Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2021 Topps Series 1 Blaster!

 Sick of this set yet? I hope not, because packs are always fun to open. Even if it's the same set over and over, there's always the chance the next pack will be the biggest hit yet. Will that happen in this blaster? Only one way to find out.

Let's see what's inside!


Or, you know, Outside...in this case.


Yup. There were packs inside.


Rafael Devers! While I love the fact that the design and all the jagged spikes don't block anything on the picture...I think this one is cropped just a bit too close. I'd like to see all of his arm at least.


Another Devers! This one is cropped much better. It's still zoomed in mighty close...it just allows us to enjoy the entire image.


This one too! I can excuse missing a few fingertips. But, the rest of JD Martinez is there to see.


A Devers hot box! Three Devers cards, in three different designs. That's pretty close to too many, isn't it? This may be the best of the bunch. We can see everything in the picture, and it's a fantastic action shot. I wonder what the result of the play was.

So, there we have it. No, nothing was the best hit I've ever had. But, three cards of a Red Sox superstar is a pretty box.

Which Devers card is your favorite?

Friday, October 22, 2021

Alysa Goethe Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Alysa Goethe is passionate about advocating for those with diabetes, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Greater Des Moines. I was thrilled that she wanted to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So, let's see what happens when Alysa Goethe visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss Greater Des Moines crown?

I spent lots of time with my family! I was fortunate to have many loved ones attend and watch me get crowned despite my hometown being two and a half hours away. They all traveled over 100 miles to cheer me on, and I wanted to soak up every moment I could before they traveled back. There were lots of tears, laughter, and beautiful memories I can now look back on! 

 

What part of the upcoming Miss Iowa competition are you most nervous about?

I’m honestly most nervous about packing! I always manage to forget to bring one item with me, and since I’m a huge perfectionist, it leaves me quite frustrated. But, I’ve already started my packing list 8 months in advance this time, so hopefully that eases my nerves!

 

Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Greater Des Moines? 

Now that we are finding ways to safely gather again after being distanced for so long, I plan to take every opportunity to reach out into the community as possible. Being able to connect with people, provide a service, and spark an interest in the Miss Iowa program is truly one of the best parts of this job. Specifically with my social impact initiative, I am going to continue partnering with local businesses and organizations to fundraise and advocate for type one diabetes, as well as visit schools to educate students and teachers about the importance of joining the fight to end T1D.   

 

How did you select your social impact initiative, “Not Your Type: Advocating for Type One Diabetes”?

On August 22nd, 2011, my life changed forever. When I was just 11 years old, in my first week of middle school, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. And on August 23rd, 2011, I decided that this was a cause I wanted to be involved in. This initiative has been embedded in my everyday life since the moment I was diagnosed, and I knew right away that this was what I should be promoting during my time in MAO. I have found that diabetes advocacy is often overlooked both in life and in pageantry, which ultimately fuels my fire even more. 

 

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

The times I feel the most at peace and free are when I am sharing my passion for music with others. I have LOVED to sing ever since I could speak because music has provided me an outlet to express myself when I can’t find the right words to say. It’s so fun to share this part of myself with others and connect through music!

 

You’re pursuing a career in arts education. What drew you to that field?

The mentors I had throughout my musical education instilled a confidence in my musical abilities that I didn’t ever think I could attain. It’s because of the teachers I had that my passion for singing has blossomed into what it is today, and I want to bring that love to students as my teachers did to me! 

 

If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

Rapunzel is my all-time favorite Disney princess because she’s so adventurous, loves life, and rocks any hairstyle. She’s definitely who I’d want to be! 

 

If you had an extra ticket to an Iowa Cubs game, who would you take with you? Why?

My dad is the biggest baseball fan I know, and as a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, I would love to see the Iowa Cubs with him! I grew up playing softball with my dad as a coach and it’s something we love to bond over. 

 

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

I’d love to get a tour of a stadium. I’ve been fortunate to participate in many fun traditions of baseball games like singing the National Anthem and throwing out the first pitch, but I’d love to see more behind-the-scenes

action!


