Sunday, December 31, 2023

Sale-ing Away

I know, I'm so clever with the title, right?

It came to my attention that I haven't commented on any of the big news coming from the Red Sox this offseason, and I'm sure you were all waiting and wondering what I think. So, here we go.

A new GM. Or baseball ops cheif, or whatever title Chaim Bloom used to have and is not somewhat covered by a position Craig Breslow now has. I never had that much of a problem with Bloom. I did think he had a flaw Theo had where he was a bit to willing to ride it out with his guys. In 2011 Theo made the calculated gamble to patch holes with his prospects instead of trading them for help, assuming the Sox would still win just enough to keep them in the playoffs. He was a game off. I saw Bloom as the same. Rather than trade guys to fill holes from injuries, he hoped to tread water until they came back. Bloom was similar. Rather than get replacements for Story or Sale, he hoped he could tread water until they returned. But, all the injuries seemed to linger forever, and he got bit. As far as roster construction, he didn't seem that far off. So, as disappointed as I was to see him go, I was glad to see a Theo guy in Breslow come take his place. Honestly, with Theo's endorsement, I'm shocked there were other choices. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all the other options that "turned down" the Sox really turned them down by saying, "Aren't you going with Breslow?" Sort of like when Billy bean turned down the Sox and told them they had that Theo kid anyway. So I was very happy to see what Breslo could do.

He didn't waste much time by trading Alex Verdugo. He was a solid borderline all-star, but losing him doesn't seem like the end of the world. The Sox seem more than happy to go with their young outfielders, and I can't argue against that. Some combination of them should be able to fill in for things just fine.

Breslow wisely avoided the Ohtani/Yamamoto circus. I didn't want any part of either of those contracts.

The Sox were, however, to add Lucas Giolito to the rotation. While not as flashy, he's exactly what the Red Sox were missing. A guy you can count on to go out there and be good. He'll keep you in the game until it get in the bullpen. All the time. It's one of those things where you may not even notice. But, halfway through the season things just seem better, and you can't quite put your finget on it. Until you notice that last year the #3 starter went 4 innings giving up 4 runs, and Giolito is always going 5 and 3. Just that solid performance you need. Of course, he also has much more upside than that. If he can find his previous form, that would go a long way. He has a great floor, and a great ceiling.

Of course, the biggest news is the trade of Chris Sale. I'm amazed that when after the Giolito acquisition if mock rotations put Sale at the top and everyone responded with "he's not an ace anymore". If the rotation went Bello-Giolito-Sale, people would complain that Sale would never be healthy enough for that spot. But, now that he's been traded, he was apparently prime Pedro. Again, I like this move. Sounds like the Sox filled a position of need by getting a good young second baseman in exchange for a huge question mark. My guess is that replacing what they actually expected for Sale might not be difficult. Replacing what they "hoped for" from Sale? That might be tougher. But, there's still plenty of time to figure that one out. 

I'm excited to see how the roster fills out. This is going to be fun.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Charlee Royer Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Charlee Royer is passionate about kid's mental health, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Maple Grove's Teen. 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 Charlee Royer visits Section 36!

What made you decide to compete for the Miss Vermont’s Teen crown as Miss Maple Grove’s Teen? 
My first impression of the Miss America Scholarship Organization was from a TikTok. It was a local titleholder who was explaining how she was earning scholarships through Miss America. I sent the video to my mom and told her I wanted to look into it. A little research and a few phone calls later, I was a delegate for Miss Vermont’s Teen 2023. After winning over $1500 in scholarship money as first runner-up, I knew I would continue competing for Miss Vermont’s Teen. Although I originally started to compete for the Scholarships, I have grown to love representing the beautiful state of Vermont where I grew up. I strive to do so on a bigger platform. That’s why I’m competing again this year as Miss Maple Grove’s Teen. 

What is something that Ginger Ragaishis is doing as Miss Vermont’s Teen that you would like to emulate? 
Ginger is a big inspiration for me, especially with her social media presence. She does a fantastic job of creating quality posts that are both relevant and frequent. As a girl who grew up off of social media, posting regularly is something I continue to work on. I look at Miss Vermont’s Teen Instagram pretty regularly to see what Ginger is posting about and use it as inspiration for my posts. 

As a talented dancer, what do you enjoy about performing on stage? 
As a dancer, I have been performing for over 10 years of my life. Ever since I was young, I loved to make the audience feel something. Whether it was a smile on their faces, or occasionally tears, getting to influence the observer’s emotions had always been something I love. A fun fact, I wear my Red Sox Kid Nation Jersey, Pedroia #15 from 2013 to every dance recital! 

