Wednesday, May 31, 2017


The best part about the win last night? The Red Sox didn’t check out. Once you got a big lead for Chris Sale, it would have been human nature to just pack it in. “We got four. We’re all set.” But, as the lead started to evaporate, the Sox got it back.

Then they did it again.

Goodness knows there have been plenty of times this season where Chris Sale has gotten little to no run support. It was nice that the offense had the chance to return the favor.

It’s also nice when everyone gets a chance to get clicking again. After starting the season without a home run for what seemed like forever, Xander Bogaerts is hitting them in bunches. Jackie Bradley Jr had another homerun, to hopefully continue breaking out of his woeful slump. Craig Kimbrel was able to get back into action, and didn’t disappoint at all.

Speaking of Kimbrel, it's always nice when John Farrell reminds us that he doesn't have a magic book when it comes to treating his closer. Kimbrel came into the eighth inning to put out a fire. Then the Red Sox extended the lead in the top of the ninth. The EEIdiots actually asked Farrell if there was a "number" that would have indicated that the lead was safe enough to not bother bringing Kimbrel back out. Thankfully, the game situation dictated that, instead of a magic spreadsheet. The game seemed to be going back and forth. The White Sox certainly should have felt they could score a bunch of runs. Kimbrel was rested, the other members of the bullpen were not. It made sense to just have him finish the game and get it over with. Absolutely correct call in this situation.

It was the sort of wonderful team effort that is fun to see. Because, Sale isn’t going to strike out ten batters every game. So, it’s nice to realize that he doesn’t always have to. It works both ways. Sometimes he’ll bail out the offense, sometimes they’ll save him. 

The next step is to keep it going.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #6

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #6: A card you bought in person, and the story behind it.

Feast your eyes on this beauty!

Yup. You're right. And, yes. You're right again.

That's not a Red Sox card. That's a 1991 Juan Gonzalez card, still in a screw down protective holder.

Anyone else have one of those?

Back in the day, I was a big Juan Gonzalez fan. Not too surprising. He was an incredible hitter who just burst onto the scene. I bet lots of people gobbled up his cards. But, then he crashed. For whatever reason, his career took a nosedive, and he was nowhere near the star he once was.

But, I still had this card.

That fact made me realize something. I no longer wanted this card. A has been from another team? I didn't care about him anymore. I didn't have a personal connection. Phil Plantier? Him I still had a connection to. I remembered cheering for him. Juan Gonzalez? He was just a star from another team. A hired gun, really. I paid a LOT more for my Phil Plantier 1991 Stadium Club card than I did for this Juan Gonzalez. Now that they're both worth about a penny? I'm MUCH happier to still have the Plantier.

For that reason, it was this card (well, really, my Juan Gonzalez PC in general) that made me morph into a Red Sox collector. Why was I buying cards of stars from other teams? Even if they kept their star bright, they never shined brighter than the Red Sox cards. I was much happier with them.

So, I shifted my focus. I am now almost exclusively a Red Sox card collector. I don't have any cards of Mike Trout in my collection. Or Bryce Harper, unless they happen to show up on a card with a Sox player. Chris Sale's cards were insignificant until this year. Even Pedro's cards stopped existing in 2005. In their place, I have plenty of Shane Victorino and David Ross cards. And Rocco Baldelli and Blake Swihart.

And I couldn't be happier about that.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Does this Mean we can Keep John Farrell?

After all, if losing a couple games in a row is reason to call for his firing, winning a couple in a row should definitely call off the dogs.


Whenever people say the manager needs to be fired, I always wonder what they think the manager does…and how it changes.

So, Farrell comes to the team a few years ago, and leads the team to a World Championship. The next year? A last place finish. Last year, the Sox won a division title under Farrell. So, are we to assume he knew how to manage one year. Then forgot everything. Then sort of remembered. Then remembered it all. Now is kinda not sure again? Is that what happened. When he won the series in 2013, did he forget to write “make all the right moves” in a book somewhere? Did he wander through 2014 thinking is might be a good idea to bat David Ortiz last in the order? Is he not sure whether to start Chris Sale?

No. He’s still making all the moves just like always. They players just produce different results each time.

