Wednesday, January 26, 2022

My Favorite Ortiz Games

I know you probably all had the same reaction after hearing the news that David Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of does that personally impact me? I immediately began thinking of Ortiz collectibles I owned, and times I'd seen him play. And I began to wonder...what were some of the best Ortiz games I had attended? That was a question I felt I could explore more here. Let's do that, shall we?

I hate starting a post like this with a bunch of rules. But, my mind immediately wondered if I meant games where he performed well, or important games where he happened to play? I decided to just go with whatever games came to no particular order.

Here we go...

July 26, 2003. NY Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox. Yup, a random July game. But, it's my very first Ortiz walk-off. I think. Definitely the first I remember. Ortiz came into the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game. There were two outs, and men on first and second. Ortiz was pinch-hitting for the second baseman Damian Jackson who had previously pinch run for Todd Walker. At the time, part of me was hoping Ortiz would make an out. I was pretty sure the Sox were out of infielders at this point and wondered if Ortiz would need to play second. But, of course, Ortiz didn't make an out. He slapped a single to win the game. 

October 23, 2004. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox.
This was game one of the 2004 World Series. I've said before that I dislike the definition of "clutch" to mean "late and close". You can absolutely have a "clutch" hit in the first inning. Ortiz did it in game seven of the ALCS, and he did it here. The Cardinals went down scoreless in the top of the first, and Ortiz came up with two on and one out. His home run to right really set the tone for the game and, eventually, the series.

October 17, 2004. New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox.
Game four of the ALCS. The Key to it all. Without this win, the seven that followed it don't happen. How did Ortiz contribute? Well, if you don't know I'm not sure why you're reading this blog. His extra-innings home run won the game and really started to make us all realize he was something special.

October 30, 2013. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox.

The World Series clincher. To be honest, this game was as much about what Ortiz didn't do as what he did. Ortiz had a monster series that year. He was torturing the Cardinals, and they kept letting him. People were demanding that they walk Ortiz every time he came to the plate. They wouldn't. Until this game. This time they walked Ortiz four times in five plate appearances. The results? Ortiz ended up scoring twice as the people behind him pulled their weight. It was like the Cardinals couldn't win.

April 20, 2013. Kansas City Royals vs. Boston Red Sox. Speaking of games where Ortiz Didn't do anything, in this one he didn't even play. Of course, that didn't matter. As the Sox prepared to play their first game following the Boston Marathon bombing, Ortiz took the microphone to share a few words with the crowd and the city. What followed was legendary.

And there are five that came to mind immediately. I'm sure if I thought about it, I'd come up with more.

How about you? What are great Ortiz games you attended? Saw?

Monday, January 24, 2022

2021 Topps Fire Blaster

Let's open some more cards! How about another blaster of 2021 Topps Fire? I wonder if we can do better than last time.

How did this one turn out? Let's see!

Here's the box. I went with the landscape side this time.

And the packs. Both the box and the packs give you an incredible feel for what the cards look like, without showing an actual card. Impressive. 

Ugh. Starting things off with a friggin Yankee. This one looks odd, though.

Oh, that's why. I guess if I'm going to get a numbered parallel of a non-Red Sox...might as well be of a Yankees "star".

And, finally, a Red Sox!

But, yeah, if those are the only two cards worth talking about, this isn't exactly the best box of all time.

Or this month.

How did your box go?

Friday, January 21, 2022

Kyndra Nakamoto Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Kyndra Nakamoto is passionate about living aloha, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Kona Coffee. 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 Kyndra Nakamoto visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Kona Coffee crown?

I celebrated winning the title of Miss Kona Coffee by buying a small pizza from Dominoes and then going to sleep. I knew I had some busy days ahead of me so my biggest celebration was the sleep I got that night.

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Kona Coffee competition that will help you when you compete for Miss Hawaii?

One thing I learned about myself through Miss Kona Coffee that will help me compete for Miss Hawaiʻi is I can do anything I set my mind to, even if it is outside my comfort zone. I never thought I would compete in an organization like this, let alone become a title holder, so itʻs all very new and exciting for me.

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Kona Coffee?

The main goal I would like to accomplish during my time as Miss Kona Coffee is to talk to as many students, and groups of kids that I can, spreading my message of aloha and helping todayʻs youth understand the meaning behind this lifestyle. Aloha is a big part of my life and I want to share that with the younger generation.

