PHILADELPHIA — Word reached the visitors’ clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30 charges he faced in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.
The verdict offered a moment of reflection for the Boston Red Sox, who played an instrumental role in helping the city heal in the wake of the 2013 tragedy.
“Anytime we think about what transpired in ’13, you always think about the victims first,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. “There’s still been a strong connection between the Red Sox and those who have suffered. That recovery’s still ongoing. There’s still been a lot of connection with those that were victims of the bombing.
“As it relates to the verdict, I guess the best way to say it is, ‘Justice has been served.'”
Shane Victorino was delighted to hear of Tsarnaev’s conviction, as it could bring at least a sliver of closure to those impacted by the tragedy. Even as someone who grew up in Hawaii, Victorino remembers hearing all about the Boston Marathon and the excitement that typically comes with it — excitement that turned into horror on April 15, 2013.
“Obviously, we feel for (the victims and their families) still to this day. It doesn’t sit well with us as athletes, and what we did in ’13 hopefully brought a lot of happiness and pride to the city by the end of the year,” Victorino said. “But yeah, anytime the system finds a guy who committed, to me, an evil act and sad (act), we’ll all never forget (the tragedy), especially being an athlete.
“Individuals who live in that city, people from that city, things that you look back upon, yeah, I’m very happy that was the verdict and he was found guilty.”
David Ortiz, who famously — and appropriately — declared “This is our (expletive) city” during a speech before the Red Sox’s first home game following the bombing, was a bit more somber Wednesday when asked about the Tsarnaev verdict. While justice has been served, the tragedy still leaves a sour taste in the slugger’s mouth.
“It doesn’t matter,” said a subdued Ortiz standing in front of his locker in Philly. “That’s not going to bring those people who lost their lives back. It is what it is.
“What I said that day is how I feel,” Ortiz added of his speech, which forever will be an iconic moment in Boston history. “I’m an emotional person and we were going through a struggle. And like I said, I’m not going to bring anybody’s life back. We’ve just got to live with the consequences.”
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, now of the Atlanta Braves, said it best in 2013. The city put the team on its back, not the other way around. But the Red Sox’s 2013 World Series run undoubtedly helped the healing process, as it brought everyone together during an extremely tough time.
“Those are the kinds of things that motivated us and drove our team that we’ll never forget,” Victorino said Wednesday, looking back on the memorable 2013 season. “That ’13 team will always be special for more reasons than one. Winning the World Series, yes. But we came together as a team and had one mindset, and that (was) every day we play for the city.
“Obviously the hashtag that we all lived by, and still to this day live by, is ‘Boston Strong.’ I’ll never forget. Even though it was my first year in the city, it was a day I think will always sit with me and a day I’ll remember for more reasons than one.”
The Red Sox symbolized the “Boston Strong” mantra in 2013. And now, with Tsarnaev being found guilty on all counts, the city and the team can reflect, cope and continue to move forward.
Together, with resilience.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images