Friday, March 29, 2019

Sierra Bonn Visits Section 36

Section 36 has a new visitor! The first visitor from the state of Kansas, Sierra Bonn is a talented violinist, a STEAM advocate, and
the current Miss Augusta. I'm glad we were able to find some time for her visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I hope you enjoy what she had to say!

So, lets see what happens when Sierra Bonn visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Augusta crown?

Immediately after the pageant, I went straight to a restaurant to get some much needed carbs — I love French fries. My mom (aka, my ultimate pageant supporter) and I then pulled out our planners and started getting to work, figuring out exactly how I’d like to spend my time as Miss Augusta!

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Augusta?
I run an initiative called “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” which promotes science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education and engagement to empower young women to see their potential to thrive in STEAM careers. One facet of that education is to show young women the incredible and inspiring women who have come before them and paved the way in STEAM fields. I’m very fortunate to have accomplished one of my larger goals just last week — I worked with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and her office to officially proclaim and institute a Women in STEAM week, a celebration to highlight women throughout history, and to provide them as role models for future generations. The next goal is to get funding for teachers across the state to have resources to celebrate this new holiday!

What portion of the upcoming Miss Kansas competition are you most nervous about?
This is probably cheesy, but something that has been on my mind throughout my time as Miss Augusta is how much I want to make Augusta proud. This year is Augusta’s 150th birthday, and it has been a huge honor to represent the community for such a monumental anniversary. Being able to learn about the people of Augusta, both of the past and the present, I’ve come to understand how hardworking, kind, resilient, and supportive the community is. It’s a small community, but a strong one. I want to make sure I represent them well on the Miss Kansas stage.

How did you select your platform, “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead”?
Women make up around one fifth of the workers employed in science, technology, and engineering jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and for women of color, that percentage is even smaller. In order to grow the trend of women in STEAM fields, girls must be encouraged at a young age that they are capable of accomplishing incredible engineering feats and scientific discoveries. “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!” was created as a way to impact girls across the country and to empower them to make the world a better place by contributing their skills and talents. I needed a role model when I was younger, and by promoting this program through the Miss America Organization, it gives me the platform to serve as a role model for aspiring scientists, engineers, and artists.

As a talented violinist, what’s your favorite part about performing on stage? 
STEAM education focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Without the creativity and passion that the arts bring to the equation, students of STEAM would lack crucial collaboration skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills and empathy. I’ve played the violin for 12 years, and in that time I’ve learned how math and music intersect when counting time, how the science of sound is translated to the audience, how technological advancements in the way a violin is engineered affects the tone and pitch. The Arts and the Sciences should not be seen at odds, pitted against each other — they are infinitely and intrinsically related, which is why I love having the opportunity to not only promote my social impact statement on stage, but also to express myself creatively.

You were recently able to travel to Boston, not far from Fenway. What was the trip like?
Yes! I had never been to Boston before this trip, but I’ve fallen in love and don’t want to leave. I got to walk all over the Back Bay
and saw some neat historical landmarks, and I ate an obnoxious amount of food. I think my favorite part might have been Quincy Marketplace, where I had some delicious clam chowder in a bread bowl (told you, I love carbs), and got to listen to some talented performers while I just chilled out and met some very kind and friendly Bostonians.

I came to attend the ACPA Conference for student affairs and higher education. For the first few years of college, I had worked at Wichita State University’s Office of First-Year Programs, where we focused on orientation, transition, and retention. I had a terrible transition to college, and I know that without the support I received from student affairs professionals, I probably would not have continued with my education -- I am eternally grateful for them. Someday, I’d like to return to higher education as an Engineering Educator, helping future generations of engineering students receive the support and resources they need to be successful.

Which Marvel Character would you say is most like you?
*Black Sabbath plays in the distance* I am Iron Man. As a biomedical engineer, I fangirled so hard when I realized that the Iron Man suits are just advanced prosthesis. I love wearable technologies, one of my career goals is to run a non-profit to provide low-cost medical technologies for underserved areas, and I would love to build the Iron Man suit one day! In fact, my sorority sisters at WSU voted me most likely to become Iron (Wo)Man… two years in a row. My love for wearable technologies and biomedical engineering could provide you a whole separate interview on it’s own!