How did you select your social impact initiative?

I knew that I wanted my social impact to revolve around aloha, since it is something I live by everyday, and something I want to share with others in my community. I then created my social impact initiative Make Aloha Easy because the name itself promotes people to try and live aloha, and is also an acronym for my middle name “Mae”. My middle name is very special to me, and I felt that having a platform title that held importance to me would be a creative and intimate way to connect with my community.

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

I enjoy everything about dancing on stage, but I would say that part I love the most is connecting with people in the audience. As a dancer itʻs easy to look at a wall and pretend like no one is watching you, but a performance becomes so much more special when you look at the people in the crowd, and connect with them through facial expressions and body movement. This helps me to further relay the stories I tell through hula.

How would you finish the sentence, “I get great satisfaction when ___”?

I get great satisfaction when I finish a hula without messing up. I am someone who really pushes myself when it comes to hula, and I want to do my best in every aspect. If I finish a dance with 0 mistakes, I feel very satisfied.

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

If I could be a Disney character for a week I would choose to be Lilo because she gets to fly in little rocket ships, and hang out with aliens which would be such a fun experience. She is also a hula dancer, so I can be her while still practicing my passion.

If you had an extra ticket to a LA Dodgers baseball game, who would you take with you? Why?

If I had an extra ticket to an LA Dodgers game, I would take my cousin AJ, because he is the person who introduced baseball to me, and I grew up watching all of his games. I know that I would have fun with him because we both understand baseball and enjoy watching the game.

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

I canʻt remember the last time I went to a professional baseball game, but one feature I would like to experience is being on a jumbotron. I am a lively and energetic so I know I would dance around and live up the moment.


That would be so much fun!

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

As Kyndra continues her time as Miss Kona Coffee, I encourage you to check out her title's Instagram account, as well as her personal one! They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

I also want to wish Kyndra luck when she competes for Miss Hawaii! It would be fantastic to have the first Section 36 Forever wear that crown.

Thanks again Kyndra, and good luck!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Was Jon Lester Any Good?

With the news of his retirement from baseball still fresh in my mind, I was thinking about Lester today. I wondered how he performed in games I attended. I assumed I had seen him pitch quite a bit. So, I flipped through my scorebook so to see how he did while I was keeping score.

Ok. Two? I only saw him pitch twice? Well, I only scored a game he pitched twice? That's like John Smoltz level viewership. I'm not even sure how that happened. But, that's what we have.

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

Well, he had a .500 record. A bit below his Boston career average. His 2.67 ERA was a good clip. Even better than his career numbers would suggest.

What if we extrapolated those number over a full 32-start season? Obviously his percentages would be the same. a 16-win campaign would be the third highest of his career. The 208 strikeouts would be a solid accomplishment, good for fourth highest of his career.

So I think it's fair to say I pretty much saw the standard Jon Lester in my two outings. Nothing too exciting, but two solid starts.

How did Lester do when you were in the park?

Friday, January 14, 2022

Ashlyn Hilts Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Ashlyn Hilts is passionate about the arts, a talented flutist, and the current Miss Adirondack. 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 Ashlyn Hilts visits Section 36! 

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Adirondack crown?

Honestly, I left the competition venue and immediately drove myself to Taco Bell! No celebration in my eyes is truly complete without food! In all seriousness though, going into the competition I knew that if I were to win Miss Adirondack that I would spend as much time as possible in the region. The Adirondacks are such a unique and beautiful part of New York State, and being the representative of this region is something that I am taking very seriously. The morning after I won, I went to Old Forge in the Adirondacks to walk around, take pictures, and reflect on the opportunities that are waiting for me in this beautiful region over the next year. It really gave me the opportunity to finally process the competition and truly understand what I had accomplished, what I can continue to accomplish, and the change that I will be fostering for a new region in New York State.

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

Over the summer, I visited Lake Placid and was able to experience one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, White Face Mountain. Since then I have been DYING to get back to the Adirondacks and hike, explore, and enjoy the largest part of New York State. Since I go to school in Niagara Falls, I am not always in the Adirondack region. My biggest goal for this year is to visit at least once a month. The Adirondack Park is 6 million acres, that is a LOT of ground to cover. A lot of people who live in the region have no idea that there is a Miss Adirondack, or know very much about the Miss America Organization in general. I want to educate more people and show how significant this organization is, and hopefully recruit some new Miss America fans or candidates!

