Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Guess They Can Fire Farrell Now

By starting Travis Shaw over Pablo Sandoval, he’s clearly managing to save his job, not to save the Sox season. 

It’s different, you know.

Just last week, I asked us all to pump the brakes on Shaw. I went over all the reasons that Sandoval was the better option at third base this season. It was pretty obvious, really. Sandoval was coming off the unluckiest season of his career, and Shaw was coming off the best season of his. Still, the projections only had Shaw performing slightly better than Panda this season. 

That’s not enough.

It would be one thing if Shaw was an up and coming top prospect. If we were looking at Xander Bogaerts shoving Stephen Drew aside. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Xander started his reign. This isn’t even Moncada trying to displace Pedroia, where you know the talent is there and just wonder if it translates. 

Travis Shaw has been a .265 hitter over his minor league career. Not exactly setting the world on fire. Even the EEIdiots were admitting that he didn’t earn the job with his performance. Sure, he had a nice September, and a good spring. But, those numbers don’t mean anything. You don’t win a job by performing well against minor leaguers.

Sandoval has shown that he can play at least as well as Shaw against actual major league pitchers. His career numbers, on a much larger scale, are better than Shaw’s “incredible” numbers over a month. Basically, Shaw’s ceiling is Sandoval’s floor.

So, why is Farrell making the move? Because Shaw’s playing a little better at the moment. And, Farrell is afraid that if the team starts 2-10, he’ll be fired. It’s the same reason he’s starting Holt in left. He’s not in it for the long haul. He wants to win the next two weeks, at the expense of the weeks that come later. And if he’s willing to put himself ahead of the team, I guess he can just move along.

Because, what happens when Shaw is batting .220 in April? Or worse. What if he starts 0-6? Is he going to put Panda back in? When Shaw drops back to earth…or never lifts off…what then? Now you have Sandoval sitting there on the bench doing nothing. He’s not in the flow of games. But, the guy you signed almost exclusively for crunch time is wasting away to where he’s not going to help you right away. Now you’ve done it. Now it’s a “thing.” Now each player is looking over their shoulder. Now Shaw’s pressing. Now Panda’s on a short leash. Now nobody’s comfortable. Now you’re back to the 2014 version of Xander where the young kid suddenly has to change his game because he’s feeling pressure from weird places. Remember when that was really bad for Drew, Xander, and the Sox? Farrell just did it again, but in reverse. 

All because he wants to win a couple more games in the first two weeks of April.

Monday, March 28, 2016

From the Pedro Binder

1999 HoloGrFx

Which one screams "'90s insert!" more, the crazy colors, or the lack of vowels in the brand name?

Honestly this is the type of card that makes me question the whole baseball card hobby. 

What exactly does it mean to collect cards? Is it because you want to have a picture of your favorite players as a remembrance of their season? Does this qualify? It's a flashy background with a cut-out of Pedro stuck on it. 

Oh, sure. I suppose you could say it's just a modern version of 1954 Topps. Instead of a solid color background, though, they kept up with the times and made it foil.

I don't say that though.

It just says "pointless" to me. What was the need for this set? What does it bring to the table that the other 36 million sets issued in 1999 didn't? Foil? Colors? Nope.

So, even though it really has most things I look for in a card, I just can't stand it. I look past the name, and the team name, and even Pedro's number. I just can't get past the uselessness of it all. 

It pains me that it's in the binder.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Joshua Berube Visits Section 36!

Section 36 is fortunate enough to have another visitor! With the baseball season almost upon us, I thought is would be a good time to discuss the season. I asked Joshua Berube of The All Out Sports Network (AOSN) to help me out. Since he just finished writing a series of articles previewing each team in the AL East and NL East, I felt he could offer some great insight for us. Thankfully, he was nice enough to answer some questions about the 2016 Red Sox. With that, let's see what happens when Joshua Berube visits Section 36!

