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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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Former Cubs, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester announces retirement

CHICAGO (AP) — Jon Lester, a durable left-hander who won three World Series titles during 16 years in the majors, has announced his retirement.

Lester, who turned 38 on Friday, finishes with a 200-117 record and a 3.66 ERA in 452 career games, including 451 starts. He also has been a reliable postseason performer, compiling a 2.51 ERA in 26 appearances.

The 6-foot-4 Lester helped Boston win the championship in 2007 and 2013, and led the Chicago Cubs to the title in 2016. The championship . . .

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Lockout hurts Braves’ chance to cash in on championship

CHICAGO (AP) — World Series champions for the first time in 26 years, the Atlanta Braves were all set to cash in. With young stars like Ronald Acuña Jr., to go along with a swanky ballpark and surrounding entertainment district, they had everything in place.

Then a storm rolled in, and they had to pull a tarp over some of their party plans.

Perhaps no team was hurt more than Atlanta when Major League Baseball locked out its players on Dec. 2. The move put the start of the 2022 season in . . .

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Champion Braves sign Manny Pina

ATLANTA (AP) — The World Series champion Atlanta Braves added depth at catcher by signing Manny Piña to a two-year, $8 million contract Monday.

Piña is the first player filing for free agency after the World Series to sign with a different club.

He will make $3.5 million next season and $4.5 million in 2023. The contract also includes a $4 million club option for 2024 with no buyout.

The 34-year-old Piña hit a career-best 13 home runs in 75 games with Milwaukee this past season, his . . .

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