Friday, July 31, 2020

Taryn Smith Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Taryn Smith is passionate

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about helping the homeless, a talented singer, and the current Miss City of New York. 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 Taryn Smith visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss City of New York crown?

I feel so silly saying this but… I went to taco bell. (After I dried my tears and pinched myself) I turned to my girlfriends and said, “where is the nearest Taco bell.” And we walked across Manhattan, myself and this wonderful group of women who I have come to love as my family – and I sat in an NYC taco bell and ate a burrito in an emerald green Ralph Lauren evening gown. It’s one of my favorite memories of living in New York now!

What made you decide to compete for the Miss City of New York crown?

When I moved to New York in 2018 I new I wanted to serve this city through the Miss America Organization. But I waited two years to do it because I knew that when it was my time- I wanted to really know New York. I wanted to be a great local title holder. You can’t serve well without knowing and loving those you serve.

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss City of New York?

I think how clear and focused on my mission I have been able to be. I have been a title holder with MAO before and always loved it… but serving NYC has really ignited a passion in me that has kept me focused on my SII and focused on my community and it’s been incredible. It continues to be incredible.

How did you select your social impact initiative, “S.O.S. Supporting Our Shelters”?

Back in 2015 I served as Miss Seattle, back then my SII or then, “platform” was focused on increasing literacy in lower income communities. That brought me into family shelters. I started reading to children in family shelters and fell in love- and have felt passionately ever since that we can be doing more for homeless families across the Nation.

As a talented singer, what do you enjoy about performing out on stage?

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What is your personal fitness routine?

I’m a weight lifter. I love the squat rack and keep my cardio to a minimum to keep my strength up.

You have been able to travel to many places across the globe. What has been your favorite place to visit?

That’s a toss up between Paris, and Ireland. Paris has my heart, but I think Ireland really captured my soul. It’s just so tragically beautiful, and the people are so kind. If you haven’t been to Ireland, you’ve gotta go!

If you had an extra ticket to a Mets-Yankees game, who would you take with you? Why?

My dad! He’s a Seattleite, but wears a Yankees cap all the time. I’d love to take my dad.


That sounds like it would be a great time!

As always, I want to thank Taryn for visiting with us, and for sending along the wonderful pictures to go with the interview.

As Taryn continues her time as Miss City of New York, I encourage you to check out her official Instagram account. It's a great way to keep track of what she has going on!

I definitely want to wish her the best of luck whenever she competes for the Miss New York title. It would be wonderful to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Taryn, and good luck!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

1975 Topps Page by Page: Page 24 (208-216)

I'm sure that you all remember that I finally completed my 1975 Topps set. 

Now that it's done I thought it would be fun to look through the set and talk about it. Going page by page seemed like a good way to go about it. Hopefully you find it interesting to read what I have to say.

How about we continue with page 24?

Red Sox Cards on the Page:  0. The lack of Sox MVP's really hurt their chances with this page.

Cards that make the 1975 Topps set cool: A few on this page it would appear. Obviously, the Oscar Gamble. Cool. Team cards are cool. Managers as players are cool. 

My favorite card on the page: If I don't answer with the Oscar Gamble, why did I even try to complete a set from the seventies?

What would your answers to those last two categories be?

Monday, July 27, 2020

2019 Topps Update Blaster!

You may remember that the Easter Bunny was good to me this year, bringing plenty of card packs for me to open. I thought I'd continue to share them with you because, well, even with the season underway there doesn't seem like theres other stuff I should write about.

We'll continue with the next box, the 2019 Topps Update!

Once again, bravo Easter Bunny for finding older wax to open. I'm sure you've all seen as much as you care to of this set by now. But, you can always skip over this. Right?


It's the special additional pack! Nothing too exciting here. The design doesn't exactly inspire. Hardly worth the effort for them to create the card. 

A fancy gold stamped card!

I like how with his hand position, it looks like Trout is holding an actual circle of stars. Like he's in a prop filled photo booth.

The first Red Sox card! Love seeing Xander develop into the star he was supposed to be.

The 1984 Topps design is always fun. 1984 Topps was probably just a few years too early to be in my collecting wheelhouse. So, it was always fun to be able to add an "old card" to my collection when I could.

Always a treat to get a card of the greater pitcher to ever lace up cleats.

But, as the best card in the box? That's not exactly the goal.

