(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

Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

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Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

 

QUOTES:

"When he's gotten in trouble, it's been a combination of location and pitches up in the strike zone. That was the case tonight. . . It's more general location than one pitch that he's getting burned on. '' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz's poor start.

"No disrespect to (Jace) Peterson, but you're wanting to force contact. He hasn't hit for a high average.'' - Farrell on Buchholz walking No. 7 hitter Peterson three times.

"When do you walk guys, you do your best to try to minimize the damage and I didn't do a good enough job of that.'' - Buchholz, who saw Peterson come around to score twice after his three walks.

"It's frustrating when you can't put your finger on what you need to do it, and when you need to do it and why. All I can do right now is learn from it and get better in these next couple of days.'' - Buchholz.

"I didn't hear anything. The play was right in front of me, so I couldn't see him say anything. I just assumed I was out.'' - Xander Bogaerts, who was ruled safe at second on a force play by umpire Joe West, but believing he was out, came off the bag and was tagged out in the first inning.

 

NOTES

* Clay Buchholz has allowed five earned runs in four of his five starts this season.

* Heath Hembree pitched multiple innings for the fourth time this season and remains unscored upon in them.

* Over the last eight games, Dustin Pedroia is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with nine extra-base hits.

* All three of Chris Young's hit off lefthanded pitchers this season have been doubles.

* Hanley Ramirez (three hits, two RBI) has driven in a run in each of his last four games and six of his last seven.

* The Sox have scored in the first inning in eight of the last nine games.

 

STARS:

1) Nick Markakis

The Braves right fielder had a four hit night and knocked in three runs.

2) Jhoulys Chacin

Atlanta's starter wasn't overpowering, but he limited the Sox to two runs over five-plus innings and earned the victory.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez broke out a bit at the plate with three hits, while knocking in the first two Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Another tough outing for Buchholz

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First impressions: Another tough outing for Buchholz

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves

 

Another night, another less-than-satisfactory start for Clay Buchholz. Since the end of their last homestand, the Red Sox are 6-2. Both of those losses were hung on Buchholz.

Buchholz wasn't horrendous - he did manage to pitch into the seventh inning and five runs in 6 1/3 isn't a shellacking.

But five runs to this Braves lineup is nothing to shout about, either, and Buchholz made matters worse by walking the No. 7 hitter -- Jace Peterson, who came into the game with a .205 average -- three times. Twice, Peterson came around to score.

In fact, the bottom third of the order was 3-for-7 with three walks.

 

Hanley Ramirez showed some progress at the plate.

Before the game, John Farrell noted that Ramirez had been expanding the zone of late, and working to correct the issue with hitting instructors Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez.

Something apparently clicked, as Ramirez was 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats with two RBI.

The one thing that's been lacking for Ramirez: power. He came into the game with just one homer and a paltry .373 slugging percentage.

 

It wasn't much of a night for former Red Sox players.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was 0-for-4, and for the second straight night, failed to catch a routine foul pop-up.

Meanwhile, reliever Alexi Ogando came in for the seventh inning and promptly allowed a leadoff single and a walk to the first two hitters he faced before recording two more outs and getting lifted for lefty Hunter Cervenka.

 

Turnabout is fair play for Chris Young.

Young got the start in left field over Brock Holt, despite the fact that Atlanta started a righthander (Jhoulys Chacin).

Young was 1-for-3 with a double, though that one hit came off lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

Then, in the eighth inning with righthander Jim Johnson on the mound for the Braves, John Farrell sent Holt up to pinch-hit for Young.

That marked the first time that Holt hit for Young; to the great consternation of many, Young had been sent up to hit for Holt three times in the first week or so of the season.

By the way: Holt grounded out to end the inning.