Wednesday, August 30, 2023

2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Blaster!

OK. Here's something new. I don't think I even knew what they were when they came out. Probably why it took until now for me to get some. I actually like the concept. Very similar to the Heritage set, this set will perpetually celebrate whatever design was having its platinum anniversary. But with chrome. I think there's a place for that.

Let's see how it went!

Here's the box, with the throwback design.

And the packs as well! Shiny but throwback.

He's the classic 1953 Topps design. This would be better if it wasn't the design Topps is using for its "living set". I've seen this design a lot these days. Also, with Ortiz here, obviously this set will include some retired players. I suppose that's alright.

Or, some REALLY retired players. I'm a little over the "remember when Ruth played for the Red Sox" kick Topps has been on. But, I guess I don't hate it.

Since this was/is a 2022 set, I believe JD counts as a current Sox.

Also, as I say's not the 70th anniversary of the 1953 set. In 2022, it would have been the 70th anniversary of the 1952 set.

Now I'm confused.

Anyone know what's going on? Can I not math?

Monday, August 28, 2023

Check Out My Rookies!

I must have been on quite a buying/selling spree over at COMC lately, because this shipment didn't take long at all to put together. This package filled a few different categories of my collection, so I figured it should take a few posts to show them off. Let's start with the "Red Sox Rookies" that I acquired. As with any shipment, I like to have a little variety. It's what makes for a fun collection, in my mind. So, what did I get this time? 

Let's have a look, shall we?


The way Bello is going, I should probably grab as many of his cards as I can before people figure it out. Especially numbered rookies like this Bowman parallel.

Speaking of rookie parallels, here's the gold version of Rafael Devers's Big League RC. I assume that at some point the rest of the league, and the rest of collectors, will start treating this guy like a star. He deserves it.

Another Brayan Bello. Another parallel version. This time his Big League, in the rainbow foil...or whatever it's called these days.

Finally decided it was crazy that I didn't have one of these in my collection. I was never a big Pedroia fan. But, since he only has a couple true rookies, the prices were always WAY more than I was willing to pay for one of his cards. I finally gave in.

This time, the Topps RC of Bello, again in rainbow foil.

Another rookie. Another Topps. Another parallel. I don't really know what's stopping me from becoming a Triston Casas supercollector. He's a rookie with promise. A nice guy. And, he wears #36. He's perfect.

Instead, how about more Bellos. Another numbered parallel of his Bowman. This one an even lower number. Does this mean I'm chasing the rainbow? I guess only time will tell.

But, here's another one of his regular Topps parallels. A double rainbow?

And, one more of Devers before the rest of the world discovers he exists. 

So, there we go. That's part of my latest shipment from COMC. 

Can't wait to show you more.

Which card is your favorite?

Friday, August 25, 2023

Emily Anastasio Visits Section 36!

Claire Marchand
Section 36 had another visitor! 
Emily Anastasio is passionate Alzheimer’s Awareness, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Connecticut's Teen. I was so thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when  Emily Anastasio visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Connecticut’s Teen crown?

After I won the title of Miss Connecticut’s Teen, I celebrated with my family! We had a huge BBQ cookout at my uncle’s house and had a blast talking about my experiences during Miss Connecticut Week.

How did you select your Community Service Initiative: Alzheimer’s Awareness?

When choosing my Community Service Initiative, I knew I wanted to support an organization and initiative that was near and dear to my heart. Both of my great grandmother’s suffered from Alzheimer’s, and after watching the effects that it had on them both and learning more about this debilitating disease, I knew that I wanted to help and educate people on Alzheimer’s and the effects that it has on patients and their caretakers.

What is something that Peyton Troth did as Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen that you would like to emulate? 

At such a young age, Peyton has been able to accomplish so much. She has broken barriers for young women across the state, and has overcome so many challenges to get to where she is today. As her successor, I have big shoes to fill and a legacy to continue, and as Miss Connecticut’s Teen 2023, I would like to follow in Peyton’s footsteps and continue to speak up and speak out about things that I am passionate about, in hopes to create positive change within the state of Connecticut.