In Section 36 we love our centerfielders. Who will I be seeing in that position most, and what can I expect from him?
In CF, I think this will be Jackie Bradley, Jr’s breakout season. Obviously I believe Section 36 fans will be seeing #25. However, I think we might at times see Mookie Betts patrolling center as well.

What will happen with Hanley Ramirez at first base?
Joshua Berube
As much as I have lamented the unknown of Hanley Ramirez at first and his offensive decline, I like what I have seen thus far and believe he is actually enjoying it. I believe he will be adequate and can definitely post offensive numbers somewhere between the likes of Mo Vaughn and Mike Napoli we enjoyed in the past.

Will Dustin Pedroia do more than give reporters good quotes?
I am not worried about Pedroia. I think he will continue his gold glove and reckless abandon ways both in the field as well as at the plate.

Who will have the better year, Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts?
Betts and Bogaerts (who won a silver slugger award) both had excellent years last year, and what a bargain for the Sox at a combined salary of just over $1 million. I think Mookie Betts has the better year. I expect Betts to top all of his numbers from last year and be a 25/25 guy while hitting .310. I am not sure Bogaerts’s average will be as high as last year but will be a double play machine up the middle with Pedroia. The Sox sure found a couple gems.

Does Rick Porcello show his potential this season?
I do not know if Porcello shows his potential. I mean, I would think he has to be better than last year’s 9-15, 4.92 ERA. I am actually more intrigued with Joe Kelly who is having a fantastic spring and see if he can start 2016 where he left off 2015. Also, I am a huge Buchholz fan. I expect a huge year out of him being a contract year.. When he is on, his stuff is unhittable.

Joshua's Red Sox article
Where does Brock Holt find at-bats?
When I see Brock Holt, I can only think of the Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoon Baseball Bugs. (You can find it here: He played seven positions last year save for pitcher and catcher. He is the ultimate utility player. I think he will get at bats due to his versatility, giving guys days off here and there in the outfield and infield. Although, barring injuries, I see him playing substantially less than the 100-plus games he saw the last two seasons.

Will David Ortiz go out with a bang?
I have the Sox winning the East. In order for that to happen, Ortiz will have to be his usual productive self, hitting 30HR and driving 100 RBI's. I am interested to see his reception in Yankee stadium as part of the farewell tour. I can see him hitting a walk off home run in the playoffs but not sure the World Series is in the cards.

How will Rusney Castillo react with the job handed to him?
I am not sure Castillo has been handed the job, as it were.  I think his leash will be short. Young and Murphy are serviceable outfielders. Although, I think there is tremendous upside.

How will David Price perform with his monster deal behind him?
Price is saying all the right things. He is coming off a fantastic year (18-5 2.45 ERA) where he split it between two teams in Detroit and Toronto. We know he can pitch in the AL East. I think he will be a steadying and calming influence to the rest of the rotation. Yes, he signed a huge contract but he has not won the ultimate prize yet and knows what it is like to lose in the World Series. I think he's hungry and the ultimate competitor, two things that will endear him to the Red Sox faithful.

Will Craig Kimbrel adjust to the AL?
I address my concerns with Kimbrel coming to the AL in my article. He is going to pitch half his games in a bandbox known as Fenway, which concerns me a bit, as he pitched in a lot of pitcher friendly ballparks. In addition, the market in Boston is like nowhere else as far as expectations and pressure fans and media place on the team. We will see soon enough if he thrives in the baseball-crazy town. However, Koji is there for safety.


Well, I certainly hope he thrives!

As always, a huge thank you to Joshua for visiting. It's always nice to hear what others have to say, and he did a great job giving his views.

If you want to see more of Joshua, especially his baseball previews, check out his articles at AOSN and follow him on twitter! I can't wait to see what he'll have to say as the season goes on.

Thanks again Joshua!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Can We Pump the Brakes on Travis Shaw?

I'm going to start this with a question, and I want you to answer it honestly.

How good do you actually think Travis Shaw is?

