It’s not very often that the pregame ceremonies supersede the game and are must see TV.
Today was one of those days because it marked the return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park for the first time since the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings on Patriot’s Day.
After sweeping the Indians in Cleveland during the week, the Red Sox players were chomping at the bit to get back and play in front of their fans. After being postponed on Friday because of the law enforcement manhunt, it was finally time to play baseball. And what a show it was.
From the Red Sox appearing in home white uniforms with BOSTON across the chest rather than the traditional RED SOX, to the video tribute to the runners and victims, to the introduction of the marathon volunteers, to the on field parade and line up of law enforcement officials, to the season debut of David Ortiz, the Red Sox, as usual, led the way for their community.
There could not have been a dry eye in the place during the video tribute as images from that terrible day were shown on the center field scoreboard.
It was immediately followed by the Red Sox and Royals lining up along the baselines to be joined by law enforcement in front of the dugouts and near the pitchers mound.
Then it was time for the individual first responder and survivor introductions which simply brought the house down.
And of course, the cherry on top was a singing of the National Anthem in unison by all those in the park- something first started a few nights earlier at the Bruins game by anthem singer Rene Rancourt.
David Ortiz was then handed the microphone for one final charge of words and inspiration and even though he dropped an f-bomb for emphasis that NESN didn’t get to edit out, it didn’t matter. The point was taken. These terrorists messed with the wrong city and that city will go on and always look forward.
The Red Sox understand their importance and meaning to their city and community. Led by Dr. Charles Steinberg, senior advisor to team president Larry Lucchino and former executive vice president/public affairs for the Red Sox from 2002-2007, they always seem to do these productions right.
The outpouring of love and emotion was overwhelming and these ceremonies captured things beautifully. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The Red Sox truly are Boston.
This was one time where watching something on TV was better than being there because you got the chance to see the emotion up close and personal.
It is a day that the city of Boston and Red Sox Nation will never forget as they recover, move forward and stay strong. Boston Strong.