(Former) Home of the Braves With LeBron, respect is finally due

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(Former) Home of the Braves With LeBron, respect is finally due

The Atlanta Braves come to Fenway this weekend. And while it's been three years since they've played a game in Boston, it's now 60 years since they called Boston home.

The Boston Braves played their last game at Braves Field (which was on Comm Ave, in the space that now holds BU's Nickerson Field) on September 21, 1952 an 8-2 loss to Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following March, owner Lou Perini announced that he was moving the team to Milwaukee. Why? Well, attendance was awful.

That was thanks in some part to the popularity of the Red Sox, but also because the Braves were pretty bad they had only seven winning seasons over their last 30 years in Boston. And in many ways, they always seemed destined to eventually split town.

But I know of at least one man who believes that the Braves could have had a future in Boston. That man is my uncle, who's since passed away, but who told me some variation of the following story no fewer than 375 times while I was growing up:

It was September of 1948, and the Braves (led by Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn and future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones) had already wrapped up the National League pennant their first since 1914, and their last in Boston. Over in the AL, the Red Sox and Indians were coming down to the wire and with four games left, the Sox trailed Cleveland by two. (By the way, this was at a time when there were no playoffs. The best record in the National League and the best record in the American League just automatically played in the World Series).

Cleveland lost two of their last four games, while the Sox won four straight, leaving the two teams in a tie atop the American League.

They went to a one-game playoff for a spot in the World Series . . . which the Sox lost 8-3.

My uncle (and a lot of other people I'm sure, but he's the only one I ever heard it from), always wondered what might have happened if the Sox had won that playoff game. Would an all-Boston World Series and the fanfare that came with it have ignited a SoxBraves rivalry? Could it have triggered enough interest in Boston's other team to make it worth their while to stick around?

Eh, probably not. But you never know. It's fun to think about.

As is this: Can you imagine if Boston still had two baseball teams?

I can. To be honest, right now would be as good a time as any to inject another club into this city's baseball landscape. Not because we're ready to disown the Sox (OK, some people are ready to disown the Sox), but because it would nice if Fenway Sports Group had some competition around here. Another option for baseball-loving Bostonians that could help keep Larry, JWH and Co. honest instead of letting them slip into the disdainful "screw our real fans" monsters that they've become today.

I'm serious, we bring another team to Boston and one of two things happen:

1. FSG gets its act together.

2. FSG gets scared and sells the Sox.

Either way, the fans win.

Which brings me to another question: Anyone have a billion dollars lying around?

We could buy the Mariners and have them playing at the softball field on Boston Common by next spring.

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.