Because, really, what is the manager responsible for? Does he have any control over the number of home runs Xander Bogaerts hits? Or Rick Porcello gives up? When Andrew Benintendi goes hitless, is that because of something the manager did? Is he doing anything to Craig Kimbrel to make him pitch differently this season than he did last season? Did he grab and twist Panda’s shoulder?

Of course not. He didn’t do any of that.

Farrell sets the line-up. A job that is much less important than people seem to think it is. Most people can put together a reasonable order of players, and slight variations don't affect it much.

He decides on a starting rotation. Does anyone have any issues with the pitchers he's chosen this season?

He calls on the bullpen. Now, this one does take some thought. Who to use when. Who needs rest? Who need work? Who can i trust. But, other than the "bring in the good guy..." complaints, not sure I can squabble over anything he's done. Every decision at least had a defendable reason behind it.

So, no, he doesn't get much credit for the last two wins. Just like he doesn't get the blame for the losses before that. The Sox aren't where they want to be right now. They also don't have everyone they want to have. Things will smooth out soon, and they'll hit their stride.

And we can go back to under-appreciating the manger again.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #5

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #5: A card you spent more than $10 on.

I'm slightly ashamed to say that this card qualifies.

In fact, it would still qualify if the required value was increased by 50%.

I know. What the heck was I thinking? Well, if it was 1991 when I was thinking this.

I just recently told you the story of Phil Plantier. In 1991, he was the next Red Sox superstar. He was going to lead the franchise for years to come. Mo Vaughn would help him win more games than we could imagine over the next few years. 

And, here was a fantastic rookie card of his. Not just a rookie card, but a rookie from that really fancy new "Stadium Club" set! This was going to be the card to own. The prize in any collection. Before I bought this card, the most I had ever spent on a baseball card was $9 for a Cal Ripken Donruss RC. This one cost me twice that, but there was no mulling it over. It had to be done. There was no ceiling on this card. It was either drop the $17 now, or pay twice that later. Or three times? Who knew?

So, this card became the pinnacle of my Phil Plantier player collection. Every time I flipped through the Plantier binder, I could smile.

Which, is exactly what I do.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Lyndsey Littlefield Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Lyndsey Littlefield is a dancer, Spartan race champion, Red Sox fan, and the current Miss South
Coast. She's busily preparing to compete for the Miss Massachusetts crown in a month or so. But, she was still willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I’m really glad she did.

So, let’s see what happens when Lyndsey Littlefield visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss South Coast?
Being crowned Miss South Coast was surely an amazing night. After winning, on my drive home from the theater,  my celebration included eating a HUGE spaghetti dinner in preparation for the Spartan Sprint I was about to run in less than twelve hours. Needless to say, that weekend I earned my two most prized possessions. The ability to represent the South Coast, and the accomplishment of finishing a Spartan.

What lessons can you bring from the Miss South Coast competition to Miss Massachusetts?
Representing this diverse area, and having an amazing business manager, I have learned so much since being crowned, However, as a titleholder, and a potential Miss Massachusetts I feel it is most important to be prepared for anything.  You have to roll with the punches and make the appearance, fundraiser, or event an enjoyable experience for the attendees.

You’re a frequent competitor in Spartan Races, including at Fenway Park. What draws you to those races?
I love being motivated and enjoy pushing myself to new limits, physically and mentally. Signing up for a difficult physical endeavor like the Spartan Races, gave me a new sense of motivation at the gym. It changed the way I thought, it was no longer "ugh, I have to run", it was "Alright if I ran at a 7mph sprint today, I'll be able to conquer that course later". That sense of motivation and confidence helped me branch into other activities too. Specifically, the Fenway Sprint is my favorite! It is not often you hear that someone got to climb over an eight-foot wall at the concession stands, and do burpees in the locker room. It was like a unique (and sweaty) tour of Fenway.

You’ve been dancing for a long time. Does having that confidence in the talent portion help in other areas of the competition?
Absolutely. Being a dancer, I have performed on over hundreds of
stages across Massachusetts. Feeling comfortable onstage gives me the confidence to exceed in the other phases of competition as well as in everyday life. Like being confident in a class or a lab to ask questions, or work with new individuals on projects. I feel dancing is a unique avenue that helps an individual find a sense of self. This sense of confidence is why I volunteer at my platform of Girls Inc.  Experiencing and performing something you are passionate about, like dance, is the essential tool to tap, and build one's confidence!