How did your boxes go?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Cassie Roby Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Cassie Roby is passionate about the getting women involved in STEM, a talented twirler, and the current Miss Jacksonville. 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 Cassie Roby visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Jacksonville crown?
I celebrated winning the Miss Jacksonville crown by going to dinner with my parents! I ordered a chicken quesadilla, which is one of my guilty pleasures. I also spent the night on the phone facetiming my friends and family with the exciting news! My family and friends are really important to me. While many weren’t able to make it, I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received.

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Jacksonville competition that will help you whenever you compete for Miss Florida?
At Miss Jacksonville I learned to be more confident in the interview room. I learned how to better prepare and how to stay true to myself. I always try to show the judges my goals, values, and what I am passionate about. Now before interviews I write down a couple key talking points I want to hit and try to steer the direction of the conversation towards those points.   

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Jacksonville?
One of my main goals as Miss Jacksonville is to be present in the schools. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cancelled a lot of my school appearances. At these appearances I planned on during a quick cryogenic science experiment called ‘Frozen Flowers’. Using liquid nitrogen I demonstrate phase change by freezing the water in the flower causing it to shatter when smashed on the ground. This is a great activity for students because it’s so interactive.

While I am excited to join the schools in person at a later date, I currently have at-home STEM activities on my Miss Jacksonville Instagram and Facebook pages. These activities are designed to provide simple science experiments to students using few common household items. This makes it easy on parents and teachers to provide a visual aid for learning.
How did you select your social impact initiative, “Women in STEM”?
I selected Women in STEM because I am a Women in STEM. I received both my bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering at Florida State University. Now I work full time with Northrop Grumman. I had three different internships and a research position within my five years at school. At every internship and my research I found myself to be the only woman among a team of men. This is due to the fact that women make up only 29% of the STEM workforce. This leads to an uphill battle for women as they face gender discrimination, imposter syndrome, and unconscious bias. I hope by inspiring the next generation of women to join STEM I can help move the needle to reduce these problems. To do this I started #WhyYouCanWednesday on social media and created a free Women in STEM Mentorship program. This connects young women in first through twelfth grade to female STEM college students, professionals, and retirees. The registration process is simple and free at

As a talented baton twirler, what do you enjoy most about performing?
What I enjoy most about performing is feeling the audience. When I was Feature Twirler for Florida State University I had a lot of freedom with my routines. This allowed me to really cater to the crowd of up to 80,000 people. I love playing into what the audience likes, I think it makes me a better performer. I want to be a performer that people remember and are excited to see again. I cannot wait to use the lessons I learned from being Feature Twirler in the talent portion of competition.

What is your personal fitness routine?
Personal fitness is really important to me. It makes me feel strong and confident and is a great way to destress. Before COVID-19 I would workout at a gym with a focus on cardio and bodyweight exercises. Since COVID-19 I have switched to an online program called Boxing and Bubbles (B&B). This program was created and founded by Christa Dipaolo, who currently resides in Miami Florida (I love supporting Florida businesses). I found this program the right fit for me because Christa is constantly changing up the workouts while keeping them all engaging and fun! She even writes a weekly schedule which ensures I hit all the major workout zones. The B&B community is super supportive and encouraging whether you’ve been working out for years or for a day! If you’re looking for a fun home workout program be sure to check out  

Eating healthy and making smart decisions is also an important aspect of my personal fitness routine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy pizza and ice cream! I always say to enjoy everything in moderation.

How would you complete the sentence “I get great satisfaction when ___”?
I get great satisfaction when I inspire people.

I always tell people to believe they can. There is so much power in believing in yourself. Through my Women in STEM platform I try to inspire young women everyday to join these innovative fields. I help by sharing my journey to becoming a Spacecraft Thermal Engineer, but my story isn’t enough. This is why I started my women in STEM mentorship program to grow a community of empowered women in STEM.

Aside from my Women in STEM initiative, I work as a Real Talk ambassador. Real Talk is an educational program for middle school to college aged students that teaches them about alcohol and drug substance abuse. I help reinforce the importance of this message by sharing how I’ve seen both alcohol and drug abuse within my family. This helps make me and the message more relatable and impactful. Through Real Talk I hope to inspire young students to take a stand when faced with peer pressure. I also hope to inspire them to do what is right, even when it’s hard. Real Talk is provided free by the advanced recovery systems and anyone interested in setting up a presentation just needs to message me!

