Friday, April 4, 2014

Boston Strong Opening Day 2014 @ Fenway Park

Boston Strong, the theme of the 2013 Red Sox — the entire city, really, after the Marathon bombings — was still being felt and seen. Pops conductor Keith Lockhart wore a Red Sox jersey with “617” as the number, signs outside the park honored the victims and survivors, and team staff added a single red rose to their outfits.
Then it began, with most of the Brewers looking on from the visitors dugout. Banners nearly covering the length of the Green Monster in left field were unfurled, first for 2004, then 2007, and finally 2013.
Those standing along the Wall at the bottom of the banners, wearing white Red Sox jerseys also with “617” on the back, were some of those who were affected most by the Marathon tragedy. There were family members of Martin Richard, Krystal Campbell, and Sean Collier, who lost their lives. There also were people who survived, and those who helped the victims.
They held in their hands the World Series rings that would soon be given to the members of the 2013 Red Sox, and handed them to team owner John Henry, team president Larry Lucchino, and team chairman Tom Werner.  The players came out to a short video of highlights from 2013.  World Series hero David Ortiz,was the final player to emerge from the dugout. He collected not just one ring but a  a second ring for being named World Series MVP, then ran toward left-center field, down the long line of teammates. As Ortiz reached the end of the line, the “2013 World Series Champions” flag was raised, along with the American flag.

It was raised  all the way up initially.  Then  a long line of uniformed Boston police, fire, and first response personnel walked out from center field to lowere the flags to half-staff.

Following player introductions for both teams, a moment of silence was held for Edward Walsh Jr. and Michael Kennedy, the Boston firefighters who died battling a Back Bay blaze on March 26. Scoreboards went dark, the stands went silent.

The Sox had a few more treats planned before the game started. Backed by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Dropkick Murphys sang the national anthem, then a brief version of their “I’m Shippin’ Up To Boston” hit.

Emerging from under the banners still flying from the Wall were trophy-carrying representatives of Boston’s recent decade of athletic dominance. Former Sox Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, and Mike Lowell carried the three most recent World Series trophies. The Patriots’ three Super Bowl trophies were carried by Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, and Troy Brown. Leon Powe had his hands on the 2008 NBA championship trophy won by the Celtics, and Mark Recchi drove Mayor Menino out in a golf cart was apparently the the Stanley Cup was not available.

Flanked by Thomas Menino, the man he replaced after 21 years, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh threw the ceremonial first pitch to Ortiz not long after the trophy parade.

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