As popular as they are, in this instance the Red Sox know better than to try to compete with the Celtics.
Boston announced that it has moved its Thursday game against the Diamondbacks from 7:10 p.m. local time to 6:10 p.m., letting fans catch the game, or at least most of it, before the Celtics take on the Lakers in the seventh and deciding game of the NBA Finals. The basketball game is slated to start at 9 p.m. Boston time.
The late start is going to leave Boston sports fans groggy, either jubilant or depressed, and feeling an anti-L.A. fervor on Friday, which is bad news for Manny Ramirez. The former Red Sox star will return to Fenway Park that night for the first time since he left for the Dodgers in 2008.
The Los Angeles Times predicts a rough reception for Ramirez, with the troubles late in his Boston tenure overshadowing what he contributed to two world championships. The fact that he's going to show up with "Los Angeles" written in script across his chest, hours after the Celtics had their fate decided in a game against the rival Lakers, can't help.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters he has no idea what to expect when Ramirez takes the field.
"This will be one of the more interesting returns, probably, in the history of the game," Francona said. "It could range anywhere from them throwing a parade to a riot. You just don't know."
-- David Andriesen
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