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I definitely want to take in a stadium tour or two myself!


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


As Alysa continues her time as Miss Greater Des Moines, I encourage you to check out her official Instagram account. It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on!


I also want to wish Alysa luck when she competes for Miss Iowa! It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 Forever wear that crown.


Thanks again Alysa, and good luck!

Monday, October 18, 2021

1975 Topps Page by Page: Page 74 (658-660)

 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 74? The last page of the set, if you can call it a "page".



Red Sox Cards on the Page  

0. But, I mean, there are only three cards on this final page. Still a bummer to end the series on a shutout.


Cards that make the 1975 Topps set cool 

Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron makes the set cool. 


My favorite card on the page 

Clearly Aaron is far and away the choice here. I know I just talked about it with the Killebrew card, but I've said that one of the things that attracted me to the set what the passing of the torch aspect. Hank Aaron is definitely one of the keys to that. Like Killebrew, his first cards stretched back to 1954, making the 1975 set really span the decades. Hard to imagine a better card to finish off the set.


What would your answers to those last two categories be?

Friday, October 15, 2021

Jennifer Schmidt Visits Section 36!

Photo Denise Watrous
Section 36 had another visitor! Jennifer Schmidt is passionate about controlling diabetes, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Wisconsin. 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 Jennifer Schmidt visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss Wisconsin crown?

I did a taco tour of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, eating at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants with my friends and family everyday for a week! The months leading up to the Miss Wisconsin competition were so busy with work and preparations that I did not get to spend much time with my loved ones. Aftering winning Miss Wisconsin, I wanted to celebrate by sharing my favorite food with my favorite people. 


Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Wisconsin?

Of course! My goals are:

  • to use my professional nonprofit experience to establish a donor development program to increase the Miss Wisconsin scholarship fund.
  • work with my social impact initiative to bring funding, resources, and programs back to Wisconsin that were lost when the American Diabetes Association (ADA) permanently closed their Wisconsin office.
  • make Wisconsin proud at the 100 year anniversary Miss America competition.

I am proud to share that I am currently working towards each of these! 


What did you learn about yourself at the miss Wisconsin competition that will help you at Miss America?

Everything happens for a reason. In May of 2020, the Miss Wisconsin competition was postponed and the ADA permanently closed their Wisconsin office in response to the pandemic and a lack of funding. I struggled to find my purpose knowing that the job I pursued for 8 years no longer existed. But then I realized that, while I lost my job, Wisconsin lost a valuable resource. I felt compelled to relentlessly pursue the job of Miss Wisconsin so that I could promote my social impact initiative, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control” and fill the void left in the Wisconsin diabetes community. I am certain that, if I had not lost my job at the ADA, my name would not have been called as Miss Wisconsin 2021. 


How did you select your social impact initiative, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control”?

My entire life I have watched my grandmother struggle with type 2 diabetes. I have watched her struggle with the daily responsibility of monitoring her blood sugar, the financial burden of insulin, and the terrible health complications of the disease. My grandmother inspired, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control” and my initiative to eliminate risk, unnecessary suffering, and tragic death caused by type 2 diabetes. 


As a talented dancer, what do you enjoy most about performing on stage?

Aw! Thank you for saying I am talented! Growing up, I was incredibly shy, however, dancing was a way for me to express myself when I did not have the words to. While I am not too shy anymore, my favorite thing about performing my talent is being vulnerable and sharing a story or message with the audience. 


You have a degree in Rehabilitaion/Psychology. Where would you like to see that degree take you?

At first, after graduating with my bachelors degree in rehabilitation psychology, I wanted to pursue my masters in occupational therapy. However, I had a lot of student loan debt so I decided to take a few years to work and save money. I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew who I wanted to work for. My involvement in the Miss America Organization, work with my social impact initiative, and years of volunteering with the ADA ultimately led to my employment as their Manager of Donor Relations. Realizing my skill and enthusiasm for fundraising, I am now working as a nonprofit professional and pursuing a career in donor relations and fundraising.


