Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Between the Stitching - by Taylor Higgins

Since this isn't the type of book I usually review, I would say the best way to start this write up is by using the author’s own words.
From the back cover:

In this New England based romance, Taylor Higgins invites you along on the journey she and soulmate, Skyler Williams, share together. Williams, a professional baseball player in the Boston Red Sox organization, battles his way through minor league baseball in hopes of pursuing his dream of playing in the big leagues. During this adventure, the couple encounters many obstacles while individually searching for their own placements in this world. With hopes number eleven will persevere and achieve his dream, Taylor struggles to keep her own identity afloat.

Follow Taylor as she unintentionally exposes the twisted realities behind is beloved ball game. Travel, live out of a suitcase, become part of the unique sisterhood between the wives and girlfriends of the uniformed men, believe in the power of a goal, and witness first hand as she proves that love is the most impactful energy on this planet. Allow her to introduce to you her own heart and together we will devour the saddening repercussions of losing yourself to tattered, empty people.

If that's not enough of an introduction, here's what Taylor said when she visited with Section 36 Bruins.

Anyone who has ever suffered a loss of any kind will benefit from this story. I guarantee it. If you're a baseball fan on top of it, even better! I promise you it will be unlike any book you've ever read before. I recommend this to mature audiences only.

With that sort of introduction, what did I think when I read it?


Simply, wow.

I could not put this book down. Even though this was autobiographical, it certainly didn't read that way. It was a compelling story that was told in a way to drag me right in. I felt her pain, and her joy, as if I was living it with her. I was scared for her. I wanted to yell at her. I was relieved for her. All with the knowledge that this happened in the past.

Honestly, the strictly baseball part of it would have been enough. The look behind the scenes of a baseball relationship dealing with so much time apart was fascinating. The added aspect of the relationship struggles that probably affect all manner of couples was just an added benefit to the story. The combination made for a powerful story that anyone would want to read.

She’s right to suggest mature readers, since some of the scenes can be graphic or sexually explicit. But beyond that, just about everyone will find something to pull them into this book. I can't recommend strongly enough that you read it yourself to see which parts pull you in.

Rating: 4 bases

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Celebrating with a Sale

Are you looking for a great way to celebrate the Red Sox winning the World Championship? Have I got the idea for you! Have you considered rewarding yourself with some great gear from the Section 36 store? It's a great way to make a wonderful day even better.

As it happens, the store is in the midst of a sale! You can take advantage of the opportunity to stock up on wonderful gear you can wear!

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. The sale only runs through Sunday! That's right only a few days before prices go back to their regular levels.

And, as always, when you do get an item, send me a picture wearing it for me to share with the world! The blogFacebook, and even Instagram!

Like Bernadette did to show off how amazing this tank top looks on her.

This tank is 27% off!

Or Phil did.

This tank is also 27% off!

Or Holly did with her cozy new hoodie.

This hoodie is 21% off!

Or Nicolette did with her great t-shirt!

This t-shirt is 30% off!

But, first you need to buy something you like. There's a lot to choose from.

What will you get?

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Boston Red Sox are the World Champions!

For the first time in five years!

What a feeling. What a game. What a team!

There's so much that can and should be said about this team that I can't cover it all right now. (But, don't you worry I will at some point.) There are some things, though, that just need to be talked about now. Like last night's clinching game.

I've often said that the definition of “clutch” as “late and close” is somewhat misleading. There can be clutch home runs prior to the seventh inning. Steve Pearce proved that last night. His home run three batters into the game did more than give the Red Sox a first inning lead. It was crushing to the soul of theDodgers. They're in an elimination scenario. They have their ace on the mound, so they at least have some hope. Then, bam, they're down two runs before fans have found their seats. If there's a way to lose a game before it starts, that was it. A one-hundred percent clutch “here we go again” home run in the top of the first inning. Incredible.