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Adirondack competition that will help you compete for Miss New York?

My years as a teenager have consisted of holding titles, volunteering, promoting my Social Impact Initiative, and competing. I think that because of that, some people do not realize that regardless of the success that I have experienced, I am still like every other person my age. I doubt myself, I lose confidence, I get frustrated, I freak out, and I get up the next day and do it all over again. From the outside looking in, I seem like I am always put together, have everything under control, and that I manage everything perfectly all of the time. In reality that could not be farther from the truth. The most valuable thing that I learned about myself in this competition is that I am so much stronger than I think I am. Being a Freshman as a first generation college student balancing school, clubs, a sport, and trying to prepare for my first competition as a Miss candidate was a lot to handle for me, and for a moment I really thought that I had taken on too many responsibilities. I went into competition knowing I could do well, but I never imagined that I would have taken on all of the responsibilities that I did, and come out with a new title, and awards for interview, talent, and Miss Congeniality. Preparing for this competition was the first time I really felt like I had taken on too much, but in the end I came out with a huge accomplishment and a new respect for my capabilities and grit. Going into Miss New York week I know that I can handle whatever is thrown at me in preparation and competition. I am much more confident after the experience of winning and I know that regardless of the outcome at states, I will again come out as a stronger and more confident person. 

How did you select your social impact initiative “Promoting the Arts”?

Unfortunately, a few years after I began participating in my band in elementary school, the music program suffered massive budget cuts that had destroyed my new passion for music. My family and I were able to take part in the process of reinstating the arts programs, and through our fundraising efforts, the programs were kept in the school for students to continue to enjoy. That experience resonated with me as I was selecting my Social Impact Initiative, and it is something that is so personal to me, that I am able to work intensely to help other schools and students avoid the devastation of budget cuts. Experiencing the feeling of having something so important to me taken away made the decision to begin working on my Social Impact Initiative, Promoting the Arts, very easy. Three years later, I have accomplished things that I will forever be proud of: funding scholarships, giving performance opportunities to arts students, raising money for a local organization to purchase instruments for children who cannot afford them, and many more things coming up that I am so very excited for. This initiative is truly perfect for me, and I will forever support this cause far after I am no longer a titleholder in the organization. 

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

Finally having the opportunity to show off all of my hard work is without a doubt the BEST part of any performance! Not many people really understand how hard I work to succeed in my performances, but the moment where I am finally able to step onto a stage or into a room with a judge to perform for them is the moment that makes the hours of hard work worth it. Having this talent does not come naturally whatsoever, it takes months of preparation in so many different ways before I am able to step onto a stage, but the second that I step into the opportunity, it is my chance to show everyone my dedication, determination, and persistence through all parts of putting a piece together. 

How would you complete the sentence, “I get great satisfaction when ___”?

The most rewarding feeling in the world is proving that I am not a person to underestimate. I have always been someone who commits to huge obligations, responsibilities, and takes on challenges that are often shied away from. I am usually met with judgement, questioning, and doubt from others who believe that my goals will be too difficult, that I will be spread too thin, or that it isn’t a good idea to try. I see the doubt as motivation to work hard, prove myself, and show that I will always rise to the occasion. I get great satisfaction when I can prove myself, and show that I have never been, and will never be a person to look down on. I can, and I will move mountains.

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

This may be a little crazy, but HEAR ME OUT, Maximus the horse from Tangled! During my time as a teen titleholder, I was actually smacked by a horse while taking pictures at a parade. (Yes, it is on video, and yes I will gladly show anyone who asks for it). My thought process here is that if I am a horse, maybe the other horses will find it in their hearts to get to know me before choosing violence:) And honestly, Maximus is too cute, despite my very rational fear of horses.

If you had an extra ticket to see the Buffalo Bisons play the Syracuse Mets, who would you take with you? Why?

I would have to choose one of my best friends, Anna Spaulding! We met through this organization when we were crowned with our first Outstanding Teen titles in 2018. Since then, we have held another set of teen titles together, and were crowned Miss Adirondack and Miss Thousand Islands together in the same organization! Unfortunately since college has put us in two separate states, we aren’t together as much as we were before. I would love to take Anna with me to a baseball game, and spend some much needed time together!

