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.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.