Speaking of clutch first inning home runs, the Dodgers tried to get one of their own when they led off their game with a home run on the first pitch. (Thereby making Pearce’s home run even more clutch looking back.) That, of course, could have been crushing for the Sox. A momentum shift to be sure. And, admit it, part of you wondered if it was going to rattle Price. OK, all of you wondered if it would rattle Price. But, it didn’t. New Price didn't let it get to him, and just shut the door on the Dodgers without allowing another run. This isn't your father’s David Price.

Or, what about the “triple” to right field that JD Martinez lost in the sky? That was going to be it, right? A guy who was in the lineup only for his bat, which had been missing for a while, makes a mistake like that. Once again, fans were probably thinking that was it. It was Buckner in there for his bat costing the team with his glove. And specifically for Price, you could almost see it in his head. “I'm finally pitching well, and he does THAT!?!?” Another perfect opportunity to unravel. The odds failing Price again. But, no. He retired the next two batters, and left the guy standing at third base. Two chances to fall apart turned into two chances for Price to simply stand up taller instead.

The key bats returned just in time. We had been wondering where Mookie and JD were hiding. They had allowed the bottom of the order to do a lot of the heavy lifting this far. But, they came back with a key home run each late in the game. Key for a couple reasons. For one, in a clinching game you can never have too many insurance runs. Make it as easy as possible on the bullpen to close out the game. But personally too, it was nice to see them chip in. Mookie didn't end the series going 0-15 or whatever. He hit a key home run in the clincher. That has to feel good, and makes his stat sheet look more respectable. I am especially glad in his case, since it looked like he was coming around, and hitting the ball harder. It would have been too bad if he ran out of time before he found his swing again. JD looked more lost at the plate. But it was still nice to have him end on such a positive. Next year, they'll have something to build on.

After Price’s magnificent start, the game was turned over to another new pitcher, “Playoff Joe Kelly”. Kelly continued his newly remembered dominance and struck out the side. Amazing.

The last inning was handled by Chris Sale. So, apparently he was healthy after all. I was worried that the ball would go to Craig Kimbrel. While he had rediscovered his dominance, in his outing during game four he looked TIRED! I was afraid he would get to close out the game because he “deserved” to close, even if he wasn’t the right guy at the time. After all, he probably had pretty good numbers in Cora’s binder. But, Cora actually played this one by ear. (Unless Sale’s numbers were even better, which is possible.) He slammed the door by striking out the side himself. He even created the best finishing moment since Papelbon levitated with his hands on his head. The image of Manny Machado falling to a knee after being embarrassed by the pitch pretty much summed up the series for him and the Dodgers.

So the best regular season team is the best playoff team as well. It was an amazing ride through an incredible season and I can’t wait to keep talking about it in the months to come.

What was your favorite moment?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Keep it Rolling

Unless you live under a rock, you know that game three of the World Series takes place tonight. It's the latest in a series of must-win games for the Sox. Sure, they haven't had any elimination games this postseason. But each of emir wins has been vitally important. You want to win game four in Yankee Stadium. Don't want to give the Yankees hope, and play in a game five. Have to win game game two against the Astros. Can't go down 2-0. Gotta win game three against the Astros. Need to take back home field advantage. Winning game four against the Astros is huge...3-1 is completely different than 2-2. Need to win game five against the Astros. Don't want to let it drag along. Need to win game one of the World Series to set the tone. Need to win game two to keep home field advantage.

So, here we are tonight needing to win game three. For one thing, a 3-0 series lead is way way better than a 2-1 lead. For another, mentally the Dodgers have been waiting for this. At home against a right handed pitcher, this is where their true team comes out. If the Sox win this game too? Talk about a punch to the gut. Now what would they have to hang their hats on?

Which is why, I imagine, Alex Cora has managed with such an urgency during the postseason. But, he hasn't managed stupidly, which is a delicate balance. So while I can't imagine starting Chris Sale tomorrow on short rest is in his plans because that would be stupid, I could certainly see him disrupt his plans for tomorrow if it meant getting a win tonight. Postseason wins don't always present themselves, so you need to go after them when they do.