How did you come up with your platform, Girls Inc?
At the age of thirteen, I was hired as a Semi-Professional ballet dancer. My dancing career was underway. Through my years as a dancer, I learned to fuel my body with the needed food and nutrients to be able to perform all the demanding hours spent in Pointe shoes. However, other company members did not seem as courteous to their bodies as athletes should be. Seeing this happen in action to the people I spent hours with dancing and stretching, made me think about our social standards, and how we portray women in society. I then decided I wanted to do more than just dance, but support and promote healthy lifestyles and body positivity. The next year I decided that alongside dance I need to
support and promote a healthy lifestyle and body positivity. Coming across the Girls Inc.’s motto “Be Strong, Be Smart, and Be Bold”, I immediately fell in love with the program and all of its features. Not only did Girls Inc. believe in the same body positive society as I did, but Girls Inc. goes above and beyond in ensuring that girls in their after-school program are learning life skills and leadership through confidence building activities.

What has it been like to watch Chris Sale pitch this season? 
Exciting, He is the Big Papi in training. Despite his need of support in runs, I think he will be awarded, and deserves the Cy Young Award. 

Other than Section 36, where would you like to try sitting to watch a game at Fenway Park?
On the fair side of the pesky pole, lots of opportunities to catch a Red Sox home run!

Which young Red Sox star are you most excited about?
Benintendi, looking at him you see a prospect with a very high ceiling. Big things are coming his way! He’s a rookie hitting in the clean-up spot, which is rare!

As we go through the first Red Sox season in a long time without David Ortiz, what is your favorite Ortiz memory?
Last year, David Ortiz met one of his huge fans Maverick, a six-year-old boy who aspired to be Ortiz. Ortiz not only mentored the young boy, becoming best friends, Ortiz brought the boy to practice and one game. Where he promised and delivered Maverick that he would hit a homer against the Yankees, of which he did in the most intense eighth inning that I’ve witnessed.

How will the Red Sox finish the 2017 season?

As American League Champions and winners of our ninth World Series


I'll have to agree. If I ever do a Spartan race, Fenway would be the perfect place to give it a try!

As usual, I want to give huge thanks to Lyndsey for doing this interview. I neverget tired of these visits, they're just so much fun. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to go along with the interview. They were a great addition, and really worked well with her answers.

As Lyndsey continues her time as Miss South Coast, I encourage you to follow her on the official Facebook page. 

And, of course, I want to wish Lyndsey luck in the end of June as she competes for the Miss Massachusetts crown. How amazing would it be for another Section 36 visitor to claim that title?

Thanks again Lyndsey, and good luck!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Wish Today was a Sale Day

When Pedro Martinez was screwed out of the 1999 MVP award, many of the people who were against him suggested that he didn’t play enough. How could someone who only played once every five games be more valuable than someone who played in almost every game? Of course, that argument was absurd. For one thing, the starting pitcher obviously has much more control over the game than an outfielder does. Even Mookie Betts. And, if you want to get technical, a hitter probably steps to the plate around 600 in a year. A starting pitcher throwing 200 innings faces around 800 hitters. So, those numbers would show that a starting pitcher affects more of the game than a hitter over a season. Of course, with that logic, a catcher would be the only player to ever win an MVP because he has his 600 plate appearances, AND every other opposing batter. Of course, it was a catcher who stole the award from Pedro.

That’s one of the reasons I always preferred the other argument. Pedro was so good, he didn’t just affect his game. He affected two others as well. If you were the starting pitcher in the game before Pedro’s, you didn’t have to pitch as well. The bullpen would be there to bail you out. After all, might as well burn the bullpen because Pedro wouldn’t need it the next day. Maybe just the closer. Maybe. So, the Sox had a better chance in the game before Pedro pitched because of his presence. Similarly, the game after Pedro had the same effects. Might as well go ahead and use the bullpen that game. After all, they all had the previous day off. They’re all rested and ready to go. So, Pedro wasn’t just dominating his games. He was allowing the Sox to be a better team in games he wasn’t pitching.

That’s pretty valuable.

So, what’s my point? Do I need a point?

The Sox could use Pedro today. The game last night in Kansas City went 13 innings. The bullpen was spent. Everyone they had was called upon to help out. Then, the Sox all had to hop on a plane for a game in Oakland. If ever the Sox could use an 8-inning shutout, it would be today.