I ask this because people seem to think he's Mike Schmidt. I hate to be the one to break it to you. He's not. That's certainly not a knock on Shaw. There's only one Mike Schmidt. But, it should be a knock on the people who seem to think they've found another one.

Travis Shaw is having an amazing spring. He had a darn good September too. But, people seem to forget Spring and September numbers don't actually count for anything. So far he's been excelling at competition slightly better than AAA level. We're going to make decisions based on that? 

But, some people want to do exactly that. They think Shaw should be the starting third baseman, and not Pablo Sandoval. Let's explore that a little bit.

Pretend you actually care about September statistics. (You know, like the ones that insisted Kevin Maas was the next Mickey Mantle.) How did Shaw do last fall? I see he performed to a 115 OPS+. That's a pretty good number. Know what Pablo Sandoval's career OPS+ is? 117. It doesn't take an expert to see that Panda's been better over his career than Shaw has been over his. 

Yes. yes. I know. Panda had an off year last year. And, you'd be right to mention it. But, I should point out that his numbers were a bit worse than his performance. I've already mentioned that he put the ball in play about as often last year as he did the year before, he just hit about 35 points lower. That could very well be dumb luck. In fact, baseball reference predicts that he will bounce back a little bit. A .264/.317/.404 slash. 

What do they predict for Shaw? A .270/.329/.468 slash. So, they predict that Travis Shaw coming off the month of his life will be marginally better than Sandoval coming off the worst (unluckiest?) season of his.

That's not good enough for me.

If I'm going to replace a guy who has had an eight-year history of good performance, I'm going to need more than replacement level to get him out of there.

After all, the Sox will need Panda in the playoffs!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Alissa Musto Visits Section 36!

Section 36 is fortunate enough to have another visitor! This time it's Red Sox fan, musician, and Miss Cambridge 2016 Alissa Musto! Just a couple weeks after winning her crown, she was nice enough to answer some questions for the blog about the Red Sox, her music, and her plans as Miss Cambridge. So, let's see what happens when Alissa Musto visits Section 36! 

Which Red Sox player are you most excited about in 2016?
Alissa in a fantastic shirt
David Price; I think he could be the pitcher the Red Sox need to take it to the next level this season---at least I hope so, with his $217 million price tag. 

What is your favorite David Ortiz memory?
This is an easy one! In the 2004 American League series, the Red Sox lost the first three games to the Yankees (after losing to them in the same series the year before), but came back to win the next four games. That 4th game was nerve wrecking, but in extra innings, Big Papi hit the winning home run, leading the Red Sox to the World Series. I actually dressed up as David Ortiz for Halloween that year.  

What went through your mind after you were crowned Miss Cambridge?
I was definitely excited, but it quickly set in that the next few months are going to entail a lot of hard work. I am thrilled to represent the city of Cambridge as I finish up my last few months of school there and I want to represent the community well at the Miss Massachusetts competition in July. I also quickly realized that this title will definitely serve as a 'megaphone' for me to promote my non-profit organization, Changing Keys, as well as my own career as a musician and songwriter. 

What do you remember about your first trip to Fenway?
I was very excited! I went to school in Providence, Rhode Island in grade school so I had gone to several Paw Sox games and was expecting Fenway to just be a huge version of McCoy Stadium. It wasn't as big as I expected, but I loved being able to actually see all the players that I had watched on TV. Unfortunately, the Red Sox got crushed in that game and I think I spent most of the time complaining how hot it was outside. 

Alissa and Paws
You play piano on stages all over New England. How is competing on stage in a pageant different than performing?
For starters, it is certainly shorter; I perform about 3 hours of music in my average show, but on the Miss America stage you only have 90 seconds to display your talent! Most people are also surprised to learn that I perform classical piano for my pageant talent. In my typical performances, I play piano and sing and my repertoire consists of everything from Frank Sinatra to Billy Joel to Lady Gaga. My typical performances are filled with a lot of sing-a-longs, requests, throwbacks and upbeat music. I perform every Saturday night at Jacob With in Boston, from 8-11. You should definitely check it out some time---it's a lot of fun! 