Thinking it over, I realize that one coach who doesn't manage the playoff games with urgency is Bill Belichick. He's very happy to stay the course and let the percentage play out. I bet he would see a 2-0 series lead, and not change a thing. After all, they only need to win 2 of the next five, and it doesn't matter which two. So, if he's ok with the pitching match-ups the Sox have in game six and seven, he would have no urgency at all to win any games in Los Angeles. Which is also why he sometimes get screwed by an odd play or a bad call. If you play the percentages when it's first and goal from the one, but get an uncalled pass interference on fourth down, you're screwed. When you stay calm even though you're trailing in the Super Bowl only to see Tom Brady fumble for the first time in like ever, you lose. It's Belichick's blessing, and curse. And it's not the way Alex Cora handles things.

Hard to say who's right.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Perfect Start

I'm not usually glad when I'm not very good at something. But, I'm not a very fast tweeter. I don't do it enough to remember where everything is, so it take me a second to find the button to compose a tweet and get everything to start out. So, last night I was too slow to be one of the endless tweeters who questioned Cora for pinch hitting Eduardo Nunez for Rafael Devers. I was lucky, because before I could hit “send”, Nunez had already deposited the ball into the Monster Seats for a three-run home run that broke the game open.

Because of course he did.

Because the start to this World Series went about as well as you could hope for the Red Sox. In the battle of the aces, your ace out-pitched their ace. (Sure, it wasn't exactly a battle of no-hitters. But still.) Your first three batters of the game reached, resulting in two quick runs. Every time the Dodgers fought back, you reminded them that they were the inferior team. It was like the Red Sox were playing with their emotions. Letting them think they had a chance before putting them away. The Sox bullpen continued its outstanding playoff performance. Eovaldi showed why he may be the best deadline deal of the year. And your closer seems to have remembered that he’s a dominant closer.

Even things that may have seemed like a problem in the beginning are probably going to end up better off. I wasn't exactly thrilled when Sale only went four innings. But, he looked healthy even if he was being squeezed at the plate. So, throwing fewer than 100 pitches is probably a good thing. He should be better off the next time he takes the mound. I'm not sure why Cora brought in EdRo with runners on. But, after getting out of it, I imagine he’s got an extra boost of confidence for next time.

Speaking of confidence, the Sox try to extend their lead tonight by sending out a newly confident David Price to the mound. It will be interesting to see how it goes now that he has that first win as a starter. If people are right, and his struggles were due to the weight of starting in the playoffs this should be fun. After all, his relief outings have shown us that he’s not phased by the pressure of pitching in October. If he's now no longer phased by “starting” in October, the Dodgers better watch out.

So I certainty expect more of the same tonight. The first inning will be huge to watch. A settled down David Price should at least pitch as well as Sale did last night. The Dodgers don't exactly have Kershaw on the mound tonight. Advantage Sox.

Hopefully a 2-0 advantage.

Monday, October 22, 2018

What more could you ask for?

When the season started, the Sox had a good team. We knew they were good. They were the defending division champs, and had added slugger JD Martinez. The sky was really the limit 

But, as we knew, the Sox may have won the division last year...but they didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Astros pretty quickly. So, they had that cloud hanging over them pretty much all season. Sure, the might be good (again) but can we trust it? Or would we get our expectations up (again), only to have them deflated in crushing fashion (again)?

Now, to actually harp on that all season is a pretty pathetic way to live your life. But, it’s always a question. Teams are (oddly) defined by how they play during potentially nineteen specific games as opposed to the other 162. Or, even any other selection of 19 games. So, as much fun as it was to watch the regular season, another early postseason exit would be annoying at best. Once the playoffs started, it was anticipation to see if they could move past that first series. 

Once they did that, it became fun again. 

