(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: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.