What are you most looking forward to doing during your time as Miss Cambridge?
I am looking forward to all the amazing appearances and opportunities I will have as Miss Cambridge. However, I cannot wait to wear my Miss Cambridge crown along with my commencement gown when I graduate from Harvard in May. 

What lessons from the Miss Cambridge competition can you take with you to Miss Massachusetts?
The competition at the Miss Boston & Miss Cambridge pageant was incredibly tough and I realize it will be even harder at the state-level. The most important thing I've learned from pageants, and other talent competitions, is to only focus on your own performance and be yourself. There are always going to be competitors that are smarter, prettier, more talented and more experienced than you. Therefore, you need to focus on being the best version of you. In my interview, I gave my honest opinions, stood by my beliefs and showed the judges my natural personality, rather than just saying what I thought they would want to hear or avoiding controversial topics. Every judge may not have agreed with my opinions, but I still won interview. I know I'll carry this lesson with me to Miss Massachusetts, as well as other life situations. 

Tell me about Changing Keys.
Changing Keys is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that I started to connect unused pianos with schools and students in at-risk communities, creating music education opportunities for all children. So far, we have connected several keyboards with local students and schools, were selected for the Harvard Legal Entrepreneurship Project and received an Iguana Music Fund grant from Club Passim. I'm excited to use my year as Miss Cambridge to promote Changing Keys and advocate music education in general. For more information, you can visit

What is your prediction for the 2016 Red Sox season?
According to my brother and Red Sox enthusiast, William, the Red Sox will be a non-playoff team, but still be a 50%+ winning club. But I say, they're going all the way! :)


I bet that was one amazing Halloween costume! And, I definitely like her prediction better than her brother's!

As always, I'd like to give a huge thank you to Alissa for taking the time to do this interview. I couldn't be more pleased with the result. Another thank you to her for sending the great picture wearing Section 36 gear!

If you want to learn even more about Alissa, check out her facebook page and follow her on twitter. You can also check out the Miss Boston/Miss Cambridge website.

Of course, I also want to wish Alissa good luck when she competes for the Miss Massachusetts crown this summer. We'll be pulling for her.

Thanks again Alissa!

Exciting Update!

Alissa's time as Miss Cambridge was shortened by the fact that she was crowned Miss Massachusetts 2016! She then went on to finish in the top 15 at Miss America! Congratulations to her!

Because of the promotion, you can now follow her in a few new places via official Miss Massachusetts accounts on twitter, instagram, and facebook. MissAmericaMA is even on snapchat! So, please follow Alissa on those accounts until her term expires. Of course, her personal accounts are still a great way to keep up with her. She's still on facebook, twitter, and instagram. She even has her own website! So, it should be easy to follow her time as Miss Massachusetts as well as her wonderful music career.

Congrats again to Alissa, and thanks for the visit!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It’s Easy to be Green

This time of year, you see a lot of green while you’re walking around. Everyone wants you to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day and have as much green as you can muster. Green signs. Green hats. Green pants. Green sports shirts.

It’s that last one that always interested me. If you walk by a sporting goods store in March, they’ll have jerseys and shirts of your favorite teams…but colored green. It seems like a reasonable idea. Sports fans need something green to wear today too. But, it always seemed a little strange to me that the Bruins or Red Sox would bother with the green jerseys. If you’re a sports fan in Boston, isn’t there an easier choice?

The Celtics?

Sure, if you’re in Pittsburgh where all your teams have black and gold as their color scheme, a green jersey might be fun. Having a green Penguins jersey is your only chance to promote sports and the holiday. But that’s not the case in Boston.

I always wondered why the other teams didn’t just concede the day. It’s too obvious to let the Celtics have this one day, so why even bother.

Now, one answer is that it’s a league wide thing. Maybe the NHL has a deal for every team to sell green jerseys. They don’t put thought into what makes sense in each individual market. They just give the contract out for every team, and let it roll.

