Wednesday, October 30, 2019

2019 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster!

Yup. You were probably hoping there would be a Topps Update blaster coming soon. Hopefully there will be. As soon as I get get my meaty little claws on one, you can be sure. But, for now this was still hanging around my Target. So, since I haven't opened one on here yet, I thought it would be fun. 

How did it go? Only one way to find out...keep reading!

Yup. They use that enormous box to hold eight packs. Have we figured out why they do that yet? This of the packaging and shipping costs they could save. Let alone saving the turtles.

First pack, and first TWO Red Sox. Pretty solid talent represented by these two as well. I like the design of the set this year. It manages to get the feel of that old timey paintings, but still make the images easy to see.

Two packs, both with Red Sox cards! Always enjoy getting cards of this World Series hero. Is the look on his face him knowing that he holds all the cards?

Not a Red Sox card, but still a solid pull! Odd that Alonso's cards don't seem as popular as Judge's were just a couple years ago, despite Alonso breaking Judge's record and also playing in NY. The interlocking N-Y sure does have a lot of pull!

Always fun to get a Hall of Famer. Even thought thy mystique is wearing off a little bit since they seem to be included by the handful in just about every set these days.

Speaking of Judge...

Look, another Hall of Famer. He's in the Hall of Fame, right? I lost track once they started voting everyone in the world into the Hall.

Not a Hall of Famer. I always see these cards and question my involvement in the hobby. My first reaction is, "no matter how much I think monkey's are cool...why would I collect a card just because it has a picture of a monkey on it?" Then I remember, that's what the entire baseball card hobby is based on. Why are collecting cards with baseball players on them more legitimate that collecting cards with monkeys on them? Any ideas?

Or, you know, thrones on them?

So, there you have it. Solid box if I do say so. Lots of Red Sox, a few Hall of Famers, a hot rookie, and some fun oddities. Pretty much exactly what you hope to get in an A&G blaster.

What did you get in yours?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Was C. C. Sabathia Any Good?

With the news of his retirement from baseball still fresh in my mind, I was thinking about Sabathia today. After retiring from such a long career, almost entirely in the American League, I wondered how he performed in games I attended. I assumed I had seen him pitch quite a bit, especially since joining the Yankees, and pitching against the Sox so often. So, I flipped through my scorebook so to see how Sabathia did while I was keeping score.

Twice. I saw him pitch twice? Not really sure how that's possible. I saw Mike Mussina pitch twice as often. But, twice it is. 

So, even though it's not exactly a representative sample, how did he do in the games I scored?

Well he went winless. He didn't exactly pitch shutouts. He was pretty much unimpressive in every way. Terrible, really. He did strike out 9 guys in just under 11 innings pitched. But, that not winning any awards.

His season projections are just as bad. We’ll even ignore the projected 0-16 record. An 8.82 ERA is practically criminal. That WHIP of 1.57 would be sure to annoy plenty of his fans and teammates as well.

So I think it's fair to say I didn't see the “real” Sabathia. Those people who think he’s a Hall of Famer would certainly agree. Once again, even though he's facing the Sox I always prefer to see stars be stars. I just hope the Red Sox are able to beat those stars.

This isn't one of those cases.

How did Sabathia do when you were in the park?

Friday, October 25, 2019

Angelina Amerigo Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Angelina Amerigo is a pollution reduction advocate, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Heart of the Lakes. That makes her the first visitor to Section 36 from the great state of Minnesota! I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when Angelina Amerigo visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Heart of the Lakes crown? 
The night I won my Miss Heart of the Lakes crown I most definitely went to bed with the biggest smile on my face, and I woke up re-playing all the amazing moments from the day. From the sweet girls I met, and all of the amazing connections I made. I continued to celebrate later that weekend with my incredible family in Kansas City, MO over Memorial weekend. A huge shoutout to my amazing mom, dad and older sister for their continued support going into that competition weekend and now leading to the Miss Minnesota competition! I couldn't do it without you guys. 

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Heart of the Lakes competition that will help you at Miss Minnesota? 
This is an amazing question, and it’s truly hard to pick just one
thing I learned about myself at the Miss Heart of the Lakes competition. But, I would say one thing that I will carry along to the Miss Minnesota competition in June, is staying true to myself, and being as grounded as possible. When I am in what I like to call “competition mode” it can be really easy to get in your head and take your mind off course. Something that helps me stay focused is concentrating on all of the things in my life that I am grateful for, and remembering how I got to where I am today!