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

The very first (and only) time I have been to a baseball game unrelated to my school, it was rained out within the first hour. I honestly don’t have a specific feature or activity I want to participate in. I’d really just like to experience a whole game without being rained on the entire time and forced to leave after an hour!


Being there for the whole game is definitely a goo place to start!

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

As Ashlyn continues her time as Miss Adirondack, I encourage you to check out her title's Instagram account! It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on! 

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

Thanks again Ashlyn, and good luck!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Emily Taylor Visits Section 36!

As you may be aware, since 
Section 36 occupies a spot in the centerfield bleachers in Fenway you get a nice view into the Red Sox bullpen. I imagine that would make it a good place for Emily Taylor to visit, since her new husband Josh spends a lot of time there. Emily is a business owner, and has held several jobs across sports. I’m so excited she was willing to take some time to visit with us and discuss those topics, along with a few more. I know you’ll enjoy reading everything she had to say.

So let's see what happens when Emily Taylor Visits Section 36!

You’re a graduate of the University of Memphis. What did you enjoy most about your time as a Tiger?

I sure am, and proud of it! While at Memphis, I was able to jump start my sports career by first working for the athletic department, before moving on to the professional world. I was also a tour guide for two years. My favorite thing about Memphis? The way the city comes together to support its sports teams—like a family. There is nothing like a full crowd at the Liberty Bowl, or at the Fedex Forum (where both the Tigers and Grizzlies play).

You’ve held several jobs/positions in the sports landscape. Do you have a favorite so far?

​My favorite thing to do in sports is work as a Director. To have every aspect of game entertainment in the palm of your hand, literally. You cue the music, graphics, PA announcer, camera shots, all of it into one production. It's a lot of fun to me.

What I love most about working in sports is the people, hands down. I still am close friends with most of my bosses and coworkers from different gigs. One was even in my wedding! Whether you work with them or for them, they are the reason you show up every day; ask anybody who has ever been in a control room--they are a special kind of people.

You’re the owner of Taylor.Made 1127. What can you tell me about the company?

Taylor.Made 1127 is a work in progress... Last spring there were a lot of restrictions for families in the major leagues to keep everyone safe. I invested in a cricut machine and an ipad with my stimulus check (haha) and then just started creating things. My goal initially was to put dogs on koozies, and after I did that, I was like now what? Now I just specialize in totally custom things. I can put anything from your dog to your grandma's handwriting on anything. 

You were able to be in the park for Josh’s MLB debut. What was that experience like for you?

That whole 24/48 hours was such a whirlwind! I was bartending when he called me, and I had a flight booked within an hour. His dad, stepmom, and I flew out to Boston at like 3 am or something crazy. No sleep. It was a big weekend in Boston, and the Bruins were in the playoffs, Harvard, BC I think both had graduations, and the Red Sox series against the Indians... there were zero hotel rooms in the city. We wound up finding a Super 8 20 minutes outside in this city we'd never seen, got two or three hours of sleep, and were off to New York for the Yankees series. We got to see him very briefly before the game, and it was just all so surreal. It was May 29, 2019. And it was cold. But seeing the love of my life run onto that field for the first time, fulfilling his lifelong dream? Indescribable. We were trying our best to freeze time. 

How often do you get to see Josh pitch in person? 

I usually go to pretty much any home game when I know he has a pretty good chance at going in. Unless it's cold, then I sometimes stay home.

Other than Section 36, what is your favorite feature or experience at Fenway Park?

Fenway Park is magical. If you enter by climbing the stairs near I think section 18 where the bathrooms are, the first time you see the field is pure magic. My favorite experience? Sitting on the Green Monster of course. My favorite attraction? The hall of the jerseys that leads into the hall of fame. Again-magical. It showcases jerseys from the generations and instantly you 'get' why the Red Sox are such a big deal historically, even if you're not a baseball person.

Being in the bullpen seems to automatically mean a pitcher will see some criticism during the season. How do you deal with the negative side of Red Sox fan social media?

I don't see that very much, I tend to stay out of it. It doesn't do anybody any good to absorb all the negativity. It is funny, though how fickle Red Sox fans can be. They don't say much until Josh has a bad day or outing... but when he has 26 scoreless appearances in a row? Radio silence 😀 .


I think staying out of it is a pretty good idea.

Of course, I want to thank Emily for taking the time to do this interview, and for allowing me to use the pictures that go along with the post. They always help tell the story better.

