Less than 24 hours removed from Monday’s tragic events in Boston, the Pawtucket Red Sox readied for a Tuesday matinee with heavy hearts just 45 minutes south of where the bombings transpired.
The tone in the clubhouse prior to the noon start time was more solemn than usual as players scurried to their duties in an effort to put their minds elsewhere.
A ten-year Red Sox veteran, David Ortiz, who is in the midst of a rehab stint with the PawSox, addressed the situation after some pre-game running.
“For anyone related to Boston, or even not related to Boston, it was a hard day,” said the slugger, looking around the room in an effort to put together the proper words. “At the time I got pretty angry. I couldn’t process anything through my stomach last night, especially watching the news.”
Ortiz, who was back in the Pawtucket lineup on Tuesday after back-to-back scratches, struggled to grasp the events that occurred in the city he calls home.
“Why would people do things like that,” Ortiz questioned. “I was watching the news last night, saw this 8-year-old kid that was right there with his mom and sister, waiting for his dad to cross the finish line and all I think about is, “How can this happen?” I’m very sad and got very emotional last night.
“You have a lot of people sacrificing themselves to raise money [through racing] and some [expletive] just come out with things like that. It’s not fair, man. It’s not fair. It was a tough day yesterday.”
Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina, a native of Billerica, dealt with the added emotion of having to locate his daughter who was en route to Boston’s South Station from New York by bus.
“We were frantically texting between her, myself, her mom and her aunt who was supposed to pick her up,” DiSarcina said about the situation. “So we had a lot of things going on. She was crying and didn’t know what to do. For me personally it was frustrating and a little distracting at the beginning of the game. My son came in here and found out that she was okay.”
DiSarcina was then tasked with having to manage his team amidst the emotional events that were unfolding while his team was on the field.
“It can be distracting, but the bottom line, when the game starts, the other team doesn’t give a rats’ [expletive]. They’re going to try and go out and beat you. You’ve got to try and put that stuff aside for 2-3 hours and when the game is over then reality sets back in.”
For another local in the clubhouse, Alex Hassan, the tragedy hit especially close to home.
“I know someone who was personally affected by it and it’s a really sad thing,” said Hassan. “It’s really tragic, and really sad. We’re praying for all of the people who are affected by this and their families at this time.”
A native of Milton and a B.C. High graduate, Hassan possess an admiration for the region he called home for 18 years.
“I’m familiar with the area, the sports teams, the schools, the hospitals and it’s where I grew up,” said Hassan. “It’s a special place to me, it always will be.”
Unfortunately, that which made the Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts so special is now forever scarred.
“It’s a really big event with the marathon and people coming from all over the world to celebrate this day that is pretty special to Boston,” Hassan said. “It’s a cool day and I certainly have some really good memories, but it’s really tragic with how yesterday unfolded.”
“It’s a special day for everyone, especially here in Boston,” concluded Ortiz. “People from all over the planet come for [the marathon] and try to do their best to have that beautiful event that’s been going on for years. It’s something that is very special. Things turning out like yesterday, it’s horrible. It’s horrible.”