Friday, May 31, 2019

Ashlyn Manuel Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Ashlyn Manuel is a dancer, an advocate for the homeless, and the current Miss Fairfield County’s
Photo by Catherine Fiehn
Outstanding Teen. Next week, she’ll be competing for the Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen title. I was thrilled that she wanted to visit with us before that to discuss those topics, and a few more! I just loved everything she had to say, and I’m sure you will too.

So let’s see what happens when Ashlyn Manuel visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen crown?
I was so unbelievably excited because I realized I would have the opportunity to have another year full of incredible opportunities and to have another chance to compete for the title of Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen! My family was thrilled for me and have been so supportive of my journey throughout my past 2 years in the Miss Connecticut Organization.

What’s something you learned about yourself at the Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen competition that will help you at Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen?
Throughout competing I have learned so much more about myself. I have learned that I should trust myself when it comes to choosing aspects of my wardrobe and talent. I have become more confident in my own self and my choices. I have grown so much and I am so thankful to every person who has helped me get this far. I know that no matter what happens at the Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen pageant on June 8th 2019, I went out on the stage and truly gave it my all. I have been working so hard for this and I am so proud of myself for that.

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen?
My goal for my year as Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen is to spread my platform “Homeless NOT Helpless” throughout Connecticut and to be able to share my story with as many people that will listen. A goal I set for myself at the beginning of my year is that I wanted to attend more events than I did last year as a local titleholder. I work hard to be able to attend every single event and appearance because I truly want to have an effect and make a difference in as many peoples lives as I possibly can throughout my year. I told myself that I only have one year to create change and that I am in control of what type of year I have. I already have accomplished some of my huge goals that I set for myself this year. I was able to create my event, Benefit Concert “For the Kids.” It was such a rewarding night to see how many people came out to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and to see some incredible artists perform that night. This night would not have been as successful without the help of my mom, Scott, Papa, my sisters, Savannah Giammarco, Maia Dobbs, Jill Duffy, Maria Pellegrino, and so many other wonderful people!

How did you select your platform “Homeless NOT Helpless”?
My platform “Homeless NOT Helpless” is so incredibly important
to me. I chose this as my platform because my family and I were forced to experience homelessness first hand due to a fire that destroyed our home. I knew that I never wanted other people to experience what I did no matter the reason that they got to their situation. My platform is called “Homeless NOT Helpless” because it is my goal and passion to get rid of the stereotypes that people have about the homeless that the population is just addicts or abusers. I want people to understand that homelessness can happen to anyone, at any point in their lives. It can be due to a family not being able to afford their bills, a natural disaster, domestic violence and the list goes on. I want people to understand that although they are homeless, they are still human beings. They deserve kindness and respect just like any other person does. I am proud to share that I was able to create my “Necessity bag program.” I began this in December of 2018 and it has grown so much throughout the past seven months. These bags are filled with the most important items a homeless citizen needs which are nutritious snacks, water, socks, and basic hygiene items. I have been able to give these bags to many people on the streets and just knowing that I am a small part in their journey to finally getting off the streets and out of their situation is such a great feeling. I know that all of the help that people gave my family and I when we were in this situation was greatly appreciated, so I want to be that help for someone else.

As a talented dancer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
My ultimate favorite part about performing on stage is that incredible feeling you get while performing when you know you are killing it and then when you come off stage and feel so great! Being able to dance at Triple Threat Dance Company with some of my best friends is something I will never take for granted because it is such an amazing opportunity!

If you could be any Disney character for a week, which one would you be?
I would love to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland because she is very curious about the world around her and has a very positive outlook on life! One of my favorite quotes from the movie is, “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” This quote relates to everyday life because people are so caught up in what other people are doing, instead of focusing on their own lives.

Who is your favorite Red Sox player? Why?
Although I am not too big of a baseball fan, I think that Matt Barnes is a great player. I think that his position on the team of the pitcher is really awesome! And if I did baseball/softball I would consider being a pitcher.

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you’d especially like to experience?
I think it would be pretty awesome to be able to get a tour of Fenway Park! There is so much to see such as the roof deck and the Fenway Park museum which includes over 150,000 photographs and 170,000 stadium artifacts! There is so much history apart of the museum and it would be amazing to have the chance to see it in person!