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

Catherine Fiehn
As a competitive dancer of 15 years, I have grown up on the stage. The thing that I enjoy most about performing is getting to be the best version of myself while on stage. I am the most happy when I am performing, and getting to showcase that is absolutely wonderful.

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 Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Belle is always kind to everyone that she meets, and doesn’t care about the negative opinions that others may have about her. She is willing to lend a helping hand to anyone that needs it, and is incredibly smart!

If you had an extra ticket to a Hartford Yard Goats game, who would you take with you? Why?

If I had an extra ticket to a Hartford Yard Goats game, I would take my grandmother with me. My grandmother is the person who introduced me to the sport of baseball and watches every Red Sox game with me on TV when we are together. We share a mutual love and appreciation for the sport, and any time I get to spend with her is a great time.

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

As an avid baseball lover and Red Sox fan, I have already experienced so many wonderful activities at Fenway Park, from having a ball tossed to me by Cristian Vasquez, getting to watch batting practice on top of the Green Monster, meeting my favorite baseball player, JD Martinez, singing Sweet Caroline at the top of my lungs, and seeing several home runs leave the park. One thing that I haven’t experience yet, is getting to announce at a baseball game on national television. My dream job is to work as a Sports Broadcaster at ESPN or NESN, so getting to pursue that would be an absolute dream come true!


That would definitely be a dream!

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

I also want to wish Emily luck when she competes for Miss America's Teen! It would be fantastic to have the first Section 36 Forever wear that crown.

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Emily during her journey as Miss Connecticut's Teen. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account, Facebook page, and website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on. 

Thanks again Emily, and good luck!

Friday, August 18, 2023

Gina Carloto Visits Section 36!

Claire Marchand
Section 36 had another visitor! 
Gina Carloto is passionate about giving back to communities, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Connecticut. I was so thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when Gina Carloto visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Connecticut crown? 

I knew that whether I won or not, I was going straight to Krispy Kreme for glazed donuts! After all of the excitement, photos, and cleaning up the dressing room, I did just that and ordered 2 dozen glazed donuts. We're so fortunate to have had Mohegan Sun host Miss CT week because of their hospitality and great food choices. After sharing some donuts with friends and family, I went right home to celebrate with my dog, Dakota!

What is something Sylvana Gonzalez did as Miss Connecticut that you would like to emulate? 

Catherine Fiehn
Sylvana's dedication to the organization and making the most of her year as Miss Connecticut by remaining present is something I'd like to emulate. Whenever I saw photos of Sylvana at appearances, it was evident that she was fully engaged and invested in whatever it was she was doing - whether it was reading to children or participating in a community event, Sylvana was fully immersed in every moment, not missing a single beat. Being present is so important nowadays because it's so easy to be distracted by technology, social media, and other things.

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

Getting all my luggage to the location, especially if we have to fly, makes me most nervous! Given we travel with our entire wardrobe - gowns, interview outfits, shoes, and other irreplaceable, special items, I would never want my luggage getting lost or delayed.

How did you select your Community Service Initiative, “The Grace Collective”? 

From a young age, my mom taught me the importance of serving and giving back to our local communities through volunteerism and community service. When she was in the hospital before she passed from cancer, we talked at length about how I planned to honor her legacy and uphold the values she instilled throughout my life. Despite being a single mother, my mom extended herself to others through community service and advocating for victims of domestic violence through various fundraisers, events, food and clothing drives, and by donating anything extra as she was able. In addition, my mom ensured I received an education and doing well in school was imperative in our household. I'm fortunate that my mom instilled the importance of self-love and respect in me, and am grateful for

the beautiful bond she and I shared. The word, "Grace" comes from a saying her nurses and doctors at Smilow Cancer Hospital always said to her during her battle with cancer: "Remember to show yourself grace." I will never forget those words and have chosen to honor my mom's legacy through The Grace Collective by aiming to impact communities through various health, education, advocacy, and love (HEAL) initiatives.

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

Catherine Fiehn
I love sharing my passion for dance and years of training with the audience. Seeing people dancing or clapping to the music and immersing themselves in my performance makes me feel fulfilled as a performer. Dance is a universal language and the arts are an outlet for many people from different walks of life - having the ability to communicate with others through movement is such a blessing.