If you had an extra ticket to a Marlins-Rays game, who would you take with you? Why?
If I had an extra ticket to a Marlins-Rays game I would take my father with me. He not only loves sports, but has also been my number one fan. He has always supported me in everything I’ve done. Whether that’s sitting in a gym for 10 hours for a baton competition, traveling to Tallahassee for every home game, or helping me relocate for my internships he always makes sure to be there. When I moved from baton twirling into pageants he was super supportive again and was in the crowd when I was crowned Miss Jacksonville. Since he loves sports I think this would be a fun way to thank him.

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?

Yes! I have always dreamed of throwing out a first pitch at a baseball game. Jacksonville has a minor league baseball team, the Jumbo Shrimp, which Miss Jacksonville usually gets scheduled to throw out first pitches and present their talent. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the MLB has announced that there will not be a minor league 2020 season, but I am hopeful I will get the opportunity to throw out a first pitch someday!


I really hope she gets that chance!

As always, I want to thank Cassie for visiting with us, and for sending along the amazing pictures to go with the interview.

As Cassie continues her time as Miss Jacksonville, I encourage you to check out her official Facebook page and Instagram account. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything she’ll have going on. 

Cassie also mentioned several websites you should remember to visit. To find out about her Women in Stem mentorship program, check out Women in STEM America. If you're interested in the fitness program she follows, check out Boxing and Bubbles. And, if you're looking for information on alcohol and drug abuse, check out Real Talk.

I definitely want to wish her the best of luck whenever she competes for the Miss Florida title. It would be wonderful to have the first Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Cassie, and good luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

It's My Fantasy

That’s right. Once again, it’s time for your favorite post of the year. The one where I discuss the fantasy team I drafted for this year! I know. The only thing worse than tweeting about fantasy teams is blogging about them. And, I admit, I still feel a little weird carrying on like this is a regular season. But, I have an amazing visitor interview ready to go tomorrow, so no matter what I post today you’re going to forget about in less than 24 hours. So, might as well talk about my team.

Just as a reminder, this is a nine team 5x5 league, with 30 roster spots. So, it's a big league. You have three keepers, and they take the place of your draft pick in whatever round you originally drafted the player. (I love that detail.) I had the fourth pick in a wraparound draft. Got that?

So, who did I get?

C - J. Realmuto PHI
1B - J. Bell PIT
2B - T. Edman STL
3B - R. Devers BOS
SS - X. Bogaerts BOS
CI - H. Kendrick WAS
MI - J. Polanco MIA
OF - L. Robert CWS
OF - B. Reynolds PIT
OF - B. Harper PHI
OF - A. Benintendi BOS
U - A. Verdugo BOS
U - J. Bradley, Jr BOS
U - J. Peraza BOS
B - M. Chavis BOS
B - J. Berti MIA

SP - J. deGrom NYM
SP - C. Kershaw LAD
SP - S. Bieber CLE
RP - T. Rogers MIN
RP - N. Anderson TB
P - S. Lugo NYM
P - A. Nola PHI
P - M. Fried ATL
B - K. Ginkel ARI
B - T. Watson SF
B - R. Yarborough TB
B - S. Alcantara MIA
B - Drew Pomeranz SD
B - W. Smith ATL

My three keepers were Rafael Devers (round ten), Xander Bogaerts (round fourteen) and Aaron Nola (round sixteen). I love the idea of getting Devers with the eighty-seventh pick almost as much as I like getting Xander with the 123rd. I grabbed deGrom in the first round.

From there, I was able to grab plenty of Red Sox players. I am, however, mad at myself for basically forgetting about EdRo and Eovaldi. They went much later than I would have taken them...if I wasn't a dumbass. But, I did manage to get the entire Red Sox outfield...and infield. Actually didn't realize that until now. If they put Chavis at first and Peraza at second...I'll have the infield and outfield. Wow.

So, while I know you probably need to see the rest of my league to decide how my team will do, I welcome any comments on any of my selections. 

Think I got any good ones?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Brooklyn Toli Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Brooklyn Toli is passionate about the arts, a talented dancer, and the current Miss South Coast. 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 Brooklyn Toli visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss South Coast crown?
I got dinner at Barrett’s with my family.  The pageant day was a total of 12 hours, so I was very excited to sit down, relax and eat a burger!  I was also very eager to discuss my gratitude and plans for the year as Miss South Coast. 