The closest thing the 2017 Sox have to Pedro Martinez is Chris Sale. But, he’s not pitching today. Instead they called up a minor league pitcher for a spot start. That doesn’t exactly scream “bullpen saver” to me. I would assume 5 innings was an expected maximum for tonight. Is that still the case? Will they need to stretch that expectation out because everyone else is tired?

At least Sale is scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully that would stop any bleeding before it gets too crazy. Shouldn’t need too many arms to try and go three days in a row.

All this just shows what a valuable player Pedro Martinez was. He allowed you to do things with your team that other players just didn’t allow. He made you better everywhere else.

The Sox could use a little of that from Chris Sale.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Guess St. Louis Really is Hospitible

The Red Sox put together one of their more complete games last night. They scored in multiple innings. They played solid defense. The got home runs from a couple people. They got good pitching. Not sure there's much more that you can ask for.

Not sure anyone should be surprised, either. This is what the team is. Very solid, and capable of winning every game they play. So, why all the angst about their record?

Because people are looking for faults. Yes, the team wasn't hitting. Heck, it still might not be game does not a turnaround make. But, people seem to forget how things work. 

For one thing, hitters don't do as well in the cold. It's been cold. Hitters are also streaky, as much a people hate that. For some reason people think other teams do the same thing every day. A .600 club wins six out of every ten game stretch. They think the statistics work out exactly for every sample size. In reality, that's not how numbers work. If you're a .600 team, you'll win eight of ten, then only four of ten. A .300 hitter might go 0-15. It's not that they're too "streaky" or that they can't hit good pitching. It's just how it goes. Some games you hit, some games you don't. In the end, it all works out the be where it should be.

So, games like last night aren't a turnaround. They're just exactly what should happen from a good team.

They played a good game, and won.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #5

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #5: A certified autograph card of one of your favorite players

While I was attempting to answer this challenge, I noticed something. I don’t have a whole lot of certifies autographed cards. For whatever reason, they were nothing I’ve been actively pursuing. I guess the main reason is that if I’m going to have an autograph of my favorite player, a baseball card wouldn’t be my first choice to get it on. I’d prefer a baseball, or an 8x10 picture. Not only do those tend to display nicer, they’re often cheaper. The “rarity” of having a specific card or parallel card signed doesn’t mean much to me. An autograph is an autograph whether it’s on the most plentiful 8x10 ever, or a 1 of 1 printing plate. So, while I have acquired a few certified autos, they tend to be people/players I’d have trouble otherwise getting. (I loved the Bowman autographed set of scouts they did a while back. The prospect of picking up the autograph of a Red Sox scout was hard to pass up.

One exception was the 2001 Fleer Red Sox set. That was a masterful set. A small 100-card base set of Red Sox stars past and present was the basic idea. But, the inserts really hit the spot. Autographs and relics of Red Sox greats were a lot of fun to chase. Every once and a while I wonder if prices have come down far enough to consider a master set. But, those Ruth and Williams guys tend to keep things out of my budget.

But, some of the other autographs are easily within my price range. Like this one.

Jim Rice was one of my favorite players growing up, and this is a beautiful certified autograph card. I love how the smoky bottom makes a perfect spot to put the autograph. It’s a well thought out design, and I couldn’t be happier with it. 

Now, about the Carl Yastrzemski...

Friday, May 12, 2017

Summer Foley Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Summer Foley came to the Boston area from Florida, via California. She is a singer, actress, Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Brookline. Before she competes for the
Miss Massachusetts crown in a month or so she was nice enough to visit with us to discuss those topics, and more. I’m awfully glad she did.

So, let’s see what happens when Summer Foley visits Section 36!

What made you decide to compete for Miss Brookline?
I have been involved with the Miss America Organization for two years now. It started as a way for me to gain scholarship money to attend school in Boston and then I became very passionate about the service entity of being a titleholder. Miss Brookline was a surprise to me and I decided to compete the Wednesday before it took place. I thought I wouldn't be able to compete in any of the local pageants in Massachusetts due to my schedule, so I saw this as an opportunity to compete at the state level and to represent my favorite part of the Greater Boston area! I've been visiting Brookline since my sophomore year of high school and I fell in love with its rolling hills, the park on Summit Avenue and how could I not love all Coolidge Corner has to offer? I was very excited and honored when I won!