How did you select your CSI, “Beyond the Ribbon”? 
Beyond the Ribbon is a non-profit that works to support the
mental well-being of children affected by cancer. When I was 12 my mom was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. I found it extremely taxing to see her so sick, and having to take on new responsibilities to keep our household running was difficult. Whenever I could, I found ways to spend time with her that were not strenuous, such as playing cards or coloring. When I started Beyond the Ribbon, it was a way to show other kids that they aren’t alone and that even though having a family member with cancer is scary, there are people to support you. So, in each of the Beyond the Ribbon care boxes, there is a letter with my contact information and some quiet activities to do with your family.

If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
If I were to be a Disney character for a week, I would be Marie from the Aristocats. Getting to be pampered and live the luxurious life of a cat sounds like a dream. Not to mention the adventures she goes on with her siblings and the alley cats. 

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you would especially like to experience?
I have been going to Red Sox games with my family my whole life. My favorite part is getting to sing “Sweet Caroline” with the crowd. I think it is a great time, and always makes my family laugh. I’ve even been lucky enough to sit in Section 36 before!


How lucky is she to have been able to sit in Section 36?!?.

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

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Charlee during the time left in her her journey. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account. 
It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on, and you'll be sure not to miss anything.  You should also check out her CSI's Amazon wishlist if you'd like to help your cause.

Thanks again Charlee, and good luck in the future!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

2023 Topps Allen & Ginter blaster!

Let's keep it rolling with another blaster of 2023 Topps Allen & Ginter! You know the story. Old timey cards. Fun subjects, some baseball some other celebrities, some non celebrities.

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

As always, the box. Need some way to make sure you open the post to see the hits.

And all the packs. Do I get credit for actually showing the packs in each box as opposed to just a stock image of a random box/packs combo?

A Red Sox rookie is always welcomed. Especially when it's a yoing starting pitcher with a bright future like Bello here. 

Unfortunately, that was the only Red Sox card in the box. How about we look at some other players too?

How about "almost Red Sox" Alex Rodriguez? Nice looking card that really seems to fit the old timey feel...if you ignore the sunglasses.

How about an actual former Red Sox? Or, a pre Sox card of a former Sox? Whatever the connection, this is a nice little Gagne card. The "Spotless Spans" theme is a little weird, and I can't think of a more useless "record" than a saves streak. (Just beating out a hitting streak). But, this is definitely a card that you can get.

So is this one. I'm really intrigued by this. A rookie year Topps card of a potential star. What will collectors think of this card moving forward? In five years, will this be given rookie card status? Is it better than a rookie year Bowman card without the RC logo on it? Will NBA collectors turn up their noses at it? Has this ever happened in Allen & Ginter with a key rookie year card of a player in another sport? For my purposes, it fits in nicely as a representative Victor Wembanyama "RC".

And there you have it. One Red Sox RC, and one rookie of a budding NBA star. Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.

How did your box go?

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

2023 Topps Allen & Ginter blaster!

It's time to open some more cards! How about another blaster of 2023 Topps Allen & Ginter? I'll keep hoping I'll enjoy the checklist. But, we'll have to see. I'm sure it's hit or miss for Topps. If I love the subjuect it's a hit. If I don't happen to, it's a miss. They can't make everyone happy. But they should at least try to make me happy! 

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

The quanit and quirky box.

And the matching packs.

Starting off tbhis this card of now former Red Sox Alex Verdugo. He was a solid addition to the Sox, and was surprised they let him go for the return they gow. Hopefully the pitching depth will help the team long term.

Bello is still on the team! Hopefully he sticks around for a while performing at a top level. He's apparently one of the good ones.

Speaking of good ones, he's a former Sox in Wade Boggs. May, that Rays logo is just overpoweringly huge! Still looks awkward seeing him wearing it. 

And there you have it. One current Red Sox card, and a couple former players. But, nothing too exciting to talk about.

How did your box go?

Thursday, December 7, 2023

2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Blaster!

Yup. I still have some of this sitting around. And, yup, when I checked yesterday Targrt still has some of this sitting around. It's still fun though. Since it's technically a 2022 set, you already know the good players in it. It's not hyping the current rookie crop. These players all have at least two seasons under their belt by now. It's a completely different feel.

So, how did this box go? Let's find out!

Remember the box from last time?

And, the packs too?

OK. Some of the players have more than two seasons under their belt. So have played their entire career, and have been retired for a bit. Like Pedroia here.