There was a definite difference between the 2004 playoff run and the 2007 playoff run. In 2004, the team was still “cursed”. People weren’t happy. They were waiting for the Sox to blow it at every chance. Even up three games to none in the World Series, people weren’t comfortable. But, in 2007 it was different. The curse was gone. The Red Sox, in fact, didn’t always lose. More people seemed to be enjoying the run. Down 3-1 to Cleveland? No problem. Beckett will win game five, and the Sox’ll take the next two at home. The World Series? No problem. They’ll roll over them. 

This year seems to be both at once. Until the Yankees series, people were waiting for a collapse. They may have won 108 games, but that bullpen will kill them! But, then they steamrolled the Yankees, and there was a switch flipped. They could win a playoff series after all. They’re actually a good team! We should probably enjoy it!

Which is how I plan to approach the World Series. This team is good, and I see no reason why they should lose. 

So, why not enjoy it? I’m excited to see this team show what they can do. What Chris Sale can bring. What a confident David Price looks like in the playoffs. What this lineup can continue to do. 

This should be a lot of fun!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sophia Lovis Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Sophia Lovis is a singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Merrimack. I’m thrilled she was
willing to take some time out of her schedule to visit with us to
discuss those topics, and a few more. I’m sure you’ll love reading everything she had to say!

So, let’s see what happens when Sophia Lovis visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Merrimack crown?
While I wish my answer was more exciting, I celebrated my crown with a good night's sleep (and by that I mean I slept for about thirteen hours that night!) Our check-in time that day was 10 AM, and by the time I was done taking pictures and helping clean up it was easily 11 at night. Considering the time I also needed to get ready in the morning and drive over, as well as go home and take my makeup off, I think I deserved it!

You didn't sign up to compete for Miss Merrimack until the last minute. What made you finally decide to compete?
As a current senior, I have been looking at colleges and the overwhelming cost of it has really sunk in over the last few months. So when I saw Miss Merrimack was offering a $1200 scholarship I simply asked myself “What do I have to lose?” and, well, here I am!

This spring will be your first time competing for the Miss New Hampshire crown. What part of that competition are you most nervous about?
I’m most nervous for Onstage Question. The whole fishbowl concept is seriously nerve-wracking, and I think it’s a competition that you’re either prepared for or you’re not. To prepare, my mom and I have been reviewing current events every day for about fifteen minutes, discussing both sides and forming educated opinions. While I may not know what question I’ll get, I’m going to make sure I am as prepared as possible.

How did you select your platform: Be BIG - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?
I have been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America since 2016, and my little sister has been my best friend and mini-me since December 6th of that year. We aren’t matched anymore because she does not attend the same location where we would meet, but we text all the time and are constantly in touch. For my Little, it’s a fun, reliable, and encouraging relationship. For me? Nothing beats that smile when I walk through the door (and of course the bear hug).

What is your favorite part about performing your talent onstage?
Talent is not my strongest competition, but I love to be able to stand on stage with all eyes on just me and simply sing. I might not be the best singer technically, but I truly love it, and I think that shows onstage.

You make appearances as Disney Princesses. Which Disney princess would you say is most like you?
I would definitely say that Anna is most like me-which is funny, because she is one of the only princesses I don’t play! Anna, like myself, is bubbly, energetic, and fiercely loyal to her sister. And if you ask anyone that knows me, they can certainly attest to all those traits.

Which current Red Sox player is your favorite? Why?
My current favorite Red Sox player is definitely JD Martinez. He brings a much-needed maturity to a young team, and could be the MVP of the league.

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you'd especially like to experience?
Before I die, I would love to throw out the first pitch for the Sox. It’s totally on my bucket list, I just need to figure out how to get to a place that I would be worthy of that!

If you had an extra ticket to a Red Sox game, who would you take with you? Why?
I would take one of my friends from the Boudreau family. They’re baseball fans (that is seriously the understatement of the century) and I think it would be a blast to take one of them. They are extremely loud while watching a game at home, so I can’t even imagine how hyped up one of them would be at a real live game!