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss Heart of the Lakes? 
Something that has surprised me the most with my time so far being Miss Heart of the Lakes is how my effect on this great big world is so powerful. I’ve come to realize that we all have a purpose and a reason we were put on this earth. We are all paving our own personal journeys. The journey of life most definitely doesn't always come easy but the bumps in the road are what make the success that much sweeter! The Miss America 2.0 organization is giving opportunities to so many women across the world and I truly couldn't be any more grateful for this amazing group of people. 

How did you select your social impact initiative: One bottle, one straw, one bag at a time? 
My social impact initiative started as a small idea, but the more
and more I thought about it I realized what a huge topic this was and how it needed to be discussed on a much larger spectrum. I had recently read before the competition that there will be “more plastic than marine life in our oceans by 2050” and at that moment I knew it was the topic for me. Plastic pollution is not only affecting the state of the earth we live in but is affecting a large list of precious marine life. As an animal, and ocean lover my whole life I felt it was necessary to embrace the opportunity of having such an amazing platform to bring this topic to life! 

As a talented dancer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage? 
Let’s begin with me saying dance truly has shaped and formed me into the person I am today. Dance has taught me so much about myself and others. I would have to say my favorite part about performing on stage is the feeling of surrender and living in the moment. There is truly no way to describe this feeling, but for all my dancers or performers out there I’m sure you know exactly what I mean! Apart from performing on stage, dance has taught me how to overcome any obstacles thrown my way and to never give up. Persistence is key. Never let anyone tell you that you aren't good enough, or that you won't make it. Believe in yourself and know your self-worth and you will go so far! Someone who has instilled a large amount of confidence in me and has always pushed me to be the absolute best version of myself is my amazing older sister Isabella Amerigo! She has choreographed each of my solos since a very young age and I wouldn't be the dancer or person I am today without her guidance. 

If you could be a Disney character for a week, which would you choose? Why? 
First off, let me say I love Disney and I would be more than happy
to be anyone of the princesses for a week but if I were to choose just one, I would have to say, Jasmine. I’ve always thought of her as someone who is defying the odds and standing up against stereotypes, She is a free-spirit much like myself! Jasmine has such a powerful personality and knows what her goals are. Jasmine demanded not to be treated as an object and continued to live her life the way she imagined. I too am dreaming of living the life ahead of me and achieving all the goals I have set for myself.

What is your personal fitness routine? 
My personal fitness routine these days starts with a good 2-mile run, cardio, stretching and a set of weights! Plus, I always leaving time to run through my talent routine. As a dancer, my workout always had consisted of 5 to 6 hours of dancing a night but that has changed a bit since the beginning of this year due to my college schedule. Although I am no longer on a competitive team, I’m unbelievably grateful to have the opportunity to teach this year, and pass on all that I have learned through the years! Shoutout to my amazing dance studio DelMonico Dance. They are a dance family like no other and everyone's support means the world to me! 

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game you would especially like to experience? 
If I were to attend a baseball game I would sure love to experience watching a home run! I can imagine the crowd going wild. Another feature I would love to experience is meeting the players on the team and being able to personally meet them. Maybe even get to talk to them about my social impact initiative and how they could help. That would be so crazy!

If you had an extra ticket to a Red Sox-Twins game, who would you bring? Why? 
If I had an extra ticket to a Red Sox- Twins game it sure would be hard to choose just one person so I would have to say, my whole family! I know my mom and dad would especially love going because they attended the World Series game when the Twins won in 1987! It sure would be a fun experience to enjoy a game all together


That would definitely be tons of fun!

As always, I want to thank Angelina for doing this interview, and for sending along the fantastic pictures. They really make the post a lot more fun.

As Angelina continues her time as Miss Heart of the Lakes, I encourage you to follow her on her official Perham Pageants Facebook page as well as her personal Facebook page. You should also follow her on her official Instagram account. They’re all great ways to see what she’s up to during her year with the crown.

Also, the Children's Miracle Network is the official charity of Miss America. So, Angelina is of course helping to raise money for that great cause. If you can help, please visit her donation page.

I also want to wish Angelina luck when she competes for the Miss Minnesota crown. As the first visitor to Section 36 from the state, this will be the first chance for a visitor to go on and take that title. That would be incredible!

Thanks again Angelina, and good luck!

Monday, October 21, 2019

They Both Ended Up Having the Same Problem

The goal of any baseball team is for their pitchers to allow fewer runs during a game than their team scores in the same game. 

Pretty simple, right?

