Leave it to me to think about who makes out best from the Marathon Monday Bombing. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t think beyond the immediate tragedy and the people who got injured. I can’t help thinking about who benefits most from all of this.
The way this thing broke for the Red Sox was perfect. They got to leave the city for a three-game road trip in Cleveland before they return to Boston for a 10-game homestand. What if they had been in the middle of a long homestand when this happened? There’s no way they would have played at Fenway during the week following the explosions. Not only would the city of Boston be missing the welcome distraction of watching baseball, but the players’ routines would have gotten majorly screwed up. And we all know how much baseball players are creatures of habit.
Instead they get three road games in mid-April that suddenly have a ton of meaning for them and their fans. Then when Boston’s had a few days to absorb what happened and begins to move on, the Sox ride in and save the day. How crazy is Fenway going to be on Friday night? What if I told you their dramatic return to Boston might coincide with David Ortiz’s dramatic return to the Sox lineup? I’d be spending $30 for a ticket to that game if I was in Boston.
With Kansas City, Oakland and Houston visiting during the homestand, couldn’t this team realistically emerge from their next 12 games with a record of 18-7 and a little extra motivation for the rest of the season? Knowing the Red Sox organization, I’d be stunned if they weren’t marching people out for ceremonial first pitches who somehow represent the marathon, the victims or the heroics that were on display Monday. The players are going to get daily reminders of what they’re playing for.
And if we want to go even further on how this might benefit the Red Sox, there’s this:
I was 12 days into my freshman year of college when the hijacked planes took down the towers in New York. I know firsthand what it’s like to live through a national tragedy with a group of strangers you’re forced to be around every hour of every day. The friendships I made during those dark days of September 2001 are some of the strongest and weirdest friendships I still have to this day. That group of people I bonded with back then is the only group I know who gets together for a yearly reunion. And it doesn’t even matter that all of our significant others have protested the sketchiness of a mixed-gender, supposedly-platonic group of 30 year olds meeting up for a weekend getaway every year. We do it anyway.
The point I’m trying to make here is that all the players and coaches on the Red Sox just had to spend the last 48 hours processing the Marathon explosions together, stuck on a bus, a plane, in a hotel or in the locker room…together. Helping each other get through it. Talking about why someone might have done this. Brainstorming on what they can do to help the community. As of Monday morning, I’m willing to bet some of the players were still getting to know each other. After all there are a bunch of new guys on the team this year. But as of today, I’m willing to bet there’s no locker room in baseball that feels like a family quite as much as the Red Sox do.
If the Sox needed something to rally around and carry them through the intolerably boring summer days, they just got it.
Here’s hoping they save a couple of the feel-good ceremonial first pitch candidates for the World Series in October.