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss South Coast competition that will help you whenever you get to compete for Miss Massachusetts?
I learned that I like to keep busy and moving during the day. There is always help needed on a pageant day.  Whether it is last minute decorations in the lobby, gathering tables for everyone to use, or setting up for a princess tea party, I like to keep myself occupied.  It’s nice when there are a lot of girls competing because there is always someone that could use an extra hand.  

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss South Coast?
I would love to reach a large audience to encourage girls and young women to become involved in the Miss America Organization.  I will speak on the benefits of involvement and how anyone with the desire to pursue this journey, should reach out and do it!  As the recent founder of the Pageant Vault, I am hoping that girls and women who never thought they would have the opportunity to compete, become aware of the different resources they have to support them.  I know that many jobs and experiences I have had are because of my involvement with the Miss America Organization.  Even from my very first pageant at 14, where I walked away with no awards, I met amazing people and got my first job as a tap teacher.  (Thank you, Lauren and Kevin of Illusion’s Academy of Dance!)

How did you select your social impact initiative, “Building Confidence Through Performing Arts”?
When I was 14, I began to realize that the performing arts can be a luxury, while really, they should be integrated into all educational institutions.  I developed important life skills growing up in dance classes.  I learned to be adaptable, creative, reliable, and built confidence in myself.  The support system you have from fellow performing artists while growing up is like no other.  I felt compelled to make sure others had the opportunity to build confidence through performing arts just as I did, so I began by volunteering and teaching free tap classes at Girls Inc. of Taunton.  I am very thankful to Girls Inc, as they allowed me to come into their after-school program to work with girls and teach them a new skill that would build their confidence while incidentally, this helped build my own confidence through my teen years.  I encourage all teenagers to use their talents to give back to younger students.  The impact works both ways.  

As a talented tap dancer, what do you enjoy about performing on stage?
First off, thank you very much! When I am performing, I am able to fully live in the moment.  Maybe it sounds cliché, but nothing else matters in that moment on stage.  Performing brings me sincere joy and tap dancing has always been my favorite dance style to perform.  As a tap dancer, you are able to convey your message through movement and sound.  The rhythms I play truly come from my soul, and I know that my love for tap dance is fueled by my love for music.  I feel and hear what I want to say before I choreograph my routines.  I will say, I have the most fun performing with my friends on stage, as we’re able to communicate through performance and it is a feeling like no other.  The opening number is one of my favorite parts of the competition. I have vivid memories of the smiles I have shared with my fellow candidates. 

You started “The Pageant Vault”. What can you tell me about that?
The Pageant Vault was created to ensure individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds have the resources necessary to participate in pageants and scholarship competitions.  Anybody interested is able to take pageant wear at no charge.  Nobody should be excluded from organizations working to support strong, talented, smart leaders. The Pageant Vault works to support individuals by providing the resources that will help them build a wardrobe for the competition.  This may be the very thing holding someone back from participating. 

If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
I would be Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  When I was younger, I was drawn to her because she is a dancer, but I am now drawn to her as she is a fun and sassy character who has no problem using her voice to stand up for what she believes in.
If you had an extra ticket to a Red Sox game at Fenway, who would you bring with you? Why?
I would bring my sister, Presley.  She is the reason I enjoy watching baseball!  I grew up watching her play softball and it is definitely my favorite sport to watch.  

Is there a feature or activity at Fenway Park that you’d especially like to experience?
No matter the occasion, I always look forward to the food that comes along. (Anyone that knows me knows this, lol.)  I am not even a huge hotdog fan, but I feel that you must get a Fenway Frank when you visit Fenway Park!  Of course, I enjoy the pump-up music, and the feeling of being in a Boston crowd as well.


I sure miss being in that crowd!

As always, I want to thank Brooklyn for visiting with us, and for sending along the amazing pictures to go with the interview.

As Brooklyn continues her time as Miss South Coast, I encourage you to check out her official Facebook page and Instagram account. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything she’ll have going on. 

You should also follow the instagram account for The Pageant Vault and help support this great cause.

I definitely want to wish her the best of luck whenever she competes for the Miss Massachusetts title. It would be wonderful to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Brooklyn, and good luck!

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