I hope she finds a way to throw out that first pitch!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Sophia for doing this interview. I also want to thank her for providing so many amazing pictures to accompany the interview. They make it a lot more entertaining for everyone.

As Sophia continues her time as Miss Merrimack, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Merrimack Facebook page. It’ll be worth your time!

I also want to wish Sophia the best of luck this spring as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown! It would be incredible to have a second consecutive Section 36 visitor take home that title! 

Thanks again Sophia, and good luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It Was Fan Interference

It was clearly fan interference. It was so clear that I can't believe there's any actual argument. It's so clear that even Joe West could see it from 100 feet away.

Which is actually the best argument in favor of fan interference.

I assume that when an umpire is running out towards the wall, and can't quite tell, that the default ruling is “home run”. Without any evidence to the contrary, the umpire assumes the ball went into the stands. But, West didn't make that call. He pretty quickly signaled fan interference. he said that he saw something. That he saw a fan reaching out and hitting Mookie’s glove. That he could tell Mookie was away from the wall. That he could see all that. After all, he was at a pretty good angle to see that sort of thing. I haven't seen a camera show from his angle yet, but I bet you can tell if someone is leaning. And everything he's said after the game repeated that. Which you can say, of course he's going to say that. But, remember in 1999 when the ump admitted that he didn't see Knoblauch make the tag? That he only anticipated the tag being made? Or after the interference call on Will Middlebrooks in 2013 where the umpire claimed Will was in the baseline, when he wasn't? So, Joe West sticking to his story, and having his story hold up is actually a thing.

But, you don't need his angle or his call to determine that it was fan interference. But, it helps if you combine a few different angles. First, you need to know how the seats are situated behind the wall. They're close to the wall. Very close. So close that if you stand up, you're pretty much up against the wall. So, someone standing straight up in front of their seat is basically making their stomach a vertical extension of the wall.

So, if you're standing up, and your stomach is the face of the wall, anything in front of your stomach is within the field of play. Unless you're leaning your upper body back at a 45-degree angle.

Now, back to the view we've all been staring at all day. Do the fans have anything in front of their stomach? Absolutely. They all have their hands out in front of them. Not even just crossed in front of them, but reaching out in front of them. One guy is reaching out so far he has to brace himself against the wall using his other hand. You only need to do that if you're reaching out over the wall, not if you're staying behind it.

It's not even close.

So, now that we've determined that the fans interfered with a player on the field of play, we can discuss the other loophole people like to use. They claim Betts wasn't going to catch it anyway. They give two lame excuses for this train of thought. My personal favorite is that Betts was already closing his glove before the ball got there. It had nothing to do with a fan hitting his glove. Mookie was closing it himself, so he would have missed the ball.


Mookie is probably the best defensive right fielder in baseball. Have you ever seen him try to make a catch, but close the glove too early only to have the ball bounce off the side of the glove? Have you ever seen anyone try to catch a ball with a closed glove? Manny? Of course not. That's because you don't manually close the glove yourself. The force of the ball entering the pocket of the glove basically closes it for you. It’s crazy to think that Mookie is trying to time the closure of his glove for the exact instant the ball goes inside. I can't even fathom how that would work.

The other excuse is that you can’t assume Mookie would make such an incredible catch. Which, I admit is a valid question. It's also one that the fans cheated us out of ever being able to learn the answer to. A lot has to go into a catch like that. Tracking the ball down. Leaping to reach it, timing the leap just right, and grabbing the ball out of the air. That’s not easy. But, the key part is that Mookie already did the toughest parts. You know how if a third baseman makes an amazing dive to stop the ball, gets up, and throws the ball into the stands you can still give him an error? It was a difficult play, but he did the difficult part before the error. Once he's standing there with the ball, it's a routine throw. That's where Mookie was. He already ran to the wall. He already jumped. He already timed the jump perfectly. He already had his glove in the right spot. We know all of this because the ball actually hit his glove after the fan knocked it closed. So he did all the hard stuff. All that was left was the routine part of actually catching a flyball. That's much easier to assume.