Some are a bit younger like Hernandez. So, nobody currently on the Red Sox in this box. There were a few former Red Sox though.

Like Benintendi here. He's looking a little despondent in this picture.

Chavis also has an interesting look about him. I always expected big things from Chavis...just like the rest of us.

And there you have it. Nobody on the Sox, and nobody with much star power. This is what you call a bad box. Oh well. At least it's still cards.

How did your box go?

Thursday, November 9, 2023

2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Blaster!

Yup. I still have some of this sitting around. Of course, I think Targrt still has some of this sitting around. It's fun though. Since it's technically a 2022 set, you already know the good players in it. It's not hyping the current rookie crop. These polayers all have at least two seasons under their belt by now. It's a completely different feel.

So, how did this box go? Let's find out!

You know the box by now.

And the packs.

As much as I enjoy getting cards of Ted, there's always an "eh" factor with long time retired players like this. Is this really a "Ted Williams" card in my collection? Do I need another one of these? I can't decide.

Even a Pedro card. This doesn't go in my Pedro PC. It's not from his playing days. So, it's just another Red Sox card. Not that I'm annoyed to have it. But, it's not as special as a current player. Even for Pedro.

This isn't a Red Sox card in any way. But, a little "what could have been" since this box included not only this (I think)  Fuchsia Atomic Refractor version /100 but also...

This Rose Gold Refractor /75. It's a Steve Carlton hot box! Now, if only this happened for Pedro! (Or, Julio Rodriguez for that matter).

And there you have it. Two former Red Sox cards, and two numbered HOFers. Not too bad at all.

How did your box go?

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

2023 Topps Allen & Ginter blaster!

It's time to open some more cards! How about my first blaster of 2023 Topps Allen & Ginter? I'm hoping that this set will start coming around. In the beginning, it was fun gettingcards of odd objects or unusual people. But, lately it almost seems like they're being used as advertisement. Lots of Social media stars and Topps affilliates. I know it's a fine line between quirky and far out. They did it well for so long though, it's odd watching them lose their way. But, it's still fun to open cards, right? 

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

The Box with the antique feel.

And the packs.

Unbelievable timing on this one.

Especially since it was the only Red Sox card in the box.

But, since this is my first box,  how about some of the other cards?

Here's a nice example of a good oddball card subject. This is the guy responsible for the mud they use to rub up baseballs before games. Always seemed odd that there was only one type of mud that worked for this process. But, so be it. 

Here's a former Red Sox player to add. The design this year is fun. I like the scrolling around the wood border. Feels rather elegant.

And here's the other end of the oddball spectrum. I know "YouTube Stars" are starting to become the "Television Stars" of the day. But, a "content creator" is a really weird subject for a card. At least he doesn't make content for Topps...right?

And there you have it. One timely Red Sox card, and a few others. But, nothing too exciting to talk about.

How did your box go?

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

2023 Topps Chrome Blaster!

Time for another one of these! Like most people, I've always enjoyed the Chrome set, even if some of the luster seems to be wearing off these days. It seems every set has a chrome/shiny version these days. And, frankly, the number of cards in this blaster really diminishes the "value" of the blaster. The per card cost makes it nearly impossible to justify unless you're into the high risk high reward game. Assuming there are high rewards available. But, I still enjoy opening packs. So, whatcha gonna do?

How did this box go? Let's find out!

As always, the box. Wish Topps had gone with the Red Sox rookies instead of the Orioles.

Especially all over the packs.

Here's a fun insert of Rafael Devers. Fun, in that it's a nic looking card. But, it's not "clever", which is what I want from my inserts. "Technicolor"? Really? That's an insert set in in color?

And the base Devers. One thing the Chrome does, is make it hard to photograph. No, Devers is not running into the darkness in this pic.

Although, the glare sort of helps this Chris Sale card. I like how it highlights the ball in his hand. Might have been a fun effect to use on the card.

And, there you have it. Three Red Sox cards, none especially interesting. As I mentioned at the start, I don't really see the value. At the price of the blaster, would make way more sense to just grab the Sox cards individually.

How did your blaster go?

Monday, October 30, 2023

Shyla Victor Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Shyla Victor is passionate about sustainable tourism, 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 Shyla Victor visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Kona Coffee crown? 

After the competition, I was showered with more love by my friends and family at home. But my number one request was to eat! We had a huge dinner and I slept like a baby.

What part of the Miss Hawaii competition were you most nervous about? 