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
To be completely honest the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series right before Halloween. Which means that I was planning for my Halloween party with my friends, rather than watching the World Series! But I am excited to see who will be making it to the 2019 World Series!


The series really does occur at an annoying time, doesn’t it?

As always, I want to thank Ashlyn for taking the time to visit with us. Especially with her next competition coming up so soon. I also am glad she was able to provide so many great pictures to go along with the post. It’s always so much better that way.

As Ashlyn continues as Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen, I suggest you follow along on her official MFCOT Facebook and Instagram pages. That way you won’t miss out on anything she’s up to!

Of course, I also want to wish Ashlyn luck next week as she competes for the Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen crown! It would be wonderful to have a Section 36 visitor claim that title!

Thanks again Ashlyn, and good luck!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

I Hope This Doesn't Turn into 2011

You remember 2011, don't you? That was the year Theo exerted his control to push Terry Francona out the door. It's the year the team hoped that being “good enough” would be good enough.

The Red Sox had built an early lead and were cruising along in the second half. Then, the injuries started to pile up. That leaves a team with two choices. They can make a move to replace the injured player, or they can try to ride out the injury. Theo and his love of prospects decided it was best to ride things out rather than use a chip for a short rental. It wasn't a terrible idea. The Sox had that lead to work with. With a decent showing, and a little luck, they would be fine with what they had.

Of course, they weren't fine.

Kyle Weiland ended up getting some key September starts, and lost them both. The schedule conspired to make the Rays play crucial games against the Yankees at a time when the Yankees were giving away wins. The Sox ended up winning fewer games than their Pythagorean Method would suggest (meaning they were unlucky) and missed the playoffs at the last moment.

Like I said, it wasn't a bad strategy. The Sox just needed to pull out one of the Weiland starts...or any other start for that matter. If they had traded away a future star just to hold onto and end up with a ten game lead, that would have seemed wasteful. They played the percentages, and the percentages failed them.

What does that have to do with 2019? I see the Sox doing the same thing.

Easing their pitchers into things made sense. No need to win every game in April if it means you can't win any in September. If Eovaldi is going to be out for a short time, it makes sense not to go out and get a big arm to replace him. Just make do, and pick things up when he returns. After all, you don't need to win April at a .700 clip. Just win lots of your games, and you’ll be in good shape.

But just like 2011, the percentages have failed them.

The Sox didn't win lots of their April games. They lost almost all of them. The Sox aren't winning some of their “bullpen starts” they're using to replace Eovaldi. They getting smoked in all of them. It doesn't make sense. They should be pulling some of these game out, almost by accident.

Last year? They would have won every bullpen game. The offense would have slugged their way to make up for the pitching. They would have (and did) win games in April. Good starts weren't wasted. Things lined up where they scored runs when they needed them, and didn't score when they didn't. That's what you need to win 108 games. Luck with things like that. Last year, the Sox got all the luck.

This year? They're getting none of it.

That's where they compare to 2011. They're using a reasonable, proven, strategy and it's just not working out for them.

I hope their luck turns soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Bottom Makes You Top

It's crazy to imagine on a team with so much talent. When the top of your order is so productive, it's tempting to say that's all you need. And, to an extent that would be right. If your top five are
MVP candidates, you don't need much from your bottom four.

The key word, of course, is "much".

Because, you of course need to get SOME production from the bottom of the order. They can't be automatic outs. If so, even with top heavy talent, you'll end up with frustration.

Let's run through a hypothetical first inning. Tendi hits a single. Mookie follows with a flyout. Xander rips a double, moving Tendi to third. JD pops out to third. Devers walks. Chavis flies out to center. So, the top of the order got on base at a .500 clip. Actually, the top five were a bit above that. They loaded the base, but nobody scored. Not only that, but nobody really "choked". I guess it would have been nice if JD had driven in a run. But, things happen.

All that goodness, and no results.

And that's just when the top of the order leads things off. 

If the inning starts with the #3 hitter, you really need to have your bottom guys chip in. Otherwise those two baserunner will never make it home.

It's the one advantage of the all or nothing HR trend lately. When you're counting on any one guy hitting a home run, it's a bit easier to swallow than counting on three guys in a row getting singles. Over the course of a season, the complete lineup is a better option, but game by game it can be frustrating. 

Which is why it's nice to see JBL and the catchers finally starting to pull their weight a bit more. It doesn't take much. In that situation, hitting .250 is worlds better than .150. 

