Changing places in Baltimore

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Changing places in Baltimore

There was a time when Baltimore was just about the happiest place on Earth for the Red Sox.

Aside from Fenway, there wasnt a stadium in the American League more inviting than Camden Yards. There wasnt a team in baseball whether they were managed by Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, Lee Mazzilli or Dave Trembley; led by Jeff Conine, Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada or the great Rodrigo Lopez more ready and willing to roll over for the Sox.

For more than a decade, the Orioles were a joke and Boston always had the last laugh.

But now, for the second straight season, the Sox are living their worst nightmare at Fenway South. They're grasping at straws as the walls around their season crumble; meanwhile, you know their former punching bag cant get enough. Theyll never say it publicly (actually, they might), but the Orioles love every second of this Red Sox disaster.

A big reason is Buck Showalter.

From the moment he took the job in the summer of 2010, Showalter set out to instill a culture of Red Sox hatred in that Orioles clubhouse. He took a group of young, impressionable minds (which also happened to possess a ridiculous level of talent) and began molding them into an army of big market assassins.

"Id like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll, Showalter said last spring. You got Carl Crawford cause you paid more than anyone else, and thats what makes you smarter? Thats why I like whipping their butt. Its great, knowing those guys with the 205 million payroll are saying, How the hell are they beating us? "

If thats what he was saying in public, you can only imagine what was flying around behind the scenes. And regardless of what it was, its worked. The Orioles are currently on pace for their first winning season since 1998. Meanwhile, Showalter's in a two-man race with Robin Ventura for A.L. Manager of the Year.

On the other side, the Sox can't keep from repeatedly slipping in the same pile of their own expletive deleted.

Of course, there are more factors in play within both these franchises than merely a focused and inspiring manager. In Baltimore, you have a ton of young, finally-developed talent, but also guys who know their place and are willing to learn, even though there's no question Showalter must rub them the wrong way from time to time. You have a front office willing to let Showalter to do his work; who haven't forgotten why they hired him in the first place and are smart enough to stay out of the way. You have timid expectations; resigned patience within the organization, the media and what's left of their fanbase.

In other words, you have the polar opposite of the Red Sox.

And with all we're going through here, it's no surprise that Baltimore's finding success on the other side of the coin.

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

Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

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Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

Mooke Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a mix of Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Chris Young brought postgame celebrations to a new level last season.

Most Sox fans are familiar with the outfield victory "Win, Dance, Repeat" where the trio would dance and pretend to photograph the game's best player between them. The celebration ended with a pose at first, but as seen the MLB the Show 17's freshly released trailer, a few more wrinkes were added in.

In fact, here's a taste of the celebrations and what else to expect from Playstation's 2017 MLB game:

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal. 

Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016. 

The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.

More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.