Or, maybe people are actually that loyal to one team. As a Red Sox fan first and foremost, am I supposed to pretend the Celtics don’t exist? Am I supposed to get the green Red Sox jersey to stay true? Can I wear a green Red Sox jersey in July? 

Or, is it just about variety? Maybe you’ll just feel like wearing a green Bergeron or Ramirez jersey today, and not want feel forced to take out Marcus Smart.  

So, do any of you have a green Boston sports team jersey to wear today other than the Celtics? Do you have one that you wear today instead of the Celtics? Do you wear it any day other than today?

How do you go green?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Red Sox All-Ring Team

I’m not sure how the topic came up. But, at some point recently, a buddy of mine and I started wondering what the Red Sox all ring winning team would be. You know, it’s one of those tangents people get on during discussions sometimes. I thought it might be fun to see what that team might look like.

The first question that needs to be answered before starting an exercise like this is, what qualifies someone to be on the team?  I think the original topic was something along the lines of best World Series performers. But, does that mean the players who performed the best during the World Series? Is that a lifetime award? What about Someone like Manny Ramirez who had one great World Series as part of an amazing career. Does he lose out to someone like Jacoby Ellsbury who had two World Series trips to star in? What about Jake Peavy? A wonderful pitcher with a long career, who didn’t have the best trip to the Series.

So, I decided to just go with career. Overall. The best players to ever win a ring with the Sox. The all-ring team. Maybe one day I’ll try an all-World Series Championship team. But, that’s for another time.

So, who do I think is the best team you can make up of players who won a ring by playing in a World Series game with the champion Red Sox? I’m glad you asked.

OK. You didn’t ask. But here’s my answer anyway.

DH: David Ortiz. Let’s start with the easy one. He’s the only DH to play for a World Series champion Red Sox team. He might later be the only full-time DH in the Hall of Fame. End of discussion.

C: Jason Varitek. Not much more difficult. But, there’s at least some competition. Sort of. I don’t think TEK would be scared of Saltalamacchia or Sam Agnew. But, they’re there.

1B: Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox have had a surprising lack of depth at first on their World Series winners. As much as I want to go with Stuffy McInnis for comedic value alone, it has to be one of the modern guys. So, is it Youk or Napoli? I think it’s safe to say that Youkilis had the better career. Barely. So far.

2B: Dustin Pedroia. I promise you, the early championship teams had some good players. But, best I can tell Pedroia is the only World Champion Red Sox second baseman with an MVP award on his shelf. 

SS: Orlando Cabrera. Seriuosly, how did the Red Sox win eight titles but still have their best shortstop be Cabrera? But, it’s not Drew or Lugo. (Maybe one day this will be Bogaerts?) And, no offense to Everett Scott, but how he won three rings with the Sox is beyond me. So, I go with OC.

3B: Jimmy Collins. Welcome to the team 1903 champs! Honestly, someone like Mike Lowell could make a pretty strong argument. But, Collins is in the Hall of Fame, so I don’t care to think about it anymore.

OF: Manny Ramirez, Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth. Basically Ruth and Speaker might be more obvious choices than anyone but Ortiz. The only possible reason you’d have to exclude either of them is if you argue over the selection rules. Ruth played in three World Series with the Red Sox, but only played in the outfield in one of them…in two games. So, he’d be the closest to not making it, but only on a technicality. The only question with Ramirez is if a Hall of Famer like Harry Hooper would beat out a non-Hall of Famer. But, it’s hard to argue against Ramirez’s career numbers. He gets the spot.

