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It hurt being without Junior

Page 4 of 4 -- Affordable housing is on market

Manager Terry Francona and departed outfielder Dave Roberts are the cheapest properties in the Red Sox World Champions Edition of Monopoly. You pay just $60 apiece to buy Francona and Roberts, while other game players pay just $2 in rent if they land on Francona, 4 bucks on Roberts. The high-end district? Curt Schilling, occupying the Park Place locale in the Parker Brothers original, goes for $350, while Manny Ramirez, in the Boardwalk slot, commands $400. David Ortiz's 12th-inning home run in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series ranks as a "Get out of jail free" card.

At home in foreign territory

Where have you gone, Gabe Kapler?: The popular Sox benchman, who went to Japan's Yomiuri Giants, homered for his first hit in Japan, then homered in his next game as well, but the Giants lost their first four, and the natives were restless.

This one was years in the making

Devil Rays burner Carl Crawford last week became the first American Leaguer to have a triple and inside-the-park home run in the same game since Dwight Evans did it for Boston July 4, 1988. In 17 years since then, only two players have done it: Brian Giles with Pittsburgh May 21, 2002, and Fred McGriff for Atlanta July 27, 1993. The Globe apparently wasn't too impressed by Evans's feat: Much was made of his inside-the-park home run, but there was only a one-line mention of his triple. Could have been because in the same game, Jim Rice flied into a rare, 8-4-3 triple play -- Mike Greenwell and Ellis Burks were off on contact and were easy pickings when Willie Wilson of the Royals caught the ball.

The bell tolls for them

After a spring training in which they listened to manager Jack McKeon repeatedly say his team would perform better after the bell rang signifying the start of the regular season, reporters presented McKeon a solid brass bell with a wood handle. He rang the bell before the Marlins' opener, and they smoked John Smoltz and the Braves, 9-0.

"Well, guys," McKeon said, "the bell has rung."

A crack in the A's lineup

Freak injury of the week: A's shortstop Bobby Crosby cracked ribs while swinging his bat during practice, and could be out for weeks. "He's got a particularly violent swing," A's trainer Larry Davis said. "Looking at the swing, that's maximum effort and a lot of force."

Said Crosby: "It's a little depressing. I've never been on the DL in my pro career, and to be on it is tough. I'm trying to stay upbeat, but it's tough when you worked your butt off for six months and on Opening Day you crack your rib. It's something I've got to deal with. It's not easy."

GM could use a Ray of hope

As if the Devil Rays didn't have enough problems, two of their key winter signings, Robbie Alomar and Danny Bautista, retired, their star center fielder, Rocco Baldelli, is out until July with a torn ACL, and his replacement, Alex Sanchez, was the first player busted under the new steroid-testing plan. On top of that, Charles Johnson, the veteran catcher the Devil Rays acquired from the Rockies via the Red Sox in the Byung Hyun Kim deal, left the team for what he termed personal reasons.

Said general manager Chuck LaMar: "I'm out of Plan Bs. I don't know what I'm on, if I'm on C or D. All I know is I want to get the club that my [manager] can win with, and right now, it seems to be a little harder than usual to do that."

Let's start the bidding

If you've never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame, or have been pining to go back, have we got a deal for you. With the help of Newton's Jeff Idelson, the crack PR man at the Hall, the folks at Boston.com, and some special friends devoted to helping out the Jimmy Fund (take a bow, Paul and John), we're auctioning off some special packages to coincide with the Red Sox' visit to Cooperstown, N.Y., May 23, when they're scheduled to play the Tigers in the annual Hall exhibition game. Eight packages up for auction include not only admission to the Hall of Fame game, but breakfast with yours truly, a private tour of the Hall of Fame, and entrance to a special roundtable discussion with Hall of Famers. In addition, two very special packages have been assembled that include all of the above, as well as hotel accommodations in Cooperstown. For details, go to boston.com/edesauction. All proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund. I'll bring the doughnuts. The auction starts today.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report. 

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