What has surprised you most about your time as Miss Brookline?
I haven't been Miss Brookline for very long, however something that I've picked up on is the generosity of the community. The preventative measures taken by the local government in Brookline towards our statewide opioid epidemic are truly outstanding and the community of Brookline has been so generous to those in need with their organizations like the Brookline Food Pantry and the Brookline Housing Authority. 

You have a strong background in the theatre. How does that help you on stage during a pageant?
I'm so thankful for my familiarity with the stage when it comes to competing. It is difficult to remain confident and collected during swimsuit, evening gown and on stage question, but with my extensive training and a true belief in my ability, I feel that I've grown to love the challenges of giving it my all on the stage! I will have to say talent is my favorite portion, however, because I'm able to share what I love to do with the audience. 

What are you looking forward to about the Miss Massachusetts Competition?
Three Visitors in one Pic!
Carly helping Alissa crown Summer
There's a lot of excitement that comes with preparing and competing at the state level. I'd have to say I really enjoy getting to know everyone and creating great friendships and connections with not only my fellow contestants, but also with those who volunteer and happen to be sharing the space with us. My favorite part of competing, especially at the state level, is watching my hard work pay off. I'll be in the best shape of my life, I'll have worked on not only my talent song but my voice training as well and I'll be surrounded by my friends and family. It's a really fun and supportive environment that I'm already looking forward to! 

How did you get involved with your platform, “Drug Abuse Prevention and Awareness”?
I didn't have to do much searching or thinking about my platform. My older sister has struggled with substance abuse for 13 years and I've grown up witnessing a system that continues to disable my sister's and other's climb to sobriety. In 5th grade, through the DARE system, I realized the importance of focus and decision-making for oneself and once I truly became aware of the severity of opioid usage in not only Massachusetts, but nation-wide, I was passionate about making a difference. I've spoken to children in various organizations and even people my age about their experiences, I've shared my story, and I've offered as much assistance and guidance to those as I can. This issue is no longer something to be quiet about; we, as a society, do not need to condemn those with addiction, but celebrate their recovery. That's what I hope to work on as my year as Miss Brookline and hopefully Miss Massachusetts. 

While going to school not too far from Fenway Park, have you been able to make it over to see a game in person?
Yes! I saw the Red Sox v. Yankees game, and I have to say, there's
nothing like the Red Sox and the sports culture in Boston. It's one of my favorite experiences here. 

Who is your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
My favorite player is Mookie Betts! His first grand slam was hit not too far from where I grew up against the Rays and he has continued to be a great player and role-model. 

How do you think the Red Sox will finish the 2017 season? 
What kind of question is that?! The Red Sox are going all the way! 


I love it! So confident, she couldn’t even question it! Well done.

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Summer for doing this interview. I’m sure many people will really enjoy reading what she had to say. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview. They definitely make any more much more fun to read.

As Summer continues her time as Miss Brookline, I encourage you to follow her on the official Facebook page. It’s also worth checking out her personal website to catch up on all the other things that interest her.

And, of course, I want to wish Summer luck in the end of June as she competes for the Miss Massachusetts crown. How awesome would it be for another Section 36 visitor to claim that title?

Thanks again Summer, and good luck!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Do the Red Sox Miss Travis Shaw?

Well, I mean…maybe sorta kinda. But, that’s not really the correct question.

It’s one that’s come up a lot this week, though. With the Red Sox visiting Milwaukee to play Shaw and his Brewers, some Red Sox fans have been staring at Shaw’s numbers, and wondering what might have been. Here’s the main problem with that, though. 

By dreaming about what might have been, people seem to forget what was.

People are focused on the Red Sox hot mess as third base at the moment. Sandoval is hurt. Holt is hurt. Devers is too young. Everyone else has just been awful. Like “they have to be better than this just to be employed as baseball players” awful. So, it’s easy to look across the diamond and see Shaw’s numbers and think the Sox sure could use him. Which, I suppose, is correct. When you lose your top two options at any position, it’s pretty easy to think another option would work. But, most any third baseman would be an upgrade over what the Red Sox are forced to accept right now. So, it’s hard to pine for Travis Shaw when you could just as easily pine for any other third baseman, pretty much anywhere.