SP: Cy Young, Pedro Martinez. That’s it. I’ll have Young go games 1,3,4,5,7 and Pedro go games 2 and 6. Sound like a plan? Honestly, I narrowed it down to a top ten. From there, as much as I want to include Babe Ruth, his career as a pitcher wasn’t quite long enough. (Although, if it was based solely on performance in the World Series itself, he’d be an automatic inclusion.) Same with Smoky Joe Wood. If this was based solely on time with the Red Sox, he’d be hard to ignore. He was THAT good in 1912. Jake Peavy has that Cy Young, but not sure he really had enough of a career other than that. Lackey never even won the Cy Young. Curt Schilling has to be on the team. He’s the closest of the bunch to being a Hall of Famer. So, that leaves me with Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester for two spots. So, I’m dropping Lester because his career is just too short. Final answer: Cy Young, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett.

CL: Jonathan Papelbon. Can I use Cy Young here? I really wanted to go with Keith Foulke here. But, I think Papelbon has had a more sustained career as a closer. You really can’t go wrong with either one, though.

So, there’s my team.

Who makes it on yours?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What Happened to Brock Holt?

Twitter has been abuzz this spring. Well, Twitter is abuzz every spring. But, specifically it has been abuzz with the exploits of Travis Shaw. He’s been performing very well this year, following a very strong finish to last season. This has led some people to suggest he should be the starting third baseman when the season starts. 

There are several issues with this idea. The first is that the Sox already have a starting third baseman. Shaw’s having a nice little run, but let’s not get crazy here.

The second is that this it counting on Shaw performing the same this season as he has last September and this spring. If Phil Plantier and Jackie Bradley Jr have shown us anything, it’s that statistics in September and March mean very little. I can’t imagine benching someone like Panda because of spring stats.

The bigger question I keep having is, what happened to Brock Holt? Isn’t he supposed to be the Red Sox super-substitute? I admit I pay very little attention to Spring Training games. So, I may have missed some small details. But, he’s still on the Red Sox, right? He didn’t get a starting job, did he? Did the Sox finally dump Pedroia? I didn’t think so. So why isn’t he being touted as the replacement for Panda? Isn’t he the one who’s actually done something during the regular season?

Which brings along another more realistic question. Assuming Travis Shaw is actually a viable option…where does he get playing time? How do they find at-bats for Brock Holt and Travis Shaw? Not to mention, the Sox still have Chris Young…right?

So how is this all going to work? John Farrell has already mentioned that he expected Brock Holt to get something like 400 at-bats. I had no idea where he was going to get those to begin with. Now people want Travis Shaw to get significant playing time too? And, I’m assuming not much of that playing time for either of them will come in the outfield. Barring, catastrophe, I’m hoping Young will be more than adequate to cover the few games one of the BBC needs to sit.

So, what’s the plan? Are people expecting both Hanley and Panda to be so epically bad that Holt is your regular first baseman, while Shaw takes over third? Not only will that not happen, I certainly wouldn’t want it to. I’m not foolish enough to actively campaign for the Red Sox to make that switch.

So, are both guys there just to give Hanley and Panda a rest? I could see a situation where each of them takes a day off a week, or so. So, that's one game a week each for Holt and Shaw. That's not exactly 400 at-bats. Frankly, it wasn't 400 at-bats for Holt before people added Shaw to the mix. 

It seems that best case, Shaw is redundant. So, does he start once every two weeks, and come in defensively while Holt starts three times every two weeks? I don't see Holt replacing Pedrioa very often. Pedey would never be unselfish enough to sit when Holt was a better match-up after all. Maybe Holt could spell Xander during an especially unfavorable match-up? Is Ortiz going to miss many games on his farewell tour? Doubt it. So, not a lot of opportunities there either.

Which brings me back to my original question. Where is Brock Holt going to find playing time?

Not to mention Travis Shaw.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day!

Ben Van Dyke was a pitcher for the Red Sox. 

He didn't have a very long career with the team. But, he was a member of the fantastic 1912 World Championship team. Although, he did not appear in that World Series. 

(He also pitched for the 1909 Philadelphia Phillies. That team finished below .500.)

He actually pitched pretty well in his one season in Boston. He struck out five guys per nine innings. He didn't lose a game. He was also the victim of a bit of bad luck, as he gave up the same number of unearned runs as he did earned runs.