So I wish people would stop saying the Sox got lucky. Unless you consider an umpire making the correct call "luck". I wish headlines would stop saying that the Astros had a home run taken away. They never had a home run. It would have been an out if the fans weren't there. The headlines could say "Great play by Mookie prevents Astros home run" because that would at least be true. 

It was a great play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Trade Deadline Deals

Remember when everyone was pretty annoyed with Dave Dombrowski at the trade deadline? Everyone insisted that the Red Sox needed bullpen help. Like really needed bullpen help. But, Dombrowski didn't listen. He traded to fill in some other holes instead. Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce were added to the team to help out. A good bat off the bench, and a great tweener starter who might just help the bullpen in the playoffs. Pearce has been every bit of that, including hitting the go ahead home run in a crucial game three last night. Eovaldi got the start and the win last night. He's been the Red Sox most consistent and effective starter in the playoffs. He's even been able to help the bullpen after all. Because he took over the third starter role, Rick Porcello has been able to pitch the eighth inning in two Red Sox victories.

Oh, and the big bullpen arm that the Astros picked up? He gave up five runs, including a grand slam, after hitting consecutive batters in the eighth inning to blow the game wide open.

It's almost like Dombrowski knows what he's doing.

So the Red Sox now sit having taken back home field advantage. The pressure is now all on the Houston Astros. There are two more games in Texas, and the Red Sox really only need to win one of those to put a stranglehold on the series. The Astros are pretty much in must-win territory from here on out.

Which gives the Red Sox the luxury of having options. This is especially nice with the health questions with Chris Sale. While I prefer stomach issues to shoulder issues, neither one is great if you’re in a dire situation. But, now the Sox aren't in a terrible spot if Sale is waiting until game six, or even seven, before taking the mound. While you certainly want to win as many games as you can as soon as you can, it's nice to be able to think ahead. So it's good to be on top.

Being on top 3-1 is even better, which is why tonight's game is pretty big on its own. I can only imagine that Rick Porcello will show up huge. He's been on fire this postseason. Since the Red Sox got to Morton when they faced him earlier in the year...without Mookie...I like their chances against him tonight.

Let's see how it goes!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Almost Everything!

So close. David Price needed one more out to qualify for the win last night. But, he was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning, after finding himself in a bit of a jam. It was probably the right call, but I do wish he could have gotten that first playoff win as a starter. 

It’s those last few words that annoy me. It’s one of those classic “moving the goalposts” things. Because it seems that people who don’t like David Price are constantly finding ways to confirm their belief that he is a terrible pitcher and waste of money. 

Now, I’m not here to tell you that Price has been dominant in the playoffs. I do think that overall he’s generally been good. But people like to point out all his flaws. He’s never won a game in the playoffs! Well, actually he as. Ok, then he’s never won as a starter! 

Because they need to find qualifiers. Because he has dominated in the playoffs. Just ask the 2008 Red Sox. He’s gotten wins from that dominance. He’s pitched well as a starter, and not gotten the win. So, if they’re not going to count times he pitched well but didn’t win, I’m sure as heck going to mention a time he didn’t pitch well but did. If he had just gotten one more out!

Someone who did start prying a playoff monkey off their back was Mookie. He had not exactly been playing like Mookie in the playoffs. Admittedly it’s been a small sample. But, people were nervous. Which is why watching him lead off last night with a double before scoring was such a welcome sight. He went on to go 2-4, with two runs and an RBI. Suddenly his numbers this series look pretty darn good. Hopefully that settles things down, and is a signal of what's to come from the MVP.

The Sox are going to need both these guys moving forward.

If they show up, this will be fun.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Celebrating Sale

Trying to decide the best way to celebrate the Red Sox advancing to the ALCS? Have you considered rewarding yourself with some great gear from the Section 36 store? It's a great way to make a wonderful day even better.