What is your personal fitness routine? 

I enjoy taking Pure Barre and Orangetheory Fitness classes because the structure helps me get a productive workout completed in a short amount of time and holds me accountable to working out. However, I also love going to the gym, taking dance classes as much as possible, and teaching conditioning classes! I plan to teach more classes throughout my year as Miss Connecticut to engage my community and uphold my personal values that I've integrated into my community service initiative. My favorite way to stay #MissAmericaFit is taking my dog for walks/runs every morning and evening.

You currently work as a fund accountant at a hedge fund. What drew you to that field? 

Before attending school for finance, I earned a BFA in Commercial Dance while living in Los Angeles for almost 5 years. Upon moving home, I decided to go back to school at Sacred Heart University and earned a Bachelor of Science in finance and accounting and went on to earn an MBA in finance. During undergrad, I interned with a Big 4 public accounting firm, but felt I was best suited at a private firm to learn and grow in my career, as my desire was not to be an accountant. My role as a fund accountant is much less focused on debits and credits, which I enjoy. I am on my company's valuations team so I contribute to valuing the financial investments in our portfolio across various fund structures.

If you had an extra ticket to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, who would you take with you? Why? 

My mom was born and raised in Massachusetts so all of her family members are Red Sox fans! I would definitely take my cousin Savannah with me because she moved at a young age to Nevada, and still has a fierce dedication to the Red Sox and is one of their biggest fans!

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

I like to think I have a pretty good arm, so I'd love to throw first pitch! Singing the National Anthem is definitely out because singing is unfortunately not a talent I possess (I think I'll stick to dance)!


The first pitch sounds like a great idea!

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

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

I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Gina during her journey. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account and Facebook page. 
They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on. You should also follow her personal socials like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. If you're on LinkedIn, find her there as well. You should also follow her CSI's Instagram to see what's going on there. God ahead and do it all!

Thanks again Gina, and good luck!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

It's Down To 45!

After last night's Blue Jays loss, the Red Sox magic number to make the playoffs dropped to 45!

And, even thought the Red Sox themselves lost, I think there's a lot of positivity that came out of the game. 

Mostly it continued to show that the trading deadline "additions" of the injured calvary could be huge. Paxton's start was another in a solid run for him. Ina vacuum, that might not mean much. But, with Sale coming back, it means that's a fourth solid stater the Sox have in the rotation, with Houck on the way. The days of the bullpen games, or back to back openers, could be on their way out. That's a big deal. As much as people liked to point to struggles with the rotation, they didn't like to mention the lack of actual rotation. There's a big difference in that case between "decent" and "awful". Even with the offense the So have had for much of the season, "decent" would have been enough. With what they should have moving forward? Decent is perfect. 

Trevor Story struggled at the plate last the rest of the team did against a good young lefty. But, his flashes in the field showed he's an upgrade over whatever the Sox were throwing out there all year. He'll hit better too. For an offense that was already the highlight of the team, that's a big deal. 

And even after Whitlock's struggles last night, once again even having him as an option is huge. He wasn't sharp last night. It happens. But, adding him to a pitching staff as yet another arm you can trust is once again huge. 

With all the talk in the media about last place and first place, and games behind, and struggles, it's easy to forget sometimes that the Sox have been on a playoff pace all season. Teams around them have stayed around them. But, even through all the injuries, they've been a playoff team. So it's not like they needed to add three Hall of Famers just to be average. They just needed to pick up a few extra wins. Going from "bad" at some positions to "adequate" is all they needed. And there's a good chance they got better than that.

This is going to be a fun last six weeks to the season. And beyond.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Arianna Shanks Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Arianna Shanks is passionate about domestic violence prevention, a budding physical therapist, and the current Miss Banks of the Wabash. I was so excited that she wanted to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more. 

So, let's see what happens when Arianna Shanks visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Banks of the Wabash crown?

When I decided I was competing, I told my family not to worry about attending the competition. It was my first time ever competing and I didn’t expect much. Lucky for me my parents disregarded my wishes and came anyway. They brought me flowers and were very supportive, but since it was so late they had to head home. I went back to college and found my whole friend group in my dorm ready to throw me a congratulations party, which was so special! 