It doesn't really matter how the pitchers are used to accomplish this, as long as they get the nine innings they need to win. You can have the starting pitcher pitch all nine innings. You can have the starter go a certain number of innings and have the bullpen finish. You can even have the bullpen pitch all nine innings. 

That can and will change game to game. But when the season starts, a team should have a general plan in place based on the quality of the different pitchers. Do you have the greatest rotation in the history of time? You might be able to go easy on the bullpen arms. Do you have trouble even finding enough starters to cover every game? Might be a good idea to bulk up on the pen. Do you happen to have a stash of dominant relievers fall into your lap? Might be able to skip on the rotation. You can win with most any of these combinations, assuming you get what you expect.

At the start of the season, the Red Sox thought they'd have an elite rotation. And, why wouldn't they? Sale-Price-Porcello was a pretty formidable 1-2-3. Add Eovaldi and what you hoped EdRo would be, and that was definitely a team strength. You could assume that those guys would eat some innings. A six inning start would be assumed. Seven would be probable. If things went awry, there was Wright and Johnson waiting in the wings as stopgaps. So, it was a perfectly reasonable to assume that two or three stud relievers would be more than enough. But, things didn't go according to plan. The starters were terrible out of the gate...maybe by mistake, maybe by plan. Even worse, your back-up plans were suspended and injured. So, the starters weren't going seven innings. Or six. Maybe not even five. Suddenly those top relievers were pitching every game. They were exhausted. They never recovered.

The Yankees went the other direction. They knew their starting staff was nothing to brag about. So, they bulked up on the bullpen. They made sure they had enough bullpen arms to effectively pitch four plus innings every game. And, it worked. The bullpen let them win games...right up until the postseason. Suddenly without as many rest opportunities, the bullpen finally wore down. Chapman was forced to pitch more than he wanted, and eventually failed when he was needed the most. The Yankees could have been helped by the "rover" idea the Sox used last postseason, where starters took some innings from their top relievers. But, they didn't have the horses to get that done.

In the end, for both teams, the failure of the starters led to the collapse of the bullpen. It just took the Yankees a little longer.

It also suggests that the Sox were on the better track. The Astros and Nationals have supreme rotations, but their bullpens as a whole are nothing to shudder in fear over. It seems like that route is a bit more dependable...assuming all your pitchers don't get hurt at once of course. After all, we heard all year that the Sox bullpen was trash compared to the vaunted Yankees pen...and that still wasn't enough for them. If that pen isn't enough, can you really justify paying attention to improving the pen?

Which is why the Sox need to figure out their health going into 2020. Are the arms going to be there in the rotation? Do they need to stock up in the bullpen to compensate? Should they just do both for the heck of it? It will be interesting to see.

And I can't wait.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Jaycie Greenberg Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Jaycie Greenberg is a skin cancer awareness advocate, a talented twirler, and the current Miss
Liberty. I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when Jaycie Greenberg visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Liberty crown?
I celebrated with my family, directors, and the other titleholders! We all got dinner at Margaritas and talked about the exciting things we have to look forward to throughout our year. It was a great way for us all to get to know each other and start our year off right. 

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Liberty competition that will help you at Miss New Hampshire?
Most of all, I learned that I am my most successful when I feel at ease and relaxed.  Competing for local titles can be stressful because it is a huge opportunity and stepping stone.  Women like myself put many hours and months of preparation into just those few hours of competition.  It is easy to let the nerves get the best of you, but I believe the judges are truly looking to learn about you as a person and it’s difficult to do that if you’re not relaxed. 

What are you most looking forward to about your time as Miss Liberty?
I am really excited for the chance to work with large organizations like the Melanoma Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology, and The Skin Cancer Foundation to continue learning about Skin Cancer and distributing educational materials.  The Skin Cancer Foundation has programs like “Your Skin is In” which target high school students and encourage them to avoid tanning beds for prom.  It’s pledges and curriculums like these that can have huge impacts on the lives of those most at risk for Melanoma. I hope to use the title of Miss Liberty to reach a larger audience and give real life examples of how skin cancer impacts the lives of many.

How did you select your social impact initiative “Skin Cancer Awareness & Prevention”?
I chose my social impact initiative because my grandfather died
from malignant Melanoma. He owned his own plumbing and heating business, and worked many hours outdoors. During this time, he was unaware of how his time outside was negatively impacting his health.  I want to be sure that no one goes unaware of the hazards of extended sun exposure.  My mother has also had cancerous moles removed and I feel it is extremely important to make sure that people know how best to protect themselves and spot possibly life threatening moles.  A large aspect of my social impact initiative is empowering young adults to choose the health of their skin over the short-term "benefit" of having a tan. 

