On the face of the Green Monster, a landmark as synonymous with the city of Boston as any, the Red Sox made a simple, yet strong show of support.
A sign with the Sox “B” logo above the the word “Strong.”
More than a hashtag or a slogan, it’s become a mantra for a city still processing the effects of the terror attack that rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
“It just means nothing can bring us down,” said third baseman Will Middlebrooks. “Everybody’s going to pull together and stick together and no event or person or people can bring us down as a city.”
It was one of several gestures the Red Sox made today as they played their first home game since the bombings. It’s also an opportunity for fans to begin the healing process.
The Red Sox had a pregame ceremony and wore special home white jerseys, wearing the name of the city across the chest rather than the team. With range of feelings fans will bring with them to the ballpark, they offered fans a place to escape.
“Very, very emotional,” Middlebrooks said before the game. “I’m sure there will be people here that were involved in some way, knew people involved. Hopefully it will kind of start the process of healing.
“We take a lot of responsibility. We know how big of a deal baseball is here. We know how passionate everyone is about it. We’re just happy to get back out there and help the city heal.”
The scene at Fenway Friday, as law enforcement officials locked down the city in search of the one of the suspects in the Monday bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170, was surreal. Yawkey Way was empty. Ballpark gates were locked, with security not allowed to let anyone in. By outfielder Shane Victorino’s count, 10 players came to the clubhouse. Many stayed home. Eventually, around mid-afternoon, word came that the Sox’s series opener with the Kansas City Royals, who had been in town since Thursday, would be postponed.
“It was just weird to look out the window and not see any action, not see any cars, see any people,” Middlebrooks said. “It was like a ghost town. Everyone was on lockdown. It was pretty scary to know I was a couple miles away. I’m just happy it’s over.”
For the players, getting back on the field is also a step toward returning to normal.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, “Just the fact that this city has come together like this at a time where we’re at our weakest, it just proves how relentless this city is.”
Security was tight at Fenway and at the TD Garden, as it was when the Bruins made their emotional return after the bombing.
The Bruins pushed back Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins to Saturday afternoon.
Prior to pregame warmups, the Bruins left their helmets in the dressing room. They wore Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, and Watertown Police hats to recognize the work of law enforcement in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon attacks.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma met with reporters before the game wearing a black T-shirt with words ‘‘Boston Strong’’ over his shirt and tie.
‘‘I feel like we’re playing with the Bruins today, not against them,’’ Bylsma said. ‘‘I know I share their pride yesterday in their city and their people and certainly their law enforcement yesterday. I'm certainly not a Bostonian, but I certainly share in that pride and hope to today with them as well.’’