Of course, he only pitched in three games that season. He started one, and finished two. Which, I suppose, happened when you were a pitcher for the 1912 Red Sox, but your name wasn't Joe Wood. You may need to star t a game, and you may need to pitch an inning were and there when Wood's arm was completely falling off. Otherwise, there wasn't much to do.

Why do we care? Well, we probably don't. But, there's one little factoid that might be a little interesting today.

You see during that one season for the Sox, Van Dyke pitched 14.1 innings, and surrendered 5 earned runs. Can you do the math?


That's an ERA of 3.14

Happy Pi Day!

Friday, March 11, 2016

From the Media Guide

It's been a while since I've done one of these. So, though it was a great chance to try this again.

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 2004 edition to talk about today.

Page 55.

This is the second (and final) page for the entry of Edwin Almonte. This page contains his early career, personal information, and his stats. I usually find these end pages to be some of the most interesting for any player. For Almonte, this page tells us that...

In 2000 Almonte was promoted to AA after going 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but good enough for a promotion.

In 1999 he went 9-12. I know. Records mean very little when you're in A ball. Whether the collection of potential nobodies you're teamed with can pull out a win isn't much of a reflection on your pitching abilities. Even more than in the majors. But, I can imagine that as a young kid, looking at that 9-12 must have been incredibly discouraging. Wonder if he ever thought he'd make it at that point.

Looking down at his career stats, we see a couple interesting things. He twice led his minor league in saves. This is interesting, for the same reason I just touched on. That's a lot of saves for a minor league team.

Looking over his personal information, we see that he pitched in Yankee Stadium as a high schooler. I wonder if that helps, at all, when you eventually make your first major league appearance there. 

The transactions are often a lot of fun. For Almonte, we see that he was involved in a pretty cool trade. He was part of the package that the White Sox sent to the Mets in exchange for Roberto Alomar. Now, this wasn't exactly Alomar in his prime. But, it's cool that he was involved in a trade for a future Hall of Famer. Even if the Mets dumped Almonte at the end of the year. It's always nice to know how a player arrived in Boston.

All that information can be found on this Media Guide page, along with lots of other great information.

Just like every page.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Harping on Hanley

It’s still Spring Training. There’s still nothing real going on. But, as expected, that hasn’t stopped reporters from reporting on anything they can think of.

Like Hanley Ramirez.

It happens sometimes when the media has their stories written before getting to Florida. Hanley was going to be their focus. Just like people decided in 2007 that Dice-K was going to be the focus, and started reporting on the number of strikes he threw in batting practice.

Hanley’s transition to first base was going to be the story. The media had made his transition to left field the story almost all last year. So, the move to first base allowed them to practically use the exact same stories. He wasn’t trying to learn the position. He was lazy. He did want to try.

But, they hit a snag.

He was trying. He was asking to get more practice. He was staying late and arriving early. Their story was going up in flames. So, they did the next best thing. They wrote the opposite story. 

Hanley is working hard! Praise the lord, he was working hard! See, haters, he does care! Look at him take grounders!

Of course, as with any story, it only last so long before the other angle shows up. In this case, as the EEIdiots were harping on yesterday, it’s the “why is working hard a story?’ angle. Look at those “other” media members congratulating Hanley for working hard. What fools. Of course he should be working hard. That’s his job. He should be putting in effort all the time. He shouldn’t be praised for it.

So, how do you explain Dustin Pedroia?

Isn’t his entire storyline that he tries hard? Is there every a story about him that doesn’t mention his uniform getting dirty? Didn’t we hear over and over and over how he was taking ground ball from his knees with a broken foot? Nobody even bothered to ask what skill he was perfection by taking ground balls from his knees. It doesn’t come up all that often in a game, after all. Nobody even mentioned how he was actually hurting the team by not just letting the foot heal. Nope. By goodness, he was working hard. What an example he is to every person on the planet everywhere. He’s working hard!

