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Big Papi elected to HOF; Bonds, Clemens, Schilling left out

David Ortiz gazed at his phone, his pursed lips revealing nerves rarely seen from one of the game’s great clutch hitters.

Pedro Martinez’s hand rested on Ortiz’s shoulder, and Martinez grinned when the good news came through. The former teammates embraced, and Martinez welcomed Ortiz into a rare space in baseball history.

Big Papi is bound for Cooperstown — and on the first ballot, too.

Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first try Tuesday, while steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were . . .

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Column: Baseball harmed itself more than Bonds ever did

Whatever harm Barry Bonds did to baseball pales in comparison to the damage baseball inflicted on itself both at the time and since. So say what you will about the steroids era, at least the games were still worth watching.

You can’t say that about baseball today, assuming it’s even available on a TV set where you live. The sport’s popularity is buckling faster than the knees of a hitter fooled by Clayton Kershaw’s curveball. The national audience for last season’s World Series — roughly 12 million viewers — was less than half what it was barely two . . .

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Beltrán brings his own baggage to next year’s Hall ballot

With Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling off the ballot, next year’s Hall of Fame vote figures to be a bit less contentious.

Then again, the top newcomer arrives with his own recent baggage. Forget about steroids for a minute, it’s time to talk about sign stealing.

Carlos Beltrán is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2023, and although the sweet-swinging outfielder had a distinguished career at the plate and in the . . .

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Rays say split-season plan with Montreal rejected by MLB

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays’ proposed plan to split the season between Florida and Montreal has been rejected by Major League Baseball.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg announced the news on Thursday.

“Today’s news is flat-out deflating,” Sternberg said.

The idea of playing in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal has been discussed over the past several years after attempts to build a new full-time ballpark locally failed.

“Things had progressed nicely and things had been working nicely, and then recently it just sort of took a turn to the south and we don’t precisely know . . .

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MLB’s snail-paced lockout talks to resume with union offer

NEW YORK (AP) — Locked out baseball players plan to make a counteroffer to management on Monday, 11 days after clubs gave the union a proposal when the snail-paced negotiations resumed following a 42-day break.

The players’ association asked Major League Baseball on Thursday to schedule the negotiating session, which is to take place in-person.

There is dwindling time to reach an agreement in time for spring training to start as scheduled on Feb. 16.

The scheduled March 31 opening day is also increasingly threatened, given the need for players to report, go through COVID-19 protocols and . . .

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MLB talks resume after 42-day gap, little progress evident

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball labor talks to end the lockout resumed Thursday for the first time in 1 1/2 months with little evident progress during a bargaining session that lasted about an hour, jeopardizing a timely start to spring training,

Major League Baseball imposed the lockout on Dec. 2 as soon as the five-year collective bargaining contract expired, a few hours after talks broke off.

The discussions Thursday were the first on core economic issues following a 42-day gap, and MLB made proposals it hoped would at least start to generate momentum.

After MLB made its proposal, the sides caucused. The players’ association . . .

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