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Red Sox Notebook: Kyle Schwarber feeling ‘way better’ at first base, credits Bobby Dalbec in transition

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Red Sox Notebook: Kyle Schwarber feeling ‘way better’ at first base, credits Bobby Dalbec in transition

Kyle Schwarber had never started a game defensively at first base when the Red Sox acquired him at the trade deadline. But with a desperate need at the position, he was forced to learn it quickly in the middle of a playoff chase.

There were certainly some growing pains, but it looks like he’s starting to get the hang of it.

Schwarber made his sixth consecutive start of the postseason at first in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, and he’s not been a liability despite going into Monday with just 113 innings under his belt there since Aug. 27. Given his experience there, he’s been impressive.

His progress was especially noticeable during Saturday’s Game 2 victory in Houston, where he made several difficult pick-ups at first for outs, something he credits to his catching experience and new Red Sox coaches. Entering Monday, Schwarber had made one error this postseason, overthrowing a ball to Nathan Eovaldi covering first during Game 3 of the ALDS. But he bounced back later that game with a perfect throw on a similar play, raising his arms in triumph after the out.

In some ways, that sequence represented the progress Schwarber has made over the last two months.

“I think the more innings that you get help you feel more comfortable in the field,” Schwarber said before Game 3. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s nowhere near a complete product by any means. But I definitely feel way better than the first game I played over there than now, but still, there’s some work to be done.”

This kind of transition wasn’t new to Schwarber. At the beginning of his career, he was forced to learn the outfield, an experience he drew on this year. And he also had a new teammate in Boston who had been through a similar transition: Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec, who came up as a third baseman, was forced to move to first in late 2019. Though the rookie has far less major league experience, Schwarber has leaned on him.

“Bobby’s been really big for me,” Schwarber said. “I’m very happy that he’s a guy who’s willing to help, help share his experience of feeling what I’m feeling, what he might see or what he’s feeling, things like that. But I attribute it to him. It’s not easy being a young guy and trying to help out, but he’s been great with me and trying to help me get better.”

Eovaldi won’t rest

Eovaldi has never shied away from pitching on little rest in the postseason and it’s not changing soon. Despite throwing 5 1/3 innings in Saturday’s win, manager Alex Cora said his ace was willing to pitch an inning if needed on Monday.

Cora said he wouldn’t use Eovaldi just because the pitcher said he could. Health of the player remains a priority in these situations.

“It starts with the medical department,” Cora said. “They’re the ones — the player can say whatever they want, obviously, but the medical department will let you know, yeah, he is good for today. It’s a lot of communication, a lot of work in the training room, a lot of work in the weight room. This is not something — we don’t just decide, oh, we’re going to use him just to use him. We’re not going to put his career in jeopardy. If we believe that he cannot do it, then we stay away from him.”

Dalbec out again

With the Red Sox facing right-hander Jose Urquidy, who has reverse splits, Cora elected to put Dalbec on the bench to begin Game 3. The rookie has not started a game since Game 1 of the ALDS, but he’s staying patient. And Cora maintains belief that Dalbec will make an impact on the ALCS when it’s all said and done.

“He understands,” Cora said. “There was a big stretch there toward the end of the season where there were a lot of lefties and he was playing against lefties then we had to make decisions based on health, but he is prepared. They’ve got two lefties in this series in the bullpen and i still believe there’s going to be an at-bat there somehow some way that he’ll be ready for it and he’ll contribute. But he’s upbeat. He understands.”

Odds & ends

Cora did not name a Game 4 starter prior to Game 3. The hope was to avoid using Nick Pivetta so he could start on Tuesday. …

Christian Arroyo and a group of Red Sox teammates went to Gillette Stadium on Sunday to watch the Patriots game. Arroyo, who’s from Tampa Bay and said he’s a big football fan, said he had always wanted to visit Gillette for a game, mostly to see Tom Brady. But the experience didn’t disappoint him, even though he left early.

“It was just a dream of mine to go to Gillette Stadium and to take in that atmosphere,” Arroyo said. “That atmosphere is so similar (to Fenway Park) — it’s louder; there’s more people. But it’s a beautiful stadium. It was a great opportunity to go watch a football game.” …

Cora celebrated his 46th birthday on Monday. … David Ortiz was elected into the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame on Monday. … Former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, a member of the 2007 championship team, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with $30.6M debut

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‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with $30.6M debut

NEW YORK — After a month at no. 1, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has finally been overtaken at the box office. Paramount Pictures’ “Scream” reboot debuted with $30.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“Scream,” a self-described “requel” that is both the fifth film in the franchise and a reboot introducing a new, younger cast, led all releases over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Paramount forecasts that it will total $35 million including Monday’s grosses. “Scream,” which cost about $24 million to make, added another $18 million in 50 international markets.

