WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Cast of unknowns from Colorado face off with more familiar names in Boston. By Ronald Blum THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BOSTON – Jeff Francis looked at Fenway Park and sounded like the wide-eyed World Series rookie he is. “We will not apologize for winning quickly,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said to a roomful of laughter. Last year, of course, the Tigers fumbled and flopped after a six-day layoff and lost to the St.Louis Cardinals in five games – with a Detroit pitcher making an error every night. Teams took notice – a day ahead of today’s opener, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was at the cage running pitchers’ fielding practice. In some ways, the Red Sox have become the Yankees, an October fixture attracting national attention. Manny and his do-rag, Big Papi and Dice-K are TV staples. The Rockies? They haven’t been on a FOX Saturday broadcast since July 2004 and haven’t appeared on an ESPN Sunday night telecast since June 2002. “We’ve been called favorites since Day 1, and look at us,” David Ortiz said, “here we are dancing and just taking it easy. We just have the edge, the attitude to become champions.” Boston overcame a 3-1 deficit in the AL Championship Series to beat Cleveland. That was nothing compared to what the Red Sox did in 2004, when they became the first baseball team to bounce back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 postseason series, upending the Yankees. Then they swept the Cardinals for their first World Series title in 86 years, setting off a year of celebrations throughout New England. Now that the curse has lifted, there might be less pressure. But that’s not the Red Sox notion. “1918, I wasn’t even thinking about coming to life. I never paid attention to any of that,” Ortiz said with a smile. Boston took over the AL East lead for good on April 18 and ended New York’s run of nine straight division titles. The Rockies were fourth in the NL West at just 76-72 when their spurt began Sept.18. If not for two blown saves by San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman, they wouldn’t even have won the wild card and made their first postseason appearance since 1995. “We feel anonymous everywhere,” third baseman Garrett Atkins said. “They’re household names over there, and we’re just not.” Rockies names might not be known in most homes, but they are scrawled inside The Wall. Colorado came to Fenway in June, winning two of three and outscoring the Red Sox, 20-5, and some Rockies players partook in the ritual of affixing their names on the inside of baseball’s most famous fence. Boston was 51-30 at home during the regular season and 5-1 during the playoffs, benefiting from its accumulated knowledge of Fenway’s idiosyncrasies and ricochet patterns. “A lot of special things happen here,” Francis said. “It’s a special baseball place: the fans, the players, the team and the city.” Since its last win on Oct. 15, Colorado had workouts and simulated games. That only went so far. “The postseason, the World Series, you can’t simulate that,” right fielder Brad Hawpe said. “There’s nothing like that.” So enough of the talking. Time to play. Colorado already has been thinking ahead, perhaps obsessing. “There’s no getting away from it,” Hawpe said. “This is what you think about when you wake up in the morning; it’s the last thing you think about before you go to bed.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“I’m sure the Red Sox are used to this every day,” he said Tuesday, with more than a bit of awe, “but we’ve never seen anything like this, the bus pulling up into the parking lot, and the trailers and the satellite dishes.” Welcome to the show, Colorado Rockies, a black-and-purple clad club of Tulowitzkis and Torrealbas unknown to many fans even now, after their amazing run of 21 wins in 22 games. A team that didn’t even exist until 1993 navigated through the cracked corridors and cramped clubhouse of Fenway, then played catch in front of the 37-foot-high Green Monster in left and Pesky’s Pole in right. Infielder Clint Barmes plopped into a red seat in row CC to take it all in. Josh Beckett was set to start tonight’s opener for Boston, and Francis was slated to pitch for the Rockies. Much has been made of possible snow when the Series moves to Coors Field this weekend, but there was a 30 percent chance of rain for Game 1. With Colorado coming off a record eight-day layoff since sweeping Arizona in the NL Championship Series, there’s been a lot of debate about rust vs. rest – and what better place to discuss rust than quirky old Fenway Park, which opened in 1912 and is filled with nearly a century of baseball sounds and smells.
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OnlineUndoBryant joins Yao Ming in becoming an ambassador for basketball’s biggest competitionAs a global ambassador, Bryant will help promote the World Cup and take part in activities on the Road to China 2019 as well as at the first-ever 32-team edition of FIBA’s flagship competition.“Growing up in Italy and spending many years visiting China, I have always appreciated the global impact that basketball has had on the positive development of young people,” Bryant said. “I’m honored FIBA has invited me to serve as an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. I hope my participation inspires and motivates the best players from the 32 participating teams to represent their respective country on the world’s biggest stage. I look forward to seeing who will lift the trophy next year.”Also Read: Kobe Bryant boosts business portfolio with body care line for athletesFIBA President Horacio Muratore welcomed the latest FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 global ambassador.“We’re thrilled and honored to have a basketball and sporting legend of Kobe Bryant’s caliber join us in building up to next year’s World Cup,” he said. “This speaks to the impressive stature of our flagship competition. With a record number of participating teams and as the culmination of the ongoing Qualifiers, the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China will be a truly unique event and the sporting fixture of 2019.“Kobe has proudly represented the USA on the world’s biggest stages, where he’s achieved the highest successes. As such, it’s only fitting to have him take on this role ahead of our biggest-ever competition.”Announcing Bryant as a global ambassador is the latest in an impressive list of exciting activities taking place ahead of the World Cup. Previous ones have included: unveiling Yao Ming as the first ambassador; revealing the competition’s logo and mascot; the start of the World Cup Qualifiers to determine the 31 teams joining hosts China; and marking 1 year to the start of China 2019 with the presentation of Tissot countdown clocks in all eight host cities.Before the competition tips off on August 31, more activities and milestones will take place, including the launch of the Trophy Tour and the competition’s draw on March 16, in Shenzhen.Also Read: Norwegian Airline announced as presenting partner of NBA London Game 2019 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Previous articleQatar Airways in talks for Premier League sponsorship: ReportNext articleWomen’s World Boxing Championship live on Star Sports Select, Select HD Kunal DhyaniSports Tech enthusiast, he reports on Sports Tech industry and writes on sports products. Formula 1 TAGSFIBA 2019 World CupFIBA Basketball World Cup 2019KOBE BRYANTNBA SHARE Cricket Former NBA and USA national team superstar Kobe Bryant has been appointed as global ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. Over the course of a stellar 20-year career, Bryant won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and two Olympic gold medals with the USA. He is widely considered to be one of the best players in basketball history and among the world’s greatest athletes.His popularity in China is second to none and this is reflected by the fact that he ranks as the most followed NBA player on Chinese social media, where he has some 6.84 million followers. 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