As a KC Royals fan, who is your favorite Red Sox player? Why?
Mookie Betts is an interesting character, he’s garnered some pretty great accolades, but I think I like him because he’s also a bowler! Wichita State University has an awesome bowling team — a few of my friends make up the bowling squad and I also bowled in high school (very terribly, for the record). I think it’s neat that he has many different interests and talents, especially being skilled in two very different sports. 

If you had two tickets to see the Red Sox play the Royals in Fenway Park, who would you take with you?
My dad, definitely! Last time I went to a Royals game, he wasn’t able to join me because he was undergoing the final stages of cancer treatment. Now that he’s back in “fighting shape,” it would be an honor to hang out, eat hotdogs, and watch our buddy Whit play. 


That is a wonderful answer!

As usual, I want to thank to Sierra for doing this interview, and for sending along some wonderful pictures.  It was so amazing of her to bring her Section 36 shirt with her on her Boston trip for those great pictures. (and thanks to Rodrigo Larioss for taking those shots!) I also certainly want to wish her the best of luck as she competes for the Miss Kansas. Hopefully she'll be the first Section 36 visitor to wear that crown!

As Sierra continues her time as Miss Augusta, be sure to check out her official Miss Augusta Facebook page to keep up to date. You should also check out her platform's Full STEAM Ahead website. There's a lot of great information there about how STEAM should play an important role in our schools.

Thanks again Sierra, and good luck!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Happy Opening Day!

Today is the day! Red Sox season officially starts tonight!

A thought a fun way to celebrate would be to show the scorecards I've kept for the Opening Days I've attended. They can be fun to flip through. Hopefully you'll be able to enlarge them enough to see all the details and the players involved! Of course, these are all Home Openers...very few actual Opening Days in here. But, still a lot of fun!


















Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

I Know You Don't Care

But I'm going to tell you anyway. I had my fantasy baseball draft last night, so I'm going to tell you what my team looks like!

In case your forgotten, it's a ten-team 5x5 with pretty deep rosters. We get three keepers that count as the draft pick for the round you originally drafted them. Sound good? Ok. Here's my team, with their draft position.

C Blake Swihart (25th round - 243rd overall pick)
1B Robinson Cano (8-78)
2B Javier Baez (9-83)
3B Matt Chapman (5-43)
SS Jean Segura (4-38)
CI Rafael Devers (10-98)
MI Xander Bogaerts (14-138)
OF Andrew Benintendi (2-18)
OF Jesse Winker (12-118)
OF Billy Hamilton (15-143)
OF Adam Eaton (17-163)
U Jackie Bradley Jr (18-178)
U Chris Taylor (20-198)
U Jose Martinez (21-203)

SP Chris Sale (1-3)
SP Kyle Hendricks (11-103)
SP German Marquez (13-123)
RP Kenley Jansen (3-23)
RP Blake Treinen (6-58)
P Brad Hand (7-63)
P Aaron Nola (16-158)
P Jon Lester (19-183)

B Ryan Brasier (22-218)
B Steve Cishek (25-246)
B Jhoulys Chacin (26-258)
B Sergio Romo (28-278)
B Marwin Gonzalez (23-223)
B Ben Zobrist (24-238)

In case you didn't guess, my three keepers were Baez in the ninth, Xander in the fourteenth, and Nola in the sixteenth. For the first year, I didn't keep Mike Trout. I felt getting Xander’s value was better than using a first round pick on Trout. So, I got Sale in the first instead. (Altuve was a keeper pick at #1, Trout went two, and Sale was the next best player who wasn't kept by another team.) Not sure how that will work out for me, since it means I don't really have a “first round” talent on the team. I do have a bunch of “second round” talent though, so maybe it'll work.

The pitching and infield are clearly my strengths. Once I had Sale-Nola that was going to be clear. I somehow completely missed David Price. All of a sudden someone else selected him, and he wasn't even appearing on my ranking yet. I meant to get Eovaldi or Porcello, but just waited too long.

