To boo or not to boo?

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To boo or not to boo?

As we were reminded last week, nothing polarizes sports fans quite like religion and politics. In fact, nothing polarizes anything quite like religion and politics.

Lets never talk about that stuff again, OK? We dont need it. Especially when there are plenty of other hot button issues to argue over.

For instance, booing.

Is there anything in sports that polarizes fans faster than the concept of booing athletes?

Whether its an issue with the home team, or the home players, or former heroes returning as enemies, when we talk about booing, true colors come flying out. We end up debating morality and basic human rights. Everyone gets preachy and nothings ever accomplished.

In other words: Its awesome.

Im already bracing myself for January.

SHOULD CELTICS FANS BOO RAY ALLEN?

I dont know.

They should do whatever they want. This isnt a moral issue; its booing. Its part of the game. And if you think theyre wrong, thats your right, but theres no point in lecturing. Youd be better off trying to convince Tim Thomas to vote for Obama.

People will believe what they want to believe. And right now, a lot of people believe that Josh Beckett deserves to be booed. Not for getting injured, but for being Josh Beckett. Not for his back spasms, but because back spasms are an injury consistent with the notion that he's out of shape.

Bottom line: Beckett's become the face of this year-long Red Sox nightmare, and fans are ready to wake up. They don't want to see him anymore. Hell, if they really wanted to be cruel and unusual, they could have cheered the injury. Celebrated the possibility that this guy might disappear for 15 days. But they booed.

It's OK.

Beckett will be OK. Ray Allen will be OK. Johnny Damon was OK. And if booing makes a fan feel better, who's to say whether it's right or wrong?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.