As it happens, the store is in the midst of a sale! You can take advantage of the opportunity to stock up on wonderful gear you can wear!

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. The sale only runs through Sunday! That's right only a few days before prices go back to their regular levels.

And, as always, when you do get an item, send me a picture wearing it for me to share with the world! The blogFacebook, and even Instagram!

Like Bernadette did to show off her amazing tank top.

This tank is 27% off!

Or Phil did.

This tank is still 27% off!

Or Holly did with her cozy new hoodie.

This hoodie is 21% off!

Or Nicolette did with her great t-shirt!

This t-shirt is 30% off!

But, first you need to buy something you like. There's a lot to choose from.

What will you get?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Had 'em All The Way

While the ride wasn't as smooth as we might have hoped, the destination was right. The Red Sox beat the Yankees last night to advance to the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox have now won seven of their last eight playoff games agains the Yankees. Pretty dominating if you ask me. 

And while the Series ended up being an easy win, every game wasn't. And, the clincher certainly wasn't. But, they can't all be 16-1 games, can they?

So, thoughts from last night?

I wasn't a huge fan of taking Porcello out after five. Obviously Cora knew what he was doing, and bringing in Barnes to face the Yankees thumpers makes some sense. I guess I'm just tired of the quick playoff hook the Red Sox have been using in the playoffs the last few years. Want to know why the Red Sox starters don't win? Because they get taken out after giving up three runs in four innings. Porcello was going along pretty well, and I guess I would have tried to get one more out of him. Which, I suppose, is why they didn't hire me as manager.

I loved Chris Sale coming in for the eighth. No, not because I thought he was the best option or idea (although, he probably was). I loved it because it meant Cora really didn't have any concerns about him. To hear the EEidiots talk about Sale, he was a fragile peach who could very well be terrible next time on the mound. But, the guys who actually knows something clearly didn't share those thoughts. Obviously, Cora isn't worried about the shoulder. He's not treating Sale with kid gloves hoping to squeeze two more starts out of him. He's also clearly convinced that the mechanical flaw is fixed. The eighth inning of an elimination game isn't the place to hope something turns out OK.

Kimbrel was not sharp. 

Unless, he was? One thing that always made me ponder with Dice-K is that he always seemed to work himself out of trouble. He'd walk the bases loaded and then strike out the next three. Or so it seemed. He was also known for throwing a ton of pitches, going back to high school. I always wondered if that was a strategy. Walk the guys that are tough outs, go after the ones who he can handle. Does Kimbrel follow an approach like that? Facing Judge in the ninth inning with a three run lead? Nibble a bit, see if he'll chase. If not, a baserunner in that situation isn't terrible. Because he seemed to go from being "wild" against Judge to being able to handle Stanton. I bet he figured he could handle Sanchez too. Now, I wouldn't say his plan was to load the bases. But, I would understand it if he didn't consider it a terrible idea either. 

Or he just wasn't sharp.

I'm sure people have been mentioning it, but the play by Pearce to end the game seems underrated to me. Not only did he actually get the out, but he kept the ball from getting by him in the first place. That's a tough play in that situation when you know that if the ball gets by you, the game is probably tied...if not over. Heck, even a little bobble might have been enough. But, he grabbed it clean and just kept his foot on the bag long enough. Pretty impressive. 

Which is what happens on good teams. Everyone contributes when they're needed. 

It's how you win a playoff series.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Christiana Berenguer - Live at Fenway

I'm sure you remember my post about a new in-game entertainment option at Fenway Park. At a recent game, I was
surprised and delighted to notice Christiana Berenguer live on the field singing between innings. (Check out "I Was Entertained") I hadn't noticed anyone singing on the field before, and wondered how it came to be. I reached out to Christiana and was thrilled that she was willing to share her experience with us. Here's how it all went down, in her words.

So I have always really wanted to sing at a stadium because it’s an easy way to get in front of such a big audience, and Fenway Park is legendary so that was a dream in itself. I saw a posting on the Berklee hub (an email every Monday about opportunities around Boston) and I just applied. 