You were a twirler at North Carolina State University. Does that experience help you when performing your talent during a competition?
It definitely does! I had the opportunity to perform for 50,000 people at Carter-Finley Stadium and even larger audiences for away games and Bowl Games.  I try to channel the booming excitement of a football stadium when I perform for any audience.  

What is your personal fitness routine?
Baton twirling helps to keep me fit, but I love to have a wide variety of activities when I exercise.  I typically start my morning with a walk and will go to different exercise classes like Body Pump, Barre, and hot yoga.  I try to set small but frequent fitness goals to keep myself motivated and on track!

Who is your favorite Red Sox player? Why?
Big Papi is and probably always will be my favorite Red Sox player.  He is a true legend!

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park you would especially like to experience?
It has always been a dream of mine to throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game!

What were you doing when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series?
I was surrounded by fellow Northerners in Raleigh, NC at the Talley Student Union watching on a giant projector.  There were Red Sox hats flying with excitement!


That must have been so much fun!

As always, I want to thank Jaycie for doing this interview, and for sending along the incredible pictures. They really make the post a lot more fun to read.

As Jaycie continues her time as Miss Liberty, I encourage you to follow her on her official Facebook page. You should also follow her on her official and personal Instagram accounts. They’re all great ways to see what she’s up to during her year with the crown.

I also want to wish Jaycie luck when she competes for the Miss New Hampshire crown. It’s been quite a run of former visitors winning that crown, and it would be amazing to have another former visitor take home that title!

Thanks again Jaycie, and good luck!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

2019 Topps Heritage High Number Blaster!

I know. I need to get in the habit of doing these posts sooner in the season. But, frankly it takes forever for me to find some of these, and even longer for me to come up with the post. So, you’ll have to deal with me talking about a set after you’ve probably already ripped all the packs you’ll ever care to see. Sorry.

So let’s see how my box of Heritage High Number went! 

As I’m sure most of you know by now, there are 8 packs in the blaster. 

The first pack sure made the opening experience peak pretty early. Not only did it contain one of the hotter rookie cards available in Vladimir Guerrero Jr, but it contained a hit! Of course, I use the term “hit” lightly. At one point in time a Justin Upton jersey might be something to get excited about. This is not that time.

The second pack produced a “Now and Then” insert. Not really sure what the point/theme is supposed to be. I guess relating an event in the “now” to something similar that happened “then”? In any case, this Paul Goldschmidt is a nice little card.

The next pack wasn’t great. If the best card is of a Yankee, that’s never a good sign.

Another not so great pack followed. But, at least this gave a look at the Rookie Performers insert. Or, is it a "Rookie Performers Rookie” insert?

Two better cards in the next pack. There’s a nice shiny card of someone I’ve never heard of. There’s also the first Red Sox card in the box! Nathan Eovaldi sure looks ready to bring the heat.

The next pack was a nice little 2018 World Series reunion. Weird how two of the three are on a new team. It’s also a nice look at the Baseball Stars insert. Cody Bellinger certainly qualifies.

The next pack produced another odd insert with this Miguel Cabrera scratch off. Not sure how I feel about these inserts. The attractiveness certainly isn’t there.

Finishing up with a couple more fun cards. Christian Yelich shows up on an Award Winners insert set, while Jorge Alfaro is shown with his big trophy. Love the old style Topps trophy.

So, there you have it. Nothing spectacular, but lots of solid stuff.

What did you get in your box?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Playoff Sales are Good. Right?

It's awful, isn't it? The baseball playoffs are in full swing, and the Red Sox aren't a part of it. Even worse? The Yankees are! (For now.) It's a pretty annoying combination.

Need something to cheer you up? How about thinking about how amazing you'd look in some new Section 36 gear? Maybe think about that new tank top you've been considering. Or the hoodie you'll need for the cold winter ahead. Or maybe one of the many novelty items...bags, magnets, stickers...strike your fancy. Just the thought of all that wonderful gear is sure to bring a smile back to your face.

And if just thinking about new gear is fun, imagine actually buying some! Imagine buying some while it's on an amazing sale! Like...right now!!

That's right! Today through Sunday, the Section 36 store will be on sale! Don't miss this opportunity! 

So, head over right now and select something that you like. But, don't delay. Remember, the sale only runs through Sunday! 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!

Or, like Sierra 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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