Besides, the reason Shaw is in Milwaukee in the first place is because he was a hot mess of his own. The reason we were all so excited to see Panda back is because even a poor Panda is better than what Shaw was putting out last season. There’s a reason he had to be packaged with someone else to get a reliever.

Which brings us to the other reason people seem to be longing for Shaw. Tyler Thornburg is hurt. The Red Sox are getting nothing from their end of the transaction. I bet if Shaw had been included in the Chris Sale deal, instead of the Thornburg one, people would have trouble remembering who Shaw was.

So, do the Red Sox miss Travis Shaw? The Red Sox miss the numbers Shaw has been able to put up in his first month in Milwaukee. But, you could answer that with any ol’ fill-in-the-blank too. Was it the correct move to ship Shaw off to another team? Absolutlely. In fact, the Red Sox waited too long. He should have been moves at the deadline last year, before he remember who he was and fell back to earth. Should the Red Sox held onto him as added depth? No. At some point, you need to let the dice roll. You can’t have three back-ups at every position just in case the top two get hurt. Check out the depth charts for every other team. Anyone else have that third back-up? Besides, nobody was missing Travis Shaw when Dustin Pedroia was injured again. But, because it happened to be the guy who plays Shaw’s position, the hole was magnified. 

So, no. The Red Sox do not need Travis Shaw. 

They sure could use a third baseman, though.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

From the Pedro Binder

2000 Skybox Dominion Double Play

If I was another card company in 2000, I'd be annoyed with this set. Skybox basically took ownership on the name "double play" for an insert set, and completely blew it. Now Topps can't name an insert set "double play" and make it a clever reference to, I don;t know, a double play? Or, someone turns a double play? Or, maybe two of something?

But, no. Here we have one pitcher throwing a ball. Maybe he's trying to induce a double play? That's probably a stretch. Besides, it's Pedro. What are the odds there was a man on base when this picture was taken?

It immediately leaves me with a sour, uninspired taste in my mouth. They clearly just wanted more cards with Pedro on them, and grabbed whatever random baseball sounding term they could to name the set.

The card itself? Pretty standard. Pedro, with some crazy graphics behind him. They did make the logo for "double play" that dp thing where each letter looks like the other. Not exactly the connection I was looking for.

What a disappointment.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day #4

Tony, the wonderful writer of the “Off Hiatus Baseball” blog, started a fun activity based off the “30-Day Music Challenge” that Twitter users were taking. The list of challenges looks like this:

Today, we’ll continue with Challenge #4: A Rookie Card of one of Your Favorite Players

Hmm. This was a tough one. Mostly because, as usual, I made it hard on myself. As you probably know, my favorite all-time player is Pedro Martinez. I’m sure I’m not along in that. Pedro was one of a kind. But, the problem with his rookie card? Not only is it not the most exciting card, but it shows him as a member of the LA Dodgers. How on earth can I feature a Dodgers card in this topic? I then thought about another former Dodger, Nomar Garciaparra. He came up through the Red Sox system. But, his first card has that pesky Team USA designation. That wouldn’t do at all.

It kept going this way. Manny Ramirez? An Indian on his rookie card. David Ortiz? The Twins. I supoose that leaves my with the new core. But, do I want to feature Andrew Benintendi’s rookie card from the current year? That’s not much fun.

Then, it was so obvious that I’m annoyed I didn’t think of it earlier. Phil Plantier. Plantier joined the Red Sox in 1990 like he was shot out of a rocket. He was the next start for the Red Sox. It was obvious. Thankfully, most card companies were able to include him in their 1991 products. But, which one to choose? This one was an obvious choice. 

Like many people, I bought a lot of 1991 Donruss. To my never-ending delight, I always seemed to pull a Phil Plantier rookie. They were coming out of every pack. When does that ever happen? Sure, getting 5-10 cards of some guy over the course of a year isn’t anything spectacular. But to pull 10 copies of a card you really want? Of the newest hotshot rookie of your favorite team? Of your clear choice for favorite player? The pull those cards over and over? That never happens. 

But, it happened with the 1991 Donruss Phil Plantier.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Samantha McGraw Visits Section 36!

Samantha McGraw is a self-described huge Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Collegiate Area. I was pleased when she agreed to
take time out of her busy schedule to visit with us. It was a lot of fun.