Dan Lyons and the rest of the team had me come in for an interview and they said I was one of the 8 people chosen and to send them clips of me singing some of my favorite crowd pleaser songs that
everyone would know. So I sent a couple and they liked “Walking on Sunshine” the most. I was super excited because me, my mom and uncle surprised my dad with tickets for him and my mom to come to the game since I got four free tickets. My dad is a HUGE baseball fan and was living his dream. 

So the day before the show I went to soundcheck and was on the field ready to go and there were some delays due to meetings with the Yankees and Red Sox and so they asked me to soundcheck the day of the game at noon. However, it was POURING that day and long story short they ended up canceling  me singing because I didn’t get to do a soundcheck before the doors opened. I tried every loophole possible and Dan even tried to get me to sing at the game
on Sunday but nothing worked out. We still got to go to the Yankees Red Sox game and my dad got to live out his dream so I’m happy about that. 

Fast forward to the day they reschedule me for the Astros and Red
Sox game and I was super excited. I did soundcheck, and then me
and a group of friends went to the game. I remember being SUPER
nervous because I couldn’t hear myself singing so I wouldn’t know
what I sounded like, but I was SO ready. I went out there and was just my quirky, awkward, bubbly self. The whole time I was just
reminded over and over about how much I want to tour stadiums one day and how much my music career means to me. Taylor Swift is a huge role model for me, and I long to perform in front of thousands of people five days a week. I’m super grateful for all the compliments and love that I received from singing at the Red Sox game. I’m really proud of myself and hope that they ask me to come back one day! Red Sox are the BEST team no matter what anyone says ;)


That's too bad that Christiana wasn't able to do it the first time against the Yankees. On the bright side, that allowed me to see her perform!

I want to thank Christiana for taking the time to tell us about her experience. It's always fun to learn what happens behind the scenes with activities like this. I definitely can't wait to hear her performing more shows in stadiums soon. If you'd like to find out more about her, and hear more of her music, check out her page on the Section 36 Music blog!

Thanks Christiana!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Exactly What was Needed

It's as if the baseball gods finally decided to throw Red Sox fans a bone. The game last night was everything we fans needed, all set out nicely in order.

Right from the start. Literally. The first pitch of the game was a 95 MPH fastball from Chris Sale. While not quite 97 or 99, it was a great sign that maybe he did have his velocity. Of course, he then struck out McCutchen on one of his nasty sliders. Sale had arrived. He went on to strike out the side (mixing in a walk) including Judge and Stanton. What more can you ask for?

How about three guys reaching in the bottom of the first against supposed Red Sox killer J.A. Happ. How about the third guy, hitting a three run home run? One way to settle down the pitching staff is to give them a three run cushion almost immediately. It reminded me of David Ortiz homering in the first inning of Game 7 in the 2004 ALCS. It was an immediate statement proving that clutch home runs aren't always hit in the ninth inning. It reversed the narrative before it could get started. It's actually hard to overestimate just how important that home run was. 

And it kept getting better.

The Sox scored two more off Happ after knocking him out of the game and Sale kept cruising into the sixth. Mookie got in on the fun, adding a hit and scoring a run. When you're looking to erase past poor playoff performances, it's nice to start eliminating zeroes. The same goes for Bogaerts who also went 1-3 with an RBI. Things are already different for the Sox offense than feared.

From there, the Red Sox bullpen did its job and held the lead. Even Rick Porcello of all people helped out getting the lead to Kimbrel. After getting four outs, a strikeout ended the game and gave the Sox the win.

So, if you're scoring at home, Sale...the Red Sox starting a playoff win. Rick Porcello pitched in a playoff win. The Red Sox slugged the ball. The Red Sox had an answer for Happ. The Bullpen held a lead. 

I really don't think there could have been a better outcome from a single game.

At least until David Price goes out and dominates tonight!

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