We had lots of reasons to smile this past Saturday at Fenway Park! It was a very trying week for everyone in the Boston area after the Marathon bombings. I didn’t know anyone well that was injured, but we were all touched by the attack. We tried to go about our business during the week, and then Friday much of the area was in lockdown mode–which felt eerily familiar to me, having spent a locked down day in 2011 with SWAT teams looking an armed robbery suspect in our neighborhood. We breathed a collective sigh of relieve when “suspect #2″ was finally found in Watertown Friday night. When I got a text from a friend early Saturday morning asking if I wanted to go to the Red Sox game, I thought a day at the old ballyard sounded like a great idea.
I’d heard that they were going to do something to mark the tragedy and the Boston Strong response, and correctly suspected it would be pretty special. There was a moment of silence for each of the four killed, and then a massive American flag was draped over the Green Monster as heroes from the week were introduced. There have been so many stories of people who jumped into the fray to save lives and offer comfort, it was great to have a few spotlighted at the event.
After 35,000+ of us belted out the National Anthem in unison (more or less), a nice symbol of the way the Greater Boston community has come together during this time, three of the heroes from the week through out the ceremonial first pitch. David Ortiz, a.k.a. Big Papi, was making his first appearance of the season as he’d been out with injury. Big Papi caught one of the first pitches and delivered his own words of inspiration. OK, I might have preferred the “f bomb” not have been dropped, giving that I was there with my 7 year old. But the whole pre-game ceremony was still incredibly powerful…and then a great baseball game ensued. Speaking of Big Papi, was had great seats and I was able to get a nice photo of his first at-bat. A bit later in the game, he’d get a big hit to tie the score.
Big Papi’s strong return notwithstanding, by the 8th inning, the Sox had fallen behind in this pitchers due between Clay Buchholz and James Shields, 2-1. Fear not, there was more inspiration to come, with Neil Diamond making surprise live appearance to lead the crowd in the great tradition of singing Sweet Caroline. Fortunately, he new all the spots to stop singing and let the crowd take over, So good! So good!. This appearance even got picked up in an LA Times story that I happened to be quoted in…I’ll let you check out their video as I was a bit off key in mine! Shortly after that, Daniel Nava blasted a fastball into the bullpen for a three run homer that proved to be just enough for the win. High fives all around after that one!
I’ve had some good memories at Fenway Park, to be sure. But this past Saturday is a hard one to top! On this day, the skies had begun to clear about Fenway Park….and our beloved Boston! This day at the park symbolized the way people pulled together to get through a very tough crisis, and show that we are #BostonStrong!