I definitely suggest you check out Emily on Instagram, and follow along with Taylor.Made 1127. It'll be fun.

Thanks again Emily!

Monday, January 10, 2022

2021 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster!

It's time to open some more cards! This looks like my first blaster of 2021 Topps Allen & Ginter, so it was fun to do. I can't decide if I'm tiring of the A&G brand yet. The designs are getting pretty bland. I understand they're trying to fit in a specific style. But, that doesn't mean I can't be bored with it. While it's still fin to get cards of different people, and things, maybe the novelty has started to wear off. But, it's still fun to open packs.

How did this one turn out? Let's see!

Yup. The box. Even the box is boring.

As are the packs.

Inserts like this make me think that Topps is doing it right with their flagship sets where the inserts are just rehashing their old designs. It's not like "historical hits" is a particularly clever theme. Nor is the design an artistic masterpiece. If I want to include a card of Fisk in a set, might as well just slap a 1987 border on it. This one doesn't do much for me. Even if it's a card of "that" hit.

And here's the base design. Not much to get excited about. But, it does look nice for the old-time players like Williams.

And there you have it. Not a lot to write home about from this box. Os this set.

How did your blasters go?

Friday, January 7, 2022

Avery Holkup Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Avery Holkup is passionate about online safety, a talented singer, and the current Miss Capital A'Fair. 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 Avery Holkup visits Section 36! 

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Capital A'Fair crown?

When I got crowned as Miss Capital A'Fair, I couldn't believe it. As soon as I was crowned I knew that it meant even more hard work and time that I would be putting into my days along with volunteer work in order to prepare for the Miss North Dakota stage. I think the way that I celebrated was being proud of my self that I achieved something that had previously seemed so far out of reach. I also had to immediately share with all my family and friends the exciting news!

Do you have a specific goal you'd like to accomplish during your time as Miss Capital A'Fair?

During my time as Miss Capital A'Fair I hope to make an impact on the community and get the word out about my social impact initiative Operation: Analyze. The more people that I can reach to talk about the importance of being safe online with our changing world, the more I will feel accomplished. 

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

I think the part that I will always be the most nervous about isthe onstage question. For me I feel like that part takes the most practice. It is very nerve wracking not knowing what question is going to be asked, and every time there is a different question. 

How did you select your social impact initiative, "Operation: Analyze"?

I always remember growing up adults and teachers talking about being safe online and reasons why you shouldn't talk to strangers online. For me it always seemed as though I, and the people around me, didn't take it very seriously. It wasn't until I was in my late teen years that I realized how important it was. As I decided to study criminal justice in college, I began to realize how many crimes can have ties to the online world. The real truth is that you don't know who is on the other side of that screen. Sometimes the information that you think is only reaching one person can become accessible to thousands and millions in seconds. I still don't think that people today understand the seriousness of the issue or realize how it can impact each and every one of their lives and that is why I chose it as my social impact. 

What do you enjoy most about performing your talent on stage?

I have always loved music and singing ever since I was a little girl. When I was young I would get super nervous to go on stage and perform. Now I thrive on the energy that comes from performing on stage. I also love to share my talent with the people around me, and it feels good to share it.

How would you complete the sentence, " I get great satisfaction when ___?"

I get great satisfaction when I help others. Whether it be when I am substitute teaching in a classroom, volunteering, or giving someone advice, I always feel great after helping someone else. 

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

I would have to say Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It has always been one of my favorites, even as a child. I think one of the main reasons I would like to be her for a week is so I could go see her library in the castle and read some of her books. I love books and I have always wondered what kinds of books she would read and have in the library. 

If you had an extra ticket to a Bismarck Larks baseball game, who would you take with you? Why?

 If I had an extra ticket to a Larks game I would take my oldest youngest brother with me. I have watched him, along with my other two brothers, play baseball since they were five. I would take him with me because he always knows more than me about sports and has this amazing ability to be able to pick out the little details about what is going on during a game. I love getting to have those little bits of insider information when watching a game. 

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

I think that any experience is a good experience to have. I love getting to watch baseball especially with family and friends. I also love getting to experience the crowd and the food! I think that one thing I would like to experience is getting to have seats behind home plate, just so I can get to be closer to the action!


I can't argue with that!

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

As Avery continues her time as Miss Capital A'Fair, I encourage you to check out her title's Instagram account! It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on! 

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

Thanks again Avery, and good luck!

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