Patriots’ Day and the events surrounding it left former Red Sox third baseman and current NESN analyst Will Middlebrooks with an indelible memory to fondly look back on every third Monday in April.

But it just so happens that what Middlebrooks remembers the most about Patriots’ Day came several days after the annual holiday in 2013.

The city of Boston was going through a healing process that year following the Marathon bombings, as the Red Sox returned home to take on the Kansas City Royals after a series with Cleveland.

What unfolded on the field at Fenway Park in the first game at the venue since the tragic events was nothing short of extraordinary to Middlebrooks.

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The Red Sox saluted law enforcement and honored the victim’s families in a special pregame ceremony. David Ortiz delivered a memorable speech with a well-time expletive. And then Daniel Nava provided the exclamation point when he blasted a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory.

“It was insane,” Middlebrooks told “And then honestly to get the game with Nava hitting the three-run home run off Kelvin Herrera. … Going back and watching the replay after the game, that was pretty cool like when (Don) Orsillo said, ‘That’s one for you Boston.’ It’s burned in my mind.”

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It was a much-needed win for the Red Sox and the city they call home. Middlebrooks could sense it, too, fully understanding the gravity of the game.

“That was the most must-win game of my life,” Middlebrooks said. “And I played in the World Series and I played in big games. And that was the most must-win game I’ve ever been a part of, and I think a lot of people would say that, too.”

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Middlebrooks, a Texas native, didn’t know much about Patriots’ Day until he made his way up the Red Sox farm system in 2011. It didn’t take long for Middlebrooks to take notice of the significance of the holiday and he believes baseball almost feels “secondary” that day with everything else going on in Boston.

“It’s just a really cool day because the players recognize how important it is to the city. Not just the city, but really the state of Massachusetts,” Middlebrooks said. “And people get excited for it. Doesn’t matter how well you’re playing, how bad you’re playing, they come out, they watch. It’s the routine of the city coming alive.”

The Red Sox have worn Boston across the front of their jerseys on every Patriots’ Day since that fateful game Middlebrooks can recall in detail.

And when Middlebrooks sees the Red Sox take the field in those uniforms before the morning is even over every year, the memories come flooding back.

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“It’s very cool that they do that. Obviously, the meaning behind it of putting the Red Sox to the side and saying we’re Boston, we’re not the Red Sox. We’re all one essentially,” Middlebrooks said. “I think when they do that it brings memories back for a lot of people because of the first time and the reason behind it and why that started. … For me and a lot of guys on that team and a lot of people within the city, seeing those jerseys just takes me right back.”

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images