Hopefully Swihart sees a ton of action this year, and hits really well.

So, there it is. Excited to see how I do.

What do you think of the team?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Check Out My 1975 Topps

Did you know that I was working to complete a 1975 Topps set? I ask because I have been using a pretty loose definition of “working” the last few years when it came to this set build. Sure, I had a want list posted in case anyone was actually looking at it, and had some cards I needed. But I hadn't exactly been actively looking for cards for a while.

When I started building the set I was, naturally, able to add cards in big chunks. Buying lots 100 or 200 cards at a time would result in few duplicates, and was easy. Then, that sort of dried up. If I found a “lot” of even 50 cards, chances are I had more than half of them. That was thanks to my want list getting smaller, and the larger percentage of star cards I needed. Those tended to not show up in bulk lots. So, the hunt became more challenging. Not that I'm not up for a challenge, but it really slowed things down. I'm not even sure if I have a local card shop, let alone know how far away one might be. So, I was pretty much limited to eBay. Of course, the problem with buying small quantities of cards on eBay is paying to ship small quantities of cards. I could never bring myself to spend $1 plus $3 shipping for a common 1975 Topps. So, my quest slowly ground to a halt.

Until recently.

I finally decided that enough was enough. I was down to about 25 cards, and just needed to end the hunt. I decided to “check out” COMC since I had heard so many other bloggers talk about it. Bingo. I was able to combine all the single cards I needed into one shipment. Not only were the prices low, but the shipping didn't squash the deal. So I filled my cart and completed my set. Finally!

When the package arrived, I realized that the cards did a pretty good job of representing the reasons why I liked the set so much in the first place. So I thought it would be fun to explore that here.

Of course, we all know how much fun the design is. Those colors just draw the eye., As a Red Sox fan, the 1975 World Series was a big event I'm reminded of with these two cards from the Reds Machine. So that was a cool aspect of this set. I'm so glad that as Red Sox fans we've finally moved past saying we won that series three games to four.

Speaking of the World Series, this set had commemorative cards for the 1974 series. A subset that allows me to see that series whenever I look through the set.

My favorite subset is the MVP series. What a great way to not only relive baseball’s history, but also obtain affordable “cards” of so many hall of farmers. Robinson, Koufax, Gibson, Clemente, and more all show up on these really cheap cards. Some of my favorites.

Oh, and about the 1975 World Series, what Red Sox fan wouldn't love a set that had the rookie cards of the Gold Dust Twins? Have to wonder how that series would have turned out if Rice was able to play. I actually already had the Rice, but decided adding another at the price was a good idea. I actually also bought the Lynn on eBay before, but when I got the card I realized I had accidentally bought the mini. Oops.

Team cards! Not only a fun way to laugh at the uniforms from the seventies, but a way to get cards of great old-time managers like Anderson with the Reds or Martin with the Rangers.

Of course the set also has hall of famers. And great all-star cards.

League leaders cards are another way to grab some hall of farmers on the cheap. When I started collecting the set, I had this feeling that 1975 was a fun "generational crossover" set. It had players like Hank Aaron who started playing in the mid fifties, and a player like Nolan Ryan who retired in the early nineties. That quite a range. (I wonder if anyone ever determined what the biggest career range ever in a set is.) It really makes me feel like this set is a perfect slice of history.

The other really appealing part of this set is that it contained a couple key rookie cards of Hall of Famers, and the Yount and Brett cards were iconic ones. The fact that I already had the Brett (even in rough shape) was a key point in my favor at the beginning. My plan was always to make this Yount card the last one I got to complete the set. For one thing, it would save me from spending a lot of money on a card for a set that might never be completed. It would also mean that I wouldn’t spend time trying to track down some random common just because it was the last card I needed. As it happened, this card might not have technically been the last card I got, but it was part of the last purchase I made.

Or, so I thought.

When I went to put these cards into the binder with the rest of their friends, I had a problem with this one.

