BOSTON — The Red Sox have done more than just win baseball games over the last five-plus months. They’ve also helped the city of Boston heal in the aftermath of April’s tragic marathon bombings.
Whenever a tragedy occurs, it’s natural to step back and look at sports in a different light. All that happens between the lines suddenly seems insignificant, and it becomes hard to figure out why we put so much stock into sporting events when more important issues loom large. But while sports can admittedly bring out the worst in people at times, they can also bring out the best.
Sports possess the unique ability to help reestablish a sense of normality in the wake of tragic events. We’ve seen a prime example this year, as the city of Boston has rallied around the Red Sox since the marathon bombings.
“This is a great city. This is our city,” Mike Napoli said Friday after the Red Sox clinched their first AL East title since 2007. “We felt for the people in this city. This is our hometown. Something like that happens, it’s tough. We tried to rally around together to try to help the city of Boston try to forget about it for a couple of hours, try to put a smile on their faces.”
The Red Sox, who defeated the Rays at Fenway Park shortly before the tragic events on April 15, started a series in Cleveland the following night. The Sox came together during that road trip, realizing that they had a chance to play an important role in Boston’s recovery.
“In that moment, it was an opportunity for us to see how our guys responded to something that was a tragedy,” manager John Farrell said Friday. “And we knew it was an opportunity to help the city heal, but it was also a galvanizing moment for our guys. That clearly has been something that we won’t forget.”
Boston tends to gravitate toward players and teams who show character, resiliency and a strong work ethic, and this year’s Red Sox team has demonstrated all of the above during its remarkable journey. In other words, the Red Sox have been a perfect symbol of unity for a blue-collar city showing its toughness and ability to bounce back when faced with adversity.
David Ortiz famously said, “This is our [expletive] city,” during an emotional pregame ceremony at Fenway Park on April 20. Since that day, most Bostonians have also been proud to say, “This is our team,” when talking about the Red Sox.