I was most nervous about the level of competition. After competing in my local competition, I was able to get the nerves out but I knew there would be more experienced women at that caliber. 

What has been the biggest surprise about your time as Miss Kona Coffee? 

I did not expect the amount of love and support I would receive from my family, friends, and community. Competing in a pageant was not my normal and new to us all. When I announced my running, there was no doubt from anyone. Everyone supported me and continues to support me in all my endeavors as Miss Kona Coffee 2023. 

How did you select your CSI “Educating Regenerative Tourism”? 

In the beginning, I knew I wanted to do something about Hawaiʻi to draw more attention here but couldn't pick a topic. I was choosing between perpetuating the Hawaiian language, Hawaiian culture, then landed on eco/sustainable tourism. After speaking with a few individuals in the industry, they introduced the new term of Regenerative Tourism and I absolutely fell in love with it. 

What is your favorite part about performing your talent on stage? 

My talent is dancing hula and it means so much to me. I was born into a hula family so it was only natural that I danced hula as well. I have been dancing hula for as long as I can remember and it truly allows me to connect to my Hawaiian culture. Dancing hula tells a story about our ancestors that dancers are able to bring back to life.

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

I would love to be Ariel for a week. Being an Island kid, you are always surrounded by water so it becomes your safe place. I could swim across seas to travel the world and walk on land with the humans. 

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

...when I complete a task I set my mind to. Whether it's competing for a scholarship competition, creating service projects, or even as simple as folding my laundry and putting the clothes a way. A win is a win no matter how big or small. 

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

I would love to watch a live MLB World Series game. I played softball from middle school and really enjoyed the game. By the end of my softball career in high school, I was the starting pitcher and 2nd baseman.


A World Series game is definitely an incredible experience.

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

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Shyla during the short time left in her her journey. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account. 
It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on, and you'll be sure not to miss anything. 

Thanks again Shyla, and good luck in the future!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Welcome Back Craig Breslow!

I remember when Joe Biden was getting ready to announce his choice for running mate. There were stories after stories speculating about the choice. Would it be this senator, or this congressman, or this random person. Every expert had their own angle and their own reasons why they were predicting the correct candidate. Then, when he selected Harris, the stories came out that she was actually a college friend of his son. They'd known each other for years, and Harris had shared many a meal at the Biden house over the years. I remember thinking...wait, people knew this and were still "wondering" who he would choose? Might the "longtime friend who he almost considers a daughter who is also a very qualified senator from the biggest state in the country" be an obvious choice? Were all those stories...what were they...just to push content for clicks?

Or, remember when Amazon was trying to select the location for their next warehouses or whatever? They put on a "nationwide search" to find the perfect location. Local governments were sending Amazon their master plans to show Amazon why they'd be the perfect fit. There were meetings, and concessions. Finaly after a thorough search, Amazon selected...NYC and Washington DC. Was the big search really needed? I could have picked those myself at the beginning. Why the hoopla? (OK, in Amazon's case, the hoopla was to collect planning information from cities and towns for free in order to resell it since Amazon isn't a retail marketplace. It's actually a GIS firm. But you get the point.)

I feel that way this now about Craig Breslow.

All these months of speculation. All these endless stories about who didn't want to job. All these headlines about where the Sox were headed. After all that searching, they selected the guy that the team president's best friend previously hired, trained under another friend, and then recommended. Oh, and the guy happens to be a former Sox player who has the same team building philosophy as the owners and the rest if baseball ops.


I mean, what were we even doing here? Were all those stories just clickbait headlines to make the front office look bad? (Wait, don't answer that. I already know.) How many of the other GMs who "took their names out of consideration" did so because they too knew Breslow was too obvious, and didn't want the "loss" on their resume when they didn't get the job. If I'm the GM of another team, why would I publicly court another job with another team if I knew I wasn't going to get it? I wouldn't. Sure, the guy who already works for the team cn give it a try. No harm there. But, why would anyone else waste their time?

As for the hire itself? I have no idea. I don't know what a Chief Baseball Officer, or whatever they're calling him, does. Sure, they have day to day duties running the staff. But, I'm guessing they're big picture guys. I think he can do that. I remember when Theo was hired as GM one of the comments was that he should be able to do the job since he had negotiated the previous free agent contract the Sox just signed. So, that would imply the actual negotiations and contract stuff are a couple pay grades below Breslow. That leaves him with "here's how we should spend our money, and here's how much of our playroll player X should take." With that job description, the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer influences seem like a good place to start. 

Let's see how it goes! 

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