It's what makes your lineup complete and devastating.

Friday, May 24, 2019

BreeOnna Springer Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! BreeOnna Springer is a dancer, a Pirates fan, and the current Miss Flights of Freedom. I was so
Photo by Archie Carpenter
that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when BreeOnna Springer visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Flights of Freedom crown?
I competed for Miss Flights of Freedom in Willow Grove, PA which is four hours away from my home. However, I have the best support system out there because my parents, sister, and grandparents made the trip across the state to watch me compete. This was the first local of the year for me and I did not expect to win, but when my name was announced, I was beyond surprised! Following the pageant my family and I went out to eat at one of our favorite places on the eastern side of the state, Shady Maple. We had the chance to talk and celebrate together. Winning isn’t all about me, but the people who supported me and helped prepare me to win. I would not want to celebrate without each and every one of them.

What has been the most surprising thing about your time as Miss Flights of Freedom?
After competing in the Miss America Organization since the age of 13, I have learned a lot about myself and the organization. There has been a lot of growth and self-discovery throughout my years. This year however, I have truly found who I am as a young woman, my voice, and my impact as a titleholder. I am so excited and proud of the connections I have made and the progress that my personal project has made. I have met with Representative Reese and partnered with Westmoreland County Community Action to develop a backpack program. This backpack program, Give Back with a Backpack, will launch this summer with their assistance! The local title is not all about the pretty dresses, modeling, and being an inspiration to young girls, but I like to use my title to gain leverage to make a difference in my community and state.

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Flights of Freedom competition that will help you at Miss Pennsylvania?
I learned that I am ready and capable to win the title. Self-doubt tends to creep in, but after this pageant my confidence only grew. My biggest takeaway, other than getting prepared in a small corner of a hotel room with several other girls is, to be confident in who I am.

How did you select your social impact statement “Have a Heart, Lend a Hand”?
A quote I live by and use to inspire others is one by Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Helping those in need has always been a passion of mine far before competing in the Miss America Organization. I founded my project, “Have a Heart, Lend a Hand” at the age of 12. It started as delivering food boxes at Thanksgiving time to Christmas gifts and decorations, clothing rooms in schools, partnering with utility companies to pay bills, and a branch of a back-pack program. This year, I will be hosting Give Back with a Backpack, in partnership with Westmoreland County Community Action and Representative Reese to give 100+ children in Westmoreland County back-packs full of snacks and school supplies. I would love to one day live in a world where everyone has a heart, and lends a hand.

As a talented dancer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
Photo by Holly Mead
Dance is not only my talent but is my passion and profession. I recently graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with a minor in Musical Theater. Performing is a feeling like no other! When the lights rise and the music starts something ignites within me that makes performing so exhilarating. Being able to tell the story of the choreography, the musician, myself, and for others is something I live to do. For my talent, I will be performing a contemporary jazz dance to “Rise Up” by Andra Day. This song alone gives me chills and the lyrics describe myself personally and my social impact initiative. “I’ll rise up, and I’ll do it a thousand times again.”

If you could be any Disney character for a week, who would you choose?
It is so difficult to choose just one Disney character! One of my all-time favorite Disney shows and movies is Winnie the Pooh. I would have to be Winnie the Pooh for a week and for several different reasons. Winnie is bubbly, kind, and has many similarities to me. We both love sweets, are social butterflies.

As a Pirates fan, which current Red Sox player would you most to like see play for Pittsburgh? Why?
Chris Sale would be a wonderful feature to our team! He is a left-handed pitcher and dominates! Chris throes hard and hitters have trouble hitting off of his pitches. We currently are lacking healthy pitchers and would be great to have such a healthy and talented pitcher to help us win. Not

Is there a feature or aspect of Fenway Park that you’d like to experience?
I actually visited Boston Conservatory several years ago on a college visit. I absolutely loved the city of Boston and the school was on the street facing Fenway Park. Many people tend to be surprised to find out that I am such a big sports fan because I’m a dancer. I would love to be in an iconic and historic ball park and experience the Green Monster!

What are the chances of a Red Sox vs Pirates World Series rematch?

I would love to see the Pirates in the World Series again! Honestly, it does not matter who it is against. We have not been a fierce competitor in the past few years. They just need to get on board with being a part of the city of Champions.