That made for a solid revival for the self-aware slasher franchise.

Rights to the “Scream” films, once a reliable cash cow for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films, were acquired by Spyglass Media Group, which produced the new film with Paramount. This “Scream,” helmed by Matt Bettinello-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, was the first not directed by Wes Craven, who died in 2015. It features original “Scream” cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette alongside new additions Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid.

“All of our traditional measures were indicating a solid opening, but as I kept telling people: We’re still in this thing and it’s very difficult to determine what will actually happen,” said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. “Now we’re open, people have seen the movie and we’re off and running. Hopefully this becomes another building block toward building the business back and getting it back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Meanwhile, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” slipped to second place but continued to rise in the record books.

“No Way Home” grossed $20.8 million in its fifth weekend of release. Sony Pictures predicts that with another $5.2 million on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “No Way Home” will reach a domestic cumulative total of $703.9 million Monday, edging “Black Panther” and moving into fourth place all-time.

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Dolphins’ first-round pick pushed further back by 49ers’ win over Cowboys

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Dolphins’ first-round pick pushed further back by 49ers’ win over Cowboys

The Miami Dolphins didn’t play a wild-card round playoff game, but they still found a way to lose over the weekend.

The Dolphins’ first-round draft pick took another blow with the San Francisco 49ers’ upset win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday evening.

Now, Miami will be selecting No. 25, at best, in the draft’s first round after the 49ers advanced to the divisional round of the postseason.

San Francisco now plays at the NFC’s top-seeded Green Bay Packers. With another upset, the pick that goes to the Dolphins falls to 29. A 49ers loss Sunday would’ve likely given Miami the 22nd pick.

The Dolphins own the 49ers’ selection while the Philadelphia Eagles have Miami’s pick due to the two trades the Dolphins pulled off with the NFC teams last offseason ahead of the 2021 NFL draft. Miami traded back to No. 12 with San Francisco, sending the No. 3 pick, which previously belonged to the Houston Texans, to the 49ers. A move up from 12 to 6, where wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was selected, followed and sent the Dolphins’ 2022 first-rounder to Philadelphia.

In the movement, the Dolphins are now selecting at least 10 spots lower than they would be had they traded the 49ers’ pick to the Eagles instead of their own. The Miami selection going to Philadelphia in the upcoming draft is No. 15. The Dolphins also got a 2023 first-round pick from the 49ers in the deal.

San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, who is one of the Dolphins’ seven candidates being interviewed for their head coaching vacancy, could theoretically play a role in negatively affecting his first draft pick as Miami head coach should he be the choice for the job.

The Dolphins appear more likely than they once were to keep their first-round pick after the Saturday news that the franchise plans to continue working with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

The NFL draft is ordered by first having the 18 non-playoff teams pick in reverse order of record, with lower strength of schedule serving as a tiebreaker. Picks 19-24 are then reserved for the wild-card round losers in reverse order of regular-season record. Picks 25-28 go to divisional round losers and so on until the Super Bowl champion picks 32nd.

Bears interested in Dolphins exec

The Chicago Bears are already seeking interviews with ex-Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores for their two vacancies in the respective roles.

Now, they have requested permission to interview current Miami executive Reggie McKenzie for the general manager job, according to The MMQB.

McKenzie has been with the Dolphins as senior personnel executive since 2019 after spending the previous seven seasons (2012-18) as the Oakland Raiders’ general manager. In 2016, McKenzie was named the NFL’s Executive of the Year by Sporting News, The MMQB and the PFWA.

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State Fair reports 2021 operating loss, raises admission rates for 2022

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State Fair reports 2021 operating loss, raises admission rates for 2022

Although Minnesotans had to go without their beloved State Fair in 2020, it returned despite numerous pandemic-related obstacles in 2021 to become one of the best-attended North American events of the year, according to Fair officials.

In spite of the comeback, the Fair reported an operating loss of $1.3 million last year, general manager Jerry Hammer told the governing body of the Great Minnesota Get-Together on Sunday. When the Fair was canceled in 2020, the loss was $16.5 million, he said.

The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, which oversees the state’s end-of-summer ritual, held its the 163rd annual meeting in Bloomington over the weekend.

The 2022 State Fair will take place between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5. The new admission prices will be $17 for those 13-64 years old; people 5-12 and 65 and older will pay $15. Those under 4 are admitted for free. The increased price begins Feb. 1. Discount tickets will be on sale for $13 for all ages until Jan. 31 at mnstatefair.org/tickets.

Despite the operating loss, the 2021 Fair drew 1.3 million attendees, Hammer said, adding that pulling off the fair in 2021 amid the ongoing pandemic was “miraculous.”

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