know I say it a lot. People keep complaining about the Topps monopoly. They use the cliche that it will stifle creativity. To which I ask, is this the creativity they're afraid will go away?

In that case, I'm all for it.

The other way to look at it that a monopoly allows a company to think things over, and only put out quality products. Walt Disney wasn't mailing it in for 40 years because he was the only animated feature out there. He spent the time to give a quality product. Contrast that with the swill Dreamworks throws out there these days. They can't compete with the quality, so they just go for low brow quantity.

That's what this card reminds me of. It's the minions of card sets. No thought in the design. Just throwing stuff out there, and hoping it sticks.

This one doesn't stick for me.

The never-ending arrows? What exactly are those? Lines and bars all over the place. Foil for no particular reason. (Is there ever a reason for foil?) All sizzle, no steak. 

But, I know they didn't have a choice. When you;re trying to make a name for yourself, you have to try everything. Tops can be content with only making quality. They have the name to fall back on. Playoff is stuck making fart jokes, and hoping that enough people laugh to make it worth their while. That thought process rarely leads to  good move. It doesn't often lead to a good card set either.

It certainly didn't in this case.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Featuring Facebook

You may have noticed a little addition to the sidebar recently. Or, maybe you didn’t. I have no idea how observant you are. I added a Featured Facebook Photo. If you noticed it, you might be wondering what it is.

Or, maybe you figured out that it’s a photo from Facebook that I’m featuring.

Yup. I’m that clever.

See, I love pictures. I have a ton of them posted on the blog. But, not all of them. It’s already a pretty long line of pictures to scroll through. So, generally, I only post one or two from each person that submits on the blog. If someone sends me a dozen, one or two will make it on each picture page. But, all of them will find their way onto the Facebook page as a daily picture post. That way all the great pictures people are taking and sending in can be seen.

But, I wanted to still find a way to share more great pictures on the blog, like the one from the beautiful Alicia over there.

So, I decided to feature the pictures from Facebook that got the most “likes” the previous month. I was actually going to call it “Facebook Picture of the Month” but I wasn’t sure I’d actually change the picture on the first of every month. That seemed like a lot of work. This gets me off the hook a bit if I’m lazy.

So, if you submit a picture, make sure to “like” it when it shows up on Facebook. If you get the most “likes” in a month, your picture will be posted here for all the world to see. I’ll probably limit it to pictures with people in them as opposed to just pictures of the park, since those are generally a bit more fun. But, we’ll see. This is very much in a state of flux.

So, keep sending in your pictures, and keep “liking” them on Facebook! (Oh, and like the Facebook Page so that you can do that.)

Hopefully this will be a lot of fun!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Secret Ballots

I love The West Wing. It’s easily my favorite television show of all time. This time of year, one episode always sticks out in my mind. They were trying to get a new Vice President confirmed, and were heading into the Senate vote. By their count, they had 99 “yea” and 1 “nay” vote. The Deputy Chief of Staff was pissed about the one nay. Why? Everyone was confused. 99-1 was a pretty resounding victory. But he was pissed because he knew the one nay would become the story. He hated the idea of all the news programs hunting down the one nay for an interview. The airwaves would be filled with nothing but this guy talking about whatever reason he used for not voting to confirm.

Which brings me to the three yahoos that didn’t vote for Ken Griffey Jr. 

People are calling for their heads. They wanted their names listed as soon as possible so they could bring their torches and pitchforks. There seemed to be one common theme. If all the ballots were made public, these stupid things wouldn’t happen. The voters would be held accountable.

I think it’s the opposite. 

I only know George King’s name for one reason. He’s the hypocrite who didn’t put Pedro Martinez on his MVP ballot in 1999.He made a name for himself, at least in my eyes, because he was the nay vote. 

So, I don’t want to know who the three morons are. I don’t want to know why they don’t take their votes seriously. I don’t want to know why they should have their voting privileges revoked. They should simply quietly be barred from voting ever again. Not even a press release. Why should they get any benefit from this? More important, why should we encourage this type of behavior? If people who make a really unpopular and moronic decision realize they're get lots of web hits...why should we encourage that? Why don't we make them just shut up and do their job? After all, the secret ballot has been around since the dawn of democracy. Maybe if the Hall of Fame did that, there wouldn't be so much grandstanding.

Stop making stupid people famous.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

If I had a Hall of Fame Vote

I know. If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his bootie when he hopped.

I don’t, of course, have a Hall of Fame vote. I never will (most likely). But, that doesn’t mean I can’t churn out a blog post letting everyone know who I would vote for if I did. Right? Let’s see.

Why not start with an easy one. One of the best games I’ve ever been to was the 1999 All-Star game. It was wonderful for many reasons. But, one of the biggest reasons was the pre-game ceremony. Major League Baseball announced that they were selecting an all-century team of players to commemorate the coming end to the 20th century. As part of that selection, MLB came up with the top 100 players ever, and fan voting would whittle it down from there into an actual team. Not only was Ken Griffey Jr selected as one of the best 100 players of the century, even though he was still active…and pretty much mid-career, he was eventually selected to be on the team. Once MLB says you’re in the top 100 (and, I suppose you don’t get banned from baseball or people don’t find out that you were only there because you cheated) can you really be kept out of the Hall of Fame? I really want to know why anyone wouldn’t vote for him. If they don’t, it’s because they’re playing one of those crazy “saving my vote for players who might actually need the help” games that are insulting. He should be the first 100%er. (well, others before him should have been...but you get the idea.)