Gotta respect her trying to reclaim the title "city of Champions" for Pittsburgh!

As always, I want to thank to BreeOnna for doing this interview. It was fun to have another visit from a Pennsylvania titleholder. I also want to thank her for sending along the pictures to include with the interview.

As BreeOnna continues her time as Miss Flights of Freedom, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Flights of Freedom Facebook page. It's a great way to stay up to date an everything she does during her year.

Of course, I also want to wish BreeOnna luck when she competes for the Miss Pennsylvania crown! Would love to have a former Section 36 visitor hold that title!

Thanks again BreeOnna, and good luck!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Who Wants My Cards?

I know I’ve talked about this before.

I try to make collecting as close to self-sustaining as possible. Since I love opening packs, I open them. I add the Red Sox cards to my collection, and then sell any non-Red Sox stars I get on the bay. The money that comes from those sales goes towards more packs, and the cycle continues. I know that’s not an awesome business model, and it it doesn’t exactly cover all my card expenses. But, it’s a great start. Of course, that process also produces lots of cards that are stars, or Red Sox players. A lot. A lot. In an attempt to control the sheer size of my collection, I try to have a strict clean-out schedule. Anything that’s not a Red Sox card or a star waiting to be sold only gets to stay in my collection for ten years. After that, it's out of here. So, with the 2019 cards being purchased, I have to clear out anything left over from 2009. My "9" box needs the room. As you can see, the 2009 and earlier stacks take up a lot of space.

So, they need to move.

To where?

That's what this post is for.

I'd REALLY prefer not to throw them out. Although, I will if I have to. But, with so many bloggers out there, I can't believe there aren't people out there who want 2009 or earlier commons/minor stars of their favorite teams.

Jim, for instance, has dibs on all the Phillies. They get added each year to The Phillies Room. I need people for the other couple dozen teams out there.

Are you one of them?

What kinds of cards are these? Like I said, mostly 2009. Although, I have some leftover from 2008 and earlier. And, when I buy one of those annoying repacks that give me 1988 Fleer, those are in there too. Like I said, the stars have been removed. But, only the stars I can sell. Which means that there are still all-stars, and even Hall of Famers, possible. (People like Craig Biggio come to mind.) Obviously there are inserts and parallels of non-stars. That sort of thing.

If those types of cards interest you, let me know in the comments which team might be to your liking. Different teams, as you can see, have different numbers of cards available.

Is my (almost) trash your treasure?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Alyssa Sachs Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Alyssa Sachs is an Ellen fan, a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Shoreline. I was thrilled that she was
Photo by Betsy Sachs
willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when Alyssa Sachs visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Shoreline crown?
I had talked about competing in the Miss America Organization for forever. For the past few years, I would tell my family and friends, “I’m gonna do it, just wait!”. So when I finally, decided to compete, everyone couldn’t believe that I was finally doing it. Miss Shoreline was the first title I ever won. I had the biggest cheering section filled with my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends! It was only fitting to celebrate with them. After the competition we all went back to my house and reflected on what had happened! The night was filled with FaceTime calls to my friends at school, watching videos, and lots of laughter. Everyone was so excited. It was perfect!

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Shoreline?
Photo by
Shawn Paquette
I decided to compete in the Miss America Organization for the opportunity to have a platform that allows me to share my passions, learn from others, and to inspire individuals to find their passions and share them loudly. My platform is called “Kids are Kids: Fostering Social Engagement and Play for all Children”. I am so excited to spend this year promoting this platform and share it’s importance. “Kids are Kids” is a mission to ensure that all children, despite the many adversities they may face, have the opportunity to experience childhood. As someone working to become a Certified Child Life Specialist, this platform allows me to begin to advocate for a field I am so passionate about.

What part of the upcoming Miss Connecticut competition makes you the most nervous?
This will be my first time competing at Miss Connecticut! Last year,
Photo by
Sassy Mouth Photography
I was watching the competition in the audience so to be a candidate this year is so crazy! More than nervous, I am feeling so excited for the entire experience. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to be with other titleholders, share my passions with the judges and the audience, and ultimately do something I have been dreaming about for so long!!