If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

I would choose Princess Jasmine from Aladdin because I always thought Aladdin was the cutest prince! Haha! ;)


If you had an extra ticket to a Brewers - Red Sox game, who would you take with you? Why?

I would take my godmother. She is the biggest Brewers fan I know! Also because, when I was a senior in high school, my parents lost their small business and they struggled to find jobs without college degrees. At the same time I learned the value of a college degree, I did not think there was a way for me to pay for one. With the scholarship dollars that I earned competing in the Miss America Organization, I had just enough to pay for my first semester of college. After my first semester, my godmother cosigned my loans and helped finance the rest of my college education. Without her I would not be able to call myself a first generation college graduate so I would take her in a heartbeat!


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

Unlike my godmother, I have to admit, I am not the biggest baseball fan. However, as a former Milwaukee Bucks Dancer, I am definitely a basketball fan! I would love to be invited to attend the Milwaukee Bucks home opener as Miss Wisconsin, show off my Show Us Your Shoes Parade costume and shoes, and celebrate the 2021 NBA world champions as they receive their rings! 


---


I love how she found a way to mention the Bucks championship! 

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

As Jennifer continues her time as Miss Wisconsin, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss Wisconsin website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

You can also check out her personal Instagram, and the Facebook page for the Miss WI Org.

And, if you'd like book Jennifer for an appearance, check out how to do that HERE.

 
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Jennifer, and good luck!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

2021 Bowman Mega Box!

Another chance to open one of these fun boxes!  

As I've said before, I love the variety these boxes present. I don't like that I haven't heard of most of the players, but I guess you can't have everything. How did the box go?

Let's find out!



Here's the box. So colorful.


And here's the variety I spoke of. Regular packs (Are we really calling those "paper" now?) and Chrome packs. Can't beat that.


A nice card of a guy who I hope big things for in the coming weeks. I know Bowman is supposed to be about the rookies, but it's always nice to get a favorite vet. It's the standard Bowman style design where it looks like a geometry homework problem. But, it's not supposed to be about the design.


Speaking of rookies, here's one of them. Maybe. I sort of lost track of him after the Sox traded him to Philly. He was a pretty high draft choice, so maybe there's a future there with the Phillies.


Another vet who needs to produce for the rest of October.


Yeah, it's a Yankee. But, it's a fun colorful insert. Not sure I understand the seed for a "futurist" themed set, but it's definitely shiny!


OK. Now we're talking. Casas has been tearing up the minors, and seems destined for stardom in the major leagues. Glad he's shifted from third base to first base, according to the card. The Sox already have a third baseman. Of course, they also have an up and coming first baseman. Hmmm.

So there's the box. A couple Red Sox favorites, and a peek to the future. For a box without any hits, not bad at all.

How did your box go?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Reyna Bergstrom Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! Reyna Bergstrom is passionate about improving communication, a talented singer, and the current Miss North Dakota. I was so excited that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.


So, let's see what happens when Reyna Bergstrom visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss North Dakota crown?

The moment my name was called as Miss North Dakota I remember standing on the stage in a state of shock, my jaw hanging in a state of disbelief. Before I even realized what was happening, I had a crown bobby pinned to my head and I was walking across the stage as Miss North Dakota. I remember calling all of my sister queens over to hug me and that was the rest of the night — lots of hugging, smiling, laughing, and rejoicing. I specifically say “rejoicing” because that’s what it was for myself and for so many people close to me: a night of celebration. Not only had my longtime dream become a reality, but we were all able to  finally be together in person; it was a reunion of the Miss North Dakota community. 

 

It’s been over three months since that night and I’m still processing my new reality as Miss North Dakota. I don’t want to waste the incredible opportunity that this role is; I remind myself daily that I need to make it count. 

 

Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss North Dakota?