So let’s see what happens when Samantha McGraw visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Collegiate Area? 
When I got home after winning Miss Collegiate Area, I had about one hour to kill before I had to start driving back to campus to work on some homework. In that hour, my 2016 Miss Massachusetts roommate, Joclyne Nunes (Miss New Bedford 2015), joined me in chowing down on some Chinese food! 

Which part of the upcoming Miss Massachusetts competition are you most nervous about?
I honestly do not get nervous when competing, but during crowning I am shaking in my heels. When I am onstage, I can control everything I do, so I am not nervous.  Miss Massachusetts is a job, and I want the judges to be able to see who I really am, so that they can determine if I would be best for that position. During crowning though, everything is out of my hands and over with, which is super nerve racking. 

You’ve held several local titles in your life. What lessons can you bring with you from previous competitions to this year’s Miss Massachusetts competition?
My first rodeo (Miss Massachusetts 2015), was life changing. The week was full of volunteer events, rehearsals, and endless amounts of coffee. The main lesson past Miss Massachusetts weeks have taught me would be to not take a single moment for granted. As stressful as the week can be, it was an opportunity that many women dream of. For me to be there, during that week, up on that stage, is what I worked hard for and need to enjoy every minute of.
I will continue to remember that during the Miss Massachusetts 2017 competition on June 30th and July 1st at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

How did you become involved with your platform, “The Wheelchair Foundation"?
When I was in the fourth grade, I was misdiagnosed. Doctors believed I was just experiencing “ordinary growing pains,” when I really had a condition called Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Unfortunately, my case was rather extreme due to the condition being misdiagnosed and caught to late, which led to a full a bilateral slip. If I had taken just one more step, I would have had an unfixable ambulatory disability. August 2012, after a total of three surgeries and what had felt like endless amounts of physical therapy, I beat all odds against me and took my first steps again. From that point on, I wanted to stand up and make a difference in the disabled community. I began by donating my wheelchair to The Wheelchair Foundation; a non profit organization that promotes disability acceptance and uses donations to provide wheelchairs to anyone who needs one but cannot afford one. Since donating my first wheelchair, I have become progressively more involved, and am now a Massachusetts ambassador for The Wheelchair Foundation.

You’re a Track and Field coach with Special Olympics of Massachusetts. What is that experience like?
Adaptive athletics is something I am extremely passionate about. A disability doesn’t limit the ability to be successful in a sport. I couldn’t be happier to share my first coaching experience with a team full of dedicated individuals with amazing sportsmanship. This experience is extremely positive, and strengthens the reason why I want to become an Occupational Therapist for those with developmental disabilities.  

This is the first Red Sox season in a while without David Ortiz. What’s your favorite Ortiz memory?
After the Boston bombing, Ortiz gave a speech that explained the strength and resilience of Boston. “This is our (expletive) city!” Although the swear wasn’t particularly necessary, this speech forever will make me proud to be Boston Strong. 

Which of the young B’s (Bogaerts, Betts, Bradley, Benintendi) are you most excited about?
I am most excited about Benintendi. After the first month of his rookie season, he led the team in hits and RBIs… The last Red Sox player to do that was Red Sox hall of famer Freddie Lynn!

How has it been to watch Chris Sale this year?
Samantha is joined by Kristen, Lyndsey, and Emily
Watching Chris Sale has been exciting, however they can't get him any run support when he's on the mound. I was at his debut where he struck out 7 and didn't give up a run. At the end of 11 innings, the score was 0-0.

Other than Section 36, where do you (or where would you) like to sit to watch the Red Sox in Fenway?
If I couldn’t pick section 36, then I would have to go with any other right field bleachers. They are the some of the best seats in Fenway, no doubt. The fans are always outspoken, excited, and passionate. 

How will the Red Sox finish in 2017?
The Red Sox will be American League Champions and contending for the World Series title in October! 


Sounds like a great year to me!

As always, I want to send out a huge thank you to Samantha for doing this interview. These visits are always incredibly popular, and I have no doubt that hers will continue that trend. I also want to thank her for providing the pictures to accompany the interview. Pictures make every post more fun.

As Samantha continues her reign as Miss Collegiate Area, I encourage you to follow her on the official Facebook page and Instagram account. 

And, of course, I want to wish Samantha luck in July as she competes for the Miss Massachusetts crown. It would be fantastic for another Section 36 visitor to claim that title.

Thanks again Samantha, and good luck!

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