I couldn't put away this #347 Mike Caldwell because there was already a Mike Caldwell in that spot. Yup. I bought a card I already had. Now, that would have been just a minor annoyance...a few extra dimes spent on a card I didn't need...if it weren't for something else.

There was a blank spot on the page where #346 Bobby Darwin should be.

Yup. I'm still one card short!

So, what I had planned on avoiding has happened. I'm forced to track down one last common card just to complete the set.

Hopefully it won't take me years.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sale-ing For Years!

When I wondered to myself last week whether John Henry was allowed to make money, I didn't realize my wonderments would be put to the test so soon. As you all know, the Red Sox announced this weekend they have signed Chris Sale to a five-year extension (or a new 6-year contract depending on how it was officially reported). The five-year deal could pay him $145 Million. 

Immediately, I had 36 conflicting thoughts.

While Sale is obviously the best pitcher on the team, he was the one I was least eager to sign long-term. Like many of us, his size and perceived susceptibility to injury made me wonder if a long term contract would be a wise investment. Probably not Pedroia-level of stupidity, but risky nonetheless. So, my first thought was that 5 years was kinda long. Plus, when you add it on to David Price's deal, the thought of paying them both $30+ millions in three years at their age was scary. I actually thought Porcello was the wiser investment at the years/salary he was likely to command.

But, then the terms of the deal itself weren't as nasty. Some people were thinking he'd sign a Greinke-esque $200 million deal in free agency. Plus, Greinke was a couple years older than Sale when he signed his deal. So, from that angle, the Sox made a wise investment and got an ace for less than they might have needed to spend. 

But then I catch myself again. 

Who cares? Spend the damn money.

The Sox just signed the best pitcher they could. It makes their chances of winning a World Series the next couple years much better. And, if you assume Mookie is gone after 2020, the idea of having the best possible team around him the next two years is very important. The hidden flaw in not overpaying a player, is that you don't get the player. Yes, the Angels will probably regret the last couple years of the Trout contract. But, they'll have Mike friggin Trout for the next three years, and nobody else will.

And that's what it comes down to. Next year, the Sox will trot out baseball's best rotation. It 2020, they're guaranteed to have 4/5 of that rotation still there. I'm not sure there's anything else I should worry about as far as that's concerned.

Especially when they're hoisting another banner.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Olivia Fonseca Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Olivia Fonseca is a talented singer, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Greater Plaistow. I'm so
excited she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I hope you enjoy what she had to say!
So, lets see what happens when Olivia Fonseca visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Greater Plaistow crown?
After my crowning I went out to eat with my family, my new director, my teen and my new sister queen, Miss Granite State, Alexa. After that I went home and barely slept because I was just so excited!

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish before your time as Miss Greater Plaistow ends?
I have a few to be honest. One is to do as much community service as possible. Community service is something I have always loved doing and now having an even bigger platform to do it on is amazing. I also really want to take my year to spread my platform, Buckle Up: Promoting Seat Belt Safety. Taking those 4 seconds to buckle up could truly save a life and I want to educate as many people as possible on the topic. 

Which part the Miss New Hampshire competition makes you the most nervous?
Oh gosh! As a first time competitor it honestly all is a little nerve wracking. I would have to say I’m probably most nervous about interview. Although it is so fun getting to share your personality and opinions with the judges, I'm sure there will be even harder questions at the state level so I’m a little nervous about that. 

How did you select your platform, “Buckle Up: Promoting Seat Belt Safety”?
When I was a sophomore in high school I lost my best friend in a tragic motor vehicle accident and she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. Although authorities said the chances of her survival even wearing her seat belt would have been extremely slim, as the accident was extremely severe, there still was that slight glimmer of hope. Since then I have wanted to promote and educate the importance of taking those 4 seconds or less to buckle up because as small of an action as it may seem, it could truly save your life. 

As a talented singer, what’s your favorite part about singing on stage?
I love the feeling of being onstage and getting to share my passion with all of those watching in the audience. There is no better feeling then waiting backstage before a performance and having those little butterflies then going onstage and nailing a performance. I always say the stage is where I feel most at home and getting to sing on it is just icing on-top of the cake. 