So many things…  to make Miss North Dakota and the MissAmerica Organization more visible in the business world, to strive to make each person whom I encounter believe that they matter, to listen well, to speak positively into the lives of others, to grow the Miss North Dakota scholarship fund, to increase general awareness of the Miss America and Miss North Dakota Organizations, to promote and advocate for North Dakota based businesses and organizations, to host an art show that showcases North Dakota themed art, to educate on my social impact initiative which addresses the importance of intentional communication. So, to answer your question… no, I don’t have a specific goal; I have many. 

 

This was your fourth time competing for Miss North Dakota. How will that experience help you when you compete for Miss America?

I’m a believer that more experience only helps in preparation — it gives you added confidence, maturity, practice, and time to perfect the various areas of competition. I’m twenty-six, so I’ll be one of the oldest candidates to ever walk across the Miss America stage, and that is something that I’m proud to say. I’m excited for Miss America and humbled and honored to represent my home state of North Dakota. 

 

How did you select your social impact initiative, “The Influencer Era: Impact Beyond the Screen”?

For the past nearly three years, I’ve worked as a content specialist at a liberal arts college managing their various social medias. In this role, I’ve realized the powerful tool that social media can be; however, when it displaces in-person communication and interactions then we have a problem. Face-to-face communication and being present with whom we’re around should always take priority, which is why I’m excited to be sharing about the importance of communication skills this year. 

 

As a talented singer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?

While a student at Concordia College, I sang and toured in its premier choral ensemble, The Concordia Choir. While singing in this group, the conductor emphasized the importance of the circle of communication, and how beauty can be made and shared between the musicians and audience. That’s my favorite part — the sharing of something intimate and special between myself and those listening. 

 

You’ve done a lot of traveling. Where's your favorite place you’ve visited?

How can I pick just one? Every place is unique and piques my curiosity! Aside from North Dakota, I’ve spent quite a lot of my life exploring the western part of Montana. I’ve hiked over 200 miles in Glacier National Park! 

 

If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

First of all, I LOVE this question. I think I’d have to say Peter Pan, for multiple reasons. One, the obvious reason, he can FLY. Second, his best friend is a fairy! (Tinkerbell Bell!) and third, when I was little I didn’t want to ever grow up — so I felt I could relate to Peter Pan. I always wanted to stay a kid. (I actually wrote a blog post about this a few years back, linked here.)  

 

If you had an extra ticket to a Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks game, who would you take with you? Why?

Probably one of my grandpas because they both enjoy baseball! 

 

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

I’d always wanted to throw the first pitch at a game, and I was recently able to do this as Miss North Dakota at a Larks game in Bismarck, North Dakota!


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I've always wanted to do that too! 

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

As Reyna continues her time as Miss North Dakota, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss North Dakota website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

 
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Reyna, and good luck!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

On to the ALCS!

 There are many things I don't like about the playoffs. (Well, I guess since there's only one "everything", there's just one thing I don't like about the playoffs.) But, one of the biggest is that it makes you have a different team than the one that you needed to get to the playoffs in the first place.

Take the Rays, for instance. It seems to me that they're built for the regular season. Solid pitching. A good line-up. A well constructed bullpen, and organizational depth. Now, I don't watch the Rays every day, but that's my impression from afar.

The Red Sox have less of all of that. The back end of their rotation could use some work. Their bench was occasionally bare. 

Not huge difference, mind you. But enough to account for the eight game difference in their win totals. It's a balanced team probably has better luck beating up on the Orioles and not falling to an ill-timed slump. Sometimes the Red Sox were forced to throw a starter you knew wasn't going to do well, or use a reliever you didn't trust. When that happened, they likely lost the game.

Suddenly, that doesn't matter. In the playoffs you can hide those flaws. Suddenly it's all about the top dogs. The Red Sox only needed three starting pitchers during the series against the Rays. Suddenly the ability of the Rays to cobble together a bullpen game was nullified. The Red Sox didn't need to altar their line-up to keep guys rested, or keep guys fresh. The best nine guys played. It didn't matter if guy 23 on the Rays was better. 

