Small group of protesters take credit for Fenway banner

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As we wrote last night, during the fourth inning of Wednesday night’s game between the Athletics and Red Sox, some people sitting behind the Green Monster at Fenway Park unfurled a black banner with white text that read, “Racism is as American as Baseball.” The banner was confiscated and the fans were kicked out of the park.

As we said, we suspected it was an anti-racism banner, even if it was a rather ham-fisted sentiment. That was confirmed by Evan Drellich of CSNNE.com last night, who spoke to one of the members of the group of five who were involved in the unfurling of the banner:

“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area,” the group member said by phone. “Mostly groups that affiliate with racial justice causes. And the banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway [that Adam Jones spoke of].

“But overall, we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”

Last night on Twitter, an account called “Boston Antifa” — which claims to be part of the larger Antifa movementattempted to take responsibility for the banner, saying that Major League Baseball is a racist organization and demanding that MLB “be dissolved.” The person Drellich spoke to however said that was “ridiculous,” adding, “The five of us are in no way associated with Antifa nor did Antifa Boston have anything to do with the action.” Drellich notes that, as proof, they provided an image of the banner when it was being unfurled ahead of the demonstration, as a test. UPDATE: At least one website is claiming that “Boston Antifa” is a group of right wing trolls, trying to make the Antifa movement look bad. Who knows? All we know is that they didn’t do the banner. God, 2017 is exhausting.

Good thing it wasn’t really them, as Rob Manfred would have had no choice but to dissolve MLB under their immense and persuasive pressure and then all of us would be in a bad spot.

In any event. the entire episode appeared to have played out pretty uneventfully. The guys unfurled their banner and, as they expected to be, were kicked out of the park. Drellich reports that the ejection was orderly and polite on all sides. Major League Baseball has not been dissolved. I guess we’re all good here.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.