Just like Hanley is. When Pedroia does it, it shows his leadership and why he’s a true asset to any team lucky enough to have his glow fall on them. When Hanley does it, we really need to stop mentioning it because every player should be doing it. 

I wish everyone would just make up their minds.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I Need Your Help!

I know. Tell you something you don't already know. But I noticed something the other day. It's about pictures.

I've mentioned this quite a bit. I love pictures. I post one or two on the Section 36 Facebook page almost every day. I think it really spruces up a timeline. It can be any picture, really. But, I'd prefer it if the pictures had some correlation to the day they're posted. Even if it's a bit of a stretch. You know, like a picture from Section 36 of a flag to post on Flag Day. But, naturally, when you need specific subjects in a picture, it means you need a slightly larger inventory.

One of the things I've been looking for lately as the season creeps towards us is pictures featuring other teams. I mean, if the Red Sox are playing the Blue Jays it would make sense to post a picture featuring the Blue jays in some way. Naturally, it should be one that fits into one of the categories that I usually post pictures in. But, that shouldn't be too hard.

Pics With Section 36 can easily be associated with another team. Take this one from Kaitlyn, for example.

See how that works? That's a perfect picture to post on a day the Sox play the Jays.

It works with the other categories too. For instance, pictures in Section 36 like this one from Adam.

Perfect for a Yankees game!

And, of course, some of the easiest are the pics with a Rather be in Section 36 sign. You can simply throw on another team's jersey, make a sign and snap a pic. Or, you can make a sign to bring with you to another team's game. Like this great one from Lisa and Serena.

So, wherever you are, you can help me out! Or, if you're lucky enough to own some Section 36 gear, it'll be a breeze to take pics wearing that

Which is great for me. Not only do I keep getting amazing pictures, but my Facebook post can be even better. Take this month's featured Facebook post. Dione noticed that my Valentine's Day post was lacking. (I mean, Swi-hart was a bit of a stretch.) So, she took it upon herself to send me a much better one to post. It was definitely an upgrade, right?

So, keep sending those pics and sending them in to me! And, if you can fill a need that's even better! 

Even if it's one I didn't know I needed.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Scored!

July 26, 2003

There are several things I love about this scorecard, and one that will probably bug be forever. (I mean, as much as something on a scorecard can bug a person. I’m not spiraling down into an abyss or anything.) 

The best part of the scorecard, of course, is that it documents a walk off win for the Red Sox during their ALCS season. But, let’s look a little deeper into that win. Check out the ninth inning. After Bill Mueller flew out, Jeremy Giambi walked…as he so often did. But, then he stole second base…as he almost never did. That’s right. It was Giambi’s legs that got the winning run into scoring position. A strikeout and a walk later, and things started to get interesting.

Here’s the part that’ll bug me. I clearly goofed with my scoring. Todd Walker was clearly lifted for the pinch runner (Jackson) in the eighth inning. How else would David Ortiz be able to pinch hit for Jackson in the ninth. So, instead of the double vertical line, I should have put one of them on the other side of the box. But, that doesn’t change what happened. David OrtizCame in to pinch hit, and drove home the winning run with a single. I remember at the time almost hoping Ortiz made an out. (Hey, I said almost.) After all, Ortiz was hitting for the replacement at second. If he doesn’t win the game…does he have to play second base? That would have been an interesting decision. 

But, it ended up being a moot point. Ortiz, of course, came through in a clutch situation and the Red Sox won a game that almost slipped away. That made him a pretty easy choice as player of the game.

The goat? Really hard not to hang the horns on Jason Varitek. Even from the number nine hitter, three strikeouts are hard to swallow. Especially in that crucial ninth inning. He had a golden opportunity to be the hero, and let it slip by.

But, naturally, it didn’t matter. Once again David Ortiz carried the Sox on his shoulders. (well, of course, at that point it wasn’t “once again.”) He helped them snatch victory from the hands of defeat as he started to craft his legend.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

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