So, which is it that baseball is looking for? Do they want a champion that can prove their dominance over a 162 game grind? Or do they want to reward the team with the five best players? And if it's the latter, why don't they let every team try to win with their five best? Who's to say that the Orioles couldn't take the title if it was just a couple five game series?

But, I'll happily play the hand that was dealt. The Red Sox have advanced through two toss-up rounds and are now on their way to the ALCS. The Boston sports embarrassment of riches continues as yet another team reaches the final four. 

I can't wait to see how far they go!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Emma Broyles Visits Section 36!

Photo: Kevin Hedin
Section 36 had another visitor! Emma Broyles is passionate about the Special Olympics, a talented singer, and the current Miss Alaska. I was so thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. I'm especially excited that she is the first visitor from the state of Alaska!



So, let's see what happens when Emma Broyles visits Section 36!


How did you celebrate winning the Miss Alaska crown? 

To be completely honest, I was really not expecting to win the title of Miss Alaska! Hearing my name called on stage felt surreal and I definitely hesitated for a minute because I wasn’t sure that I actually won. After the competition, my family and I went to a local Mexican restaurant to meet the Miss Alaska Organization volunteers, candidates, and judges. Chowing down on nachos while surrounded by my family and friends was truly the best way to celebrate.


What had been the most pleasant surprise about your time as Miss Alaska?

One of my favorite things about being Miss Alaska is getting to be a part of the incredible sisterhood. I am constantly in awe of titleholders in the Miss America Organization and feel so incredibly grateful to know such intelligent and driven young women. Additionally, this title and this organization have offered me so many unique experiences and opportunities that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 


You were recently able to appear in the iconic Show Us Your Shoes parade at the Miss America 100th anniversary celebration. What was that experience like?

I have always seen photos of the historic Show Us Your Shoes Parade and loved looking through the state costumes and shoes, so getting to participate in the parade was a dream come true. Putting together my costume was also such a fun aspect of the parade because it allowed me to embrace my creativity and showcase my state in a unique way. I also really enjoyed getting to see each candidate’s costume and shoes, and our class had some fabulous outfits!


How did you select your social impact initiative, “Building Community through Special Olympics”? 

Special Olympics has been a significant part of my life for over 12 years, and my journey began when my older brother first became an athlete. Since then I have been a coach, president of the largest Special Olympics school program in Alaska, a unified partner, and an advocate. My family even received the honor of being named Special Olympics Alaska's Family of the Year.

As a sibling of an individual with an intellectual disability and Special Olympics athlete, I have witnessed the positive impact Special Olympics has on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities. Special Olympics is an organization that plays a critical role in every community, and I am so excited to continue to share its mission on the Miss America stage. 


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


I absolutely love the thrill of performing! As many other performers will tell you, being able to express yourself through your art and feeling the adrenaline in your veins as you stand in front of an audience makes you feel so alive. When I’m performing, the world stops and I exist in a fantasy where my problems disappear and I know the trajectory of the story. I am freed of feelings of uncertainty because I have already seen the character’s path and I can simply communicate and embrace it. 


You’re currently studying biomedical sciences and voice performance at ASU. Where do you see those fields taking you?

After graduating from Arizona State University I plan on attending PA school, though I ultimately hope to return to medical school to become a dermatologist. I knew that I couldn’t give up singing so I decided to pursue a minor in voice performance to continue my vocal studies. 


If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

I would be Genie from Aladdin! Aladdin was one of my favorite movies growing up and Genie’s powers are top tier. At some point I would definitely create an unlimited buffet of every possible food. 


If you had an extra ticket to see an Alaska Baseball League game, who would you take with you? Why?

I would take my brothers to see a baseball game! Though this question is a bit difficult because I would not be able to choose between my brothers, so I would likely end up buying an extra ticket XD. 


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

Throwing the first pitch! Unfortunately, my hand-eye coordination is lacking, so I don’t trust myself. But someday I dream of having an epic first pitch like Simone Biles. 

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Now, that would be fantastic! 

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

As Emma continues her time as Miss Alaska, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss Alaska website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

 
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Emma, and good luck!

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