Curran: For Krafts, why is a casino worth the gamble?

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Curran: For Krafts, why is a casino worth the gamble?

FOXBORO -- Maybe Robert Kraft and Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn can round up enough Foxboro supportand get the OK to put a gambling emporium across the street from Gillette. And maybe the language of the deal and all the winks, nods and nudges convince the NFL to say with a straight face that Kraft and the Patriots don't have a stake in a gambling operation even if it's pretty plain they do. If that all comes to pass, good for the Krafts, I guess. But why do it in the first place?
To me, it would feel like Kraft was mortgaging his legacy and reputation just for the chance to build a Route 1 Empire. In the past decade, Robert Kraft earned his place as one of the most respected and beloved NFL owners. The model franchise he bought and built, the beautiful facility he financed, the leadership he gave during the NFL's growth period, his leadership in brokering labor peace -- no owner has done more. He may wind up in the Hall of Fame. And, just as important, he's the most revered local owner of my lifetime (Walter Brown was pretty loved too but I'm not quite that old). But if he asks the NFL and his fellow owners to let him have his way, he'll be using his reputation and stature as currency to buy their approval. And that just doesn't feel right. Look at it this way. I drive up Route 1 in 2018 and turn left into Wynn's casino instead of turning right into Kraft's NFL stadium. I pay to park and then play a 10 hand of blackjack which I (surprise!) lose. The cash I spent goes to the casino. Which has to pay The Kraft Group its monthly rent for the land it's leasing. How can that be spun as an NFL owner not having a financial stake in a gambling operation? I have nothing against gambling, casinos or fun. If they build it, I will go. But in the coming months, as The Kraft Grouptries make a case that an NFL team isn't marrying up with casino gambling, I'm not going to buy into whatever pretzel logic is put forth. The Krafts are unbelievably innovative and forward-thinking. And when it comes to business, they see the big picture clearly. But are they blind to the fact that people don't like to be played for fools? Who's kidding who? The reputation and respect the Krafts have was hard-earned and well-deserved. Not sure I see the upside in trying to trade on that. Just because you might be able to do something, doesn't mean you should.

Sox may have finally found their everyday third baseman for the postseason

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Sox may have finally found their everyday third baseman for the postseason

BOSTON — As has been well-documented, the Red Sox have tried any number of solutions at third base this season, with eight different players getting starts at the position.

Travis Shaw has the most starts of anyone, with 99. But with three games left in the season, it's become apparent that Brock Holt is being viewed as the likely starter in the post-season.

Holt started all three games in the recent series in New York and was the starter Friday night against Toronto, too.

"You look at the consistent quality to the at-bats," said John Farrell, "and they've been there for him. That's not to say the other guys aren't important to us. But this is the time of year where you're looking to put the best, current lineup on the field and his versatility has shown up a number of ways. He's a confident defender at third base and his skill set is a little bit different from the other guys.

"So against righthanded pitching, that could be the guy we're going with."

Holt came into Friday hitting .319 (22-for-69) in the last 24 games.

Shaw, meanwhile, has been streaky to a fault. In the second half of the season, Shaw has posted a slash line of .195/.260/.362.

"We've seen (the streakiness both ways) in short spurts," Farrell said. "He does have the ability to carry us. But we're trying to get there and we're at a point in the year where every game is meaningful. That's not to say you turn your back on what he did earlier in the season. But we're looking for sparks somewhere."

What's more, Farrell had Holt hitting second in the lineup, in an effort to produce more offense. The Sox were limited to just eight runs in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium, and over the last 11 games, scored more than five runs just once.

Holt hit second, with Xander Bogaerts dropped to sixth.

"This is to create a little bit of a spark for us offensively," explained Farrell. "We've been grinding a little bit. And also, (we want) to create a little more (left-right) balance up and down the lineup."

TIME TO PLAY

As the final few regular season games of his career wind down, David Ortiz acknowledged that it's becoming increasing difficult to focus on the games with all the tributes and ceremonies going on.

In the final 11 days of the season, Ortiz will have had five pre-game ceremonies held in his honor -- and it would have been six had not Ortiz asked the Tampa Bay Rays to cancel the ceremony they had planned in the aftermath of the death that morning of pitcher Jose Fernandez.

On Thursday night, Ortiz has his family on the field for a pre-game celebration hosted by the New York Yankees.

Minutes later, he had to step in to the batter's box against CC Sabathia. Sometimes, it's hard to flip that switch and be emotionally ready to compete.

"I'm not going to lie to you -- it has (gotten harder)," said Ortiz. "We're already in the playoffs, so for the next three days, I don't really have to worry about it. But the best thing about it is that once we get into the playoffs, there's not going to be all these distractions.

"I like to mentally focus when we play, especially when I'm playing for a reason. We work extremely hard during the regular season to get into the playoffs and once we get there, I don't want to blow that off. It's not easy to (do all the ceremonies) and play baseball at the same time. It can be a distraction."