BOSTON — It didn’t take long for outfielder Jonny Gomes to learn an important fact about Boston.
Gomes, who has been with the Red Sox less than two seasons, witnessed Boston bounce back stronger than ever after last April’s Marathon bombing. The veteran outfielder couldn’t help but marvel at the city’s resilience.
“It’s not a real good area to mess with,” Gomes said Friday at Fenway Park. “They tried and gave a pretty good bullet, but this is a pretty rugged bunch up here. I’m really proud to wear this uniform, a lot more than just the baseball side of it. Blue collar, white collar, I don’t really know what collar this is up here. But this is a rugged bunch and not an area to mess with.”
The Red Sox finished in last place in 2012 with a 69-93 record. Expectations were low. The Red Sox and the city of Boston rallied around each other throughout 2013, though, and the result was a third World Series title in 10 years and a city thriving in the face of a horrific attack.
“You’ve seen what all the civilians have done — the doctors, the firefighters, the police department. Those are the heroes, to tell you the truth,” Gomes said. “We kind of went coattails on the city and how they rallied around the city. With that being said, we just did our jobs. Granted, it did end in a fairytale ending — winning the World Series — (but) like I said before, what this team means to the city and what this city means to us and the tragic event that did happen, I don’t want to hang a win-loss record on how much we care about the city and how much we embraced the ‘Boston Strong.’”
One of the most emotional moments of the Red Sox’s 2013 season was the team’s first home game after the Boston Marathon attack. Hours after a moving on-field ceremony, Daniel Nava lifted a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Red Sox a come-from-behind win that epitomized all that is Boston.
Months later, the Red Sox found themselves atop the baseball world. Last April’s tragedy remained fresh in their minds, however, and the team stopped at the Boston Marathon finish line during the World Series rolling rally to share a special moment with the city.
“It is what it is with history. Most history books and history in general is built among tragedies,” Gomes said Friday. “There aren’t too many success stories really in history books, so (bringing the World Series trophy to the finish line) in Boston history and now U.S. history, to be able to put somewhat of a Band-Aid and somewhat of a 360 mindset of that area was extremely important for the team and the city, to where when you walk down to that finish line, you recognize that finish line as where the trophy was set, not where the bomb was set.”
The 2013 Red Sox were strong. Boston, as a whole, was even stronger. Just ask Jonny.