What has been the biggest surprise about your time as Miss Banks of the Wabash?

For me it’s been the doors that have been opened! I’ve been trying to volunteer in my community for years, but I’ve found that opportunities present themselves much more frequently when you have a title. I’ve gotten some really amazing opportunities for advocacy and service and I hope to continue my work for a long time. 

This summer you competed at your first Miss Indiana competition. What was your favorite memory from that experience?

I loved every single second of competing for Miss Indiana, but the memory that really stands out is from the first preliminary night, where I answered my on-stage question. In my answer about supporting survivors I gave a few statistics about domestic violence. At one point I could literally hear the reaction to the statistics ripple through the audience; when I came off the stage after answering my on stage question, I had someone thank me. They said they were grateful for my bravery, and that I made them tear up while I was talking. They told me to keep going, and keep sharing my story, because they too were a survivor who never got the chance to do what I was doing. You can see it in someone’s eyes when they’ve lived the same experience as you, and most of the women i interacted with post-competition didn’t have to say a word. We shared a knowing glance and their appreciation (and my admiration for them) was obvious. I will never forget that. 

How did you select your social impact initiative, “The Gabby Project”?

“The Gabby Project” itself is a project that uses education to attempt to prevent domestic violence and uses every resource possible to support survivors. I know for some people it can be hard to pick an initiative, but for me I could feel it in my gut the minute I realized I needed to pick something to advocate for. Since I was so new to MAO, I didn’t have years to think about what was important to me; instead I had about a month to pick and perfect my platform. I had been personally affected by domestic violence, which is what fueled my passion to protect other girls like me. 

I was 15 when I got into my relationship with my abuser. Too young to have enough dating experience to spot red flags, and too young to understand that the way I was being treated was completely unacceptable. 

I strongly believe that if someone then had been doing what I’m doing now, my abuse could’ve been prevented. If I had someone looking out for me and educating me on what abuse looks like, I would never have ended up in that position in the first place. 

My initiative is called “The Gabby Project” as a testament to how young I was when my abuse started. Many people don’t know this, but “Gabby” is me. My grandfather called me “Gabby” as a child as a nickname for me, because my full name is Arianna Gabrielle. He called me that for YEARS, and hearing that name reminds me of being a child: which is exactly what I was at 15. All I have ever wanted is simultaneously use my story as a warning against abuse, and as proof that you are not what happens to you. 

You’re currently studying kinesiology at the University of Indianapolis. Where do you see that field taking you?

My hope is that I’ll attend Uindy’s school of physical therapy and graduate with my DPT. Our current Miss Indiana works at Riley Children’s Hospital as a registered nurse, and my dream is to work there as a pediatric physical therapist. 

What is your personal fitness routine?

I pretty much live in the gym. Strength training helps me feel a sense of control, and it’s nice to see the amazing things that my body is capable of. My typical week consists of 6 heavy lifting days, 3-4 cardio days, and 2-3 yoga classes. I like to incorporate all of these things to keep myself well rounded. 

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

If we’re counting Marvel as disney, I would say Shuri from Black Panther. She is incredibly cool, and has access to amazing technology. I also love her fiery personality and her fashion sense. As a science nerd, I would love to have access to her labs and research even if it was just for a week! 

If you had an extra ticket to a Fort Wayne Tincaps baseball game, who would you take with you? Why?

I would take my Dad with me! He loves the atmosphere of sports games, and he’s usually the person I go to baseball or basketball games with. Mostly though, I would take him with me because he deserves a day off. He works so hard all day every day to support me and my siblings, and I’ve never heard him complain, even once. he is so focused on serving others he forgets to find time for himself. I love getting to spend time with him and it would be a lot of fun to take a trip with just him. 

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

I’ve always wanted to throw the first pitch at a baseball game! My hometown actually has their own minor league, called the Jackrabbits. I think it would be super special to get to throw the first pitch, especially because I’m currently the only pageant queen in/from my hometown! 


A first pitch would be a great opportunity, especially in her hometown!.

As always, I want to thank Arianna 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 Emma during the rest of 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 Arianna, and good luck !

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