Frankly, that might be the only person on my ballot.

But, I should probably at least hit on a couple others.

Joining Griffey as first timers are Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner. They, along with holdover Lee Smith, can be passed over pretty easily using the same argument I made against Mariano Rivera. They didn’t start for their teams. How can they even be considered as the best of all time when they weren’t even good enough to start for their teams? Those are three more easy ones.

Jim Edmonds rounds out the real potential first-time candidates. But, with only two top-five MVP finishes, I have no reason to let numbers change my gut feeling that he’s just not worthy.

The rest of the newcomers aren’t even in the conversation.

As for the holdovers…I’m a bit too young to comment on Alan Trammell. I’ll let others explain why Barry Larkin is in, and Derek Jeter is apparently a shoe-in, but Trammell needs to buy a ticket just like me.

Same goes for Tim Raines. I know I saw Rickey Henderson when he was with the Sox. I saw the way he terrorized pitchers and thought to myself, “He must have been the most valuable player ever when he was in his prime.” If Tim Raines was even close to that, he should be in. But, people who actually saw him play say no. So, I guess I need to defer.

For Edgar Martinez and Mike Piazza I apply the David Ortiz test. If they played first base, would they be in the Hall? So, I don’t care if Martinez DHed. If he had played first, are his numbers good enough? I say not quite. Nothing wrong with just being a very good player. Same goes for Piazza. He gets credit for being a great hitting catcher. But…he couldn’t catch. If he played where he was supposed to, he doesn’t have the numbers to go in. Electing him because of his catching is like having Dwight Evans pitch relief and say he’s a Hall of Famer as a great hitting pitcher, even though he has a 73.36 ERA.

Bagwell and Schilling fall just short for me. Like Edgar, the Hall of Very good. There’s no shame there. Although, it kills me that Biggio is in. When I thought of the Houston B&B’s or whatever they called them, I always thought Bagwell was the main B carrying Biggio. 

As for the steroid boys, Iet's just say I'm glad I don't have an actual vote. I have no idea where to draw the line between tylenol as a PED and HGH. Or why you can take a ligament from one part of your body and surgically put it in your elbow to gain 5 MPH on a fastball, but not inject something that makes workouts more effective. I don't know what to make of any of I'm punting. Hey, it's my blog.

The rest of the returning class are more not quite good enough. As much as it pains me to say it about Nomar.

So, I guess I was right.

Just Junior.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lose Weight and Read More

I’ve been stuck a little bit lately. You probably noticed, since it’s been a few days since I’ve posted. The odd thing is I’ve been stuck with the easiest filler post in history. A list of resolutions. 

You see them everywhere. I think every blog I read regularly has posted a list of goals for the year to improve their collections, or blogs. I’ve even done them before. But I’ve had trouble this year. I just finally figured out why.

I don’t really have any goals.

The most common resolutions come from the card collecting blogs I read. They set goals of obtaining a certain number of cards for this player collection, or a certain number of autographed cards. But, when it comes to my Red Sox collection, I don’t really care. I want them all. I’m not going to actively search out one card over another. I’ll happily accept whichever Red Sox cards happen to come my way. Most Red Sox cards I do get are from packs or sets. They’re certainly not something I need to write down a goal for. I’m just going to keep getting them when I get them. The only difference I come up with is my 1975 Topps set. Last year I even set a goal to make a great stab at completing it. I added three cards. I suppose I’m at the point where I should make it a priority to just get it off the list. I don’t have a ton of money left in it. But, I just don’t think it’s a goal I need to make. I’ll keep plugging away at it. I kind of like the hunt aspect. My life isn’t incomplete just because the set is.

Some people have been setting blogging goals. They want to post every day, or whatever. Well, I’ve already blown that one out of the water. So, I could make a goal to post regularly. But, that’s sort of what a blog is…isn’t it? So that seems like a silly thing to write down. (Although, again, I’ve done it in the past.) Rest assured, I’ll be doing my best to make regular quality posts, even though it’s not an official resolution.

So, since I’m out of ideas, I figure I’ll just steal some from others. This year, I want to lose weight, and read more.

I have lots of cards. I already try to purge out cards more than ten years old. The Phillies Room is a regular recipient of those unwanted stacks. I’d like to find more people willing to take them in as well. I also have lots of hits that I’ve accumulated. While I don’t know how many people want a GU jersey or 1/1 from the back-up second baseman for the Twins, I know there must be someone. So, I’d like to find them. Who knows, maybe they have an autographed card of the long man in the Sox bullpen they’d like to swap for it.

I also want to read more. There are an amazing number of great blogs out there. I want to be sure to read them, and comment on them. To become a more active member of the community. Especially when it comes to fellow members of the BYBHub. There’s a group there definitely worth becoming a more active part of.

So, there you have it. Those are my two resolutions, belated as they may be.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I want to do. There are even some new things I want to try. (Some, I want to try really soon…so be on the lookout.) I’m just not writing them down. They’re just part of being the best blogger and collector I can be.

Which I guess is the only resolution that matters.

What people are reading this week