Which role in a Broadway musical would you most want to play?
Okay this question is extremely tough! Right now I think I would have to say Anastasia in Anastasia. I saw the show in Hartford Connecticut when it was still in previews and I was blown away. It was one of my favorite movies as a child and having the opportunity to play such a strong and empowering female figure and share such a wonderful and meaningful story, would be a dream come true. 

Who’s your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
I would have to say Mookie Betts. Aside from having a super cool name he has accomplished so much in his career in such a short amount of time and I think his work ethic and positive attitude is truly admirable. Mookie is also one of my nana’s favorite players and she’s the biggest Red Sox fan ever so that’s also a very important factor haha. 

Is there a feature/aspect of a Red Sox game at Fenway you would most like to experience?
Getting to sit and watch a game from the Green Monster would be an absolutely life changing experience! I went on a field trip to Fenway park when I was in elementary school, as I’m a Massachusetts native, and I remember standing on the Green Monster overlooking the stadium at such a young age, getting to do it again now would be so cool. 

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
Celebrating with all my friends at school! We watched the game together in the lounge of my dorm and as soon as the Red Sox won the whole dorm just erupted in screams of excitement, it was such a fun night.


That sounds like fun to me!

As always, I want to thank to Olivia for doing this interview, and for sending along that great picture that leads things off.  I also certainly want to wish her the best of luck as she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown in a few weeks. Hopefully former Section 36 visitors go back to back in winning that crown?

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

Thanks again Olivia, and good luck!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Is John Henry Allowed to Make Money?

I caught myself doing it again. When Mike Trout’s mammoth extension was announced, like most of us I wondered what that
might mean for Mookie. My thoughts wandered until I came up with a choice. Give Mookie his $400 million deal, or give Xander $150 million, and Sale $100 million, and Benintendi $100 million. I bounced that around in my head for a while until it hit me. They're doing it to me again.

Why do I have to choose?

There's no salary cap in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox can spend as much as they'd like. There's nothing stopping them from giving out all the contracts I wondered about, and more.

But, that really means one thing. I'm expecting John Henry not to make any money. Or, even to lose money on the Red Sox.

I admit, growing up I always assumed it was the latter. When I used to dream about winning the lottery, I'd sometimes consider using my winnings to buy a small stake in the Sox...if that sort of thing was even possible. When I took that fantasy further, I would sometimes wonder if they would allow a one-time investment like that. After all, I wouldn't be able to continue spending money to support the team. Because, in my head that's how it worked. You buy a year, and every year the money for salaries came out of your pocket. It was a hobby. Like buying baseball cards or autographed memorabilia. It never occurred to me that an owner would be turning a profit from it. When Disney bought the Angels, I assumed it was as a bookkeeping “loss” for tax purposes. I never considered it a business investment. Sure, Disney was in a rare position to capitalize on the secondary merchandising aspects of the team. But I assumed the day to day baseball operations were a losing venture.

Maybe that's the way it used to be? Maybe Tom Yawkey or George Steinbrenner bought their teams for fun. Maybe they were hoping to break even, at best. Maybe that's how that assumption got into my head.

But, I don't imagine it actually that way any more...if it ever was. I think owners consider the Red Sox a business like any other. You can either build a blogging empire, or a baseball one. It's really just a different business.

So, is John Henry allowed to make money at this business?

I know. I know. “They got you again, defending cheap ownership!” But, I’m actually trying to work it out in my head. Is he allowed a profit? The other partners? So, when they raise ticket prices, but don't then sign Bryce Harper, is that OK? How much can they raise them and have it be OK? Anything they want as long as they're World Series Champs?

Because I honestly keep going back and forth. On the one hand, I can't even imagine the costs involved in running a baseball team beyond the roster payroll. So, I don't even know how much of a ticket increase is even available for players. So, I tend to believe the Sox when they say they have constraints. I think I've decided I don't expect John Henry to slowly dwindle his bank account for each signing. But, I also don't want the Sox making 100% profit on every ticket sold or advertisement hung. There's a limit that I'd hope for.

And hopefully that limit allows them to sign everyone they need.

What would your limit be?

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