Fans unfurl “Racism is as American as baseball” banner on the Green Monster

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During Wednesday night’s game between the Athletics and Red Sox, fans sitting behind Fenway Park’s “Green Monster” in left field unfurled a black banner with white text that read, “Racism is as American as Baseball.” Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe snapped a photo:

The fans, as Abraham noted, were quickly ejected and their banner confiscated.

Fenway Park is no stranger to issues concerning racism, as Orioles outfielder Adam Jones had racial slurs directed at him and had peanuts thrown at him earlier this year. Additionally, last month, Red Sox owner John Henry said he was “haunted” by the racist past of former owner Tom Yawkey. Henry suggested renaming Yawkey Way, the two-block street that runs from Brookline Avenue to Boylston Street.

A host of non-white players past and present have said they have experienced racism in Boston in particular. CC Sabathia said, “I’ve never been called the N-word” anywhere else but in Boston. He added, “We know. There’s 62 of us. We all know. When you go to Boston, expect it.”

Current Red Sox pitcher David Price said he has had racial slurs directed his way while in Boston. When center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. struggled in 2014, he said Boston fans directed racist taunts in his direction. All-time great slugger Barry Bonds said he would never play for the Red Sox because Boston is “too racist for me.”

The statement on the banner is a bit ambiguous, as it can be read as both pro-racism and anti-racism. However, given the above context and since racists rarely operate while openly admitting that they are racist, it is probabilistically reasonable to interpret it as an anti-racist statement. We’ll probably learn more about the intent as the ejected fans are likely to garner some press following the stunt.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.