How did you select your social impact statement?
Photo by Betsy Sachs
The social impact statement is quick but important. It gives you a chance to share one message with the audience. I decided to highlight the fact that every child is not living the “perfect” childhood they should be living. I then go on to explain to the audience that it is our job to ensure that despite those many obstacles, kids are kids and they deserve to be!

What is your favorite part about performing your talent on stage?
At Miss Connecticut, I will be performing an original monologue.
Photo By
Steve Smith Photography
As someone who is working to become a Certified Child Life Specialist and plans to work with children in a healthcare setting, incorporating play into the everyday lives of children with illness, is a main focus of mine. By using my talent of communication and my ability to bring magic to the lives of children, I am able to connect with the audience and share my passions. I believe in the power of play and the difference it can make in a child’s life. Providing play as distraction and as a form of coping to children in medical settings is a talent that I am very proud of. It is my goal to share with audiences the role that play can have on a child’s life. Play is powerful, and I can’t wait to show the audience why.

You once had a video appear on the Ellen show. What’s the story behind that?
Yes! Life Goal!! I am a huge Ellen Degeneres fan! Ellen had sent out a request looking for a girlfriend for her production assistant, Ari. Ari, seemed like a perfect bachelor. I told Ellen she should send him to my grandparents house because between my MANY sisters and cousins he was sure to find a perfect match. We sent the video in, and a few weeks later she aired it on the show!! Ellen saying, “Alyssa Sachs” is one of my favorite memories, and that voice recording became my ringtone for months! Although she aired the video Ellen never sent him over for the date….he really missed out!

Who’s your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
Brock Holt! He has the cutest son EVER and I love looking at the pictures he posts of him!

Is there a feature/aspect of a Red Sox game at Fenway you would most like to experience?
Although I am a Connecticut titleholder and live in Connecticut, I
am so lucky that I go to school in Boston and live in the Fenway area! My friends and I get to go Red Sox games all the time. Student Discounts are our favorite! Despite the many games we have been to, we are still trying to make it on the big screen! I’m just going to have to keep dancing through the game in order to get closer to that goal!

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?

I am SO lucky to live in the Fenway area. When the Red Sox won, my friends and I were at a restaurant outside of Fenway Park. As soon as the last out was called, the streets flooded with excitement. People were cheering up and down the streets all night. It was so exciting. We then got to celebrate the win a few days later with a championship parade. Championship parades are my favorite!! My friends and I dressed up and cheered as the Red Sox held the World Series Trophies and passed us on duck boats. The entire 2018 World Series was truly one of my favorite memories, and I am so excited I was right there to experience it all!


I'd definitely say she was in the right place to celebrate!

Photo by Betsy Sachs
As always, I want to thank to Alyssa for doing this interview. I always love learning more about amazing titleholders. I also want to thank her for sending along so many amazing pictures. They are all so much fun.

As Alyssa continues her time as Miss Shoreline, I encourage you to follow her on her official Miss Shoreline Facebook page and Instagram account. You should also check out her personal Instagram account as well, to make sure you don't miss a thing!

Of course, I also want to wish Alyssa luck this spring as she competes for the Miss Connecticut crown! Would love to have another former Section 36 visitor hold that title!

Thanks again Alyssa, and good luck!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sale Started Last Night. Another Sale Starts Today!

Hopefully the sale starting today will go just as well as the Sale that started last night!

Are you sick of the winterish spring we've been having? I don't know about you, but I'm ready for true t-shirt and tank top season! When will it be here?

I don't know about you, but I definitely want to be ready for the true summerish spring weather when it finally arrives. And, that means having the proper wardrobe! It's time to go shopping!

Thankfully, Section 36 is here to help!

Today through Sunday, the Section 36 store will be on sale! Don't miss this opportunity to show your support for the blog all season long! 

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. Remember, 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! Not only would it be a great way to show the world your amazing outfit, but if you have a business or cause that needs promotion, it's an easy way to get a mention on Section 36!

Like Bridget did! (With some help from K. Garcia Productions)

This sweatshirt is on sale!

Or, like Bernadette did to show off how amazing this tank top looks on her.

This tank is on sale!

Or Phil did.

This tank is also on sale!

Or Holly did with her cozy new hoodie.

This hoodie is on sale!

Or Nicolette did with her great t-shirt!

This t-shirt is on sale!

Or like Allison did!

This t-shirt is on sale!
But, first you need to buy something you like. There's a lot to choose from.

What will you get?

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