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Red Sox ask Boston to change name of controversial street

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BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox are asking the city of Boston to change Yawkey Way back to its original name, Jersey Street.

The name has been under fire for years for its connection to what the team’s principal owner has said is the franchise’s complicated racial past under former owner Tom Yawkey.

The Red Sox filed the petition Wednesday with the City of Boston Public improvement Commission.

Yawkey Way is the street Fenway Park is on.

Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976 and presided over the last franchise in Major League Baseball to field a black player. That was in 1959, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers.

The team said Wednesday in a statement that “restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Philanthropic group Yawkey Foundations calls the move disappointing, saying “Yawkey treated every player the same, regardless of their race.” The group urges the commission to reject the proposal.

Yawkey died in 1976. The street was named for him in 1977. The city renamed a stretch of the road David Ortiz Drive last summer in honor of the retired Red Sox designated hitter.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.