Red Sox

(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

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.